James R. Drebelbis

Curriculum Vitae


J R DrebelbisArchitect and Structural Engineer
2909 Cole Avenue, Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75204
214-468-8118 jim@drebelbisengineering.com

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Executive Summary

Mr. Drebelbis is an Architect and Structural Engineer with over 40 years of experience in all phases of building construction and performance, project management, and producing documents for building construction (drawings, specifications, change orders). Expertise includes building system evaluations (roofing, foundations, structure, and assembly of materials), investigation of code compliance, structural failure cause and origin, slip/trip and fall investigation, development of master specifications for building construction, and auditing and defining construction claims for surety interests in construction. Experience includes familiarity with industrial structures, schools, hospitals, public buildings, office buildings, parking structures, and residences.

Areas of Technical Experience and Expertise

  • Construction technology
  • Building codes
  • Forensic engineering
  • Weather & disaster related damage
  • Roofing & waterproofing systems
  • Water and moisture intrusion
  • Stair construction
  • Performance of building materials
  • Application of building materials
  • Selection of building materials
  • Structural engineering
  • Site and building drainage
  • Foundation design
  • Soil behavior
  • Concrete workmanship and design
  • Professional ethics
  • Delivery of architectural and engineering services


  • Bachelor of Science Architectural Engineering — University of Kansas 1968
  • Master of Business Administration — Western Michigan University 1978

Professional Registration

  • Professional Engineer: Texas (54504), Kansas (15064), Oklahoma (21811), Louisiana (31934), New Mexico (18463)
  • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (27200)
  • Architect Texas (No. 8785)

Professional Recognition

  • Academic Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society – 1966)
  • Sigma Tau (Engineering Honor Society – 1966)
  • Tau Sigma Delta (Architectural Honor Society – 1967)
  • Goldwin Goldsmith Award (Outstanding Architectural Engineering Student – 1968)
  • Professional AIA/Dallas President’s Medal (in recognition for extraordinary service – 1993)

Legislative Accomplishment

Initiated corrective language through State Senator John Corona to modify the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 150.002 Certificate of Merit to clarify the qualifications of those qualified to write a certificate of merit by replacing the words “practices in the same area of practice as…” with the current wording: “is knowledgeable in the area of practice of the defendant and offers testimony based on the person’s knowledge, skill, experience, education, training and practice.” Corrective language was proposed during the 2009 legislative section, unanimously passed by the Senate and the House of the State of Texas, and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on June 19, 2009.

Professional Affiliations and Community Participation

  • American Institute of Architects Member since 1978
  • AIA/Dallas Executive Committee (1994)
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
  • American Institute of Timber Construction
  • International Code Council
  • Better Business Bureau of Dallas — Certified Arbitrator 1991
  • American Institute of Steel Construction
  • American Welding Society

Professional Employment History

Dates Employer, Position, and Duties Achievements

  • 8/96 – Present: Drebelbis Engineering, Dallas, Texas

President, founder & operator Forensic engineering and expert witness services to the insurance and legal industry. Specializing in performance failures in structure, concrete, foundations, roofs, floors, building systems, finish materials, building code violation, slip and fall, construction problems, drainage and moisture intrusion. Established and developed an efficient system for performing, delivering and administering forensic engineering services. Provides construction technology, forensic engineering and expert witness services to the insurance and legal industry. Through Drebelbis Engineering, Mr. Drebelbis has built an extensive history of forensic investigation, legal testimony, and public speaking.

  • 6/93-8/96: Facility Dynamics, Dallas, Texas

Contractual forensic engineering services to Hudson International and Garrett Engineering. Performed investigations related to building technology, foundation failures, roof failures, code compliance, structural failure, & fire damage. Expert witness for slip and fall litigation, building code violations and construction problems. . Performed several hundred engineering investigations of residential and commercial property claims. Notable Examples: Assembled a claim of additional construction work for a surety who assumed a construction project after the contractor filed bankruptcy. Participated in the investigation of the TU Electric Montecello stack failure.

  • 6/85-6/93: Facility Dynamics, Dallas, Texas

Management consulting firm specializing in forensic engineering, strategic facility planning, real estate analysis, master planning, facility fore casting, operations analysis and building technology. President and founder, performed marketing, firm and project management. Identified strategies for clients that improve operations while achieving considerable savings for them. Authored several nationally published articles and served as a speaker for national conventions of IFMA, IACC and the AIA.

  • 6/83-6/85: HOK/Program Management, Dallas, Texas

Management consulting firm specializing in strategic facility planning for large corporations, organizations and municipalities. Consulting team member, performed facility utilization analysis and long range utilization forecasts, developed computer based analytical tools for use in strategic facility planning, prepared documentation of project work, Developed econometric methodologies and computerized tools for forecasting asset demand based upon business plans. Contributed to improving the document presentation style and format. Transferred Michigan PE License to Texas PE (1983).

  • 9/81-6/83:  SHWC, Inc., Dallas, Texas

A/E/Development firm specializing in designs for educational facilities and high-rise condominiums. Project Architect. Managed the preparation of architectural contract documents. Building types: renovations, additions, and new educational facilities. Developed a master specification for use on smaller projects. Developed a system for economically managing smaller projects within the larger firm. NCARB Certification (1982). Texas Architectural registration (1982). Developed a new master specification for the company using the CSI format.

