Focus On Forensics: Everyday Heroes (capes not required)

The true strength of an organization is the depth of its resources and it is best illustrated by their ability to organize and utilize those resources to respond rapidly, skillfully, and effectively to multiple situations. Isett’s Forensic Engineering rapid response team with the assistance of Structural, Environmental, Survey, and Construction Services team members, demonstrate this strength.


Whether it’s a weather-induced emergency or a man-made one, the Isett Forensic Engineering team is the go-to group to handle the situation with rapid response and professional concern. 

Just this winter alone the Isett team, responded to over 70 roof emergencies across the Lehigh Valley ranging from commercial and industrial buildings, to institutions of higher education, to office buildings.  During the heavy snow fall over Valentine’s Day weekend, our team was instrumental in allowing a major on-line retailer to continue to fulfill orders.  They also enabled FEDEX to keep its Lehigh Valley distribution center open to deliver those gifts.  Called to the facility about 10 a.m. over concerns that snow accumulated on the 50,000 sf square-foot structure's roof could lead to a collapse, the Isett Forensic engineers conducted snow coring to determine the loads, and to develop a removal plan.  Following the removal, they confirmed that the roof was safe and the structure sound.

Recently our team was called to a “man-made’ emergency right in our Phillipsburg, NJ office’s backyard.  The Union Square Hotel (pictured) – a historic building constructed in the mid-1800s during the days of stage coaches and served as a stable for the railroad company – was partially collapsed after being slammed into by an SUV early Saturday morning.  Originally a wooden structure, over the years it had been retrofitted with steel beams on one floor for clear span modifications which ultimately made it more susceptible for collapse.  Arriving at the scene late morning, our Forensic Engineering team conducted a comprehensive assessment to determine the safety for the public and workers and structural integrity of the building.  Noted Greg Marks, PE, “It was the worst possible place to strike the building causing debris to cover the busy intersection just beyond the Phillipsburg/Easton Free Bridge.  The SUV was holding up part of the building and removal could have caused sudden and progressive collapse.”   Isett developed a selective demolition and shoring plan to prevent additional damage and safely remove the vehicle.  Demolition will include removal of portions of the roof, third floor, second floor, front, and side walls.  Isett will also design the structural repairs and will be assisting with the rebuilding.