Forensic Engineering and Expert Witness Services

Naviq Consulting Inc. (Naviq) provides forensic engineering and expert witness services to clients that include regulatory agencies and legal counsel in the following areas:pipeline-wrinkle

• Pipeline integrity issues such as soil-pipeline interaction,
• Pipeline interaction with geological hazards (landslides, soft ground and muskeg, erosion, frost heave or thaw settlement, lateral spreading and liquefaction, earthquakes),
• Performance of retaining walls and foundations,
• Erosion control and mitigation,
• Permafrost issues related foundations, embankments and dams, rights-of-way, and erosion
• Slope instability

Dr. Oswell has been in an expert witness in regulatory hearings for pipelines and an open-pit mine expansion, legal cases regarding pipelines, an arbitration hearings regarding foundation performance of structures on permafrost, and insurance claims regarding erosion and ground loss, performance of permafrost ground, and groundwater issues.

Selected project experience:dscn0916

Cold Lake Pipeline Litigation: Senior geotechnical engineer providing expert witness testimony concerning distress of a hot-emulsion pipeline, constructed in winter and buried in clayey soils and muskeg. Scope of expert testimony addressed use of soil parameters in the pipeline stress analysis, estimation of virtual anchor lengths for various soil conditions, appropriateness of geotechnical investigations performed prior to pipeline installation, and development of a working hypothesis of the causes of the pipeline distress.
Retaining Wall and Slope Instability Litigation, Red Deer Alberta: Expert witness retained by defendant’s counsel to consider causes for ground distress in a developed backyard in Red Deer Alberta. Issues considered included internal versus global stability of a multi-tier retaining wall system and potential for general slope instability of the adjacent escarpment slope, which encompasses the property.
Residential Building Distress, Calgary: Senior geotechnical engineer retained to investigate the causes of structural and cosmetic distress in a residential building in northwest Calgary. The investigation included review of documentation, site inspections and installation of a slope indicator to assess the stability of a approximately 9 m high retaining wall along the property line. The investigation determined that the most likely cause of the structural distress was long-term self-weight settlement of fill placed in the back portions of the property on which the building foundations were placed.ocp_lidar-landslide_b
EcoPetrol, Colombia: Senior geotechnical engineer and member of international multi-disciplinary team examining the root causes of two pipeline ruptures in mountainous regions of Colombia. In one case, the rupture resulted in an explosion with over 30 fatalities. Services included site reconnaissance, preparation of a preliminary assessment report, development of scope of work and specifications for geotechnical investigations and instrumentation, supervision of the geotechnical program and assessment of data, and reporting.
Northwest Energy Explosion, Montana: Expert witness to assess the potential impact that frost heave may have played in the rupture, leakage and subsequent fatal explosion of a natural gas service line. Duties included examination of documents, expert witness reports, geotechnical data and completed evaluation of frost heave potential considering soil characteristics, geothermal conditions and other contributing factors.
Oleoductos de Crudos Pesados (OCP) Pipeline, Ecuador: Senior geotechnical engineer and member of multi-disciplinary team evaluating the factors and causes of a pipeline rupture. Tasks included site reconnaissance, review of geological information and in situ instrumentation, development of soil parameters for numerical modeling of the pipeline and preparation of technical reports outlining geotechnical factors that contributed to the rupture. Submitted expert opinion report to State Prosecutor’s office for action. Results of the forensic investigation resulted in dismissal of charges against the pipeline operator.
Ground Erosion and Property Damage, Penticton, BC: Expert witness to assess the causes for property damage related to a major rain event that induced surface erosion and soil sedimentation of properties downslope of an orchard property. Work included review of site and construction documentation, review and assessment of proposed/recommended erosion control measures and development of an expert opinion regarding the causes and effectiveness of mitigation measures to prevent property damage.
Pipeline Wrinkles, Norman Wells Pipeline, NT: Lead permafrost engineer to investigate the causes of the development of wrinkles at several locations on the Norman Wells crude oil pipeline in the Northwest Territories. Team included pipeline engineers, experts in pipeline-soil interaction modeling, pipeline operations staff. Prepared geotechnical evaluation report that was filed with the Federal regulatory agency with jurisdiction over the pipeline operations.
Slope Stability Studies, Norman Wells Pipeline, NT: Lead geotechnical engineer to evaluate the stability of slopes along the pipeline route and adjacent to the right-of-way. Evaluated movement data, provided recommendations for monitoring and mitigation measures, and prepared evaluation and inspection reports to be filed with the National Energy Board. Acted as a subject matter expert at annual review meetings between the pipeline operator and regulatory agencies and stakeholder groups.
Inuvik Female Young Offenders Facility: Permafrost engineer and review expert as part of several teams to evaluate the causes for slab-on-grade movements of a structure constructed on permafrost. Evaluated geotechnical conditions at the site and performance of the buried cooling system, consisting of thermosyphons.
Dawson City Arena: Subject matter expert in an arbitration process between the contractor and facility owners regarding the performance of an ice rink slab-on-grade. Reviewed geotechnical information and thermosyphon performance. Participated as an expert witness to provide sworn testimony on the issues regarding the lack of performance of the foundation cooling system and construction activities.
Canadian Coast Guard/Department of Fisheries and Oceans Base, Hay River, NT: Undertook several evaluations of permafrost degradation that were impacting building foundations and slabs-on-grade at a site constructed on ice-rich permafrost. Conducted inspections of foundation systems and evaluated monitoring data to assess timelines for movement and provided mitigation options.
Gulf Canada Resources Limited, Tuktoyuktuk , NT: Completed a forensic evaluation of apparent foundation movements at a large industrial housing complex constructed on permafrost. Conducted a site inspection and interviewed staff to determine the cause of the apparent foundation movements. Contrary to initial reports, the inspections and analysis concluded the issues were related to ground subsidence, not foundation heave.
Bankers Hall Shoring Movement, Calgary: Provided geotechnical input and support to defence counsel regarding a $23 million lawsuit concerning a movement of a shoring wall for a 15 m deep excavation. Reviewed all geotechnical information including expert testimony by defence and plaintiff experts, and assisted defence lawyers in preparation of witnesses and defence strategy. Outcome was the successful defence at trial and appeal.

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