Insurance Investigations


Since 1972, Cowie Engineering has provided the following services to the insurance industry:

  1. Investigating and reporting.
  2. Documenting existing damage and when necessary preparing restoration design drawings and specifications for tendering to obtain competitive cost of repairs.
  3. Litigation Support:
    1. Expert reports.
    2. Providing evidence for mediations, arbitrations, discoveries, and trials.

James W. Cowie, M. Eng., P. Eng., has been qualified as an expert witness on numerous court cases. Mr. Cowie has provided expert opinion evidence in NS, PEI, Newfoundland, NB and Ontario.

Types of Property Damage Claims Investigated by Cowie Engineering:

1. Building Collapses (during construction or after construction)

  • Wind
  • Snow
  • Explosion
  • Impact

2. Building Component Failures:

  • Walls-masonry construction of all types (brickwork, stonework, blockwork)
  • Roofs and roofing
  • Windows
  • Floors
  • Foundations

3. Water Infiltration/Flooding of Houses and Buildings

4. Fire Damage Claims:

  • Investigation of house fires related to design and construction of chimneys and fireplaces.
  • Quantifying the extent of fire damage and the cost of restoration construction.
  • Types of Property Damage Claims Investigated by Cowie Engineering (Continued)

5. Brick Masonry Chimneys and Stainless Steel Insulated Chimneys:

Cowie Engineering has investigated over 600 chimney claims in which the insured has claimed one or more of the following:

  • Flue fire damage
  • Wind damage
  • Lightning damage
  • Blasting vibration damage
  • Foundation settlement problems
  • Impact from falling trees
  • Rainwater leakage

6. Damage Due to Ground Vibrations From Construction Blasting and/or Heavy Laboratory Construction Equipment:

  • Cracking of interior wall and ceiling finishes
  • Cracked concrete foundations
  • Differential settlement of foundations

7. Basement Foundation Walls and Retaining Walls:

  • Cracked foundation walls
  • Displaced foundation walls
  • Collapsed foundation and retaining walls
  • Differential soil settlement

8. Failure of Above-Ground and Below-Ground Swimming Pools:

  • Snow
  • Windstorm
  • Frost
  • Vandalism

9. Oil Spills:

  • Structural design for temporary support of houses and other structures during removal of existing foundations
  • Restoration design for foundations including underpinning, waterproofing, foundation drainage, new structural framing and new foundations, new basement concrete floor slabs, etc.

10. Personal Injury Claims:

  • Slips, trips, and falls – predominantly stairs, ramps and curbs.
  • Collapsed balconies and decks
  • Construction workers falling during construction

11. Bridge Damage from Vehicle Impact