Mark Duckett, P.E., S.I. Structural Engineer, Special Inspector & Construction Expert

Mark Duckett, Structural Engineer, Special Inspector & Construction Expert

Mark Duckett is an expert in structural engineering, including building design and inspection, professional liability, value engineering, and building defects. He is also an expert in wind engineering; specifically, how wind acts upon structures and how structures react to the wind.

Mark has over three decades of professional experience in structural engineering; in this time he has designed and inspected all types of structures including residential, commercial, marine, industrial, institutional, religious, retail, hi-rise, and warehouse structures. His expertise extends to most building materials, including concrete, steel, wood, masonry and many others.

Mark has experience rewriting structural portions of the Florida building code. He provides consultation to the Florida Board of Professional Engineers in professional liability matters and has also provided professional opinions on matters related to value engineering, code compliance, and professional standard-of-care. Mark is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, and is also a Special (Threshold) Inspector in Florida. He is a registered Professional Engineer in more than twenty states.

Engineering Profile

Over three decades of experience in the structural engineering industry designing and inspecting structures and structural components of all types of materials for residential projects ranging from single-family custom homes to high-rise apartment and hotel buildings; postal facilities, nursing home facilities, waste water treatment structures, auto dealership buildings; commercial projects including restaurants, office buildings, self-storage facilities and shopping centers; industrial buildings including fabrication shops, manufacturing facilities, production plants, pre-engineered metal buildings and metal building foundations; medical facilities including medical office buildings, hospitals, animal hospitals and helipad additions to hospitals; institutional facilities including schools, classroom buildings, churches, sanctuaries, dormitories, gymnasiums, auditoriums and correctional facilities; marine structures including sea-walls, docks, piers, boat-storage facilities and culverts; parking structures; historical building retrofitting and renovations; pedestrian bridges; shoring plan preparation; structural steel shop drawing preparation; renovations of all project types; concrete restoration and balcony restoration projects and a multitude of varying types of warehouse projects.

Provided demolition/engineering services to demolition contractors. Performed structural survey of existing structures to be demolished and created a demolition plan outlining sequence of demolition activities, inclusive of shoring requirements.
Inspector of threshold (special) buildings and non-threshold buildings. Prepared investigative reports, site observation reports, building envelope inspections and reports and performed peer reviews with accompanying reports. Special Inspector for masonry construction.

Acted as owner’s representative on construction projects where he observed the contractor’s actions, documented and verified the contractor’s general progress to facilitate/approve pay requests by the contractor and reported safety and OSHA violations to the contractor when they were observed.

Proficient in the following structural systems: concrete (reinforced and non-reinforced)post-tensioned concrete, prestressed concrete, precast concrete, concrete “tilt-up,” concrete masonry (reinforced and non-reinforced), structural steel, light-gauge steel, aluminum, wood (structural lumber and heavy-timber), composite floor systems, foundation systems including grade-bearing foundations (continuous footings, individual column footings and multiple column footings), “mat” foundations, monolithic foundations, pile-supported foundations with grade beams, driven piles (concrete, steel and wood) and auger-cast concrete piles, drilled caissons as well as vibroflotation and vibroreplacement foundation systems.

Design Project Types:

