ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Architectural Expert Witness

Updated on June 27, 2016
An obvious expert. by rlz
An obvious expert. by rlz

In today’s society, there is a growing need for Architectural Expert Witnesses. What are they? And how do they serve the courts and the public? Come along, as this architect and expert witness provides some answers.

No one today would doubt the speed at which the complexity and sophistication of society are increasing. Each day brings ever more complex issues to the fore, leading to protracted discussion and debate among the global citizenry, and forcing all of us to continually learn more about our complicated world, simply to cope and survive.

It is no different in the fields of design, architecture and construction. There we grapple with concerns — such as asbestos, handicapped accessibility, mold generation, recyclability, off-gassing of toxic compounds, and earthquake resistance, to name but a few — that were likely unknown or unconsidered by generations past. And, as such concerns are raised, so too are questions of their impact on humans, and whether anyone should be legally or morally held accountable for any such impact.

In reaction, the development of industry standards, ‘best practices’ and regulations governing design and construction has continually increased. Architects are required to earn, hold and maintain licenses to practice — licenses that certify their qualification to perform adequately in today’s milieu. Contractors must quite often be often licensed by local authorities, to insure minimum skills and knowledge. At the Federal, state and local levels, building codes and ordinances proliferate, to properly protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. Industry organizations establish standards of care, performance and quality to meet evolving societal needs. And the legal machinery of the nation — including courts, counsel and case law — processes each matter, seeking equity and justice under the law. But, in matters potentially so broad, so varied, and so sophisticated in nuance and complexity, the courts must be assisted by experts able to parse the fine details. This is where architectural expert witnesses can assist.

Much like a coroner or a ballistics expert or a forensic accountant, an architectural expert witness serves the court and the case by providing expert opinions and testimony on very specific and detailed items of architectural or construction import. Whether the item in question is the slipperiness of a surface, the height of a guardrail, the adequacy of a certain level of illumination or the wording of a construction contract, an architectural expert witness can often shed strong light on otherwise gray areas. He can often guide the court through the thicket of architectural and construction minutiae.

Typically, an architectural expert witness is enlisted by one or more parties to a legal claim that develops from some perceived lapse in design, architecture or construction. Perhaps a bereaved family is suing over a construction-site death during a structural collapse. An elderly patron may be suing a restaurant over injuries sustained on a questionable ramp or staircase. A real estate developer may claim architectural negligence or malpractice over perceived errors and omissions in design documents for a mixed-use project. Homeowners may file a class action over mold generation. In each such instance, either the complaining party or the defending party, or both (or, quite often, even third or fourth parties), may enlist their own architectural expert witness to interpret the intricacies and subtleties of the matter at hand. Some cases turn on the duel of competing expert witnesses.

Since the findings and opinions of architectural expert witnesses can greatly affect the progress of a case, and may become crucial to its eventual outcome, those expert witnesses must first be recognized by the court of jurisdiction as having sufficient qualifications — of, in fact, being experts in their field(s). Those qualifications typically include suitable education, training, licensure, and pertinent experience. It is also most helpful if the architectural expert witness has some degree of experience with the specific issues central to the case.

Beyond any particular findings or opinions he or she might formulate, an architectural expert witness can also provide valuable assistance to counsel. Such matters as the development of case strategy, areas of potential research and discovery, pertinence of specific codes or ordinances, and the deposition of those involved in the case can often be enriched and improved via the input of an architectural expert witness.

The findings and opinions of architectural expert witnesses become part of the case documentation and progress. They provide fodder for the debate and argument of counsel, and become part of the trial record, and perhaps evolving case law as well. The job of the architectural expert witness is — simply put — to research, understand, analyze, translate and communicate matters of design, architecture and construction, in the interests of equity, justice and societal good.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)