Five Tips for Understanding the Role of The Structural Engineer

From time to time all property owners need the services of a Structural Engineer. This might be to carry out a survey on the property you are purchasing or you may be constructing an extension to your property and need the steel beams designed etc. Before appointing an engineer it is essential you understand what they do and how they can assist in the project. Here are five tips that will help you take the right decision.
Qualifications & Experience
Ideally the engineer you appoint should be a Chartered Engineer and be a member of a professional body such as The Institution of Civil Engineers (MICE) or The Institution of Structural Engineers (MIStuctE). If they are members of one of these organisations you can be assured they have appropriate qualifications and accreditations. Also, you need to make sure they have the correct experience in the area of engineering they are being appointed for. To do this asks them to refer you to some previous, similar project they have completed and go check them out.
Calculations and Design
If you are planning to build an extension to your home then you are likely to appoint an Architect to prepare plans so that you can obtain Planning Permission and Building Regulations. It is inevitable that such architectural designs will incorporate the need for steel beams, timber roof members etc., and even at times foundation strengthening. The Structural Engineer will be able to carry out these designs, providing structural calculations and any additional drawings and details so that full Building Regulations approval can be obtained.
Structural Surveys and Reports
When you are purchasing a property it is essential a survey is carried out to allow you to understand the building condition. There are various levels of surveys available but on properties over 25 years old a full structural survey should be commissioned by a qualified Structural Engineer. The structural survey assesses all accessible elements of the building and reports on its condition with recommendations for any refurbishment or repair of dilapidations.
Occasionally you may have something go wrong with your property such as subsidence, settlement, wall and floor cracking, damp or mould, water leakage, fire damage, etc and a structural survey should be commissioned to investigate, report and recommend remedial measures on these issues.
Site Investigations and Ground Engineering
When you appoint an engineer it is likely that you commission them to design or report on some issue above ground level. However, it should be understood that whatever happens above ground must be supported by the foundations below ground. It is therefore essential the Structural Engineer has experience of foundations and ground conditions so that he can address the impact on the foundations of any alterations above ground.
Project Management
The Structural Engineer can provide this essential service and guide you from the inception to the completion of your project. The engineer will liaison between you and your contractor, offer cost control on project, check quality, offer technical advice, and provide product advice and much more.
These are some of the factors that you must consider while hiring a Structural Engineer. These tips will ensure your project runs smoothly without obstacles.

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