  • Vierendeel Truss Pedestrian Walkway Bridge. Steel truss (entire bridge) erected between existing Performing Arts Building and existing Parking Garage with less than 1” tolerance each end.
  • Concrete, circular (unsupported 360 degrees) stairs. Also similar steel and wood stairs.
  • Post-tensioned, transfer beams and slabs. Post-tensioning was “staged” due to constructions sequencing.
  • Below-grade basement design (in Florida, below water table). Design needed to address buoyancy of below-grade structure.
  • Designed over 4.6 million square feet of tilt-up buildings and their associated tilt-wall panels.
  • Low-Rise, mid-rise and hi-rise building design and inspection experience.
  • Theater and Performing Art design; proscenium designs, stage designs, etc.
  • Retrofitting and reinforcing of existing steel roofs to support new mechanical equipment and increased loads.
  • Project Manager for nation’s largest retail renovation project (at its time); Loehmanns Fashion Island, N. Miami Beach, FL.
  • Designed nation’s largest tilt panels (at its time); BHA Headquarters, Sunrise, FL.
  • "Building-within-a building”; Hurricane-proof building design for N. Broward Hospital District to protect district’s data center. Building designed for wind speeds exceeding 175 mph; Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
  • 60 foot high, free-standing decorative arched frames serving as “sun-shades” for walkways at retail mall; Loehmanns Fashion Island, N. Miami Beach, FL.
  • Helipad addition to Bethesda Memorial Hospital; Boynton Beach, FL.
  • Churches efficiently designed utilizing tilt-up panels despite complex geometry and difficult lifting procedures.
  • Shoring design and inspection.
  • Numerous renovations and/or additions to existing structures. Often, existing structure required by code to be “brought up’ to new code requirements, as well.
  • Designed Threshold buildings, created Threshold Inspections plans and performed Threshold (Special) Inspections.
  • Heavy Timber design (residential structures and retail structures).
  • Designed job-site wood ladders.
  • School with “playground” located on the 4th -story roof; exterior walls cantilevered 12’-0” vertically to provide safety “barrier” for playground.
  • Designed skylight systems for skylight manufacturing company.
  • Prototype residential design for numerous models for national homebuilder.
  • Satellite dish support frames.
  • Crane support design.
  • Guardrail and Handrail Design; Systems guarding edges of stairs, balconies, loading docks, mezzanines, elevated platforms, docks and decks. Designed systems constructed of masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, wood, glass and cables.
  • MRI Facility Designs.
  • Casino design.
  • Designed water treatment concrete tanks.
  • Linear Accelerator Facility Designs.
  • Design of Foundations and Support Pads for Printing Presses and other Vibrating Machinery.
  • Concrete slab-on-grade design and analysis for industrial loadings (forklift, racks, posts, etc.).
  • Heavy timber truss designs; structural frames and roof systems utilizing heavy timber members.
  • Numerous field observations for construction defects, design defects, proper shoring, proper construction, etc.
  • Historic Buildings: shoring design, retrofitting and renovations.
  • Designed and inspected “Special Event” seating and stair structures.
  • "Tunnel Form” design and construction of multifamily residential buildings.
  • Provided structural plans for the relocation and “raising” of an existing 3 story building; physically relocated building approximately 100 meters from original site and raised building 5 feet in height.
  • Provided prototype designs for “7-11” structures and their canopies.
  • Provided prototype designs for “NationsRent” structures at “Lowes” home improvement sites.
  • Provided expert opinions to the Florida Board of Professional Engineers in disciplinary cases. Examples include standard of care, negligence and code-compliance issues.
  • Provided peer-review reports for clients. Value engineering, code compliance and standard of care were paramount issues addressed.

Inspection/Investigation Project Types:

