In Loving Memory of

Irving J. Oppenheim

P.E., Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Principal

As a professor of Civil Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Oppenheim taught engineering mechanics, structural design, building science in the architecture departmnet, probabilistic methods of risk analysis, earthquake engineer and shell theory. He served as advisor and mentor to numberous doctoral students involving structural stability, structural dynamics, control and computer-aided design

In addition to his full-time faculty position at Cartnegie Mellon University, Dr. Oppenheim was a founding partner of Romualdi, Davidson & Associates. Drs. James Romualdi and Irivng Oppenheim began Forensics Consutlants & Engineers—the forerunner of Romualdi, Davidson & Associates—in July 1981. Since the founding of the company, Dr. Oppenheim served as a principal and provided technical expertise in a variety of matters, but most specially provided his expertise in structural engineering in evaluating building and structural failures.

Dr. Oppenheim continued in an active role within the firm until shortly before his passing in February 2023. He will be sorely missed by those that have known and worked with him through the years. We hope to continue in his footsteps providing technical expertise to the issues that are brought to us in an objective manner, with conclusions and opitinons that are based upon sound, scientific bases.

Areas of Specialization

Failure analysis, indoor air quality, moisture intrusion, construction and industrial accidents, slip and fall accidents, ventilation and air conditioning systems, life safety systems, plumbing systems, fire protection systems, electrical systems, lighting systems, construction claims, explosions, building fires, and code compliance. Perform life safety studies and condition assessments for residential, commercial, institutional and resort buildings.

Professional Registration

  • Professional Engineer - Pennsylvania

Educational Background

  • B.C.E.
    • 1968
    • Cooper Union
  • M.S.
    • 1970
    • Lehigh University
  • Ph.D.
    • 1972
    • Cambridge University

Employment History

  • 1981 - 2022
    • Romualdi, Davidson & Associates
  • 1972 - 2022
    • Carnegie Mellon University
      • Professor of Architecture and Civil Engineering
  • 1989 - 1990
    • Carnegie Mellon University
      • Acting Head, Department of Architecture
  • 1980 - 1981
    • GAI Consultants
      • Senior Staff Engineer

Professional Experience

Teaching experience in engineering mechanics (statics, dynamics, structural analysis), structural design in civil engineering (steel, reinforced concrete, pre-stressed concrete), building science in architecture, structural design in architecture, probabilistic methods of risk analysis, earthquake engineering, and shell theory. Doctoral thesis supervision in structural stability, structural dynamics, control, and computer-aided design.

Research experience in risk analysis, masonry shell theory, robot manipulator dynamics, stability of balancing systems, structural collapse states, and so on.

Professional experience included full scale testing of load capacity for pre-stressed concrete roof construction; numerous studies of collapses in timber construction, steel construction, light-gauge steel construction, and reinforced concrete in all forms; investigation of failures in major industrial structures.

Specific examples include determination of the cause of collapse of a 45-foot diameter conical steel shell, of several steel truss and long-span joist systems under construction, of column failures in large concrete structures, of wire rope failures, of fatigue failures, of welding failures, of collapses encountered during demolition activities, and so on.

Professional experience also includes evaluation of architectural materials and building performance; systemic cracking of masonry or precast concrete; slip-resistance of architectural flooring materials; building material degradation; building cladding failures; determination of architectural code compliance; proportioning of stairs, handrails, and guardrails.

Professional experience also includes reconstruction of vehicular accidents, determination of roadway geometry, simulation of accident dynamics, and measurement of driver's field-of-view.