Why do I still write and you still read – 10 years and 276 blogs later?

Why? Because I like to write, to compose something that didn’t exist before, like an essay – a blog. It feels good. Also because 10 years and 276 blogs is a respectable length of time and effort and it’s nice to keep it going.

I’ve learned that you like to read them too, if testimonials are any indication: A senior lawyer in Atlantic Canada said, “I love that stuff..!!”.  Another senior legal chap on the east coast commented, “…like reading them.”  And an insurance claim consultant said, “I read every one”.  It’s hard to beat comments like that.

I like to write at the interface between my field of study and others. I enjoy describing “…the nature and methods of forensic engineering and expert services” so you will understand.

It’s important that you understand because the dispute resolution process requires that you know something about the expert services that you retain and rely on. (Ref. 1) Same as I must know something about the process that I’m assisting as an expert. And, if I dare ‘fess up, I learn when I blog because I must research some topics, at least a little.

The title for this blog came to mind when I leafed through Ogilvy’s ancient text – 1963 -, “Confessions of an Advertising Man”. (Ref. 2) It’s all about stopping the reader in his tracks, getting him in off the sidewalk, and talking to him in plain English about a product – in this case, forensic work. A good read, still cited decades later regardless of what you write.

Then, as far as the actual blog is concerned I must never forget – like I do sometimes – to write in jargon-free English using short words, sentences and paragraphs. (Refs 3 and 4)

The fact that I like to write came to mind a few years ago. My daughters got after me to write a memoir about living and working around the world for seven years – in some interesting places and on some challenging engineering jobs.

One, the investigation and fixing of a railway embankment that failed in northern Australia, up near Thursday Island. I got to the site each day in a boat circled by crocodiles as we made our way across the estuary of a river.

Believe it or not some topics in forensic work are almost as exciting to write about as a crocodile that would like to eat you. I also want you to know about forensic work.

There are more reasons in the Appendix.


  1. The Advocates Society, Toronto, Ontario, Principles governing communicating with testifying experts, June, 2014
  2. Ogilvy, David, Confessions of an Advertising Man, MacMillan Publishing, New York, 1963, 1987
  3. Zinsser, William, On Writing Well, The Classic Guide to Writing Non- Fiction 7th ed., Harper Collins, New York 2007
  4. Mangraviti, James J., Babitsky, Steven and Donovan, Nadine Nasser, How to Write an Expert Witness Report, 2nd ed., 560 pages, SEAK, Inc., Falmouth, MA 2014


  1. Why am I feeling good about blogging these days? Posted February 26, 2021
  2. Why do I blog? One reason: A blog is often like a mini expert report in story form. Posted August 15, 2019. Quite a good read.
  3. Why do I blog? – See a few good, perhaps one or two surprising reasons in the following. Posted July 13, 2018
  4. Why do I blog? Posted June 30, 2017
  5. Why do I blog on forensic engineering investigation? Posted July 22, 2016
  6. Why do I blog on forensic engineering? Posted August 7, 2014

(Posted by Eric E. Jorden, M.Sc., P.Eng. Consulting Professional Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Geotechnology Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada June 30, 2022 ejorden@eastlink.ca)   

How to prevent claims and disputes – EPIC webinar

I’ve mentioned before that there are civil litigation and insurance claims waiting to happen in the built environment. We engineers see the potential often enough. (Ref. 1) Others do as well as evident by EPIC planning a webinar that will identify the signs and symptoms. Many of these occur during the project management stage. (Ref. 2)

EPIC (Educational Program Innovation Centre) is a company in Mississauga, Ontario that provides training and courses for engineers and technical professionals.

Many of their courses are well suited and easily understood by non-technical folk. For example, this one coming up on the warning signs of potential claims and disputes. It will be presented as a seminar on the web July 19 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Atlantic.

