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Frequently asked questions about structural engineers

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

  1. What does a structural engineer do? 

As a general rule, we make Buildings stand up. We design the “skeleton” of a building, the main supporting member such as floors, roofs, and walls. We work mainly with architects to make their amazing designs buildable.

  1. How do you do it? 

We use physics and hundreds of mathematical formulas and we combine these with the many materials properties such as steel, masonry, timber, concrete to make a building safe to use and occupy, sustainable, economical, and robust and durable over its lifespan.

  1. What is a structural Engineer?

We’re able to assess a building’s safety and in building and renovation projects will provide specifications and calculations for the design, as well as suggesting building materials.

We are called into a project mainly when some parts of a structural system, namely a building, a house, a bridge to determine the strength and durability of a structure. 

  1. When do you need a Structural Engineer?

There are several occasions when you might need to enlist the services of a structural engineer

For Renovations

When you’re making home improvements that involve the stability of a building. 

This engineer will provide structural drawings and calculations which will be used by your building contractor and architect during the renovation work.

This information may also need to be provided to Building Control to comply with Building Regulations or, depending on the scale of the renovation, to Planning Officials in order 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 which often require the services of a structural engineer include:

  • Building an extension
  • Modifying doors and windows
  • Fitting solar panels
  • Loft conversions
  • Removing or modifying internal walls
  • Underpinning floors
  • Removing a chimney breast

This is not an exhaustive list, however. 

As a general rule anything which changes the structure of the property will need building control approval and to obtain this, you’ll need technical information from a structural engineer.

  1. What are the most common causes of failure on structures?

When the material capacity of an element is exceeded by the loading. Material durability reached a non-return state or irreversible damage, such as corrosions in steel, rotting in timber.

  1. How is Health and Safety important for a Structural Engineer?

The most important matter for a structural Engineer and the number one priority is make sure the building is safe for occupancy.

Proposing structural solutions that are safe to build, 

We need to work on an assumed sequence of works before we finalise our design and this is studied in groups sometimes to come up with the simplest to build solutions as well as safe and economic.

  1. What is the design process like and where does the structural engineer fit in?
  • Client’s brief and project vision.
  • An Architect designs to ensure they capture the client’s requirements and desires. 
  • The Structural Engineer receives the architectural design. We then provide the most optional structural system for the loading and proposed shape.
  • A full set of drawings is produced by the architect (highly recommended) and the Engineer; this information package goes out to contractors for pricing. 
  • A contractor is chosen based on relevant experience and price. 
  • A Contractor uses drawings generated by the design team to build.

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