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Failure analysis, accident & fire investigation-UTC Clients :


Mobile crane toppling accident in failure analysis and accident investigation

Failure Analysis Services
Forensic Accident Investigation Services


What Is Failure Analysis?

Failure analysis (or failure investigation) is consultation service which adopts systematic analysis approach to determine root cause(s) and mechansim(s) of failure and provide counter measures to prevent similar failure or accident recurrence. Failures often occur on products, facilities, infrastructures, production line and work sites in various industrial sectors, sometimes the failures can result in incident and/or accidents. Thus failures not only cause huge economic loss but also result in injuries or even fatalities. In case of damages are involved, failure analysis can be called damage analysis (or damage investigation). When equipment or infracstructure facility fractures involved in accident(s), fracture analysis or fracture investigation should be conducted.

Effective failure analysis and accident investigation can not only enhance reliability and safety, but also improve product quality and reduce operational cost & down time of facilities. Failure analysis is often called engineering failure analysis, including mechnical failure analysis or stress failure analysis, component failure analysis, electrical failure analysis and material failure analysis.

What Is Accident Investigation?

Accident investigation services use systematic processes of collection and analysis of information, data and evidences relating to an incident or accident that led to the loss of property, time or health of individuals, or even lives. Incident or accident happens in many ocassions such as workplaces, transportation, amusement, etc. Accident investigation and analysis is the scientific and academic examination of the facts and informtions that occurred during an incident or accident.

What Is Forensic Investigation and Analysis?

Forensic investigation and analysis is to apply scientific knowledge and methodology to legal issues and / or criminal investigations of the subject cases, thus it can assist the court or litigation for justifications. Therefore, forensic investigation and analysis sometimes are actually extension of failure analysis. The focus of failure analysis is on determining failure cause(s) & failure mechanism(s) while the focus of forensic investigation and analysis is on providing traceable evidences for clarifying resposibility and liability of the failure and accident.

Why Choose UTC for Failure Analysis Services and Accident Investigation Services?

  • UTC is one of leading independent investigation company in Singapore, consists of failure analysis experts and accident investigation experts with more than 35 years of experience and relevant qualifications.
  • UTC key staff have successfully led and completed thousands of consultation projects in forensic accident investigation and failure analysis served for aerospace, marine, petrochemical, electronic and microelectronic, construction, amusement, oil & gas, transportation industries and governmental agencies
  • UTC's failure analysis and accident investigation services had been well recognized by industries and Singapore government agencies including Republic of Singapore Air Force, DSTA, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Hyundai (Korea), PUB, SBS Transit, China Taiping Insurance, Rajah & Tann, WongPartnership, Universal Terminal,Takenaka (Japan) and MSIG Insurance, etc.
  • UTC's failure analysis services and accident investigation services are cost-effective, validated by a number of awards on relevant projects from government tenders in GeBIZ.
  • UTC's expert witness service and reports on failure analysis and accident investigation were proven and accepted by High Court, State Court, Criminal Court and Arbitration Court.

  • Contact UTC experts for failure analysis and forensic accident investigation services, please click EMAIL or Call (+65)81380509 for more details.


    Examples of UTC was Recently Awarded Failure Analysis and Accident Investigation Projects:

  • Investigation on various vehicle fires for MSIG Insurance.
  • Failure analysis and accident investigation on liquid dispenser fire for Consumer Safety Department of SPRING /Enterprise Singapore.
  • Failure analysis and investigation on building cladding (aluminium composite panel - ACP) fire at Toh Guan Road.
  • Failure analysis and accident investigation on explosion of electric storage water heater by Consumer Safety Department of SPRING Singapore/Enterprise Singapore.
  • Failure analysis investigation on damage items at and/or recovered from fire incident sites (two year contract + one year option) by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
  • Failure analysis on fractured manhole framesets from Public Utilities Board (PUB).

  • Click DOWNLOAD to download the brochure of failure analysis and accident investigation services or Call (+65)81380509 for more details.

    How to conduct failure analysis & accident investigation

    Failure analysis or sometimes called root cause analysis may use following techniques:
    • Fishbone diagram, i.e. Causes and effects diagram

    • Five why questioning, i.e. Asking why, why, why qestions until fundamental causes are identified

    • Fault tree analysis (FTA) is a top-down, deductive failure analysis

    • Failure modes and effects/criticality analysis (FMEA or FMECA), list possible failure modes are defined; the effects and probabilities of those failures

    • In general, a proper failure analysis procedure shall be adopted during failure analysis process, so that failure analysis and investigation can be proceeded step by step.
      1. Collecting relevant background information on the failure.
      2. General survey on the failure site and selecting specimens or samples for further examination and investigation.
      3. Visual and macroscopic examination on selected samples or specimens relevant to failure.
      4. Analysis and examination on samples or specimens with non-destructive techniques.
      5. Examination and analysis on samples or specimens with destructive techniques.
      6. Simulation analysis or simulation experiment.
      7. Data analysis on the analysis & investigation findings and logical inference.
      8. Report preparation to inculde failure analysis findings and conclusions.

