Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Metropolitan Engineering, Consulting, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation Services. Construction, Investigation, Remediation and Forensic Expert Engineers

 Metropolitan Engineering, Consulting, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation Services.
Construction Defects, Construction Claims, Engineering, Property & Casualty Investigations, Assessment, Site Investigation, Remediation, Litigation and Indoor-Air Expert Engineers

Bill Stephan, PhD, PE, CIH, CHMM, JD, MBA
Principal Engineer

P.O. Box 520
Tenafly, New Jersey 07670-0520
Phone: (973) 897-8162
Fax: (973) 810-0440


Firm Overview

The engineering and forensic firm of Metropolitan Forensics and Consulting Engineering and Environmental Services was established for the purpose of providing a high value service to the insurance industry and to the insured companies or individuals. Our founding principal (Bill Stephan) is a licensed professional engineer in several states, including, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

We specialize in the in-situ remediation of petroleum and chlorinated spills, the defense of liability claims, the investigation and defense of first or third party insurance claims and the handling of subrogation claims.  We are also experts on oil and gas energy sector issues (design, investigations, construction oversight), renewable energy sector (wind turbines, solar panels, biofuels, etc), vapor intrusion evaluation, vapor phase and transport and in design on vapor mitigation systems.  Additionally, we offer forensic engineering services, including age-dating of contaminant releases, construction defects, oversight, evaluation of remedial alternatives, sub-slab ventilation system design and installation.  The list of our core services is:

  • Cause and Origin Investigations
  • Construction Failure Analysis (Residential, Industrial and Commercial)
  • Structural Integrity Evaluation
  • Site Investigation
  • Tank removals and tank installations; licensed and insured to perform entire UST work
  • In-Situ Remediation of Soil and Groundwater
  • Vapor intrusion, indoor air evaluation and mitigation
  • Causation
  • Forensic Investigations (age-dating)
  • Oversight
  • Review of Remedial Action Work Plans
  • Reserve Estimation
  • Cost Allocation
  • RAWP Preparation
  • Site Remediation
  • Cleanup Level Development and Negotiation
  • Subrogation
  • Expert Witness/Litigation Support
  • Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) Services
  • Construction Claims (Delay, Differing Site Conditions, Loss of Productivity, Acceleration, and others)


Additional Specialty Service Areas

Age Dating
Boilers & Burners
Building Codes
Building Inspections

Construction Accident
Construction Defects
Construction Delay Claims

Construction Surety Claims
Construction Disputes
Construction Differing Condition Claims
Construction Oversight
Construction Management
Construction Acceleration Claims

Construction Failures
Construction Injuries
Contractor Performance Issues

Defective Designs
Defective Roadway Design

Electrical Accidents/Injuries
Electrical Equipment Failures
Electrical Fires
Elevators, Escalators
   & Conveyors
Embedded Software Hazards
   & Analysis
Equipment Failures
Errors and Omissions

Failure Analysis
Fire Codes
Fire Protection Systems
Fire Suppression Systems

Flood Damage Assessment

Foundation Systems

Gas Systems

Hailstorm damage

Heating & Ventilation Systems
Heavy Construction
Highway/Roadway Design
Human Factors

Indoor Air Quality
Laboratory Services
Ladders, Scaffolding Falls
   & Failures

Mechanical Defect Evaluations
Metallurgical Age Dating
Mold Causation
Natural Disasters/Weather
   Related Issues
Nuclear Energy
Occupational Hazards
   & Illness

Playground Equipment Injuries
Product Failures
Roofing Problems & Failures
Safety Codes
Safety & Human Factors
Scene Mapping and Photographs
Sick Building Syndrome
Sports Equipment Injuries
Standardized Codes
Steam Systems
Subrogation Issues

Transportation Issues
Trips, Slips & Falls
Underground Storage Tanks
Utilities Expertise
Water Damage

Mission Statement

Our mission is to work as an extension of our clients to expeditiously achieve the most economically favorable resolution of claims on their behalf and on behalf of their insured. We have developed and will continue to create new solutions to the technical problems and issues which are facing the insurance industry and the insureds today.  

