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Sometimes engineering work relies on analyzing the smallest parts of systems. This is certainly true with elevator engineering. Berkeley Engineering and Research has provided expert witness testimony in a number of elevator cases.

A recent trial tested our vocabulary as well as our engineering skills. At issue was an elevator failure from an international supplier and a heavy reliance by the building's original engineer on something called "homologation" and what the engineer called "scraps of pieces of paper to run calculations." The engineer took someone's word for it and the elevator experienced an accident.

Our team found that engineer's work was missing FEA (Finite Element Analysis). The difference between what should have been a long life elevator and the accident that occurred was the use of threaded bolts. Under load, the threads on these bolts created conditions that led to failure.

In court, we presented testimony that included numerous charts and complicated statements, such as "two-point-two-three times calculated ave (8,544 pounds) due to structural configuration, non-symmetric attachment diagonal brace to center lug."

This technical presentation could have easily overwhelmed a jury. To make sure our testimony was clear, we identified where the errors had occurred in lay terms: "All the homologation errors were easily found using proper engineering standards of care."

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