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Complex, Electrical/Mechanical failure response and end-to-end engineering support

Haag Canada’s team of experts are always prepared to respond to complex incidents involving electrical and electronic systems and controls. Electrical and Electro-Mechanical equipment fails due to issues pertaining to maintenance, end of life, application, commissioning and in rare cases, manufacturing. Haag can analyze and establish the cause and nature of failure and provide comprehensive reporting to assist in the confident determination of responsibility.

In addition to forensic engineering services, our team provides end-to-end engineering support from design, supply chain management, professional inspection services (including Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT)) and project management through to commissioning, site supervision and startup. We have expertise in a wide array of sectors including: Mining & Metals, Oil & Gas, Pulp & Paper, Power Generation, Transmission & Distribution, Renewable Energy, Automotive, Electric Vehicle (EV) Platforms, Food, Medical, Manufacturing, Industrial, Commercial and Residential.

While the Electrical group supports all of Haag Canada’s five core services, the following outlines specific capabilities across a wide range of technologies, including:

Power Generation, Transmission, Distribution


Electronics


Rotating Equipment


Digital control systems


Materials

Power Generation, transmission, distribution

Modern day power generation encompasses multiple energy sources, from conventional to renewables with AC, HVDC and UHV Transmission, and computerized distribution. The recent integration of alternative energy sources increases the potential of failures and critical power supply loss. This is due to new technology, requirements for on demand back-up power and the complexity of grid synchronization. The failure of these systems can impact owners, occupants, operations and production. Typical systems include:

  • Transformers
  • Switchgear, circuit breakers, contactors
  • Substations
  • Distribution systems
  • Utility systems
  • Transmission lines and infrastructure
  • Grid synchronization
  • Generators (AC/DC/Induction/Synchronous/PMG/Specialized)
  • Generators (Gas/Steam/Diesel/Wind/Tidal)
  • Generator controllers, AVR
  • Solar PV
  • Battery systems, UPS and storage
  • Renewables integration

Electronics

Today’s technology is primarily focused on achieving optimum efficiency, speed and control integrated into consistently smaller dimensions. Coupled with the requirement of complete system synchronization, this is raising the the failure incidence rate and dramatically increasing the associated hardware and software replacement costs. Another area of increasing risk is electronic variable frequency drives (VFD) and controls. These highly complex systems require a team of multi-disciplinary experts to identify the root cause(s), and in some cases, access to Haag’s network of hyperspecialized experts. Typical systems include:

  • ASD/VFD motor speed controllers
  • Soft starter motor controllers
  • Control panels / PLC
  • Instrumentation and protection
  • Automotive, EV and heavy equipment (industrial, commercial, non-commercial)
  • Renewable energy systems (solar, wind, tidal)
  • Battery charging and controllers
  • Lighting and controls
  • Circuit boards and components
  • Security and supervision
  • Industrial / Commercial / Residential (low, medium, high voltage)

Rotating Equipment

Electric Rotating Equipment is one of the most critical components of any facility, from driving main operation processes to feeding power to the entire facility. As motors, generators and controls are manufactured to increasingly higher efficiencies, the stricter harmonics, specifications and reduced physical dimensions increase the risk of failure. Material analysis and expertise plays a critical role in the evaluation process. Haag engineers have the skills and multi-discipline experience required to confidently handle complex failures. Typical equipment includes:

  • Motors/Machines (AC/DC/Synchronous/WRIM/SR/Specialized)
  • ASD/VFD motor speed controllers and drives
  • Starting and control systems
  • Filtering and network synchronization

Digital Control Systems

Digital control systems are found in all industries. Software, digital hardware and instrumentation and controls have a limited practical lifespan and necessary support, which creates a further risk of failures. Typical systems include:

  • Cybersecurity (data, computer, facility, substation)
  • PLCs, controls, instrumentation and protection
  • Distributed control systems (DCS)
  • Emergency shutdown system) (ESD)

MATERIALS

Material failures are a common issue throughout all electrical and electro-mechanical equipment and systems. With remarkable advancements in material science testing the laws of physics, there is a wider potential for failure. Typical materials include:

