Building & Structural Engineering

SCES offers Professional Engineering services for all types of buildings. This includes forensic work on virtually any aspect of performance or condition, from foundations to framing, cladding to mechanical systems.

Structural Evaluation

Significant structural problems are documented and photographed. Published data are reviewed along with any provided documents. Where necessary, elevation or deflection measurements may be taken. Research is done into any unique conditions and a report is written summarizing our opinions. Structural evaluation does not include mechanical, electrical or plumbing items addressed in a Property Condition Report.

For residential properties, SCES structural reports are performed in accordance with the Residential Foundation Evaluation Guidelines published by the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. With a Level A evaluation, the client receives a sealed report including a summary of published information, observed structural discrepancies and recommendations for remediation or improvement. Level B and Level C evaluations have expanded scopes, such as more detailed documentation, specifications for repair, and certifications of adequacy.

It is sometimes possible, for a reduced fee, to obtain a verbal engineering opinion. The engineer conducts a cursory visual inspection and immediately reports the findings to the client. Since there is no written documentation, this type of inspection is for the client’s immediate information only. Verbal opinions require a release waiver.

Construction Consulting

If you want to build, modify, or repair a structure, SCES offers construction consulting. The scope of services depends on clients’ needs and the complexity of the building. During new construction, we may suggest phased inspections to verify slab reinforcement, framing, utility systems, etc., at opportune times.

We can tell you if a foundation needs repair and provide specifications if desired. Each type of foundation can have problems, and offers different challenges to repair. Pier and beam foundations would be easy to fix if not for the nasty, dangerous crawlspaces; to repair damaged slab foundations, technically qualified contractors are rare. Foundation repair is completely unregulated in Texas. Often we are called after an attempt has gone very wrong.

Forensics and Litigation Support

Forensics is the investigation of specific problems and preparation of documents, exhibits or testimony for formal proceedings. Russell Strahan, P.E., has testified as an expert on building construction in Texas District Courts and 5th Circuit Federal Court. This work has been split evenly between Plaintiff and Defense cases. The disputed subjects range from foundation failures to water leaks, personal injuries to insurance fraud.

Russell also consults as a non-testifying expert to attorneys.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Russell Strahan, P.E., is a certified mediator and an experienced arbitrator. The most common role for SCES is to prepare technical presentations or exhibits for mediating parties. We also perform on-site mediation in small construction disputes and warranty coverage arbitration in builder disputes.

Property Due Diligence Reports

A Limited Property Condition Report is a visual and functional survey of accessible structural and mechanical components to identify systems with visible evidence of inadequate performance or improper installation. The scope is negotiable; typically it includes the foundation, roof and attic, decks and porches, HVAC, utility distribution systems, etc. The service includes on-site review of enumerated items with the client and a sealed report with photographs. The engineer is available to answer questions as needed.

NOTE: Due to schedule constraints, appointments for property condition reports are very limited. Preference is given to returning clients, unusual properties, or select referrals. If you’re looking for a routine inspection in a hurry, please keep looking.


The Engineer

Building inspection, engineering, and consulting is performed by Russell Strahan, P.E.

Russell Strahan, P.E. – Curriculum Vitae

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