PULLMAN, Wash.–In the wake of development of high-performance materials and complex design and construction techniques have been inevitable technical glitches that have caused shopping malls, stadiums, bridges, dams, schools, glass facades, skyscrapers and other such buildings to lean, bow, leak, bulge, sink or collapse.
It is at this “breaking point” where Kenneth Carper, professor of architecture and construction management at Washington State University, has focused his attention for more than 25 years. Now recognized by his engineering and architecture peers as a world authority on forensic engineering and construction failure, Carper will receive the prestigious national Forensic Engineering Award given by the American Society of Civil Engineers Oct. 7 at its convention in Minneapolis, Minn.
He has documented the cause of many of the nation’s major construction failures in three industry and classroom texts: the latest, “Construction Failure”; and earlier, “Forensic Engineering: Learning from Failure,” and “Forensic Engineering.” He also founded and still edits after 12 years the technical Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, which is considered the leading publication on the causes and costs of construction failures.
Carper is a registered architect who earned an architecture degree in 1972 and a master’s in structural engineering in 1976 from WSU. He has been on the faculty since 1974, and has been chosen the School of Architecture’s Outstanding Professor four times; the College of Engineering and Architecture’s Outstanding Educator; and in 1994, the university’s President’s Faculty Excellence Award recipient. He also was named 1994 Engineer of the Year for the Inland Empire Section (Washington and Idaho) of ASCE and received two previous ASCE national-level awards.
He has lectured to academics and consulted with professionals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, India and Japan. Carper’s international visits have included consulting about repair of structures damaged by earthquakes and other disasters. His career mission is to pass on the lessons learned from failure.

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