Polaris Forensics


Polaris experts have a vast amount of experience evaluating building materials for durability and performance-related issues. This includes structural materials such as steel, concrete, wood, and masonry, among others; as well as various fenestrations, cladding/finishes, and roofing materials. Polaris experts are well-versed in the material science associated with the behavior of these materials; and have a strong technical understanding of the material specifications and design/construction guidelines associated with these materials. With this knowledge and know-how, Polaris experts can identify material deficiencies, and distinguish between manufacturing defects, construction defects and/or design defects. 

With regards to cementitious materials, Polaris experts can identify deleterious reactions such as alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and delayed-ettringite formation (DEF), among others. Polaris experts can also diagnose the cause(s) of cracking, low-strengths, and placement issues such as poor workability, honeycombing and/or voids. 

Polaris can perform water infiltration testing on field installed windows, storefronts, and curtain walls.  Our experts conduct testing on new construction projects for quality control and assurance purposes (ASTM E1105, AAMA 501.2, AAMA 502, and AAMA 503) as well as on existing structures to determine the source(s) of water intrusion.  Testing generally consists of placing the fenestration under a specified static air pressure, and then wetting the exterior of the fenestration in a controlled manner with a spray rack for a specific duration. 

Polaris’s laboratory capabilities include water column testing. Water column testing is performed according to guidelines addressed in The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard D5635, “Standard Test Method for Dynamic Puncture Resistance of Roofing Membrane Specimens.” Water column testing is typically performed on single-ply membrane samples (i.e., thermoplastic polyolefin [TPO], polyvinyl chloride [PVC] and ethylene propylene diene monomer [EPDM]) to determine if the membrane has been punctured/penetrated from impact, such as a hail strike. 

Single-Ply Roof Membrane Hail Damage Evaluation

Polaris was engaged to evaluate a low-slope, single-ply membrane commercial roof for hail damage.  As part of this project, Polaris performed a joint evaluation with the insured’s representatives. The roof membrane was visually evaluated for evidence of hail impact, including hail-related fractures.

With input from the insured’s representatives, roof membrane sample locations were identified and extracted from the roof for further evaluation, including laboratory testing. These roof membrane samples were packaged and shipped to Polaris’s laboratory. Polaris visually observed each of the roof samples under 10x magnification, performed light table evaluations, and conducted water column tests in accordance with ASTM D5635.

Based on Polaris’s onsite evaluation, no visible fractures were observed in the membrane. Additionally, based on Polaris’s laboratory testing, no tears or fractures were present in the extracted samples and the samples passed the water column tests. Polaris therefore concluded that the single-ply membrane at the subject roof had not been functionally compromised by hailstone impact.

Extracted Roof Membrane Sample

Evaluation at 10x Magnification

Water Column Testing

“With so many options for experts, I know I can count on Polaris for an accurate and impartial report. Plus, their service is timely and within budget.”

- Harry H.

General Property Adjuster, Insurance Carrier