  • Metals
  • Concrete
  • Plastic polymers
  • Crystal – Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Biomaterials / Nano Technologies
  • Insulators and coatings

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COMPLETING INVESTIGATIONS OF COMPLEX MECHANICAL FAILURES REGARDLESS OF SITUATION OR SCALE

Today’s mechanical equipment is increasingly complex. When critical failures arise, they not only have the potential to create massive disruptions and serious injuries, but they frequently include severe economic repercussions. Mechanical equipment fails as a result of issues pertaining to maintenance, end of life, application, commissioning and, in rare cases, manufacturing. Issues may also include an error in the design or implementation of a mechanical technology, which leads to substandard or a complete lack of performance.

Haag Canada has assembled a highly skilled team of experts to conduct investigations into complex mechanical equipment and system failures, from identifying cause to determining remediation and loss mitigation. Whether the focus is to identify and investigate a single contributing factor of a failure or all contributing factors, our experts undertake a comprehensive examination of circumstances and provide a meticulous assessment to help clients confidently determine next steps.

Applicable industries include, but are not limited to buildings, manufacturing, food processing, power generation, district energy systems, mining, oil and gas.

While the Mechanical group supports all of Haag Canada’s five core services, the following outlines specific capabilities across a wide range of technologies, including:

Central utilities


Building Systems


Rotating Equipment/Machinery/Heavy Equipment


Materials

Central Utilities

Central utility plants are the heart of most large buildings and building complexes, providing energy, steam and conditioned air. Failure of these systems has significant impacts on owners, occupants and operations. Typical systems include:  

  • Steam boilers and pressure vessels
  • Chillers and refrigeration
  • Piping and distribution
  • Condensate recovery equipment
  • Heat exchangers

Building Systems

Building mechanical systems ensure the comfort and safety of occupants. Failures can lead to excessive noise, mould, mildew, and a range of air quality issues, or more serious outcomes such as fires and floods. Typical building systems include:

  • Air handling
  • Hydronic heating and cooling
  • Domestic water and plumbing
  • Sanitary
  • Fire protection
  • Elevators
  • Specialty HVAC (laboratories, clean rooms, isolation suites, operating rooms)

Rotating Equipment / Machinery / Heavy Equipment

As advancements in the industry have enhanced efficiency and automation, mechanical equipment has become more sophisticated, leading to more costly failures. These areas break down into three main categories:

  • Rotating Equipment
    1. Turbines
    2. Compressors
    3. Pumps
    4. Fans
    5. Motors
  • Machinery
    1. Manufacturing
    2. Process
  • Heavy Equipment
    1. Cranes and aerial lifts
    2. Forestry
    3. Mining and tunnel boring
    4. Earth moving

Materials

Material failures are ubiquitous throughout mechanical equipment and systems. With remarkable innovations in material science there is a greater potential for failure. Typical materials include:

  • Metals
  • Concrete
  • Plastic polymers
  • Crystal /Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Biomaterials / Nano Technologies
  • Insulators and coatings
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IDENTIFYING ROOT CAUSE OF STRUCTURAL HEALTH & SAFETY RISKS TO GUIDE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE REMEDIATION

Every building loss or remediation is subject to Environmental Health and Safety considerations. The Haag Canada Environmental Health and Safety group protects its contracting and insurance clients from liability by offering operational guidance on adhering to applicable federal and provincial regulations, guidelines and industry standards surrounding hazardous materials and designated substances. This guidance is a crucial preventative measure that safeguards owners, occupants, workers, and the general public.

We have expertise across a wide array of sectors including: Institutional, Manufacturing, Industrial, Commercial and Residential. Claims often require demolition, rebuilding, and modifications of buildings. Insurance companies and claims professionals typically take on the task of initiating and managing the related contractor restoration and reconstruction activities. In so doing, they may assume the equivalent role of the “owner” or “constructor”. Within that role, there are a number of regulatory compliance requirements and responsibilities of which insurance and claims professionals must be aware. Failure to undertake the necessary assessment and surveys of hazardous materials (such as asbestos), can result in increased risk, liability and penalties. It is important to understand that there is no exclusion date with respect to regulations that apply to hazardous materials in building materials. Even newer construction buildings are subject to the requirements.