  • Masonry Inspections; proper construction techniques and materials, proper reinforcing - size and location(s), proper mortar and grout, proper grouting technique (low-lift vs. high-lift), masonry inspections required for reinforced masonry construction in South Florida by Special Inspector.
  • Concrete Member Inspections; check form size and structural adequacy, proper reinforcing, proper tying of reinforcing bars, proper concrete cover prior to pouring.
  • Structural Steel Inspections; verify member sizes, proper connections, proper bracing.
  • Steel Welding Inspections; verify weld type, weld size and length as well as weld quality in addition to verifying required welder certifications.
  • Foundation Inspections; check for proper size, proper reinforcing and reinforcing cover, proper soil preparation/treatment.
  • Door/Window Inspections; confirm proper installation inclusive of wood bucks, connectors and/or conformance to product approvals (new construction and retrofitting of existing).
  • Wood Inspections; verify member sizes, species and grade, spacing, connections, connector size and quantity.
  • Truss Inspections; observed placement of wood truss systems to ensure proper “lifting” techniques, proper bracing, proper connections, verified that safety procedures were followed.
  • Truss Plant Inspections; Performed (State required) monthly inspections of truss manufacturing facilities to verify workplace safety, proper truss manufacturing including proper lumber size, grade and species, proper connector size, gauge, orientation, placement, embedment and proper storage of completed trusses.
  • Light Gauge Metal Inspections; verify member size, material thickness (gauge), spacing, orientation, location, connections, connector size and quantity, proper bracing.
  • Seawall Inspections; verify proper pile size and embedment, proper wall reinforcing size, spacing and cover, proper cap size and reinforcing as well as proper backfilling.
  • Roofing Inspections; confirm proper deck/substrate material and connections, “tin-tag” inspections, verify secondary waterproof membrane (required in South Florida), proper roofing connections and /or methods of adhering to substrate.
  • Guardrail and Handrail Inspections; Confirm conformance with plans and specifications regarding material used, all dimensions, connections, height, location and edge distances; verified welds, welder’s qualifications, bolt size, spacing and embedment.
  • Canopy and Awning Inspections; confirmed conformance with plans and specifications, verified welder’s certifications, inspected welds (typically aluminum members and welding), verified proper decking and attachment.
  • Shoring Inspections; verified conformance to plans and specifications related to layout, size, capacity(s), base and cap plates, intermediate framing.
  • Building Envelope Inspections; Reviewed plans and/or performed field observations to determine source(s) of water intrusion and/or causes for cracking (residential, commercial, industrial and retail buildings).
  • Steel Deck Inspection; verified proper deck material (thickness), orientation, laps, as well as connector type, size and spacing.
  • Steel Joist Inspection; verified correct joists, spacing, proper bracing, proper connections.
  • Metal Building Inspections; confirmed erection in accordance to plans and specifications, member thicknesses, sizes, orientations, locations and spacing as well as connector type, size and quantity.
  • "30-Year Inspections”; verified structural adequacy and safety on “older” buildings, verified conformance to “checklist” of structural items and issues as required in South Florida municipalities.
  • Settlement Investigations; investigated causes for settlement of buildings, pools, decks, seawalls, etc.
  • Floor Cracking Investigations; investigated causes of floor cracks in slabs-on-grade and elevated floor systems.
  • Wall/Building Cracking Investigations; investigated causes for wall and/or building cracking including settlement, faulty construction, improper soil consolidation, etc.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.

Associate

2010 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony towards the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving construction practices, structural design, failure analysis, and code compliance in the commercial and residential construction industries.

Mark Duckett, P.E., S.I.

Sole Proprietor

2011 to present

Consulting Structural Engineer and Special Inspector

Duckett Engineering Group, Inc

President

1997 to 2011

Duties included all aspects of running a consulting structural engineering business (design, drafting, shop drawing review, contract negotiation and preparation, billing/collections, etc.).

Jenkins & Charland

1988 to 1997

Engineering Manager 1994-1997
Duties expanded to include management of entire professional staff, inspection personnel and clerical staff. Provided design review and quality control of all work leaving the office; answered directly to company president.

Project Engineer 1990-1994
Duties expanded to include management of larger projects, overseeing junior engineers and to include fee proposals and budgeting.

Project Engineer 1988-1990
Duties included running marine division (sea-walls, docks and piers), field inspections, client contact, small projects, flagpole and lightpole designs.

Sullivan & Associates

Project Engineer

1985 to 1988

Wood and wood truss design. Firm was a consulting firm to numerous local truss plants; provided solutions to complex truss designs, whether it was loading, modeling or actual truss designs. Also, performed state mandated truss plant inspections for quality control of truss plants.

Dean Steel Buildings

Design Engineer

1985

Designed pre-engineered, pre-fabricated metal building systems for both estimating purposes and for construction.

Professional Credentials

  • Certified as a Florida Threshold (Special) Inspector. In Florida, Threshold Buildings are defined as those buildings that are greater than 3 stories or 50 feet in height, or which have an assembly classification that exceeds 5,000 square feet in area, or an occupant content of greater than 500 persons. These buildings have been so defined to qualify for a “higher” degree of inspection, based upon their implied importance. Certification as a Special Inspector is awarded after demonstrating years of proficiency in designing and inspecting “Threshold” Buildings under a Florida Professional Engineer who already is certified as a Special Inspector and upon the recommendation of professional references.
  • Member of a structural committee whose task was to re-write structural portions of the 1994 Florida Building Code. Participation in this committee was “invitation-only” and was comprised of local building officials, prominent engineering consultants and industry-based lobbyists. Code revisions were under-way prior to Hurricane Andrew although significant changes based upon experiences learned from the damage resulting from Hurricane Andrew were then incorporated into the code.
  • As a result of an opportunity to study under the “founders” of wind engineering (engineers and scientists who originally authored the Wind Loading Standard for the United States, now referred to as ASCE 7,and who chaired the Wind Loading Committee for its initial 12 years), expert knowledge of wind loading and engineering as it applies to structures was attained. Area of practice for over 25 years has been South Florida based, an area designated in the current code as a HVHZ (High Velocity Hurricane Zone), and subject to stringent code restrictions and requirements for design, construction and inspection.
  • Consultant to the Florida Board of Professional Engineers providing expert opinions in the form of reports. In this capacity, opinions are provided on such issues as engineering negligence, standard-of-care and code-compliance of plans for structural engineers brought to the Board for disciplinary investigation. Extensive knowledge of Building Codes, Building Standards and Florida Statutes as pertaining to the engineering profession is requisite for these activities.