    Singapore failure analysis services & accident investigation services

      Government failure analysis services and accident investigation services
    • Occupational Safety and Health Division of Ministry of Manpower (MOM) - focus on workplace accident investigation, including those accidents happened in plants, factory and construction sites.
    • MINDEF, investigating all military related failures and accidents for RSAF, Navy and SAF while Defence Science Technology Agency (DSTA) outsource necessary failure analysis and accident investigation services.
    • Fire Investigation Unit of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) - focus on investigating various fire accidents including structure fires (building fires), plant fires and vehicle fires investigation.
    • Land Transport Authority (LTA) - focus on investigating various accidents in rails, trains, vehicles, roads and associated transport infrastructures.
    • Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) of Ministry of Transport (MOT) - TSIB is the air and marine accidents and incidents investigation authority in Singapore.
    • SPRING/Enterprise Singapore - investigating accidents / failures of consumer products including home electrical and electronics.
    • Public Utilities Board (PUB) - focus on failure and accidents related to public utilities, especially water supply (pipelines, pumps etc.) and processing systems.
    • When personnel injuries and crimes involved or fatal accidents, Singapore Police Force may participate the investigation. In case of some high profile or complicated accidents, the goverment agencies except TSIB may engage third party investigation team(s) for accident investigation or failure anayis

      Commercial /industrial failure analysis services and accident investigation services
    • Companies encounter failures and/or accidents, they may carry out their own failure analysis or accident investigation for most of ordinary cases. They may outsource third party investigator for complex or challenging or litigation related cases.
    • Thirty party investigators - they carry out independent failure analysis and accident investigation upon outsourcing or request from government agencies, companies or individuals.
    • Third party testing companies - their main business are product and/or material testing, they may give some interpretations based on their testing results.
    • Insurance companies, they may conduct investigation on accidents and failures for settling claims or engage third party investigators for accident investigation or failure analysis.
    • Loss adjusters, they mainly assess the damages and loss of accidents or failures.
    • Surveyors - they mainly survey the accident sites and write survey report.

    UTC's expert areas in failure analysis & accident investigation

    Objectives of failure analysis & accident investigation

      Effective failure analysis (FA) and accident investigation will:

    • Determine root cause(s) of failures/accidents/incidents.
    • Find out mechanism(s) of failures, incidents and accidents.
    • Recommend counter measures and solutions to prevent recurrence of failures and accidents.
    • Support litigation/court hearing on litigation/liabilities related to failures and accidents


    • Click here to understand more about what is effective failure analysis and accident investigation.

    Effective failure analysis and accident investigation

    What is effective failure analysis and accident investigation

    After conducting failure analysis or accident investigation, the conclusion could be wrong, inconclusive or inrelevant, lack of logical or evidence, such kind of conclusion would be misleading, not only the analysis and investigation money as well as precise time are wasted, but also the failures or accidents could not be solved and prevented, it would further damage reputation and even litigation loss.

    The effective failure analysis or accident investigation must be comprehensive, logical, adapt scientificaly proven methods, and get right conclusion with solid evidence.

    How to validate effective failure analysis and/or accident investigation

    Effectiveness of failure analysis and accident investigation can be evaluated from following aspects:
  • Explain all observed phenomena and findings or data.
  • Feedback from the clients.
  • Peer review.
  • The effect after investigation and implementation.
  • Court acceptance
  • Only the evaluations from all the above aspects are positive, such failure analysis or accident investigation would be effective.

    Key elements for effective failure analysis and accident investigation


  • Qualified investigator(s)
  • Good track records
  • Proven analysis or investigation procedure and approach
  • Multi-discipline and cooperative team
  • Adequate analysis and investigation tools – instruments
  • Impartial and objective mind

  • CORE of effective failure analysis or accident investigation – Selecting analyst or investigator.

    How to select right failure analyst or accident investigator

    To ensure the failure analysis or accident investigation be effective, it is crucial to select right analyst or investigator.

    Requirements of good analyst or investigator
    They shall be able to take a comprehensive approach, covering a large spectrum of disciplines, to derive the correct cause(s) of failures or accidents.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of related fields;
  • Abundant relevant experience;
  • Hands-on skills and familiar to instruments/analytical techniques;
  • knack for gathering information;
  • Ability to filter artificial/distorted information;
  • Logical thinking;
  • Absolute honesty and integrity;
  • Open minded;
  • Team work;
  • Professional sense.

