June 14, 2018 - 8:00am to 4:45pm

This event has reached capacity. If you would like to be placed on a waiting list, please email office@seaoi.org.

The Structural Engineers Association of Illinois is pleased to announce the 2018 Forensic Forum! The event provides an opportunity for structural engineers to share best practices, lessons learned, and new techniques related to the investigation of failures or other performance problems. Failures are not all catastrophic, such as when a building or bridge collapses, but include facilities or parts of facilities that do not perform as intended by the owner, design professional or contractor. Forensic design and construction topics will be presented by a diverse group of engineers from Chicagoland and beyond. The Forum is designed for all structural engineering professionals interested in forensic engineering.

Please register by Friday, June 8 to guarantee your place. Registrations made after that time will be accommodated if possible, but we cannot guarantee that space will be available. SOLD OUT!

The Forum is a full day event that includes ten presentations, a continental breakfast, and a group luncheon. Attendees of the Forum receive 6.5 hours of continuing education credit. 

CE certificates will be emailed to participants following the event. 

8:00 - 8:30 am   Registration, Breakfast
8:30 - 9:10 am

It’s a Material World for a Forensic Engineer

Edward Swierz, SE; Principal, Integrity Structural Illinois

9:10 - 9:50 am

Centennial Park Recreational Complex Roof Collapse

Terry McDonald, SE PE; Associate Principal, Klein and Hoffman

9:50 - 10:30 am

Durability in Precast Concrete Parking Structures

Peter R. Kolf, SE, PE, Principal Structural Engineer, CTLGroup and John F. Vincent, SE, PE; Principal Structural Engineer, CTLGroup

10:30 - 10:45 am Break
10:45 - 11:25 am

Corrosion:  Know Your Enemy

David Whitmore, PEng; President and Chief Innovation Officer, Vector Corrosion Technologies

11:25 am -
12:05 pm

Case Study: Investigation of the Collapse of a Precast Façade Panel at an East Coast Resort

William Godfrey, PE, SE; Senior Project Engineer, DeSimone Consulting Engineers

12:05 - 1:05 pm Lunch
1:05 - 1:45 pm

Recent Systemic Failures in the Design and Construction of Buildings

Benjamin Pavlich, SE; Associate, Thornton Tomasetti, Inc., and Rupert Price; Senior Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti, Inc.

1:45 - 2:25 pm

Using Full Scale Tests to Prove What Really Happened in a Construction Collapse

Otto C. Guedelhoefer, SE, F.ASCE; Principal, Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc., and William J. Macicak, SE, P.E;  Senior Engineer, Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc.

2:25  - 2:40 pm Break
2:40  - 3:20 pm  

The Crane Accident that Wasn’t!

Jeffrey A. Travis, PE SE; Principal Engineer, Exponent

3:20 - 4:00 pm

Using New Materials without a Track Record

Jared E. Brewe, PhD, PE, SE; Structural Engineer, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, and Kevin Conroy, SE, PE; Senior Project Manager, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

4:00 - 4:40 pm

A Rational Approach to add 50 years of life to a Marine Structure

Jonah Kurth, PE, SE; Structural Engineer, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates



Association Forum

10 S. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 800
Chicago Illinois 60606



Registration and a continental breakfast will be available at 8 am; the program begins at 8:30. Lunch will be provided. 

The registration fee is just $385 for members and $495 for non-members. Please register by Friday June 8, 2018 to guarantee your place.  SOLD OUT!

Attendees will earn 6.5 hours of continuing education credit.  CE certificates will be emailed to all participants following the event. 

Course handouts will be provided electronically. 


About the Presenters

Edward Swierz, SE is is the Principal and Office Head of the Chicago office of Integrity Structural Corporation of Houston, TX. He has been practicing for over 35 years and has a specialty in forensic engineering and has provided expert witness work and testimony.  In addition, he has taught a semester graduate level course in Forensic Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA.. 

It’s a Material World for a Forensic Engineer 

The presentation will cover how to look at a crack, listen to the material (e.g., the gusset plate of the ill-fated MN bridge was found prior to have buckling characteristics), how to look at fire damaged concrete, wood construction issues, masonry issues, petrography, etc.

Terry McDonald, SE, PE is an Associate Principal with Klein and Hoffman and manages the firm’s structural engineering group. Mr. McDonald has over 19 years of experience in the investigation, design, and analysis of building structures with emphasis on adaptive reuse and renovation of existing buildings. He holds a professional registration as structural engineer in Illinois and is licensed as a professional engineer in Illinois, Colorado, Michigan and New Jersey. Some of his recognized projects include work at Chicago Union Station, Wheaton Center Apartments, and Loyola University.

