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Legal Liability of Professional Engineers: The Case of a Fire at a Shopping Center

  • Authors: Ala, G.; Favuzza, S.; Musca, R.; Zizzo, G.; Mitolo, M.
  • Publication year: 2019
  • Type: Contributo in atti di convegno pubblicato in volume
  • OA Link:


In this paper, the authors discuss the legal liabilities of the professional engineer as both the engineer of record of a project and the construction site manager. In particular, this paper analyzes the case of a fire at an end-user MV/LV substation of a shopping center in Italy, occurred a few years after maintenance works on the electrical installation. The professional engineer who had designed and overseen the construction of the substation was accused of criminal negligence. The authors through the examination of applicable technical standards, as well as of safety regulations, demonstrate that the professional engineer had acted diligently and that there was no ground for the negligence charges. The forensic analysis of the substation fire is provided, and the importance of the chain of custody, the chronological documentation, and the secure storing of all the artefacts and fire-damaged evidence are stressed. The authors believe that this paper can be a useful reference for electrical forensics engineers, investigating similar accidents.