  • Cost vs. quality of failure analysis and accident investigation Effectiveness of failure analysis and/or accident investigation can be evaluated from following aspects:
  • According to a study by IBM, > 72% consumers are more concerned with quality of medicine and food they buy rather than price.
  • Why? Medicine Quality i.e. its effectiveness is more crucial / important for curing diseases.
  • Similarly, only effctive failure analysis or accident investigation would be beneficial to people and society.
  • Ineffective analysis or investigation would result in non-conclusive or wrong conclusions, they not only do not have any value or but also waste precise time and cause misleading.
  • Only the evaluations from all the above aspects are positive, such failure analysis or accident investigation would be effective.

    Lower price is not equal to saving
  • Ineffective analysis or investigation - no value or even negative value, no matter how cheap.
  • Price comparison must be based on the same experience and track records of investigators.

  • Cost of effective analysis or investigation
  • First of all, the analysis or investigation must be effective - quality report with right conclusion supported by solid evidence and scientific theory.
  • Secondly, the price shall be competitive.
  • They must be open market proven, demonstrated in GeBiz government tenders
  • Traceable track records

  • Traceable track records of analyst or investigator

    Basic qualifications

  • Education
  • Accreditation
  • Experience

  • Outstanding performance

  • Publications in international journals and conferences
  • Acceptance showing in Court statements
  • News paper reporting
  • Positive peer review on analysis or investigation report/conclusions
  • Recognition feedback from clients

  • UTC's experts as analysts or investigators

    - Qualifications and accreditation

  • PhD in relevant disciplines/areas
  • Fellow of Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES)
  • Chartered Engineer in relevant areas (UK)
  • Member, National Association of Fire Investigators (USA)
  • Certified Pressure vessel inspector API 510 (American Petroleum Institute)
  • Expert/Technical Assessor of Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC)
  • Executive committee member of The Institute of Materials (East Asia)
  • Accomplished thousands of relevant projects, please refer to "Typical UTC failure analysis and accident projects" Section of this web page.

  • - Outstanding performance

  • A number of technical articles published in international journals and conferences, e.g. Forensic investigation on crane accidents, published in International Journal on Forensic Engineering, Vol.3 No 4, 2017
  • Expert witness reports and conclusions accepted by Court(s), e.g The judge’s statement: “The analysis report was not challenged. It was clearly at the odds ...”, Extracted from High Court Judgement in “Singapore Law watch” (2011) and Singaporelaw.sg (MovingU Pte Ltd vs. Trans-cab Service Pte Ltd) (Clause 27).
  • Recognition by governments, e.g. Dr Yu's contributions in investigating major MRT disruptions, and as expert witness testifying during Committee Of Inquiry (COI), as shown in COI Report – Ministry of Transportation 2012, Page 134
  • Dr Yu correctly determined the root cause of massive MRT breakdowns on July 7, 2015, featured in Top views of The Straits Times, Top of News, 30 July 2015.
  • Recognition feedback from clients, e.g. DSTA procurement manager' email:“SAF has cooperated with UTC several times previously and UTC has proven to be capable of fulfilling our requirements. We are very satisfied with UTC's performance.”

  • - Proven cost effective failure analysis and accident investigation


    UTC's analyses and investigations are competitive, which are demonestrated in markets, e.g. in Gebiz tenders, UTC was awarded many projects such as:
  • MOM, Investigation on fatal gate toppling at construction site.
  • SCDF, Period contract of accident investigation (2015-2018).
  • SCDF, Period contract of accident investigation (2019-2020)
  • LTA, Conduct training course “Vehicle Fire Investigation” (3 runs)
  • SPRING, Investigation on explosion of storage water heater
  • Enterprise SG, Investigation on liquid dispenser fire
  • RSAF, Investigation on unmanned aerial vehicle structure fracture
  • RSAF, Investigation on aircraft brake bolt failure
  • SCDF, Investigation on taxi fire and explosion near Buona Vista MRT
  • SCDF, Forensic investigation on taxi fire @ Maymount Road
  • PUB – 1 year contract for failure analysis and damage investigation


  • Cross sectional examination for failure analysis or accident investigation
    hovercraft gearbox fracture failure analysis and accident investigation

    Hovercraft gear fracture failure analysis and accident investigation

    Typical UTC accident investigation and failure analysis projects

      Our experts had successfully accomplished thousands of failure analysis and accident investigation projects, some typical cases are listed as follows:

