a family owned company founded in 1947, provides full-service Forensic Engineering and Fire Investigation Services
. For over 60 years, Donan Engineering has been providing unbiased answers to their client’s complicated questions. Their team of licensed and experienced forensic experts provides investigative services in the fields of engineering investigations, fire and explosion origin & cause, roofing investigations, and component testing. The diversity of their multidisciplinary staff allows them to provide not only a complete service, but a complete service whose conclusions can be successfully and completely supported.
Donan Engineering has become a richly diverse, industry leader with over 250 employees operating from 50 offices in 27 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Throughout their growth, Donan has maintained their commitment to providing exceptional customer service, unparalleled quality, unmatched integrity, and timely reporting. Most importantly, they pride ourselves on delivering their clients quality services at an affordable price.
|BridgesFoundations and BasementsGeotechnical / Sink HolesLightningLow and High VoltageMechanical SystemsRetaining Walls||Steel ConstructionTrussesVehicle Mechanical StudiesVibrations: Earthquakes and BlastingsWater Infiltration / MoldWood Frame Construction|
Fire / Explosion Origin and CauseCommercial FiresEquipment FiresVehicle / Residential Fires
Roofing InvestigationsCommercialResidential - Asphalt ShingleResidential - Slate, Tile, Etc.
|Heavy TrucksMotorcycles||Passenger Vehicles|
The relationship between wind, hailstone velocity, and impact energy is based on an understanding of fundamental physics. Over a half century of laboratory research and field studies have determined that the severity of hail damage to a roofing material is contingent on the kinetic energy at the point of impact and the roofing material's resistance to that impact energy. These studies have found that a hailstone must be of a certain mass (i.e., size), and it must be traveling at a certain speed (velocity) to result in functional damage to the roofing material. The kinetic energy is a composition of mass and velocity, defined by the following equation:
Chances are, it's happened to you. An unexpected period of cold weather occurs and temperatures drop well below freezing for an extended period of time. One morning you attempt to turn the water on in the kitchen sink and...nothing. Hot water? Nope. Cold water? Nope. What happened? Did you forget to pay the water bill...again? Chances are, your pipes are frozen. "How can that happen? They are inside the house!", you may say; however, just because your water lines are inside the building envelope, does not mean they are adequately protected from freezing.
If hail impacts a roof covering and the effects of this impact result in some loss in the material's overall integrity or functionality, this material is classified as "hail damaged." More specifically for cedar shakes and shingles, valid hail damage is typically a new fracture of the cedar corresponding to a clean spot or scuff mark from the hailstone impact.
Although sags along roof ridgelines can be discovered at any time, in northern climates they are often attributed to the effects of a past snow load. To make an educated analysis of the actual cause of this phenomenon, one must have a basic understanding of the structure and the loads to which it has been subjected.
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems consist of many components that work in unison to create the desired comfort level for our homes and offices. A well maintained system is designed to last around 15 years, but the life can be dramatically reduced when proper installation procedures and routine maintenance are not performed.
Ice dams and their resultant leaks are often a chronic and expensive problem in those regions where snow-covered roofs are a common occurrence. To understand their detection, cause, and prevention requires some understanding of the dynamics of a structure's construction, insulation, and ventilation.
A space heater is a device designed to warm a small area. These devices are typically portable, but the category does include gas- and wood-fueled models that are permanently installed; however, these are not the focus of this article.
Washing machine failures can create significant damage, exposing insurers and their clients to property damage. These failures often involve a high volume of water and can occur without warning. Through the examination of several hundred washing machines, the DONAN Component Testing Laboratory has identified a statistically significant failure trend in General Electric (GE) washing machines. The amount of water supplied to the tub of the washing machine is controlled by a water valve (solenoid-controlled valve) and pneumatic controls. The washing machine's load selector is a pneumatic pressure switch, which activates and deactivates the water valve.
Shallow foundations are the most commonly designed and constructed structural foundation system. As opposed to deep foundations where structural loads are transferred to subsurface layers or multiple depth ranges, shallow foundations transfer loads to the earth (soil) relatively near to the ground surface. Some examples of shallow foundations include building components often seen in residential construction such as spread footings, continuous foundation walls and footings, slab-on-grade foundations, and mat-slab foundations.
After a tornado event, devastation and destruction are found along the tornado path. Due to the wood-framed construction predominant in Texas and Oklahoma, extensive damage to a house can occur. But how do you know whether visible cracks in the Sheetrock or brick finishes are just cosmetic damage or the signs of structural failure?
Automatic fire suppression systems are by far the most effective and safest means of preventing extensive fire damage and saving lives. For this discussion, we will touch on automatic sprinkler systems (building systems) and kitchen hood suppression systems. These systems range from very simple to extremely complex.
Summertime rolls around and people start seeing condensation on ductwork. Their first thought is that something is wrong with their air conditioner. Actually, sweating ducts have several causes. Very few are attributable to defective air conditioners.
In urban and suburban areas, stormwater systems are found everywhere. From surface waterways, such as rivers, streams, and ditches, to subsurface drainage systems, such as storm sewers and culverts, stormwater systems are as ubiquitous as concrete, which is one of the reasons they are so important (Figure 1). Impervious surfaces like concrete, pavement, and roofs prevent stormwater from naturally absorbing into the ground, and the resulting runoff can cause flooding, erosion, and subsequent structural damage.
For many years, the fire investigation industry has seen numerous fires involving livestock buildings. These fires are often high profile, especially when masses of animals are lost or injured. Many times these losses are in older structures with neglected electrical and/or heating systems. Given the interior environment, corrosion and degradation to electrical and heating components are common.
Cupping, buckling, and crowning are three common problems encountered in wood flooring (flooring). These problems are caused by a combination of the normal material characteristics of the flooring and improper installation of the flooring.
While shovels, snowblowers, plows, and deicing agents are used to clear snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks during the winter, removing frozen precipitation from the roof of a house is a bit more challenging. As snow and ice piles up on the roof and subsequently thaws out, the melt-water can sometimes result in damage to the interior of the structure.
"Hail has damaged my concrete driveway!" How many times have you heard this claim? A homeowner whose house has experienced a recent severe hailstorm starts to notice things they never noticed before around their house.
A Donan fire investigator uses many techniques in order to determine the origin and cause of a fire. Chief among these are the investigator's observations of the scene and the conditions surrounding the scene.
In this age of high energy costs, the price of heating the house will increase. People will be searching for alternate sources to heat their houses.
In our October 2010 newsletter, Bob Whelan, P.E., discussed how to approach a roof hail study by using the scientific method. In summary, one should perform a collateral study of the property, or neighboring properties, to gather information about the particular hailstorm in question.
Whether to build a residence on a concrete slab or conventional crawlspace foundation is a common decision homeowners must make.
Is construction vibration just an annoyance, or does it have the potential to cause aesthetic and structural damage to nearby structures?
Attic ventilation problems can cause elevated relative humidity in an unheated, residential attic. Elevated relative humidity in the attic can promote mold growth and increase the moisture content in the wood framing to a level that promotes fungal growth and rotting.
Every year, Donan Engineering is asked to look at dozens of basement walls that have failed. A wall is determined to have "failed" when the structural integrity is compromised - such as with the development of a horizontal or vertical crack.