Centennial Park Recreational Complex Roof Collapse

Following a heavy rainfall in 2013, a large portion of the Wilmette Recreational complex collapsed. This presentation will discuss the findings, conclusions, and repair scope for the collapse and the measures taken to review the other similar conditions. Design and construction issues discovered during the investigation will be highlighted.


Peter R. Kolf, SE, PE is a Principal Structural Engineer with CTLGroup. He has 30 years’ experience in the evaluation and repair of existing structures. He is a member of the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI), where he serves on the Technical Activities Committee and ICRI Committees 210, Evaluation, and 320, Concrete Repair Materials and Methods. Kolf is a licensed structural and professional engineer in several states.

John Vincent, SE, PE  is a Principal Structural Engineer with CTLGroup and has been with the firm for over 30 years. He is in charge of projects involving analysis of strength and serviceability deficiencies in a variety of structures, and design of innovative repairs to enhance structural performance and long-term durability. John is a licensed structural engineer in the States of Illinois and Arizona, a professional structural engineer in the States of Alaska and Iowa, and a professional engineer in several states.

Durability in Precast Concrete Parking Structures
With proper design, component fabrication, erection, and maintenance, precast concrete parking structures can be durable. However, deficiencies in any or all of these aspects can diminish durability and require complicated and expensive repairs at a relatively early age. Various design, fabrication, and erection conditions will be presented that resulted in less-than-optimal performance of precast parking structures. Alternatives to these conditions will also be presented that would have provided improved long-term durability.

David Whitmore, P.Eng is President and Chief Innovation Officer for Vector Corrosion Technologies, a company which specializes in the repair and corrosion protection of reinforced concrete structures.
Dave is a registered Professional Engineer, a NACE Cathodic Protection Specialist and he serves on a number of repair, corrosion, sustainability and education committees for ACI, ICRI and NACE. He has been involved with the US Federal Highway Administration on the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) and SHRP 2 projects.

Corrosion:  Know Your Enemy

Corrosion is the leading cause of concrete deterioration and repair.  Corrosion mitigation can extend the service life of repairs and is key to preservation.  Understanding corrosion mechanics and kinetics allows the forensic engineer to develop and implement approaches to effectively mitigate corrosion.  This presentation uses the results of independent laboratory research and data from monitored concrete restoration projects in North America to illustrate effective and ineffective corrosion mitigation strategies.  The principles presented will allow the forensic engineer to understand why the approach was effective or not.

William Godfrey, PE, SE is currently a Senior Project Engineer with DeSimone Consulting Engineers, an international engineering and forensic consulting firm. Mr. Godfrey provides initial response, condition assessment, cause and origin determination, and repair/retrofit design services for buildings damaged by hurricanes, tornados, collapses, fires, building envelope failures, and other large losses as part of DeSimone’s Property Loss Consulting Group. Additionally, Mr. Godfrey has extensive experience providing force protection analysis, non-linear, dynamic modeling and analysis, and structural design for safety related nuclear structures. Mr. Godfrey earned Masters’ Degrees in both Architecture and Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a licensed professional engineer in several states and a licensed structural engineer in Illinois.

Case Study: Investigation of the Collapse of a Precast Façade Panel at an East Coast Resort

DeSimone responded to the collapse of a precast façade panel at an East Coast Resort in 2017, providing assistance to the building owner with emergency stabilization services, scope of damage assessment, cause and origin determination, repair design, and construction observation. In this presentation, the authors will present technical and logistical challenges experienced while operating inside an active resort including; notable aspects of the investigation process and results; unexpected discoveries which led to the design and installation of a second, fully redundant repair; technologies used during the investigation; and lessons learned that can be applied to the practice of both forensic and new design work in the future.

Benjamin Pavlich, SE is currently an Associate at Thornton Tomasetti, Inc., where he has been working since 2012. At Thornton Tomasetti he is a part of the Renewal practice sector, which focuses on projects involving existing structures. Recent projects that he has been involved with include the Wrigley Field bleacher and stadium renovations, the Rhodes State Office Tower façade renovations, and the 850 N Lakeshore adaptive reuse. Ben received his B.S./M.S. from Michigan State University, and has been practicing as a structural engineer in Chicago since 2007.

Rupert Price is currently a Senior Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti, Inc., where he has been working since 2015. Rupert graduated from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in June 2013 and has over four years professional experience in structural engineering design. Shortly after joining TT, he spent 15 months in Abu Dhabi where he took on a site support role on the construction of a large shopping mall project. Rupert relocated to Chicago in September of 2017 where he has transitioned to the Renewal, Forensics and Property Loss Consulting practice.

