I Guess we Better Hire an Expert
There are tons of information on the internet, conferences and social media about the use of experts to unravel the mysteries of forensic investigations of storm damaged buildings. What many people question is how to pick an expert. To answer this question let us first define what is an expert. According to on-line encyclopedia, Wikipedia, “an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be believed, by virtue of credential, training, education, profession, publication or experience, to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual's opinion”.
So how do we find this person, what should we look for?
Most experts are defined by their field of practice. For example, roof damage experts are typically former roofers, contractors, adjusters, or engineers or architects. With all these choices, how do we pick? The only licensed professionals in this group are engineers and architects. This is an important fact because they are the only ones that can lose their license and the right to practice their profession. In other words, they have more skin in the game! Some groups such as RCI have various designations, and a designee can lose his designation; however, he is free to continue to practice as before. Not true with the engineer or architect!
Retaining an expert is a lot like any hiring process, seek referrals, get the experts CV, check references, and talk with your trusted friends and associates. Who had heard of this expert, has anyone heard him speak (like at a conference), is he a smooth professional, or a hot head loud mouth?
Good luck on your next expert search, and hire the person in whom you have confidence!
Matt B. Phelps, P.E.