Do I need a structural engineer?
What is a structural engineer?
A structural engineer, as the name suggests, is an engineer who specialises in the structure of buildings. Structural engineers are vital professionals in the construction process. They provide assessments on building’s safety and in renovation projects will provide specifications and calculations for the design, as well as suggesting building materials. A structural engineer plays a crucial part in your home renovation project and property purchase and can help when you need an expert on your side.
How can I find the right structural engineer?
There are many types of structural engineers with experience of working on a huge variety of structures. For a home inspection, you will need to hire a structural expert with experience in residential work. Our structural engineers are members of either the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Our structural engineers cover London and the home counties.
When you’re making home improvements that involve the stability of a building you will probably need a structural engineer. These works may include a new extension, basement, loft conversion or a home renovation project. Our engineers will provide structural drawings and calculations which will be used by building contractors during the renovation work. This information will also need to be approved by Building Control to comply with Building Regulations or, depending on the scale of the renovation, to Planning Officials to obtain planning permission. Whether or not you’ll need a structural engineer for your renovation will depend upon the nature of the project. Those who often require the services of a structural engineer include:
- building extensions
- modifying doors and windows
- fitting solar panels
- loft conversions
- removing or altering walls
- underpinning floors and walls
- removal of chimney breasts
If there is a problem with the structure of your property, from signs of subsidence such as movement or cracking walls or sagging ceilings or roofline – you may need a structural engineer to carry out an inspection. Chartered surveyors appointed to survey properties also identify structural issues and offer a more detailed investigation of the problem from a structural engineer. Alternatively, you may notice cracks or other causes of concern in your property and decide to instruct a structural engineer to assess the damage, identifying possible causes and treatment.
Most noteworthy, anything which changes the structure of the property will need building control approval, to obtain this, technical information from a structural engineer is mandatory. When using an architect for your renovation, they should advise you on whether you need one. We have an in-house team of architects who are willing to discuss your project. Most large-scale projects will require an architect, to take care of aspects such as aesthetics, energy efficiency and space planning and a structural engineer to handle matters affecting stability. If you’re unsure, please contact us to discuss things in more depth.
For an Expert Witness
Customers need to enlist the services of a structural engineer if they find themselves in a disagreement with another party over a structural issue related to their property. A structural engineer can provide an unbiased view, in the form of an independent report and advice on your options. An experienced Chartered Building Surveyor can also act as an Expert Witness. They can provide a report outlining their independent opinions on the matter and if necessary will be able to follow this right through to a court appearance. Ending up in court is far from ideal, and the input of an Expert Witnesses earlier on could help avoid this.
it’s important to make sure your structural engineer has professional indemnity insurance. You are welcome to request a copy of our policy. It’s essential to be articulate about what you require when you engage a structural engineer. We provide a written quotation stating what is included. Any work you do on your property that alters the appearance from the outside is likely to require planning permission from your local council. Any internal alterations that involve modifying the structure of the building will also need Building Regulations approval. We can assist in all these matters. Contact us on 0333 444 0355 today to discuss your project and quotation.