If you're planning to renovate your house, make foundation repairs, add a deck, build up, or build-out, you'll probably need the help of a structural engineer. Structural engineering is important in determining the safety of your home and what it can support. Here are some occasions when you might need a structural engineer.
When You Have Cracks In The Foundation
Cracks are common in concrete, so it's difficult to know when a crack is something to worry about and when it's normal wear and tear. A structural engineer can tell by the way the cracks run if they're serious.
They can do calculations and determine if the structure of your house is in danger. This is important since you can just fill in cracks if they're not serious, but you'll need other forms of foundation repair if the cracks indicate your house has serious foundation damage.
When You're Tearing Down Walls
Tearing out walls is popular with home renovations, but you have to make sure you tear out a non-load-bearing wall. A wall that's load-bearing means it is necessary for supporting the roof of your home. A structural engineer lets you know which walls are load-bearing.
You might still be able to remove a load-bearing wall as long as you substitute beams and posts that you cover to look like columns so there is something to support the roof. An engineer lets you know where these support beams need to be placed.
If You're Building An Addition
Structural engineering deals with existing homes and also new construction. An engineer is concerned with the soil for your new addition as well as designing the load-bearing qualities of your new construction.
This ensures your addition is strong enough to support itself and that the foundation is strong enough to support the addition. When you build an addition to your home, you may work with both an architect and structural engineer.
When You Renovate A House
A structural engineer helps you comply with local codes that might have wind requirements for your roof and other building materials. The engineer may be required in some instances, but even if one isn't mandatory, it's still good to let the engineer look over your building plans so you know your renovated home will be strong and able to tolerate the weight you're adding as well as strong winds during storms.
Structural engineering is its own specialty, and the engineers often work as consultants on renovations and new construction. When it comes to your project, you may need to start with a structural engineer for base plans that can be expanded and implemented by the architect and builder.
When you want something built, who do you turn to? Okay, maybe you answered that question with a particular person's name, and that's an acceptable answer. But the answer we were really looking for was "construction contractors." This profession is full of people who can build this and that, and who can customize the things they build to meet your unique needs. Working with a construction team is like working with a bunch of people who just want to make you happy. We love that aspect of the industry, and it's something we plan on focusing on more as we write this blog.