Metropolitan provides forensic engineering work (age-dating or fingerprinting), site remediation, auditing, cost control and litigation support services to insurance carriers, their insureds and to private or public companies.  In its risk management role, examines, manages and audits environmental claims to ensure that assessment and remediation services provided to both carriers and policy holders are reasonable and necessary, properly rendered and appropriately charged. 

In its litigation support role, Metropolitan assists carriers and their counsel to ensure that litigious disputes are resolved fairly and reimbursement benefits are provided when appropriate.  The corporations service area includes the entire United States, with our corporate office located in Northern New Jersey.  The Firm's professional staff also travels regularly throughout the United States on assignment.

Forensics at Metropolitan

There are many issues associated with disputes over responsibility for cleanup. Who, what, when, where, and how chemicals were released can be investigated. The tools of forensic investigation include mathematical models, statistical models, fate and transport calculations, chromatography, lead isotope analyses, time of travel assessments, library search site characterization, tracer additives, and recently developed software applications.

Effective forensic project management should include an evaluation of multiple forensic tools based on site specific circumstances. The process of evaluation and the ultimate selection of the forensic tool are critical to a successful outcome. When project budgets allow, combining forensic methods for corroborative evidence can substantially strengthen your client’s position in an effort to prevent or support litigation. The effective forensic consultant must be well acquainted with an ever expanding list of analytical methods, environmental regulations, assessment procedures and remedial technologies.

The forensic field is one that utilizes a wide range of scientific tools to identify and characterize complex adverse environmental events. Some of the scientific disciplines involved in forensics include engineering principles (biological, physical and chemical), hydrology, lithology, geology, site history, site practices, mathematics, and statistics. These areas may be combined with technologies such as respiratory analyses, chromatography/mass spectrometry and chemical fingerprinting methods to answer complex questions with the ultimate goal of establishing responsibility for a particular event. Accurate, defensible forensic analyses are an essential component of any strategy that attempts to resolve the extent of the insurer or insured client responsibilities in the cleanup of contaminants.

Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our forensic services.

Property Damage Services at Metropolitan

Metropolitan assists property owners, claims professionals, businesses, and attorneys in   the assessment of the cause & origin (C&O), extent of damage and required restoration after pipe bursts, settlements, manufacturing and construction failures, fire, flood, earthquake, or storm damage.  Our teams of engineers have extensive experience in the many systems that make up a building including structural, mechanical and electrical systems.   We also have the necessary background to evaluate property damage to items such as communications towers or solar panels. We can help determine alternative, appropriate, and cost effective solutions for repair or restoration of any damaged property, both commercial and residential. 

Providing Competent, Expert and Objective Investigative Engineering and Consulting Services.

Our experts are multi-skilled, competent, and objective professionals who apply their analytical and common sense skills to reconstruct, determine the root cause, and document the events that give rise to property, casualty, and liability claims.  Thorough investigations and detailed measurements/research help us distinguish between pre-existing conditions and sudden and accidental losses.


Our investigations are:

·         Comprehensive & Accurate

·         Legible & Easy to Understand

·         Timely Performed

·         Delivered Quickly

·         Cost Effective

·         Clear & Concise

·         Developed by Professionals

·         Dependable

·         Our own uniform reporting system saves time and money.

Our Fast Track Investigation and Uniform Format Reporting systems allow us to conduct and deliver a comprehensive response to the assigned claim.  In most cases, we will obtain findings based on a site visit, visual observations, photographs, interviews, and field measurements.  Further investigations and testing will be provided upon request and approval by the client.

Forensic Investigation of Property Damage Claims

Metropolitan Consulting, Engineering & Forensics understands your need to complete a claim investigation accurately and efficiently as possible.  Whether it is accident reconstruction, damage due to environmental forces such as wind, water, hail, snow, tornado, etc.; fire origin & cause investigation or any other claim, the engineers at Metropolitan understand both you and your client want to resolve the claim.  The analysis you receive from Metropolitan will be accurate and complete, giving you the information needed in the claim adjustment and analysis.

