David P. Amori, PE, RRC
, Vice President of Engineering at EFI Global, is a Structural / Geotechnical Engineer
and Registered Roof Consultant
with more than 22 years of domestic and international experience in building and heavy civil construction and engineering. His responsibilities include the oversight of the engineering service line, product delivery, quality, training and mentoring, business development, and executive team liaison.
Mr. Amori's background includes geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, and domestic and international construction management of commercial and heavy civil projects. He has performed hundreds of forensic investigations in North and South America.
David Amori is a registered professional engineer in the states of Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado, and a Masters of Science in Construction Management from the University of Birmingham.
Mr. Amori provides Litigation Support services to attorneys for both Plaintiff and Defense. He has been retained numerous times and is court qualified as a structural and geotechnical engineer.
Areas of Expertise
Representative Litigation Support
- Structural Assessment
- Construction Defect Investigation
- Foundation Evaluation
- Structural Fire Damage Assessment
- Roof and Building Envelope Assessments
View David Amori's Consulting Profile
- Pearland, TX - Design team defendant expert in a case involving the code compliance, structural integrity, and functional performance of roof of a newly constructed assisted living facility
- San Antonio, TX - Expert investigating the performance of window systems, roof systems, and exterior wall finishes
- Austin, TX - Expert investigating the performance of custom window systems
The forensic engineering assignment typically has a scope of work that begins with something to the effect of "determine the cause of the observed damage to the..." Often this includes an inspection and analysis to determine if the observed damage is related to a particular event. For example, an assignment might ask a forensics professional to determine if the hailstorm on June 1 caused functional hail-related damage to a roof. Or, it might ask to delineate the structural fire-related damage.
When a catastrophe hits, unmanned aerial systems (UASs, also called "drones") can quickly and effectively provide a bird’s-eye view of inaccessible and unsafe areas as well as major losses. Such visual access can drastically change the life of the insurance claim, making drone use a rapidly expanding data-collection method.
So far this year, the topic of wildfires has gained national attention across the U.S. In May, the Springs Fire in California threatened 4,000 homes and destroyed 24,250 acres. In June, the record-breaking Black Forest Fire in Colorado destroyed 14,280 acres and about 500 homes and caused an estimated $85 million in damages. The devastation from the unprecedented Rim Fire that burned in and around Yosemite National Park in August and September is still being calculated, but it already ranks as one of the worst wildfires in history.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), plumbing supply failures are the leading source of residential water losses-almost 50 percent greater than the second-leading source. Many of these are caused by broken pipes that result from water that gets trapped inside them and freezes.
Every spring and throughout the summer, much of the U.S. is subjected to thunderstorms that produce damaging hail. Property damage can manifest in several forms: broken windows, damaged roof top equipment, and roof damage. With a residential roof replacement starting at several thousand dollars and a commercial roof at tens of thousands, functional roof damage is probably the largest expense exposure for most buildings.
For the forensic investigator, damage assessments require taking a global look at the loss to determine all causes, including possible design and construction deficiencies.
Large losses present a unique set of challenges from the perspective of managing an expert or team of experts. For the purposes of this column, let's assume that a large loss is one that exceeds $250,000. These might include heavy civil construction, infrastructure, transportation, or a catastrophic event affecting a large building.
Roof collapses can be sudden, catastrophic events caused by a particular loading condition or combination of loads. Roof collapses often happen with little or no warning, making this a particularly dangerous event. When investigating a roof collapse, the obvious perpetrators are examined: how much snow was on the roof, were the drains plugged up, were the winds in excess of the design wind speed and many others. Occasionally, the roof can be doomed to collapse months or years before an event due to design or construction related deficiencies allowing for a subrogation opportunity to recover cost of repairs.
Often after an event like a tornado, windstorm, water surge, or fire, the damage sustained to some property structures exceeds the value of it. In these cases, an engineer might be asked to determine if the remaining foundation system is suitable for reconstruction. The motivation for this is fairly straightforward: the property may have been underinsured and saving the foundation represents an effort to reduce the reconstruction cost, or there is a desire to get the structure rebuilt as quickly as possible. In the interest of time and money, an evaluation of the suitability of the foundation for reuse can be performed. There are three main questions for the engineer to answer: Is the slab damaged by the event? Are there any other factors, such as differential foundation movement, that would prevent the slab being reutilized? Are there any code considerations that prevent the slab from being reutilized?
In the wake of a Hurricane the monumental task of beginning to assess the losses and respond to the thousands of claims inevitably includes a number of claims concerning the functional assessment of commercial roofing systems. The design and construction of a roof system requires input from several disciplines including thermal considerations (Mechanical), fire resistance (Architect/Municipality), equipment carrying capacity (Structural), ability to drain and/or to store water (Architect/Civil), aesthetics, and the ability to resist any number of transient loads (Structural). The assessment of the damage sustained by a roof system during a storm event is an equally broad endeavor requiring the expert to call on a number of disciplines.
Building envelope assessments for storm-related damage is a normal part of job for the property adjuster and forensic consultant. The assessment of storm-related damage inevitably becomes a question of whether the observed condition pre-dates the storm or is the result of sudden and recent event. In fact, the question may very well be, "Did the observed condition exist during or even before the building was constructed; is the condition the result of a construction or design related defect?"