Copyright 2007 MTI-KC Engineering
Last Updated 01/19/17


Forensic geotechnical engineering is the investigation of failures with a geotechnical origin, not only from a technical standpoint but also with the possibility of legal proceedings.  Although some geotechnical failures such as landslides occur in the absence of any human intervention, most involve changes to the natural ground conditions by human improvements.  Problems occur when there is a lack of understanding, investigation and analysis of the natural conditions and the impact of the proposed changes.

Geotechnical challenges in Northern California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, include landslides, ground settlement, expansive soils, shallow groundwater, liquefaction and other conditions that sometimes result in post-development problems.  Our professionals and trained staff have over 50 years of combined experience in analyzing these problems and finding practical repair alternatives.  When disagreements arise between project owners and the design and construction team, we are often asked to provide expert witness testimony or other service associated with the resolution process.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Slope and landslide stability analysis
  • Settlement and expansive soils studies
  • Foundation and pavement evaluations
  • Poor drainage and moisture intrusion studies
  • Remedial earthwork and foundation design
  • Expert witness services


With the ever continuing issues of tight budgets in City and County offices and the lack of onsite staff with geotechnical and geologic expertise, many municipalities rely on third-party consultants to provide review services both during planning and construction of projects.  KC Engineering Company’s extensive experience allow us to provide efficient and professional service to planning and building departments to ensure that submittals are in conformance with local ordinances and geotechnical/geologic standards of practice.


Our firm has a Slope Indicator Company vertical inclinometer system with capabilities to monitor up to 200 feet.  The applications for a vertical inclinometer include:

  • Monitoring slopes and landslides to detect zones of movement and establish whether movement is constant, accelerating, or responding to remedial measures.
  • Monitoring retaining walls and sheet piles to check that deflections are within design limits, that struts and anchors are performing as expected, and that adjacent structures and underground utilities are not affected by ground movements.
  • Monitoring dams, dam abutments, and upstream slopes for movement during and after impoundment.

Our firm also performs floor level survey’s using a single-person manometer (commonly known as water level survey).  These surveys are invaluable during forensic investigations of distressed structures.  They aid in determining areas of settlement and heave, poor drainage, landsliding, and floor flatness.  The surveys can even be performed on a continuing basis to establish whether movement is constant, slowing or accelerating.  The readings are obtained to an accuracy of one-sixteenth of an inch and do not have the limitations of line-of-sight that conventional surveying methods have.

Vacaville Office:
865 Cotting Lane, Suite A
Vacaville, California 95688
(707) 447-4025

Fax: (707) 447-4143

Redding Office:
8798 Airport Road
Redding, California 96002
(530) 222-1116 (MTI)
(530) 222-0832 (KC)

Fax: (530) 222-1611
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