The Role of Structural Engineers in Single Family Home Renovation in California
Most of the time, when single families grow tired of their home outlook or wish to modify their homes to meet new requirements, they opt for a single-family home renovation. California is well known for keeping up with the latest trends when it comes to home renovation. Due to the high costs associated with home renovations, most homeowners look for every possible means to circumvent the services of a structural engineering company in California. When it comes to minor modifications, using the services of architectures and building contractors alone might be appropriate. However, for major renovation projects like the removal of a wall, the service of a structural engineer cannot be overlooked.
In this post, we are going to consider the role played by structural engineers in single-family home renovation in California.
Who is a Structural Engineer?
A structural engineer is a professional civil engineer that specializes in understanding the reactions of structures (like buildings, bridges, tunnels and so on) when acted upon by both external and internal forces and loads. It can be said that a residential structural engineer specializes in understanding the forces and loads in residential buildings.
What Role Do They Play in Single Family Home Renovation?
Buildings are made up of load-bearing members that help keep the building in place. This prevents the building from eventual collapse under the influence of gravity or external factors like earthquakes or hurricanes. During a home renovation, some of these load-bearing members are removed either to create more space or to fit in the newly proposed design.
Structural engineers help to look at the proposed single-family home design to see if the building will be able to support itself under different loads. In situations where the design isn’t safe, they help to modify the design in order to ensure that the integrity of your building after the renovation is upheld. Structural engineers also help to improve the structural strength of poorly built homes.
A structural engineer is needed to access the structural integrity of the building elements when it contains reinforced concrete columns, suspended concrete slabs, earth retaining walls, steel floor beams, roofs in cyclone-affected areas.
There are numerous scenarios where a structural engineer is relevant to your home renovation project. Some of which include;
Before an Addition to your Building
Even with your single-family home design blueprint, consulting a structural engineer is a wise idea. They will help to check if the addition will not compromise the original structural integrity. They will also ensure that the addition meets up to the local building codes.
When Doing a Major Re-layout of Your Home
When you want to create more internal space in your home, the idea that readily comes to mind is to knock down a wall or two. Well, this might be good and at the same time it might be the worst idea ever- and that’s why you need a structural engineer.
The structural engineer will examine the wall or member you wish to remove as shown by your single-family home design plan to see the amount of load it bears. If it is a major load-bearing member, knocking it down can be a really bad idea.
In situations where removal is inadequate, the structural engineer will look for innovative ways to get the desired result without tampering with the structural integrity of the building.
When there is a Structural Damage
Structural damage is one of the reasons why a single-family home renovation is sought after. Structural damage can be caused by factors like soil movement and tree growth that often result in foundation shifting, or earthquakes.
Before looking into foundation repair, you need a reliable structural engineering design company in California to adequately assess the damage done and propose a cost-effective solution.
Structural damages like termite attack on load-bearing elements and natural disasters also require the service of a structural engineer.
When Buying or Selling a Home
When you want to buy a home, you need a structural engineer to assess the structural integrity of the home. This will give you an idea of the extent of the renovation that is required.
Tips for Selecting the Appropriate Structural Engineer
Selecting the right choice for a structural engineering company in California for your single-family home renovation can be quite daunting. This is because of the number of existing structural companies.
First, try asking the building contractor or architect for referrals. Most of the time, they are obliged to recommend structural engineers they have worked with in the past with effective results.
Furthermore, if you think you’ve found the perfect structural engineering company in California for your single-family home renovation, it does not hurt to carry out a background check on them; analyze their reviews and speak to their previous clients to see how they handled their project.
Either you decide to use a small or major structural engineering company in California, make sure you have a discussion with the structural engineer that will be assigned to work on your project; verify that they are licensed, experienced in the type of single-family renovation you want to undertake and also confirm that they are enthusiastic to work on your home renovation.
How much do they cost?
The cost you pay actually depends on the technicality of the assessment you want them to carry out. Most structural engineers get paid either based on an hourly rate, a lump sum or a fraction of the overall renovation cost.
The average hourly rate is about $120 but you can pay up to $200/ hour for highly seasoned structural engineers. For lump-sum payment, you can pay as low as $300 and as high as $20,000 depending on the scale of the project.
To ensure that you get the best out of your single-family home renovation, ensure that you verify if you need the service of a structural engineer. If you need one, get a reliable structural engineering company in California so that you can work with a professional engineer that will ensure that your dream home meets up to the structural integrity requirements.