Forensic geotechnical engineering involves scientific, legalistic investigations and
deductions to detect the causes as well as the process of distress in a structure,
which are attributed to geotechnical origin. Such a critical analysis will provide
answers to “what went wrong, when, where, why, how, and by whom”. Cases of
remedied installations, particularly those which, fall under public / or government
category, where the analysis and evaluation of adopted remedial measures with
regard to their effectiveness and economy may be subjected to judicial scrutiny
also, fall under this purview. It also gives strong inputs to improve future designs.
The normally adopted standard procedures of testing, analysis, design and
construction are not adequate for the forensic analysis in majority of cases. The
forensic investigations involve fresh field and laboratory tests apart from collection
of all available data. The test parameters and design assumptions will have to be
representative of the actual conditions encountered at site. While the designs are
mostly stress based, the forensic analysis has to be deformation based. The
forensic geotechnical engineer (who is different than the expert witness) has to be
not only thorough in his field of specialization, but also be familiar with legal
procedures. This seminar highlights the principles of planning and executing a
forensic investigation citing case histories.