While the Environmental Health and Safety group supports all of Haag Canada’s five core services, the following outlines specific capabilities and specialized services relating to hazardous materials and designated substances:

Identification of environmental hazards


Root cause of environmental hazards determination


Scope of remediation


Project management


Education


Management of hazardous materials and designated substances

Identification of Environmental Hazards

Regulations require that a list of all “designated substances” at a project site be provided to all bidders at the tendering stage. The “Constructor” shall ensure that each prospective contractor and subcontractor for the project has received a copy of the list before entering into a contract.  If the testing and documentation is not in order, a project is at increased risk for additional costs due to delays, unplanned work and the liability associated with exposure.  Typical investigations include:

  • Site inspections and testing
  • Determination of loss-specific contamination and impacted area
  • Sampling and laboratory analyses
  • Documentation and reporting

Root Cause of Environmental Hazards Determination

Our experts establish the root cause of a potential concern before determining the need for remediation in built environments.  The presence of hazardous materials and designated substances may not require remediation or management, so it’s important to seek expert counsel to avoid the prospect of incurring costs. Often, the presence of mould, for example, is related to water infiltration, lack of ventilation and/or HVAC distribution issues. Until the root cause is determined, and any identified issues rectified, mould growth will be a recurring concern even after remedial actions are undertaken.

Scope of Remediation

Once the root cause of a potential concern is identified, the scope of work is developed to ensure an optimal remediation process. The implementation of formalized procedures ensures compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.  It also confirms that all reasonable steps are taken to minimize potential exposures to contaminants for building occupants, contractors and others who are at risk.

Typical remedial services include:

  • Evaluation of contamination and level of risk
  • Development of scopes of work for remediation

Project Management

Given the intricacies of traditional and contemporary structures that show contamination, remedial activities can often be multidisciplinary and involve an array of stakeholders. During remediation, Haag experts provide the necessary inspections and oversight. Typical project management elements include:

  • Contract and tendering administration
  • Site inspections and air monitoring during remedial operations
  • Oversight of remedial activities
  • Post-remedial air sampling (mould, asbestos, VOCs)
  • Regulatory documentation and reporting

Education

As evolving regulations and standards vary by region, it is imperative that those managing hazardous substances and materials be up-to-date with the latest education requirements and protocols. Haag Canada experts can lead informational seminars to educate team members on the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) regulatory requirements, protocols and procedures associated with building contamination. Typical courses include:

  • Asbestos management
  • Designated substances and hazardous materials
  • Respiratory protection and fit testing

Designated Substances

Section 30 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) deals with the presence of designated substances on construction projects. Compliance with the OHSA and its regulations requires action to be taken where there is a designated substance hazard on a construction project. Of the 11 substances “designated” in Ontario to date, asbestos, lead, silica and mercury are the most likely to be present in a building that could represent a potential exposure concern during any construction activity. 

Haag Canada experts are familiar with managing all designated substances, which typically includes:

  • Acrylonitrile
  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Coke oven emissions
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Isocyanates
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Silica
  • Vinyl Chloride

Hazardous Materials

The OHSA sets out, in very general terms, the duties of employers and others to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. Various regulatory requirements and health guidance documents related to handling/disposal also apply to controlling exposure to mould, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Regulations and guidelines are often open to interpretation and can result is potential risk of exposure, however the implementation of industry standards and best practices are essential for protecting building occupants and contractors. Haag experts can manage the complete list of hazardous materials that may be found during an investigation. Substances include:

  • Mould
  • Ozone depleting substances (ODS) and other halocarbons
  • Radioactive sources
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Urea Foam Formaldehyde Insulation (UFFI)
  • Man-Made Mineral Fibres (MMMF)
  • Bird and bat dropping
  • Mouse droppings
  • Racoon feces

The investigations Haag undertakes typically factor in the assessment of asbestos, lead, mercury, silica, mould, PCBs and ODS’ that may be affected by the proposed work.

