Consulting Structural and Forensic Engineer  and  Independent Science and Technology Studies Scholar

Latham, New York 12110
Cell (518) 364-0260 • E-mail: jmcohen@jmcohenpe.com

Dr. Julie Mark Cohen, PE, SECB, is a consulting structural engineer with thirty-three years of professional experience in private practice on a wide variety of new and existing structures as a consultant for structural engineering firms and attorneys for whom she does expert witness and consulting work. Her practice focuses on forensic investigations of structural and construction failures and includes condition assessment, remediation, repair, and upgrade of existing structures, as well as peer review.

Dr. Cohen's forensic practice includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Forensic investigations.
  • Discovery document review including construction documents.
  • Development and presentation of educational materials on engineering subjects to attorneys.
  • Research for historical and current technical information/facts, state of knowledge, state of practice, and standard of care for attorneys and forensic engineers.

She has worked with structural/forensic engineering firms in NY, MA, IL, CA, and TX as a consultant and peer reviewer on structural steel and reinforced concrete structures, including:

  • Forensic investigations of buildings, bridges, and specialty structures.
  • Remediation and repair of older buildings and non-code-compliant buildings.
  • Analytical studies of historic bridges and their foundations.
  • Analytical condition assessments of high-rise building, large footprint buildings, and specialty structures.

Selected Projects in Practice:

  • Expert Witness to Plaintiff's New York City Attorney. A man standing on a NYC street was permanently disabled in Feb. 2014 when a chunk of ice fell from a high-rise building and hit his head. Review of architectural features of building, maintenance records, accident investigation documents, post-accident mitigation documents, etc. Nov. 2018 - Present.
  • Researcher and structural engineering analysist on the development of economic, wind- and seismic resistant structural framing systems for one- and multi-story warehouses with 300 ft x 700 ft, ~50 ft. bays, 30-35 ft. stories, 250-300 psf. Jan. - May 2018. Cancelled.
  • Consultant to expert witness who represented a contractor in a $50 million lawsuit on a recently-completed assisted living center with five-story, wood-framed buildings exhibiting several different problems. Dr. Cohen assisted with the analyses of the 1.25" thick limestone cladding panels (no larger than 12"x12") that fell off the buildings. April - July 2017.
  • Expert and Consultant to attorney to develop legislation (first for a NYS county) to preserve and protect existing infrastructure undergoing reconstruction and/or rehabilitation. Also, protection of the public's life-safety and maintaining and increasing union jobs. July - Dec 2016.
  • Expert Witness to Defendant's Attorney. In a NYC area building, a construction worker fell off an unrestrained plain ladder while a government inspection engineer was the only other person on site. Detailed review and comparison of depositions. Review of engineer's practice. Settled out of court. Feb. - Sept. 2016.
  • Expert Witness for Defendant's Attorney on a Brooklyn, NY, building that collapsed during construction, killing one construction worker and injuring several others. Dr. Cohen reviewed the standard of care employed by the engineer who investigated the collapse for one of the insurance companies. Includes overview of applicable OSHA general industry & construction standards. Sept. 2014 - March 2017.
  • Consultant to lead forensic/structural engineer. Forensic investigation for a defendant on a 1933 550-foot long anchored bulkhead / cofferdam that collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico during off-loading of crushed limestone. History of design, construction, and several repairs. Condition and loading on day of collapse. Issues of failure pertain to design and construction. Also, misuse of 1932 ASTM standard with advisement not to galvanize high-strength steel. July 2013 - Aug. 2013, May 2014 - July 2014.
  • Consultant (as NYS WBE) to Quanta Technology, LLC, Raleigh, NC, for NY Power Authority. Condition assessment of weathering steel electric power transmission towers. This material was used before guidelines had been developed. Prepared white paper on state-of-practice for remediation and replacement of these towers. Review of finite element analyses of existing towers for effects of corrosion on members, joints, and overall structural performance. Sept. 2011 - Dec. 2012.
  • Consultant to lead forensic/structural engineer. Preparation of a report to support the work of the engineer-of-record (sued in a third-party lawsuit) on a medical complex (Gulf Coast, Texas) whose roofs were damaged during Hurricanes Rita and Ike. April-June 2011.
  • Consultant to lead forensic/structural engineer. Forensic investigation of rain storm (ponding) collapse of 47,100 sq.ft. out of 656,600 sq.ft. roof of one-story pre-engineered warehouse (with light-gauge steel framed roof) located in central Texas. July 2007 - Feb. 2009.
  • Consultant to Plaintiff's (ConEd's) attorney, Mark L. Antin (Gennet, Kallman, Antin & Robinson), on federal civil case on fire-induced collapse of World Trade Center 7, 09/11/2001. Reviewed 20,000 discovery documents (online library). Emphases on interpretation and use of governing building code; 1970-1985 states of knowledge & practice and standard of care across U.S. Sept. 2006 - June 2011.
  • Independent Affiliated Consultant (as NYS WBE) to WJE Engineers and Architects, PC, New York, NY, for NYS Office of General Services. Marble cladding and Llenroc walls at the Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY. Archival research on decision-making process for stone selection, design, detailing, construction photos, project manager's diaries, construction issues, etc. Jan. 2001 - Jan. 2007.