Recent Systemic Failures in the Design and Construction of Buildings

The seminar will present a variety of architectural and structural design and construction failures that have recently been the subject of forensic investigations and/or repair programs undertaken by the Chicago office of Thornton Tomasetti.  Included will be architectural details and processes that have resulted in a larger number of delay and cost overrun claims than have been experienced in years past.  Also included with be structural engineering design, process, and contractual flaws or failures that have contributed to forensic investigations, property loss damage, delay claims, or cost overruns of large scale and unique projects within the United States.

Otto C. Guedelhoefer, SE, F.ASCE, Otto (Chuck) Guedelhoefer is a Principal of Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc., a national engineering, architecture, and forensics consulting practice, with over 46 years of experience, specializing in structural forensics, field and laboratory testing, repair design, and litigation consulting.  He has directed hundreds of investigations and served as lead expert witness for numerous highprofile collapses and structural failures, design/construction defect cases, and complex building repair projects with multiple disputes involving a variety of complaints.  Notable projects include: Tropicana Casino Parking Garage Collapse, Atlantic City; Interstate 35 W Bridge Collapse, Minneapolis; and Cline Avenue Bridge Collapse Investigation, East Chicago. 

Chuck is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI), the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA), the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE), and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).  He regularly speaks at legal and design and construction industry conferences sharing his insights related to handling construction failure cases, remedial solutions to damages, and investigative approaches to construction litigation claims. 

William J. Macicak, SE, PE is a Senior Project Engineer at Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc., a national engineering, architecture, and forensics consulting practice, specializing in structural investigation and analysis of structures, materials, and construction components.  He has 16 years of experience managing complex field investigations and testing, repair design, and construction administration of repair programs on large-scale projects. With his extensive field investigative knowledge, he has assisted clients in dispute resolution cases developing and collecting forensic evidence to support expert technical evaluations of construction-and design-related issues. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and is member of the American Institute of Steel Construction and ASTM International.

Using Full Scale Tests to Prove What Really Happened in a Construction Collapse

This case study involves the investigation of a masonry collapse incident that resulted in a fatality.  During the resulting litigation, full scale load tests implemented by the presenters as part of their forensic evaluation were used to refute opinions stated by several other experts and OSHA investigators regarding the cause of the incident.  In this case, the use of carefully planned and executed full scale load testing provided powerful clarifying evidence that changed the prevailing opinion regarding causation.  The in-situ structural configuration at the time the incident occurred will be discussed along with the critical investigative findings from OSHA and other experts.  Details of the design and construction of the test configuration will be discussed, including forensic measurements necessary to replicate in-situ conditions for testing, and other specific detailing that helped assure the testing results were credible and unassailable.  

Jeffrey A. Travis, PE, SE has over 30 years of experience in structural engineering, with expertise in structural analysis and design, construction technology, large-scale collapse investigations, structural dynamics and blast analysis, construction failure analysis, and crane operations and safety practices. A majority of his work focuses on cause and origin investigations of building damage, building envelope performance, repair, and rehabilitation of structures, construction defect analysis, and construction disputes. Mr. Travis has designed and analyzed a myriad of different structure types, including single family residences, commercial low and medium rise buildings, heavy industrial structures used in the power and manufacturing industries, transmission towers, bridges, and parking structures. He is experienced in the use of wood, reinforced/precast/post-tensioned concrete, structural steel, and masonry in construction. Mr. Travis has acted as the Project Engineer for a variety of projects including the design and evaluation of post-tensioned, precast and cast-in-place concrete, steel framed, timber, and masonry structures. He has performed structural evaluations, developed plans, specifications, budgets and schedules, and provided construction administration.

The Crane Accident that Wasn’t!

A case study involving the lifting of a precast concrete bridge girder using a mobile crane and the events that led to a catastrophic failure of the girder while suspended from the crane.  



Jared E. Brewe, PhD, PE, SE is a Structural Engineer with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger in Chicago, IL.  He applies analytical knowledge to investigate existing structures, design repairs and strengthening for deficient and deteriorated structures, evaluate the effect of design and construction errors on structural performance, and determine cause of structural failures. He is a member of numerous ACI, ASCE/SEI, and PCI committees. Dr. Brewe earned his BS, MS, and PhD in Civil Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO. He is a licensed professional engineer in several states and a licensed structural engineer in Illinois.

Kevin Conroy, SE, PE  is a Senior project manager with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. and has 16 years of experience specializing in field investigations, evaluations, and the development and implementation of repair designs for deteriorated structures and building envelope components.  His investigations have involved visual surveys, existing condition documentation, water infiltration testing, material sampling, performing nondestructive testing and full-scale in situ load testing.  These projects have involved a range of material types, including cast-in-place, precast, and post-tensioned concrete, granite, marble, steel, and timber.  With his expertise in repair design, Mr. Conroy has led major projects involving structural rehabilitations, strengthening of existing systems, and repairs to existing building envelopes.  

