24 November 2022: four great presentations, and our AGM

44 members and guests met for convivial drinks at the Auburn Hotel, Hawthorn, Melbourne. 

The AGM was then run efficiently over just a few minutes.  No elections were due.  In his report (here), President Patrick Irwin announced the cessation of the "Corporate" member category, and the benefits to members by replacing it with conventional membership status.   The accounts were received and adopted (click here to read them).

Thanks were extended to all office bearers, especially hard-working Secretary Geoff Fletcher, and member Mark Dohrmann, who was presented with FESA Life Membership for his 23 years' continuous service to the Committee on backroom membership management, our website and communications.

Four excellent short presentations followed.  

Robust discussion followed each speaker.  Click on their name to see their talk - they vary from 8 to 14 minutes.

Peter Hart outlined cases where a truck chassis rail had failed in different ways.  Scary!  And poor design by major manufacturers.

Nick Jenkins described elevators and the obligations of designers under the Plant Regulations.  Getting stuck in a door is problematic, but not illegal.

Patrick Irwin explained the fortuitous discovery of key facts in preparing a building case involving millions of dollars, and what ethical and professional steps needed to be taken to revise his opinion and so assist the court.

John Culvenor warned us about the Government's "free" program offering incandescent light replacement  with LEDs.  There's no obligation on suppliers to ensure that light levels and quality are retained.  Look for lumen equivalence, not wattage.

The usual good hotel menu pleased the throng:


Coffee followed, with much conversation, meetings and getting to know people.  A happy and safe Christmas was wished for all members and their families.


27 October 2022: Electric Vehicles - fire safety challenge 

Three speakers from Basic Expert presented to 34 members and guests on the global problem of fires in electric vehicles - lithium ion batteries being the cause.  Whether charging, driving or just parked, these fires occur.  The passage of time increases the degradation of the batteries and the likelihood of spontaneous combustion.  Fires cannot be extinguished with water, and create an inflammable vapour cloud.  Events are under-reported (there is an average of seven EV fires a day in China) with zero literature, data, guidance, time, or money to do more … this topic is relevant to any practitioner with an interest in risk, engineering failures, or the safety of our built environment… 

The speakers - Jonathan Duler, Oscar Salt and Jonathan Barnett - covered the historical context of hoEVs have slotted into our built environment and lifestyles, but how badly this has gone wrong, by way of case studies for some particularly severe incidents. 

The recording of the presentation (1 hr 10 minutes) is too big to load on to this site, but we hope to soon have a link here to the presenters' slides, and which you can access. 

Cyber crime, fraud and forensics

29 September 2022 

Jason Conley of Envista Forensics , a forensic examiner since 2003, gave a very interesting presentation on the characteristics of cyber threats and investigation procedures, with examples.  Jason's accounts of industrial espionage, intellectual property theft issues, breach of contract and fraud-related investigations dealt with spam, phishing and theft, with tips on risk management.  He presented to FESA from London - a great effort in the early hours.

Recordings of the presentation are available here (note the passcode for each)

The presentation:  https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/ewpqLZtoRUGUGkAZWyfUJpnC7JQlhCQvCdTUoqhkcspIp_ttuaSTtuyK9Qny-Gle.aSx0lcox_2_GX1BP   Passcode: m9R2=7K#  

Questions and answers: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/TMRmqBT_Vep9SQDJ-JsujoyXgdjbC4OuK_p2nJec8lL8XFe6apmcpBwqE60_JZFZ.eQtYlGmrq5lFtjoy  Passcode: e?0^6DY4

Expert Evidence - August 25 2022

An excellent meeting at the Auburn Hotel, Hawthorn, with an outstanding presentation by Justice Jim Delaney (Victorian Supreme Court) on Expert Evidence. 

Jim spoke clearly, concisely and authoritatively about all relevant aspects of experts' taking instructions, report writing, hot-tubbing, conclaving, and giving evidence at court.  His talk was filled with tips and practical examples.  An  excellent and lengthy question and answer session followed.


The meeting was very well attended, with extensive networking and introductions.  Welcome to all new members!

You can download Jim Delaney's 44 minute presentation here (His Honour preferred not to have the questions section recorded).


July 28 2022 (by Zoom): a presentation by Mark Roberts BEng(Hons), MIET, SAE-A on the subject 

The Humble 12V Battery - Friend or Foe? 

Mark presented on the humble 12V lead-acid AGM battery. Whether you drive a fancy electric vehicle or the traditional internal combustion version, chances are you have owned or had the pleasure of replacing one of these batteries before. But are they more than just a giant AA battery?  Mark covered the unique intricacies of 12V AGM batties and, in particular, what transpires when your vehicle's 12V lead-acid battery is pushed beyond its normal operating conditions.  As dangerous as its lithium cousin?... there's potential!     

Prior to his indoctrination into the forensics engineering industry, Mark functioned as a 12V & 48V Energy Management Engineer within Bentley Motors in the United Kingdom.   Responsible for the integration and project management of all 12V Energy Containers and 48V Supercapacitors within Bentley's ICE and PHEV vehicle architectures, Mark spent the majority of his time in Germany and Sweden, prototyping and validating future vehicle projects.

June 23 2022

An excellent dinner meeting at the Auburn Hotel, with 41 attending. Several new people made welcome.

First, FESA member and engineer Tom Dohrmann (a professional mechanical engineer who has worked in automotive design,  ergonomics and forensic investigations for sixteen years) spoke on the complexities of converting a new US muscle-ute (the F150, selling here soon) to right hand drive. 


Ten minutes with a spanner?  Not at all.  Tom took us through the fascinating range of new mechanical parts and systems where information sharing was permitted, and described how Ford's methods enhance ride and reliability. Tom is a part of an Australian  engineering design team punching above its weight globally.  Great to see that the work has created 150 jobs in a brand new new manufacturing facility.   

Second, FESA member Peter Paras, a Chartered Professional Engineer with thirty-five years of structural and civil engineering consulting experience, explained his work as a mediator in building disputes.


Peter is an accredited mediator (NMAS), a panel Conciliator at DBDRV (Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria) and a Member of the Building Appeals Board of Victoria, where he carries out conciliations and mediations.  He spoke clearly about the concepts and the processes of mediation – how it works, what issues arise, how resolutions are achieved, and the benefit that forensic/expert reports have with disputes at mediation.   Vigorous discussion arose, including the obligations of an neutral engineer-mediator when (for example) two parties reach a compromise which the mediator knows is technically flawed.

Both these presentations are being separately recorded, with all their presentation slides, and will be made available to financial memberson the FESA website.

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April 28 2022 meeting   (at the Auburn Hotel):

Member Geoff Fletcher spoke first to 34 members and guests about the 1907 collapse of the Quebec bridge over the massive St Lawrence river, with 86 lives lost.  It collapsed again in 1916.  An insight into egos in engineering. 


This presentation was very well illustrated, with video and  fascinating forensic clues outlined.

You can watch Geoff's presentation (from three minutes in) here:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/UzYEIWgoSlGqBrDAo-3z3Uxf0BH9pyUwXUpKyNRiHfbiZ8reUnvVZoa9gTwWOYvt.2TEg_dM0h3iGy3cw?startTime=1651136697000  Passcode (required to view): 1?!qP%7T

A second  presentation entitled " Who is responsible for the safety of your electrical switchboard and its supply cables?" was by mechatronics engineer Nicholas Jenkins, about a recent argument about who owned the electrical assets in a building.  Very interesting issues of liability here.

Nick was standing in for his colleague Peter Hart (regrettably unwell) and did a great job, presenting clearly and dealing capably with questions.