structural engineer

What is a Structural Engineer and Will I Need One for My Project?

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Posted on 13 February 2020

If you’re planning a home renovation this year such as an extension or a loft conversion, a structural engineer will be of great use if you need calculations and technical drawings. From problem-solving to protecting our safety, the role of a structural engineer is key. Read on this week to find out more and discover whether you will need one for your project.


What Does a Structural Engineer Do?

A structural engineer is a highly skilled and creative building professional. They help construct game-changing buildings and beautiful structures from skyscrapers to bridges and homes. A structural engineer will also work as part of a team alongside architects and other building professionals. They also ensure the strength and stability of the building in question – here are three of their fundamentals:

They Design

Structural engineers design buildings to meet the requirements of building regulations. They also ensure buildings are strong enough to support equipment and people and can withstand elements like strong winds. In fact, millions of people all over the world enjoy creations from these talented artists. Buildings are also usually designed to last around fifty years and bridges, over one hundred.

They Troubleshoot

A structural engineer has many skills and a great one is problem-solving. They also strive to create buildings that are sustainable in structure, use fewer materials and need little maintenance.

They Protect

Potentially one of the greatest strengths of structural engineers is that they ensure all of our buildings are safe to use. They also research natural disasters and how to stop buildings from falling down in the worst conditions.


Will You Need a Structural Engineer?

If the home improvements you’re planning affect the stability of your home then it’s likely you’ll need a structural engineer. You’ll also need one for solar panels on roofs, underpinning floors and modifying internal walls and doors. For example, if you’d like an open-plan living zone, you will need to remove the load-bearing wall between the kitchen and lounge. A structural engineer will make things easy, calculating what size of steel beam will be needed to support the ceiling. These technical details will also be sent to your local building control to be signed off before work can start. This is also essential for other contractors so they know where and how materials need to be placed.


Structural Engineer Costs

Depending on the type of project you’re doing a structural engineer may only cost a few hundred pounds. Asking them to act as an expert witness, however, then this could end up running into the thousands.


Finding The Right One for Your Build

To find a structural engineer with plenty of experience you could ask your architect for a recommendation. You should also make sure they’re an accredited member of the Institution of Structural Engineers or the Institution of Civil Engineers.


Other Useful Things to Know | Get in Touch to Discuss a Project

When it comes to hiring a structural engineer one other tip is to ensure they have professional indemnity insurance. You should also get a detailed breakdown of the total cost upfront and whether site inspections will be included in this. In the event, your builder or architect needs to make alterations you should also clarify any future charges. For more help and advice on structural calculations and drawings, please get in touch with our experienced team. Thank you for reading.


structural engineer

Image credit: ilkercelik from iStock.


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