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Structural Engineering

When Would You Need to Hire a Structural Engineer?

Structural engineers advise property owners on the technical considerations, processes, and creative possibilities for alterations and developments to your property. Most commonly, they will analyze the property owners’ ideas and advise on the necessary materials, benefits, and limitations affecting their plans and offer creative solutions to make the ideas come to life.

The key considerations that a Structural Enginee will evaluate and advise on are:

    • human
    • environmental
    • and design elements

That will or can have positive or negative impacts on the attainability of the design. These factors will vary from property to property, the inhabitants, the structural load or pressure, and other environmental factors (such as living near a body of water). While these are the most important considerations, a structural engineer will also pay close attention to the usability and whether the solution is fit for purpose, and the general safety and stability of the structure. 

Safety and Stability

First and foremost, structural engineers prioritize the safety and stability of the proposed structural works. This analysis looks at several different factors that can impact the rate of wear, structural integrity, and design of the work to ensure that consistently high standards are met. 

Materials

At a granular level, a structural engineer will choose the appropriate materials for the job to create the desired effect, ensuring the stability and longevity of the work. Perhaps most importantly, they will utilize years of experience to promote the effective usage of materials (both new and innovative and tried and tested) to achieve the desired effect. With rapid advances in technical building materials and innovative implementation solutions.

Assessment of Feasibility

Taking into account your specifications of what a new feature will bring and how best to make your plans come to life; a Structural Engineer will be able to assess the:

  • feasibility
  • time frame
  • cost
  • and scope for your project to ensure that work is completed on time.

Design and Implementation

After assessing the structure’s requirements and limitations, a Structural Engineer will begin designing and subsequently building. This phase of the work encompasses all the findings from the previous stages to source the most appropriate materials, build to ensure quality and longevity, and execute solutions with creative and innovative solutions that are functional and aesthetically pleasing as per your requirements.

Reporting

Each of the phases of the structural engineering process is logged, documented, and systematically evaluated to ensure that results are achieved on time every time. At a more detailed level, these reports may include designs and drawings, load and stress calculations, construction materials analysis, technical guidance, assistance obtaining planning permissions, and liaising with other construction or building personnel to ensure synchronicity and cooperation throughout the project lifespan.

Typical Jobs

Most commonly, a Structural Engineer will assist with the following property alterations or enhancements;

  • Modifications to doors, windows, hallways, and archways
  • Extending the property either by building an extension, loft, or basement
  • Fitment of energy-efficient or waste reducing components (e.g., solar panels)
  • Removal or addition of internal walls and other partitions
  • Removal, expansion, or alteration to period or special features (e.g., chimney breast)
  • Alterations to flooring, skirting, and coves

The Process

Below is a general overview of the key deliverables and responsibilities that a Structural Engineer will prepare and advise on throughout the course of a project:

Conducting property inspections to assess foundations and conditions
Preparing detailed reports including; structural proposals, designs and drawings
Making calculations on loads and stresses
Identifying environmental, usage and fatigue factors that will affect the structure and means of combating them
Selecting appropriate construction materials
Providing technical advice and liaising with other contractors who may be involved
Ensuring planning and regulatory conditions are confirmed and adhered to before and during commencement of work
Monitoring, inspecting and evaluating completed work to ensure quality and fulfilment of the proposal