FESA is an active Australian professional association collaborating in forensic technical investigations, reconstruction of accidents and failures, and research. Established  in 1999 and formally registered in 2008, we have participating members across Australia. 

Bookmark this site and do consider coming as a guest to our next event.

Interesting talks are usually in Melbourne at the Auburn Hotel, Hawthorn, over evening dinner and drinks.  Every second month they are presented via Zoom. 

Paid-up members have access to videos and information (including recorded video presentations from outstanding presenters). 

Consider joining us. Or email us (see committee names below - emails are linked to each one).

Correspondence to the Secretary at 77 Diane Cres, Croydon VIC 3136

How do I become a forensic engineer?

Sometimes we are asked this.   Well, tongue partly in cheek, read on:

First, get a degree.  Become an Engineer.  Be enthusiastic and get a degree in a branch of engineering.

Second, gain experience.  Design things.   Structures, mechanisms, solutions, anything.

Third, expand Your Knowledge  Become a Multidisciplinary person.   Gain extensive knowledge about other related sciences such as material properties, human factors, fluid mechanics, more.

Fourth,  get your hands dirty.   Become a tradie or a builder (sort of).  Gain competency and understanding of how things actually work in the real world - construction sites, factories, laboratories, anywhere.   Fiddle, dismantle, repair stuff.

Fifth, learn reverse engineering.   Investigate.   Develop detective skills and investigate like one.  

Sixth, improve your communication skills.   Deliver.   Form an honest opinion and deliver with effective oral and written communication skills  

Seventh, Think like a lawyer.  Get ready to win disputes.  Gain knowledge of legal procedures and develop your persuasive skills.

(Acknowledgement for the above to MFS Engineering, Forensic engineers).

This is what FESA does:

  • we provide a forum for education, discussion and promotion of matters of forensic engineering in order for members to be better informed

  • we inform appropriate professional bodies, associations, firms and people in the community from time to time about the range of services provided by the members 

  • promote a high standard of consultancy for all relevant pertinent areas of engagement.

FESA was incorporated in Victoria in 2008 as Registered Association - A0051560P

A copy of the Rules can be downloaded here: FESA Rules

Our registered office is at 77 Diane Crescent Croydon VIC 3136.

Our ABN is 5897 9281 284

Current 2023 office holders:   

President - Patrick Irwin  

Vice-President - Peter Hart

Secretary - Geoff Fletcher

Treasurer Dr Margarita Vargas  

Committee -   Grant Gatland, David Lake, Mark Dohrmann  

Annual accounts:  

The Association's annual accounts (2021- 2022) were presented on Nov 22 2022 at the Annual General Meeting.

Our history as an association - it's interesting!

Dr Len Cubitt moved from engineering software into forensics in about 1993.  Much of his work was legal, where one works in a cloak of confidentiality.  He found a lack of camaraderie with fellow engineers, whom he mainly encountered in opposition in the legal environment.  There was clearly a need for a professional society.

Some informal pub meetings were held by Len and a few interested engineers and there was an association with Jack Apgar’s WA based Forensic Engineering Society that was EA endorsed for some time.  Others involved included Ian Thomas, John Lambert, Bruce Thompson, Mark Dohrmann and Richard Lightfoot.  There had been earlier initiatives in Victoria but these were largely unrelated.

In 1999 Len called a meeting of like-minded engineers at Bruce Thompson’s office in Gardenvale.  Len, Vain Berry and Bruce Thompson attended and determined to form a Forensic Engineering Society in Victoria.

The first "meeting was held at the Paper Moon restaurant in Clifton Hill in mid 1999.  The location was inspired by Richard Lightfoot who attended along with Russell Lee, Mark Dohrmann, Bruce Thompson, Len Cubitt and Lawrence Reddaway.  Nominal funds were put down and the society formed.  Richard Lightfoot was a great supporter of the infant society and hosted several members' events at his North Fitzroy home.  Formal registration as an incorporated entity was discussed through 2007, at lunch meetings at the RACV involving Ian Eilenberg, Len Cubitt, Richard Lightfoot and Mark Dohrmann.  

The society grew rapidly.  By the end of 2007 there were 44 interested parties, although probably not all were official members.  Len handed over the presidency to Ian Thomas at the AGM in June 2007.  Regular meetings moved from the Paper Moon Cafe in Clifton Hill, via various venues to settle at the Leinster Arms hotel in Collingwood, where the barman at times was Mark “Chopper” Read.