Independent Research:

  • "Knowledge Flow and Recurring, Costly Infrastructure Failures," NSF EAGER grant 1724829 from the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program of the Division of Social and Economic Sciences, 1 April 2017 - 31 March 2019.
  • Larger effort:  "Structural Engineers: Constraints on Design Decisions and Recurring, Costly Infrastructure Failures, 1930-2017." Focus on knowledge required for successful design -- its use, misuse, and lack of use.
  • Book-in-progress:  Unintentional Structural Failures by Design

Selected Recent Publications:

  • Cohen, J.M [2013]. "A U.S. Phenomenon: Tall, Slender Bridge Rocker Bearings" (Engl.), Konzept Themenheft, "Historische Brückenlager"/Stahlbau - Dezemberheft 2013, Heft 12, pp. 931-933.
  • Cohen, J.M. [2015]. "Unintentional Corrosion by Structural Design," published online with references at http://www.structuremag.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/C-LessonsLearned-Cohen-Feb151.pdf and in print in Structure magazine, NCSEA, February.
  • Cohen, J.M.; and Wetzk, Volker [2016]. "Failures U.S. Bridge Rocker Bearings," published in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering History and Heritage, Vol. 169, Issue 3, July 12. http://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/doi/abs/10.1680/jenhh.14.00023?af=R&
  • Cohen, J.M. [2018]. "Unrecognized Knowledge: Recurring Structural Failures," Structure magazine, NCSEA, internally peer-reviewed, 2500 word article with references, to be published in Nov. 

Papers-in-progress for peer-reviewed publication:

  • "Structural Engineering Design: A Risk-Laden Constrained Balancing Act."
  • "Consequences of Extrapolation in Structural Engineering."
  • "Studying Recurring Structural Engineering Failures: A New STS Hybrid Conceptual Framework."

Recent Presentations for Continuing Education for licensed Professional Engineers:

  • "Unrecognized, but in Plain Sight: Recurring, Costly Infrastructure Failures," a 90-minute continuing education for the ASCE Met (NYC) Section's Forensic Engineering Technical Group and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY), 19 April 2016.
  • "Unrecognized Knowledge: Recurring Structural Failures," a 120-minute continuing education semi-nar for the central NY chapter of SEAoNY, Syracuse, NY, 29 March 2018. Travel sponsored.
  • "Unrecognized Knowledge: Recurring Structural Failures," a 120-minute continuing education seminar for the structures group, New Orleans ASCE Structural Engineering Institute, 7 June 2018. Travel sponsored.

Conference Participation Related to NSF STS Research Project:

  • "Toward Improving Public Policy for Structural Engineering Design of Bridge, Transportation, and Marine Structures," a poster presentation for the Making and Doing Session of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) annual meeting to be held in Boston, MA, 31 Aug. 2017. 
  • "Causes and Consequences of Unrecognized and Misused Codified Knowledge," a paper presented at the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) annual meeting held in Philadelphia, PA, 28 Oct. 2017.
  • Cohen, J.M., "U.S. Bridge Failures: The Cost of Extrapolation in Design Decision-Making" an accepted paper presentation at the Society for the History of Technology annual meeting, St. Louis, MO, 13 Oct. 2018.
    Note:  Dr. Cohen also proposed the open session (also accepted): "The Cost of Engineering to Society: Risk and Failure in Ground Transport" which will include her paper presentation.

Professional Registration:

  • New York State Professional Engineer's License 079219.
  • California Civil Engineer's License 31564.
  • SECB, NCSEA's Structural Engineering Certification Board, Certification No. 2127-0308.


  • PhD (1987) in Structural Engineering, thesis "Local Buckling of Plate Elements," Cornell University.
  • SMCE (1978) with a thesis in structural reliability, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • MASc (1976) in Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo.
  • BArch (1975) and BS Bldg Science (1974), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Professional Membership:

  • Structural Engineers Associations:  SEAONC (1979) and SEAoNY (2003).  SEAONC Professional Practice Committee and Corresponding Member of Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3).
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE, 1980). Committee on Practices to Reduce Failures and Forensic Practices Committee of the Forensic Engineering Division.
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI).
  • American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).
  • Applied Technology Council (ATC).               
  • The Society of the History of Technology (SHOT).
  • Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).
  • Corresponding Member of Basic Education Committee of NCSEA.

Certification: 10-hour OSHA Training Course in Construction Safety and Health, 10/10/2013.

Note: Dr. Cohen's list of projects is available upon request.