    • Failure analysis on damages of mechanical system of amusement rides (track, roller coaster vehicle)
    • Forensic investigation on mass rapid transport system (MRT) / subway accident (trains, power supply, track)
    • Forensic investigation on taxi/car/vehicle fire and explosion
    • Investigation on accidents of cranes (wire rope breakage, boom frame fracture, brake system failure, bearing damage, crane topple)
    • Forensic investigation on building cladding (aluminium composite panel -ACP) fire and expert witness in high court
    • Failure analysis on aerospace engine damages (turbine blades, fan blades, vanes, etc.)
    • Investigation on paint and coating failures
    • Forensic investigation on automotive steering system and shaft failure(transportation)
    • Failure analysis on lift wire rope fracture/breakage/snapped of building
    • Investigation and failure analysis on aerospace landing gear system failure
    • Failure investigation on hovercraft accident (gearbox, propeller) in shipyard
    • Failure analysis on damages in gas and steam turbines
    • Failure investigation on notebook computer burning
    • Failure analysis on gearbox explosion
    • Forensic investigation on failures in jack-up rigs (pipe corrosion, glass cracking)
    • Failure analysis on fractures of wire ropes in multi-wenches lifting system
    • Failure investigation on extra-hydrogen release in huge battery of Submarine
    • Investigation on failures of PCB, PCBA, LCD, passive components and IC
    • Forensic investigation on heat exchanger burst
    • Failure analysis on submarine power cable damage
    • Failure investigation on winch wire rope snapping in construction site
    • Forensic investigation on transformer fire in plant
    • Failure analysis on engine components (piston, crankshaft, camshaft, bearings, connecting rod, bolts, engine block, etc.)
    • Forensic investigation on explosion of power distribution system in plant
    • Failure investigation on large ship-lifting system welding joint cracking in shipyard (marine)
    • Forensic investigation on incidents in Singapore Flyer
    • Failure analysis of pipeline and piping system according to FITNET FFS
    • Investigation on failures in building & structures etc.
    Failures and accidents may relate to damage, fault or fire caused by mechanical, chemical, material, electrical factors or human factors.

    UTC's role in failure analysis and accident investigation services


    UTC is one of leading independent third party investigators. UTC's experts are often engaged by government agencies and companies for failure analysis and accident investigation. Typical examples including:

    Goverment's accident investigation and failure analysis projects from all relevant goverment agencies except TSIB (never outsourcing or tender in GeBIZ) were awarded to UTC, e.g.:
  • Failure analysis investigation on Taxi fire and explosion near Buona Vista MRT, awarded by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
  • Investigating fatal gate toppling at construction site and as expert witness testifying in Criminal Court, awarded by Occupational Safety and Health Division of Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
  • Failure analysis and accident investigation on explosion of electric storage water heater, awarded by Consumer Safety Department of SPRING Singapore/Enterprise Singapore
  • Investigation and failure analysis on damage items at and/or recovered from incident sites (two year contract + one year option), awarded by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
  • Failure analysis on fractured manhole framesets, awarded by Public Utilities Board (PUB)
  • Failure analysis and accident investigation on liquid dispenser fire, awarded by Consumer Safety Department of SPRING /Enterprise Singapore
  • Conducting "Vehicle Fire Investigation" course, awarded by Land Transport Authority (LTA).
  • Failure investigation analysis on landing gear system failure of UAV, awarded by MINDEF/DSTA/RSAF.
  • Commercial failure analysis and accident investigation project examples:
  • Investigating building cladding (aluminium composite panel - ACP) fire at Toh Guan Road and as expert witness in High Court
  • Investigation on various vehicle fires for MSIG Insurance
  • Forensic investigation on crane collapse accident at National Art Gallery, engaged by Takenaka (Japan)
  • Failure investigation analysis on 29" oil pipeline leakage, engaged by Universal Terminal
  • News of failure analysis & accident investigation

    Relevant publications on failure analysis and accident investigation

    Recent Litigation and Court Cases

    A mobile crane toppled when lifting an 40 feet container, resulting in damages amount to several hundred of thousands dollars. UTC was engaged to investigate the accident causes and as expert witness in legal litigation. According to the court record, the Judge accepted our conclusion that the crane toppled was due to defective/malfunctional AML system.

    A heavy gate toppled during installation and caused a worker death. UTC was engaged by MOM for accident investigation and as expert witness in this court case. According to Straits Times and Channel NewsAsia's reports, the court ruled that the contractor was fined S$280,000 for fatal gate toppling. The contractor filed appeal, but lost the appeal and punishment was increased from S$280,000 to S$330,000 for fatal gate toppling. UTC had successfully determined the root causes of the accident and testified in the court hearing by providing solid evidences with scientific methodolody.

    One crane collapsed in a construction site, which severely damaged the nearby plant facilities and workshop during lifting operation. China Taiping Insurance engaged UTC to investigate the accident and as expert witness in legal suit. We successfully determined the root causes of the accident. Shortly after receiving our report, the case was settled favourably before court hearing.

    Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of fracture surface in failure analysis and accident investigation

    Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrum in failure analysis and accident investigation

    Failure analysis and investigation on break wire rope by UTC (corrosion, fatigue and wear)

    Failure analysis and accident investigation by UTC

    Contact UTC experts for failure analysis or accident investigation services, please click EMAIL or Call (+65)81380509 for more details.