In May 2008 the Society was incorporated under the continuing Presidency of Ian Thomas.  Mark Dohrmann, Ian Eilenberg and Richard Lightwood remained central motivators.  Regular dinner meetings were held, approximately every six weeks from then on.

From 2011 a group of construction industry engineers including Patrick Irwin and Oliver Kelly encouraged the society to include more construction and, particularly structural content.

In October 2011 FESA ran an international Forensic Engineering Meeting with a chinese delegation.  The venue was the old Royal College of Surgeons’ Rooms in Melbourne.

In 2013 FESA’s regular dinner meetings moved to the Auburn Hotel in Camberwell.

In 2015 FESA made a submission to the Federal Senate Committee inquiry into the nanny state.  Patrick Irwin attended the committee and presented.

In 2020 Covid19 restrictions forced the cancellation of our first dinner meeting in March and the Society reverted to providing remote presentations via Zoom for the balance of that year.  At time of writing this initiative had proven extremely popular, and is involving engineers and others from several Australian states and often, overseas.

Committees over the journey

1999 - 2007 Progenitive Committee

President:                 Dr Len Cubitt

Vice President:         Ian Thomas

Secretary:                 Dr Ian Eilenberg

Treasurer:                Dr Ian Eilenberg

Webmaster:              Mark Dohrmann

2007-09 Committee
President:                 Ian Thomas

Vice President:         John Lambert

Secretary:                 Dr Ian Eilenberg, then Dr Andrew Short

Treasurer:                Dr Ian Eilenberg

Members:                 Mark Dohrmann (webmaster)   

2009-11 Committee
President:                 Ian Thomas

Vice President:         John Lambert

Secretary:                 Dr Andrew Short

Treasurer:                Dr Ian Eilenberg

Members:                Mark Dohrmann (webmaster)   

2011-13 Committee

President:                 John Lambert

Vice President:         David Lake

Secretary:                 Dr Andrew Short, then Dr Ian Eilenberg

Treasurer:                Ian Eilenberg

Members:                Patrick Irwin

                                 Mark Dohrmann (webmaster)   

2013-15 Committee

President:                 John Lambert

Vice President:         David Lake

Secretary:                 Dr Ian Eilenberg

Treasurer:                Oliver Kelly & then Ian Eilenberg

Members:                Patrick Irwin

                                 Dr Adrian Grosvenor (co-oped mid term)

                                 Mark Dohrmann (webmaster)   

2015-17 Committee

President:                 David Lake

Vice President:         Patrick Irwin

Secretary:                 Ian Eilenberg

Treasurer:                Dr Ian Eilenberg

Members:                Mark Dohrmann (webmaster)   

                                 Dr Peter Hart

                                 John Lambert

                                 Dr Adrian Grosvenor     

2017-19 Committee

President:                 David Lake

Vice President:         Patrick Irwin

Secretaries:              Dr Adrian Grosvenor, then Dr Ian Eilenberg and then Patrick Irwin

Treasurer:                Dr Ian Eilenberg & then John Lambert

Members:                Mark Dohrmann (webmaster)   

                                 Dr Tia Gaffney (co-oped mid term, resigned June 2019)

                                 John Lambert

                                 Dr Peter Hart

                                 Geoff Fletcher


2019-23 Committee

President:                 Patrick Irwin

Vice President:         Dr Peter Hart

Secretary:                 Geoff Fletcher

Treasurer:                John Lambert

Members:               Mark Dohrmann (webmaster)   

                                 Dr Margarita Vargas

                                 John Lambert

                                 David Lake


Kindred organisations with FESA: 

BDPS: The Building Dispute Practitioners Society


ASBC:  Australian Society of Building Consultants Victoria


CICEA:  College of Investigative and Remedial Consulting Engineers of Australia

 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia: www.ergonomics.org.au

Independent Forensic Practitioners Institute (New Zealand based): http://ifpi.org.nz/

President: Andrew McGregor CPEng: amcgregor@prosolve.co.nz 

Australian and New Zealand Forensic Society: https://anzfss.org.au/


Australasian Corrosion Association- https://membership.corrosion.com.au/

Materials Australia -https://www.materialsaustralia.com.au/

Australian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters - https://aicla.org/



FESA is a  non-profit registered organization.  All communication with us is via support@fesa.org.au..

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