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SYSTEMATICALLY AND OBJECTIVELY DETERMINING CAUSE OF A CIVIL/STRUCTURAL LOSS

Construction methods, materials and building information management are evolving technologically at a rapid pace, and present a wider variety of failure types than ever before. To investigate and determine the cause of a civil/structural loss, expertise with past and present construction methods is required. This not only covers deep and varied knowledge regarding life expectancy, durability and environmental reactivity of traditional and contemporary construction materials, but also the failure mechanisms of buildings, structural systems and their components. The Haag Canada team has the in-depth experience and capacity for incisive analytical assessments to provide the clarity of findings and certainty of recommendations that clients need when it comes to insurance investigations and/or legal disputes.

Our projects often involve interdisciplinary cooperation with Haag’s quantification and appraisal experts and span the following fields: geotechnical, mining, infrastructure, materials, environmental, health and safety, architectural, electrical, mechanical, equipment and risk management.

While the Civil/Structural group supports all of Haag Canada’s five core services the following outlines specific capabilities, along with a list of types of analysis and structures/materials with which our experts have experience.

Assessment of structural damage


Causation of failure or underperformance


Remediation and loss mitigation


Types of analysis


Types of structures and materials

Assessment of Structural Damage

Following a natural, accidental, or deliberate event, our initial assessment involves determining the extent of structural damage and adequacy of the remaining structure. Typical events include:

  • Fire and/or explosion
  • Climatic (wind, snow, ice, flooding, earthquake, lightning, hail)
  • Flood / storm surge / wave action
  • Live loads (weight of people, equipment, stored materials)
  • Impact (tree, vehicle, equipment)
  • Soil settlement / failure
  • Vibration (construction, blasting, equipment)

Causation of Failure or Underperformance

Haag Canada conducts engineering investigation of buildings, structural systems and/or their components, which failed or did not perform as intended.  Typical causes of failure include deficient design, construction, manufacture, maintenance and operation.  Losses include:

  • Collapse or failure of buildings, structural systems, and/or their components
  • Building envelope failures
  • Material failures
  • Equipment failures
  • Personal injuries

Remediation and Loss Mitigation

Following a structural damage or failure, it is critical to undertake measures to minimize risks to health and safety, further property loss and business interruption. Our involvement at this stage may include the assessment of structural adequacy to assist in ensuring the safety of first responders.  To protect all parties involved, we produce a scope of measures to minimize risk of additional structural damage, which allows for the safe investigation and/or removal of contents while protecting the remaining structure and equipment. Following our assessment, we can  prepare a scope of remediation to assess the prospective cost as well as for building permit purposes. Typical services include:

  • Assessment of unsafe buildings
  • Scope of temporary measures for immediate structural securing
  • Preparation of demolition plans
  • Preparation of engineering drawings and specifications for remediation
  • General field review during construction
  • Preparation of engineering reports

Types of Analysis

Our involvement with civil/structural matters through various types and stages of losses includes the utilization of specific technical knowledge and skills to reach clear conclusions and recommend practical solutions. Examples of our continuously expanding list of technical analyses includes:

  • Structural analysis and design
  • 3D finite element analysis (FEA)
  • 3D building information modeling (BIM)
  • Fatigue and failure analysis
  • Progressive collapse analysis
  • Blast-resistant structural design
  • Structural integrity evaluation
  • Building envelope assessment (facade and roof)
  • Building code review
  • Cost analysis

Types of Structures and Materials

Our technical knowledge and experience extends across various types of structures, including:

  • Residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, and farm buildings
  • Nuclear facilities
  • Transportation
  • Subsurface utilities
  • Water resources
  • Turbine foundations
  • Retaining walls
  • Tanks and silos
  • Cranes
  • Racking systems
  • Ladders and scaffolds
  • Rigging
  • Signs
  • Temporary structures

Haag Canada experts also have extensive experience with a range of materials, including:

  • Steel
  • Concrete
  • Masonry (stone, concrete block, clay and concrete brick)
  • Wood
  • Aluminum
  • Glass
  • Polymers
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Integrated Forensic Engineering AND Construction Claims Backed by integrity

CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS SERVICES

Haag Canada consolidates traditional construction claims and forensic engineering subject matter experts to provide independent counsel on claims covering all industry sectors. The consolidation of quantum, scheduling, forensic engineering and risk management strongly positions Haag to provide streamlined, unbiased service to insurance and legal clients, as well as owners, developers and contractors.