  • 6/78-8/81: Carl Walker and Associates, Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan

Engineers and Architects specializing in parking deck design and structural engineering. Specification Coordinator. Coordinated the preparation of project specifications for all five offices, evaluated products & materials for inclusion in the technical specification. Project Manager. Planned and coordinated projects, performed parking studies, architectural design, structural engineering, architectural programming, prepared project specifications and administered construction. Converted the company’s master specification to CSI format. Managed specifications for the multiple offices. Assumed responsibility for managing architectural projects accepted by the firm.

  • 12/77-6/78: Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, Michigan

Full time graduate student Completed the MBA Program (May 1978) Michigan Architectural License (April 1978).

  • 6/71-11/77: Kingscott Associates, Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan

A/E firm specializing in educational and institutional facilities. Project Designer/Job Captain (10/74¬11/77). Architectural design, master planning, preparation of contract documents, contract administration. Structural Engineer (6/71-9/74). Structural design, preparation of contract documents, construction administration. Building types: additions to and renovation of existing and planning for new educational buildings, medical office and hospital facilities. Michigan Professional Engineer license (1972). Internship for architectural registration (1974-1976).

  • 9/70-5/71: Clark Engineering Company. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Structural/civil engineering consultants. Structural Engineer. Structural design and preparation of contract documents. Engineer In Training internship as a structural engineer.

  • 6/68-8/70: Grover Dimond Associates, Inc. St. Paul, Minnesota

Architectural/Engineering firm. Structural Engineer. Structural design and preparation of contract documents. Engineer In Training internship as a structural engineer.

Speaking Engagements

  • Texas Association of Interior Designers Dallas, Texas
    Ethics for Interior Designers, Ethical Lessons Learned from Failed Construction –September 15, 2015
    Ethical Decisions to Protect Your Clients’ Welfare – November 5, 2013
    Ethical Decisions to Protect Your Clients’ Welfare – January 22, 2013
    Ethics for Interior Designers – November 8, 2011
    A New Approach to Programming Space – May 29, 2009
    Dumb Things Destroy Projects – February 22, 2008
    You Can’t Delegate Responsibility – September 21, 2007, February 22, 2008
    No one gets sued for ugly design. – July 2004, February 2005
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
    When Ethics are Ignored: Lessons from Forensic Engineers – June 24, 2016 National Society of Professional Engineers – 2016 National Conference
  • American Institute of Architects
    Facility Management: Expanding the Way We Do Business
    National Convention Los Angeles, CA . – May 1994
  • Assessing Needs and Defining Services: The Total Marketing Approach to Building Component Membership
    AIA Grassroots 1994 Annual Leadership Conference Washington, DC; January 1994
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Facility Forecasting.
    National Conference of the AIA Corporate Architects Committee, Charlotte, NC; November 1989
  • National Convention of the International Association of Conference Centers
    Conference Centers: Rent ’em or Run ’em. Snowbird, UT; April 1989
  • International Facility Management Association
    The Nuts and Bolts of Developing an Automated Facility Forecast. National Convention of the; Atlanta, GA; October 1988.
  • School for the Talented and Gifted Magnet Dallas, Texas
    Forensic Engineering – March 31, 2012
  • Dallas Harmony Science Academy Dallas, Texas,.
    Your Career in Architecture or Engineering – February 1, 2012
  • University of Texas at Arlington, Engineering Department, Research Education for Undergraduates, Arlington, Texas
    Practical Applications and Implications of Engineering Ethics – June 23, 2011
  • Texas Society of Professional Engineers.
    Engineering Ethics, Lessons Learned from Failed Construction – March 2015
  • Dissecting Forensic Engineering — Preston Trails Chapter Dallas, Texas – December 21, 2006
  • Adjusters College Arlington, Texas
    Building Failures Speak To Those Who Listen., August 27, 2004

Published Articles

  • Adventures in Forensic Engineering Forensic Expert Witness Association Newsletter, Summer 2010
  • Forensic Engineering Part II Triangle Review, Volume 91, No. 4, Fall 2004
  • Forensic Engineering Part I Triangle Review, Volume 91, No. 3, Summer 2004
  • Foundations don’t move. Soil moves. The foundation just goes along for the ride. Drebelbis Engineering Tech Notes, Volume 1998, No. 1
  • The Continuing Education Resource (1994 AIA National Convention),
    Today’s Facility Manager Moving Into The Spotlight. The Shape Of Things To Come For Facility Managers. Today’s Facility Manager, September 1991
  • FM: The New Role Put Your Expanding Power Base To Good Use! Today’s Facility Manager, October 1991
    Learn To Delegate Hire A Consultant To Work For You. Today’s Facility Manager, November 1991.
    Using automation to gain strategic status in the corporation Facilities Design & Management, CAFM Printout, March 1990
  • Using automation to take the pulse of corporate operations Facilities Design & Management, CAFM Printout, February 1990
  • It Presents The First Step In Avoiding A Crises IFMA Journal, Fall 1988.
    Should Your Organization Develop Its Own Conference/Training Center? The Meeting Manager, June 1988