Professional Registrations

Professional Engineer: NCEES; Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

Threshold (Special) Inspector: Florida

Education

Bachelor of Science (Engineering Sciences), University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1985

Continuing Education:

  • Laws and Rules for Indiana Engineers (revised for 2022), July 2022
  • An Introduction to SDI NC-2010 Standard for Non-Composite Steel Floor, December 2021
  • An Introduction to SDI RD-2010 Standard for Steel Roof Deck, December 2021
  • Deep Foundations, December 2021
  • Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls in Failure Investigations, December 2021
  • Changes in One- and Two-Way Shear (ACI 318-19), November 2021
  • Durable Repair of Corroding Structures; Case Studies Part 1, November 2021
  • Troubleshooting Concrete Formwork and Shoring; Forming Systems and Forming Economics, June 2021
  • Troubleshooting Concrete Forming and Shoring: Loads and Pressures and Reshoring of Multistory Buildings, June 2021
  • Troubleshooting Concrete Forming and Shoring: Form Removal and Tolerances, June 2021
  • Failures Related to Concrete Volume Change and Restraint, 2021
  • Troubleshooting Concrete Forming and Shoring: Forming Systems and Forming Economics, 2021
  • Troubleshooting Concrete Forming and Shoring: Loads and Pressures and Reshoring of Multistory Buildings, 2021
  • Troubleshooting Concrete Forming and Shoring: Form Removal and Tolerances, 2021
  • Response of Concrete Structures Subjected to Blast Loading-Introduction, 2021
  • A Case Study of the Design of Curb-Mounted Rooftop Unit Support Frames, December 2020
  • Blast Protection of Buildings-Blast-Resistant Design of Systems, and Components, December 2020
  • Avoiding Problems in Masonry Construction, December 2020
  • Applied Structural Vibration Analysis: Design and Troubleshooting, November 2019
  • Texas ASCE Guidelines for the Evaluation and Repair of Residential Foundations, June 2019
  • An Introduction to ASCE 7-16 Wind Loads – Three Part Series, Parts I, II, III, June 2019
  • Building Structures and Sustainability, June 2019
  • Deflection Calculation of Concrete Floors, June 2019
  • Design of Building Structures for Serviceability, June 2019
  • Design of Adhesive Anchors, June 2019
  • Design of Building Floors for Concentrated Loads, June 2019
  • Evaluating Damage and Repairing Metal Plate Connected Wood Trusses, October 2018
  • Foundations for Metal Building Systems, October 2018
  • Scaffold Competent Person Certification, October 2018
  • Ethics for Professionals, June 2018
  • Design for Lateral-Load Resistance in Structural Steel, June 2018
  • Assessment and Evaluation Methods and Tools of Structural Forensic Investigations, June 2018
  • Alternative Designs for Steel Ordinary Moment Frames, June 2018
  • Design of Masonry Anchors, June 2018
  • Deciphering Building Code Provisions for Structural Renovations, June 2018
  • Corrective Work in Steel Structures, December 2017
  • Alternative Designs for Anchorage to Concrete, December 2017
  • Investigation, Analysis, and Remediation of Building Failures, March 2017
  • Significant Changes from ASCE 7-10 to ASCE 7-16, March 2017
  • Florida Laws & Rules for Professional Engineers, February 2017
  • Avoiding Failures of Retaining Walls, December 2016
  • Laws, Rules and Ethics for Indiana Professional Engineers, July 2016
  • Ethical Decision Making for Engineers #4, June 2016
  • Structural Condition Assessment of Existing Structures, March 2016
  • 2014 Florida Building Code; Advanced Building Structural Design; Chapter 16, June 2016
  • ASCE 7-10 Snow Load Provisions, December 2015
  • Significant Changes to the Wind Load Design Procedure of ASCE 7-10, December 2015
  • Design of Reinforced Concrete Liquid Structures, December 2015
  • The Role of the Specialty Engineer from the Wood Truss Industry’s Perspective, December 2015
  • Hurricane Damage: Wind vs. Water Determination, October 2015
  • International Building Code & More: Occupancy Classification and Loads, October 2015
  • Ethical Decision Making for Engineers #3, October 2015
  • Ethical Decision Making for Engineers #2, October 2015
  • Design of Reinforced Concrete Using ACI Code: Serviceability, October 2015
  • Laws, Rules and Ethics for Texas Engineers, June 2015
  • Dynamically Loaded Machine and Equipment Foundations, March 2015
  • ACI 318-14 Building Code Seminar, February 2015
  • Florida Engineers Laws and Rules, February 2015
  • Wind Load Calculations and Other Wind Issues, May 2014
  • Wind Load Calculations; Structural Applications, May 2014
  • Ethical Decision Making for Engineers, April 2014
  • Wood Design: Properties of Wood & Lumber Grade, April 2014
  • Reinforced Concrete Tilt-Up Panels, April 2014
  • Masonry Design: Clay and Ceramic Products, April 2014
  • Design of Commercial/Industrial Guardrail Systems for Fall Protection, Oct. 2013
  • Design Loads on Structures during Construction Using ASCE 37, June 2013
  • Antiquated Structural Systems, June 2013
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) in Structural Engineering Practice, May 2013
  • Wind Loads, May 2013
  • Ethical Behavior – The Key to Earning Trust, May 2013
  • Seismic Design/Performance of Building Structures, 2012
  • Seismic Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, 2012
  • OSHA #510 course (30-hour) – Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry, 2011
  • OSHA 10-hour course, 2011 ASTM Workshop on Conducting Periodic Façade Inspections, 2011