Applicable construction sectors include, but are not limited to:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Heavy civil
  • Industrial
  • Environmental
  • Energy
  • Mining

While the Construction Claims group supports all of Haag Canada’s five core services, the following outlines specific capabilities across a wide range of claims services, including:

FORMAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION


Forensic engineering


Claims Mitigation, Planning & Preparation


Risk Management & Mitigation

Formal Dispute Resolution

New forms of dispute resolution – and more specifically, adjudication – are being widely adopted across the country to improve the flow of payment and alleviate demands on the court system. Our experts have worked extensively in global markets where adjudication has been practiced for over 20 years, which strongly qualifies Haag to advise during proceedings. Our experts help clients to navigate and simplify these instances when disputes seem intractable by clearly identifying the facts. Working collaboratively with your team, we provide valuable resources and expertise to guide you towards an economic and equitable resolution. Dispute capabilities include:

  • Expert witness testimony and reports (preparation & rebuttal)
  • Alternative dispute resolution
    1. Arbitration
    2. Adjudication
    3. Mediation
    4. Litigation

Forensic Engineering

If confronting the impacts of a catastrophic loss, structural collapse, construction defect, engineering failure or construction accident, our highly qualified engineers will effectively identify the steps required for an in-depth forensic investigation. We isolate the root cause(s), quantify loss and specify remediation. Investigations typically include:

  • Assessment of cause(s) and extent of loss
  • Engineering report and drawing preparation
  • Subrogation investigation
  • Scope of loss remediation and quantification

Claims Mitigation, Planning & Preparation

Whether seeking to avoid, defend or prepare a claim, our experts are ready to assist. With a deep understanding of all claim types, we offer an impartial perspective and a clear path forward so clients may achieve an optimal outcome. Our services encompass:

  • Delay Claim Preparation & Defense
    1. Disruption
    2. Acceleration
    3. Prolongation
    4. Lost productivity
  • Quantum Assessment
    1. Liquidated damages
    2. Defect liability
    3. Loss evaluation
    4. Remediation claims
  • Change Management
    1. Impact of change, cost entitlement, impact analysis
  • Business Interruption Assessment
    1. Economic loss
    2. Establishing recovery costs
    3. Force-majeure support
    4. Duress assessments
  • Adjudication and prompt payment support
  • Scheduling
    1. Recovery & acceleration programs
    2. Progress updates
    3. As-built updates
    4. Project closeout / as-built programs
    5. Extension of Time Submissions

Risk management & mitigation

Every project carries risks and opportunities. Those risks can never be fully eliminated. Common sources of risk resulting in a claim, particularly amid the pandemic, are fluctuating material costs, supply chain disruption and productivity losses. Anticipating these risks enables management strategies to be implemented to minimize negative impacts to the project. Haag’s experts can complete a gap analysis to identify areas of potential risk and recommend strategies to enable our clients to effectively manage risk and ensure optimal project performance. Risk management services include:

  • Third-party project oversight
  • Ongoing progress reports on time, cost and status of insured/uninsured works
  • Critical path analysis
  • Reoccurring schedule reviews
  • Claim strategy counsel
  • Negotiation documents (preparation and rebuttal)
  • Correspondence preparation
  • Reinstatement support
  • Schedule recovery

Covid-19 impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the industry, which continues to reverberate. Issues such as free movement of labour between provinces and territories, sourcing materials domestically or overseas, and enhanced on-site safety measures, to name a few, can cause added cost, delay and disruption to a project and result in a claim. Common impacts include:

  • Loss of productivity
  • Project disruption