Our services have extended beyond the forensic analysis phase into the remediation and repair phase of many large loss claims.  Upon the completion of the cause and origin (C&O) investigation, Metropolitan can provide our clients with complete working drawings and specifications needed to repair or rebuilt damaged buildings or other structures.  Metropolitan Consulting & Engineering’ staff possesses many-many years of experience in rehabilitation design, construction management, and project oversight to ensure the loss is restored in a timely and cost-effective manner without sacrificing quality.  Building code knowledge allows us to identify possible code upgrades as needed.  Metropolitan understands constructability and realizes making an insured whole goes beyond forensic investigation and design. We pride ourselves in providing practical solutions contractors can understand and follow.

At the forefront of available technology, we provide professionals and staff capable of handling a variety of engineering evaluations.  Our reports are clear, concise, complete and efficiently produced.  Our engineering objectives are achieved in an ethical manner consistent with the traditions and character of engineering professionals.

Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our property damage services.

Extensive Experience helping Sureties

Metropolitan also has extensive experience helping sureties fulfill their bond obligations resolve disputes after a contractor has defaulted.  This work includes the evaluation of contractor bid pricing, evaluation of the contractor’s ability to perform work, risk assessment, evaluation of termination, construction completion services, claim and litigation support services, loss recovery services, evaluation of payment bond claims, negotiation and settlement of payment bond claims, and construction defects investigation services.  Metropolitan has provided these services for commercial, development, educational, and assisted living projects.

Construction is a business fraught with risk.  Disputes over even the smallest of issues can quickly escalate, with crippling consequences to the project and the parties.  Over the years, the construction industry has developed various methods of contractually allocating the risk of project delay and disruption.  Some of these methods include liquidated damages provisions, "no damages for delay" clauses, mutual waivers of consequential damages, provisions that limit liability, claims notice provisions, and provisions addressing responsibility for the adequacy of the construction plans and specifications.  Parties frequently litigate the sufficiency of these risk-shifting efforts in conjunction with the underlying merits of delay and disruption disputes.
Construction Claims & Disputes
The most frequently encountered claims include:
1.            Construction Delay Claims
2.            Disruption and Loss of Labor Productivity Claims
3.            Design and Construction Defect Claims
4.            Force Majeure Claims
5.            Acceleration or Compression of the Schedule Claims
6.            Suspension, Termination and Default Claims
7.            Differing Site Conditions Claims
8.            Change Order and Extra Work Claims
9.            Cost Overrun Claims
10.         Unacceptable Workmanship or Substituted Material Claims
11.         Non-payment Claims (stop notice (or Notice to Withhold) claims, mechanics’ lien (only for private construction projects) and payment bond claims)

Forensic Engineering Experience Case Studies

Metropolitan staff has developed and utilized scientific methods to assist clients in a variety of ways related to their claim issues. The following is a partial list of such projects:

  • Provided expert witness services for plaintiff seeking remediation of contaminated groundwater that caused indoor air inhalation problems;
  • Testified that engineering and scientific evidence was improperly collected and analyzed and was inadequate to show the age of the release;
  • Origin and cause of retaining wall failures.  
  • Lightning damage to structures or electrical systems and equipment
  • Roof failure or collapse as a result of accumulated load, additional weight and snow drift at hundreds of commercial and residential properties.
  • Demonstrated that solvents in groundwater at client's property originated from off-site dry-cleaner and that client's site actually provided remediation for the off-site release of dry cleaning solvent;
  • Expert witness for property owner impacted by industrial waste disposal from industrial manufacturer;
  • Demonstrated that environmental analysis by a previous consultant for a manufacturing site was inadequate; as a result, the lender's concerns were alleviated and financing proceeded;
  • Chemical "age-dating" and contaminant transport analyses of petroleum in groundwater at a gas station showed that contaminants originated from other parties;
  • Age-dated petroleum release at a former gas station to show that the previous owner of the gas station caused groundwater contamination;
  • Age-dated petroleum releases at an industrial facility to show that the on-site plume was the result of an off-site source;
  • Prepared age-dating reports for over one-hundred residential fuel oil spills;
  • Assisted insurance companies attorneys in defending subrogation claims; was able to demonstrate that the forensic data collected by the first party consultant were collected and analyzed using invalid methods;
  • Demonstrated that structural damage to a residence was from a source other than the alleged high lake level
  • Collected evidence (for the primary responsible party) that identified other responsible parties to share in the cost of a Superfund cleanup;
  • Review of the site data at a bulk petroleum facility indicated that the site releases were not the result of regular oil transfer operations and that they were caused by the negligent actions of the insured’s agents; the case was settled in favor of the insurance company;
  • Was able to demonstrate that the majority of the removal actions at petroleum release sites were neither reasonable nor necessary; as a result of our opinion, the insurance client settled the claim in favorable terms;
  • At several drycleaner sites we were able to demonstrate that the age of the release was much earlier than the parties originally believed; as a result, the insurance client settled the claim at a fraction of the alleged liability;
  • We performed numerous flood and wind damage assessments at commercial and residential properties.
Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our forensic engineering services.

