Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Forensic Engineering Certificate First of Its Kind in Canada: University of Toronto

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Forensic Engineering Certificate First of Its Kind in Canada: University of Toronto

Article excerpt

New forensic engineering program unique in Cda: UofT

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TORONTO - Doug Perovic loves his job, but he also wishes he didn't have to do it. If he's involved, it usually means something catastrophic has occurred.

The University of Toronto engineering professor has been involved in hundreds of investigations, including fatal incidents such as the Sunrise Propane explosion in 2008 and the stage collapse at a Radiohead concert in 2014.

Despite working in the field for 25 years, Perovic says forensic engineering is still in its infancy.

The professor will soon help grow the field by teaching a course now included in a new forensic engineering certificate program offered by the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering -- one the university says is the first of its kind in Canada.

Perovic's students, who are in their fourth year, will examine some of the high-profile cases their teacher has worked on.

Inside his downtown office, Perovic pulls a large two-piece valve from a shelf.

"You can see it fractured through here -- this was once a single piece," he says. "This burst open and caused a huge leak. As I tell the students, you're given this, what do you do? Where do you start? Then I teach students how to investigate."

Perovic says he plans to start his first class in January with a disturbing image of a car crash, including the people beheaded as a result.

"If you want to do this stuff, you'll be looking at things like police photos," he says.

Forensic engineering, which was recently formalized as a practice by the Professional Engineers of Ontario, is "an important field," Perovic says.

"I want my students to learn that their duty as forensic engineers is not to whichever company hires you to investigate, but to the public to ensure we figure out what went wrong and make sure it doesn't happen again."

The three main areas that forensic engineers focus on are product liability, which is Perovic's specialty, fire investigations and collision reconstruction. …

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