If you are as inquisitive as I am, there might have been a time you wonder, why some buildings collapse and those around you don’t? it is because of the amount of dedication put in by a structural engineer.
To ensure that a structure stands the test of time, taking into consideration, the structures’ location and every possible load a structure can suffer. A structural engineer designs and plans this structure to every detail, from the beginning of the structure to the finished project.
Who is a structural engineer?
Structural engineering is a subdiscipline in civil engineering. Designing structures, creating engineering drawings, performing calculations, reviewing previous engineering works, writing reports, and supervising construction sites, are some of the duties a structural engineer carries out.
However, to practice structural engineering, acquiring a professional license is a must. Therefore, a structural engineer is a licensed professional who creates the shape of structures with design configurations he develops.
A structural engineer’s first motive when designing a structure is its safety. They specialize in anything concerning the structural integrity of buildings. They carry out analysis and calculations to determine the forces that would be exerted on a structure and design necessities to resist those forces.
If you are a homeowner, thoughts like, why don’t I just hire a contractor? Might be going through your mind. Well, the answer to those thoughts is very clear. Unlike contractors, engineers are equipped with the technical know-how to spot structural problems early, analyze these problems to determine how bad they are, detect the cause of the problems and proffer the best solution to the problem.
So, why not go for the all-in-one package. An architect is more important when it comes to the aesthetic part of a structure. However, regardless of whatever your need is, be it a new home, renovations, retrofitting, etc. a structural engineer is crucial to successfully carry out your project and ensuring its safety.
When do I need a structural engineer?
There are many reasons where you might need a structural engineer, some of which are;
Building additions or altering a house’s layout
If you need building additions, a structural engineer is your “go-to-guy”. You might want to add a room, a garage, or anything entirely to your taste. Notably, before you carry out addition, your engineer needs to determine if the addition you desire would not interfere with the integrity of the structure. In which case would suggest a safer addition.
Without a structural engineer, altering the layout of your building could lead to severe structural damage. The reinforcement of the additions’ foundation is imperative. An engineer would carry out calculations that will determine whether or not the addition will compromise the building’s integrity or the need for reinforcing walls that will carry the building’s weight.
Solar panel or wind turbine installation
With new technologies emerging year after year, you might want some of the new tech feelings in your home too. The installation of technologies like solar panels or wind turbines require the services of a structural engineer.
For example, in the case of solar panels, your roof system might not be able to withstand the weight of the solar panels or the foot traffic that comes with its maintenance. This is where the engineer comes in, he will recommend necessary reinforcements for your roof, making sure your roof can withstand all loads that come with the solar panel installation.
In the case of wind turbines, a structural engineer will help in the costing for the project and also with pointing out restrictions relative to the installation.
Purchasing or selling home
You might think that an engineer is not important in this case. But you don’t want to buy a home and later suffer damages because of some unidentified structural problem. Neither would you get value for money if your home is not structurally sound?
In a nutshell, consult a structural engineering firm or a structural engineer to inspect and fix whatever needs fixing in any of these cases. Additionally, an engineer can save you money, by correcting problems before they turn into damages.
Building a new home
If you’re going to start a new building, why not start well. A structural engineer will inspect the building plan, and ensure it is safe, taking into consideration, the location of the building site, and the environmental impact of the building.
Some signs reflect structural damage, such as
- Cracks, (although, some cracks don’t lead to structural damage)
- Tiny holes in drywalls
- The doors not closing
- The floor sloping
- water in your basement after a hard rain etc.
When you notice any suspicious signs, consult a structural engineer.
The engineer will determine the severity of the signs and proffer solutions to the problems, hence saving you a damage repair cost.
Water, fire, wind or termite damage
Water, fire, wind or termite damage can result in fatal structural problems for your home. Just like other causes of structural damage, a structural engineer is your best bet, if your building is to survive.
As usual, the structural engineer will determine the severity of the damage and offer solutions to the problem. with the help of forensic investigation, an engineer will be able to decide if there was an issue prior to an event.
In the event that any of the above circumstances concern you, consult a structural engineer with the right qualifications, or better still, consult a trustworthy structural engineering firm.