Professional Memberships

  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • American Concrete Institute (ACI)

Publications

“Anchoring Tilt-Wall Braces with Helical Ground Anchors; a Structurally Unstable Condition;” BOAF (Building Officials Association of Florida), Summer 2010

Media

Live national telephone interview with Arthel Neville, host of America’s News HQ on Fox News on the evening of September 10, 2017. The subject of the interview was the vulnerability of construction site tower cranes left standing during a hurricane event and the recent collapse of two (2) of those tower cranes in Miami due to winds from Hurricane Irma

Regarding Structural Steel Retrofitting of Texas A&M’s Football Stadium: Interview, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, College Park, TX, “Kyle Field Reinforces Swaying Aggies’ Concerns,” July 5, 2015.

v. 09/12/22

Related Resources

See All of Mark's Published Content

The Standard of Care for Fastener Selection

By Mark Duckett
Expert Article

The root cause analysis in many structural failure investigations leads directly to a failed connection, and ultimately to a failed fastener. The failure of a connection often leaves a structure…

Concrete Spalling

By Mark Duckett
Expert Article

In this article, the civil and structural engineers at Robson Forensic provide an introductory lesson on concrete spalling. They address the common causes and why spalling is a problem. Concrete…

Snow Related Roof Failures

By Mark Duckett
Expert Article

In this article, structural engineer, Mark Duckett, P.E. discusses roof failures associated with snow loads. Topics of discussion include reasonable loads that roofs are designed to support and the…

Wind Engineering: Assessing Causation & Damages

Thursday, October 08, 2020
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Mark Duckett
Video Webinar

In this webinar video, structural engineer Mark Duckett, P.E., S.I., provides an overview of wind dynamics, focusing on the way wind interacts with buildings and various structures and products. He…

Construction Guardrail Failures

Thursday, September 16, 2021
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Mark Duckett
Video Webinar

Construction guardrails used around elevated work surfaces are relatively simple systems, but are critical to worker safety on the job site. In this webinar, Structural Engineer, Mark Duckett, P.E.…

Construction Fall Investigations

Thursday, December 03, 2020
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Gregory H. Pestine & Mark Duckett
Webinar

This webinar will examine the standards and circumstances that figure prominently in construction fall investigations. Civil Engineer, Greg Pestine will provide an introduction to OSHA 1926 with an…