All You Need To Know About Structural Engineering Consultants

Posted on: 27 May 2020

A structural engineer is a professional that specialises in building design and construction. His or her main work is ensuring the structural integrity of buildings and bridges. Read the excerpt below to learn more about the work of structural engineering consultants

Role of Structural Engineers

Structural engineers are part of the design and survey team when building a house. Other members of the team include civil engineers, architects and geotechnical engineers. The structural engineer conducts a site visit to determine whether the soil can bear the load of the building. A soil analysis will help the engineer decide the type of foundation that should be used and the maximum height of the building. The assessment will help other members of the design team determine suitable building materials. For instance, if the soil structure is weak, you could opt to reduce weight by using expanded polystyrene (EPS) as opposed to bricks. Shingles are a viable alternative to slate and clay tiles. When building skyscrapers, the structural engineer will develop a suitable method to counter the horizontal force of wind that may make the building sway under heavy winds. For instance, steel bracing can tighten the building's core and therefore enhancing its resistance to wind forces.

The engineer will conduct some background research to determine the susceptibility of the construction site to natural hazards such as flooding and earthquakes. To make the building earthquake-proof, the structural engineer may recommend flexible foundations, damping or the use shear walls, diaphragms and movement-resisting frames. If the location is prone to flooding, you may need to elevate the structure, install permanent barriers or use dry and wet floodproofing.

The structural engineer will conduct regular visits to the construction site to ensure the contractor used the right foundation, beams and pillars during construction. He or she may recommend changes to improve the structural integrity of the building. 

Hiring A Structural Engineer For Your Construction Project 

Below are some useful tips to help you hire a structural engineer:

  • Check the professional's specialisation. Preferably, he or she should have undertaken larger projects in the past.
  • Examine the engineer's people skills. Remember, he or she will work with other professionals at the site.
  • Check the engineer's terms. For instance, how much does the engineer charge? Will you incur extra fees? What are the conditions of contract termination? Does the engineer provide guarantees?
  • Inquire about liabilities. A professional liability insurance cover ensures compensation if the building suffers structural damage due to any errors.

As a rule, the structural engineer should be consulted at the earliest stage. His or her input will significantly determine the design and orientation of the building.