I was quite enthused when I saw the content as described by EPIC. It recognizes the value to those who cause the problems and those who are hurt by them. EPIC describe the course this way:

After attending this webinar, you will:

  • Learn about a large number of early warning signs of claims and disputes.
  • Learn what types of claims and disputes can arise from each warning sign.
  • Understand what must be done to prevent such follow on claims and avoid disputes.

Webinar description:

It is axiomatic that claims and disputes on a project do not simply appear out of nowhere. Experience indicates that when a dispute occurs, there is normally a back story or history of events, decisions, lack of decisions, etc. that can be traced back from a few weeks to several years that gave rise to the dispute. It is typically these past events or decisions that are identified as the “early warning signs” of claims and disputes.

Typically, it is only when claims are filed at the end of a project that attorneys and claims consultants review project documentation and interview the project team that these early warning signs are identified. And, in retrospect, many project team members comment “If only I had recognized that then!”

Research reveals there is little literature setting forth a detailed list of early warning signs of pending construction claims and disputes. Based on the collective observations of numerous construction claims consultants the Ankura Construction Forum collated these early warning signs into the typical phases of a project including:

  • Bid or Proposal Phase
  • Initial Contract Phase
  • Construction Phase

This webinar also identifies which party should watch for which early warning sign and what sort of claim or dispute may arise. 

This is a comprehensive seminar and worth attending. If there’s a hiccup in what EPIC is planning, it may be the omission of the design phase in project management, as in:

  • Design Phase
  • Bid or Proposal Phase
  • Initial Contract Phase
  • Construction Phase

Based on what I’ve seen over the years in my forensic engineering practice there’s no question that claims and disputes can arise out of the design phase in project management. Possibly witness the bridge failure in Saskatchewan hours after it was opened to the public. (Ref. 3) Fingers are pointing at the design engineer but, rightly so, the jury is still out.

It does seem as though the engineer was involved in all phases of the project – Design, Bid, Contract and Construction. I’m certain that EPIC’s webinar will throw light on what happened in Saskatchewan, as well as the signs and symptoms of claims and disputes on all projects.


  1. A reminder that failure and accidents are predictable even if the culprit is climate change. Posted May 11, 2022
  2. How is a forensic investigation different from a project? Posted April 30, 2022
  3. Did vested interests lead to bridge failure and trouble for the design engineer? Posted May 25, 2022

(Posted by Eric E. Jorden, M.Sc., P.Eng. Consulting Professional Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Geotechnology Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, June 23, 2022. ejorden@eastlink.ca

Civil litigation and insurance claims waiting to happen?

I was annoyed at the back up in traffic on the approach to Fall River, Nova Scotia the last few days – at least till last Sunday when I was coming back to Halifax. It was kilometres long and took a good 3/4 hour to get past a highway construction site.

I was coming back to town after an engineering class reunion at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. The back up was there on my way out of town the previous Thursday – four days earlier.

This kind of back up was not necessary, and it was dangerous too. It was caused by the heavy, bumper to bumper traffic in the two inbound lanes reduced to one at the construction site. The two outbound lanes were light of traffic in the extreme.

I don’t know why one of the heavy traffic lanes wasn’t directed across a temporary gravel road across the medium to one of the light, outbound traffic lanes. It’s simple engineering and been done before in Nova Scotia. Also, why wasn’t some of the heavy traffic directed onto the old road into town at one of the exits up the road? It too has been done before.

Dangerous as well like I said. The 4×4 Yahoos had no trouble dropping down onto the gravel shoulder and tearing up to an exit well before they should. Increasing the dangerous situation even more. Then there was the gravel dust kicked up by the Yahoos that the rest of us had to breathe.

I’m sure this avoidable traffic jam was an element in any later accidents in the area in the days or weeks that the avoidable jam was there. Also the cause of coughing and difficult breathing for some drivers and passengers.

There are civil litigation and insurance claims waiting to happen in the built environment – just ask an engineer – and they were there for a time at Fall River.

(Posted by Eric E. Jorden, M.Sc., P.Eng. Consulting Professional Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Geotechnology Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, June 10, 2022. ejorden@eastlink.ca)