From the beginning, people associated the term “Forensics” with the court of law. However, over time it has become linked to Forensic Engineering and Forensic Science. The word forensics comes from the Latin word forensis, which means “of or before a forum.” It comes from Roman times when a criminal charge meant the accused and accuser would give speeches before a public assembly.

Forensic Science endeavours to uncover the truth using impartial expert analysis. This helps with discovering the facts through the available evidence. The contracted expert would provide their professional opinion about the probability. This shows that a specific item or action had contributed to the cause of the incident through the analyses of the evidence.


At Orata, we support our clients throughout all the stages of their Forensic Investigations. Including technically based challenges in any fire-related incident. Having many Engineering disciplines under one roof allows us to deliver timely, accurate, full scope services. 

Our expertise spans Building Science, Fire Science, Structural, Electronics and Electrical Engineering. Our multi-disciplinary team of experts prioritize ongoing training, to stay on the cutting edge of the Forensic Science industry and their associated disciplines. Working with experienced Forensic Engineers provides clients with thorough, reliable, and unbiased answers. 

Types of Forensic Engineers

Forensics combines science, engineering, and the legal system together. There are different kinds of forensic engineers, some being more beneficial than others.
  • Choosing a Design/Management Engineer for a Forensic Investigation can be helpful. When failure has occurred within the engineers wheelhouse they can provide quick insight. Knowing the standard industry practices and anomalies they’ve seen requires very little research. However this can sometimes result in missing data that can have a negative effect on a case.

  • Hiring a full-time Forensic Engineer, employs a systematic approach to every forensic investigation. This is regardless of the suspected cause of the incident or not. These boundaries are set out through training and experience. Most Forensic Engineering Experts prefer to manage forensic investigations from start to finish. Ensuring all data collected can be used as supporting materials if the need arises. Understanding these needs makes it easy on the insurance and legal industries. Sometimes our Forensic Engineers serve as expert witnesses in a court of law. Making a firm like Orata not only timely and accurate but cost-efficient too!

Why use a


Engineering expert?

Every engineer should have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of their discipline. This is the main purpose of our training and the essence of our professional role. So we can provide competency and proficiency in our field of study. When a professional engineer stamps the design they become legally responsible for that design. In some cases, their estate can be held liable, even after the engineer’s death! It’s is for this reason, engineers stay knowledgeable in their areas of practice.
Making mistakes puts public safety at risk. Attracting revocation of your practice permit and potential criminal charges. This has created a culture of diligence and a keen awareness of the legal system for smart engineers.
Some of the best engineers we know use the motto; “prepare all your records for court.” This is no doubt the smartest move anyone can make. Even great engineers often end up in court, at least once in their career. There may be a need to defend a design at some point, regardless of whether it had contributed to an incident or not.

Work with a Forensic Engineering Expert

We can help empower your team by relating to past and on-going cases. Contact the Forensic Engineering Department by phone or, email or simply submit an assignment.

More on Oratas Forensic Investigation Services below:


We help insurance adjusters, commercial clients and homeowners feel empowered. Our commitment to the details reflect in our research and analysis deliverables. Our expertise spans a wide range of areas within building science. Including failure analysis of the building envelope, energy modelling, design, and more. 

Orata also has the capabilities to investigate and analyze geotechnical examinations. Rest assured you’ll receive accurate answers on your building envelope investigation.

Fire Investigations, Origin & Cause

Orata’s forensic engineers have performed hundreds of Fire Investigations throughout Canada and US. Including vehicle and heavy equipment fires. Our fire science team also has combined experience in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. This provides clients with a reliable forensic investigations so they can get to the bottom of any fire related incident.

These well-rounded career backgrounds involve scientific research, analysis, design, construction, manufacturing, commissioning, quality control, assurance, and more.

We help clients by matching the rates of non-engineering fire investigation companies. Our experts offer an additional benefit of sole sourcing in special cases. Should the file expand into a multi-disciplinary engineering investigation, we can leverage this.

Electrical & Electronic Failure Analysis

Orata’s electrical and electronic experts provide a full spectrum of investigative services for all types of incidents. We deliver, regardless of how broad the scope of the event may be. 

Our Electrical Investigations spans a wide range of areas. Such as, generation stations, transformers, motors (heavy equipment and vehicle fires,) switchgear, instrumentation and controls, data storage, Li-ion batteries, appliances, computers, tablets, and more. 

Over time, Orata has emerged as the leading forensic engineering firm in Calgary, Alberta and around Western Canada.

Structural Engineering & Inspection & Design

Orata not only provides structural design for new builds. We also conduct failure analysis and structural review on existing buildings. Servicing both commercial and residential projects.

Referencing the National Building Code, we assess the structural integrity of the damages.

Metallurgical & Materials

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering are a complementary science for Forensic Investigation.

This significant asset pursues the smallest level of micro-analysis. Including stereo microscopes, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (EDS). As well as analysis of fracture surfaces, bearing failures, among others.

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For more information on Choosing the Right Forensic Engineer stay tuned for our next post. 

We’ll go into detail about selecting the best Forensic Engineering experts for specific investigations.