Site Remediation Services

 Characterizing and remediating contaminated sites involve some of the most complex and difficult issues for environmental lawyers and their clients. Problem areas include responding to regulators; negotiating enforcement settlements; negotiating or litigating cost allocation and recovery claims; working with the insured or insurer client, lawyers and regulators to develop efficient, cost-effective remediation approaches; and selling, buying, or developing contaminated properties.

Metropolitan staff has developed and applied an innovative approach to the use of sodium persulfate for the sequential in-situ treatment of subsurface contaminants through chemical oxidation followed by enhanced biological degradation through sulfate reduction. This approach has broad applicability to a wide range of contaminants, and shows strong cost-saving benefits through reducing the initial volume of chemical oxidant necessary and enhancing the in-situ biological degradation of contaminants.

Through proper subsurface geochemical characterization and chemical dosing design, the approach focuses on utilizing the oxidant for immediate mass reduction at the source area, followed by degradation or polishing of the residual contamination using sulfate reducing bacteria.  Depending upon the oxidant activation method, this approach is applicable to petroleum hydrocarbons including both volatiles and PAHs, chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) including chlorinated ethene, ethane and methane groups, as well as PCBs.

Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our Site Remediation Services.

Vapor Intrusion and Indoor-Air Studies

Vapor intrusion has received increased attention over the last few years near contaminated sites because some contaminants have the potential to migrate into nearby buildings and negatively affect indoor air quality. The accumulation of these volatile vapors in buildings can result in significant safety and health concerns.
To properly evaluate vapor intrusion a thorough evaluation of the building's ventilation system and subsurface conditions needs to be conducted by a knowledgeable professional in accordance with state and federal established procedures. 
The evaluation process typically includes a thorough building chemical inventory, the advancement of soil gas probes and the collection of soil gas samples. When indoor air quality problems are identified they can normally be resolved through the modification/installation of a properly designed ventilation system.
Metropolitan is well experienced with U.S. EPA and State vapor intrusion investigation techniques. We have completed numerous vapor intrusion and indoor air quality studies at commercial and residential properties. We have the experience to identify and resolve indoor vapor intrusion problems and the practical know-how to resolve indoor quality issues in an efficient and cost effective manner.
Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our Vapor Intrusion and Indoor Air Studies.

Metropolitan Engineering, Consulting, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation Services.

Construction, Investigation, Remediation and Forensic Expert  Engineers

P.O. Box 520

Tenafly, New Jersey 07670-0520

Ph.: (973) 897-8162

Fax: (973) 810-0440

Contact: Dr. Bill N. Stephan, PhD, PE, JD, CIH, MBA, CHMM

Insurance claim examiners, insureds, insurers, insurance adjusters and risk managers use Metropolitan for determining cause, evaluating the extent of damage, determining the age of the release, separating unrelated damage, analyzing loss scopes and managing restoration data, determining costs to repair, restore or replace, and preparing for insurance appraisals.

Attorneys call on Metropolitan for help when preparing for Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution such as arbitration and mediation