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3 Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Structural Engineer

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There are many reasons to hire a structural engineer for your industrial, commercial, or residential building project.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or already have designs and drawings to work with, a structural engineer is there to make sure your vision comes to life safely.

The services provided by a structural engineer are often comprehensive and will fluctuate depending on the requirements for a particular project.

For a residential project, you’ll likely require less of the services available than if you’re working on a large-scale construction site. 

Some of the services that structural engineers offer include: 

  • Design for steel, timber, and concrete structures
  • Land surveys
  • Structural fault diagnosis
  • Structural surveys
  • Masonry design 
  • Geotechnical investigation
  • Briefing document preparation
  • Material investigation
  • Fire protection analysis
  • Risk assessment

You can learn more about Structural Engineering here.

So, why do you need to hire a Structural Engineer? 
Let’s take a look at 3 important reasons.

Remodelling / Renovating

When a homeowner decides to improve or undertake a remodel that involves their home’s stability, a structural engineer will be necessary. 

Hiring an engineer will provide the contractor or architect for your design plans with structural drawings and calculations to be used during the renovation process. 

This will also ensure your home renovations are being done, comply with the necessary building codes, and meet all the required regulations.

The projects that most often require the professionalism of a structural engineer include: 

  • Building additions
  • Modifying doors or windows 
  • Loft conversions
  • Removing or altering internal walls, retaining walls, underpinning foundations
  • Fitting solar panels, chimneys, and decks 
  • New build custom homes

If you’re not sure whether you should hire an engineer for your project, as a general rule, assume that a structural engineer should review anything that requires a change to your property’s structure. 

You can also check out our blog, What to Look Out For if You’re Buying an Old House, learning more about how a Structural Engineer can save you money in the long term.

Structural Inspections or Damage

Whether you are a current homeowner or in the market to purchase a home, it is essential to be aware of your property’s structural damage. 

If you or another professional notice any structural damage, you will need to contact a structural engineer to determine the seriousness, cause of the damage, and how the damage can be fixed appropriately. 

While some defects are easily spotted with the naked eye, only professional and certified Structural Engineers are qualified to adequately identify the underlying cause.

Structural engineers are experienced in conducting detailed evaluations that identify structural issues and advise homeowners on how to resolve the issues as per local building code. 

Signs of structural damage can include:

  • Cracking or movement of walls 
  • Sagging ceilings or roofline 
  • Uneven floors
  • Cracks around windows

Regardless of whether you’re purchasing or selling a home, if an inspector notices any structural problems, it is crucial to hire a structural engineer to evaluate the situation. 

If you’re a homeowner, keep in mind that the engineer can help save you money by identifying the problem and the most effective way to fix it before further damage can happen. 

When building a custom home, a structural engineer will best advise you on plans for the home that are structurally secure. 

An engineer will also assess the proposed building site for suitability and integration. 

Building A New House, Additions, or Altering the Layout

Suppose you are considering building out additional space to your property via a bedroom, garage, or studio space. In that case, a structural engineer will design new structural elements to withstand the new loads from the addition. 

They will also confirm that the foundation of the new addition is effectively reinforced. 

Structural engineers will also help homeowners determine which walls carry the weight of a home’s structure and how the proposed renovations will affect your property’s structural integrity.

If you want to have a new house built, you need to work with a team of experts to help you realize your dream home.

Generally, the construction team includes the contractor, an electrician, an architect, an HVAC expert, a plumber, and a structural engineer. 

Most architectural plans do not come construction-ready, meaning a structural engineer must be consulted for a plan review and may modify the plans as necessary.

Final Word

A structural engineer will often act as a consultant to an architect or building contractor, calculating loads, defining the project’s spec, and which materials and structural systems to use during construction, such as steel, concrete, or wood.

They will assess the building or structure’s safety, strength and durability to determine its structural integrity.

There are many types of structural engineers with experience working on a wide variety of structures. For example, you’ll want to hire a structural engineer with experience in residential work for a home renovation or inspection.

Your engineer is likely to be a member of either the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

You can find structural engineers who cover your local area, obtain their details and compare their prices here.

Have a burning question we didn’t answer here? Contact us any time for more information. 

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