Using New Materials without a Track Record

One of the ways our industry advances is through the use of innovative and new materials.  This presentation discusses two projects that incorporated new materials that laboratory study found to provide adequate material properties. Performance issues in each project brought the materials into question.  Each investigation concluded that there were failures, but the materials may not have been the primary issue, but did contribute to the issues.  The objective is to highlight the safeguards needed when implementing new materials and the diligence required to understand their impact on your project.

Jonah Kurth, PE, SE is a structural engineer with ten years of experience at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates. His area of practice routinely includes condition assessment, field investigation, rehabilitation design and construction period services, particularly for reinforced concrete structures. He also conducts materials evaluation and testing with a focus on concrete durability, corrosion, and service life modeling. Mr. Kurth’s project experience includes various types of large civil structures, high-rise buildings, parking garages, and bridges. 

A Rational Approach to add 50 years of life to a Marine Structure

Durability or Corrosion Protection Plans are becoming more common during the design phase of signature civil engineering works. For an expansion of a cargo terminal at a major Texas port, the Owner desired to have a rehabilitated structure where both new and existing elements are designed for an additional 50 years of service life. In order to accomplish this, the authors of this paper used the existing structure to calibrate the exposure for a service life model for both the new and rehabilitated concrete elements. As part of the design process, the impact of the following factors on durability of the new concrete elements were explored: types and amounts of supplementary cementitious materials (to provide low-permeability concrete mixtures); cement content and water-to-cementitious materials ratio; concrete cover; and types of corrosion-resistant reinforcement. Initial construction and overall life-cycle costs were evaluated to identify the combination of these factors with the greatest benefit for the project. For the existing structure, the field and laboratory studies were used to identify areas are likely to experience future corrosion-related distress over the desired service life so targeted cathodic protection systems could be installed.




Kevin Bergthold ( Chicago Transit Authority )
Tejasvee Prasad ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Adele Scampoli ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Neal Anderson ( Simpson Gumpertz & Heger )
John O. Lewis ( John O. Lewis and Company )
Perry Pinto ( DeSimone Consulting Engineers )
Paul Wiese ( Autumn Construction Services )
Andrew Hardyniec ( Exponent, Inc. )
Aphrodite Angelakos ( a1a Design Group Corporation )
Ken Karston ( K. ENG, LLC )
Brian Gavin ( BP )
Douglas Fiene ( Fiene Engineering, Ltd. )
Grant Halvorsen ( Halvorsen Engineering and Consulting )
Derek Skolnik ( Kinemetrics, Inc. )
George Tankersley ( Capital Development Board - State of IL )
Jeannette Pfeiffer ( K2N Crest )
Richard Weber ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
David Mangurten ( KMA & Assoc., Inc. Architects )
Loren Reimer ( Walker Consultants )
Edward Swierz ( Integrity Structural Illinois LLC )
Terrence McDonald ( Klein and Hoffman, Inc. )
David Whitmore ( Vector Corrosion Technologies )
William Godfrey ( DeSimone Consulting Engineers )
Benjamin Pavlich ( Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. )
O. Charles Guedelhoefer ( Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc. )
Jeffrey Travis ( Exponent, Inc. )
Jared Brewe ( Simpson Gumpertz & Heger )
Peter R. Kolf ( CTLGroup )
John Vincent ( CTL Group )
Rupert Price ( Thornton Tomasetti )
William Macicak ( Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc. )
Jonah Kurth ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Ryan Wagner ( American Structurepoint )
Mehul Shani ( SP Engineers Ltd. )
David Petlicki ( SP Engineers Ltd. )
Kim Dunphy ( Development Management Associates )
Clark Baurer ( Clark T. Baurer Structural Engineer )
Kathleen Hart ( Thornton Tomasetti )
Charles Gasser ( American Structurepoint )
Michael Faron ( Rimkus Consulting Group )
Stephen Kleps ( Rimkus Consulting Group )
Donald Stevens ( DONVEN Homes, Inc. )
George Krupa ( Lakeshore Engineering )
James Adams ( AECOM )
Patrick Reicher ( Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc. )
Kevin Conroy ( Simpson Gumpertz & Heger )
Seth Hoffman ( Brierley Associates )
Michael Wodarcyk ( Jensen Hughes )
Braden Schwarz ( JENSEN HUGHES )
Adam Lantvit ( Nederveld )
Richard Little ( R.W. Little & Associates/IMETCO, Inc. )
Harry Marshall ( Harry E. Marshall Ltd. )
Jason Krohn ( Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute )
Stephen Schmitt ( Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. )
Christopher Rockey ( Rockey Structures, LLC )
John Owen ( Owen Engineering LLC )
Michelle Ryland ( Klein & Hoffman )