‘Do I need a structural engineer for my extension or renovation?’

Homeowners - Posted on September 15, 2021

When it comes to big home improvement projects, you can end up with a list as long as your arm with contractors and consultants you might need to involve. One of the roles that causes the most confusion can be that of the structural engineer. So, what exactly is a structural engineer and when do you need to bring one on board for your project?

What is a Structural Engineer?

While the role of an architect is to design an aesthetically pleasing space suited to your needs, the role of a structural engineer is to specify a strong and durable structure that enables the architectural design to be built safely and efficiently.

Through calculations and structural drawings, your engineer will analyse the proposed changes to your home and propose any required structural strengthening – calculating the required size and approximate arrangement of the structural elements you need or want to use. That could be timber, which is more eco-friendly, or steel, or even concrete.

Generally, structural engineers are a key part of the design and construction process. Because the structure of your project is so important, your engineer will usually work closely with your architect and builder towards the goal of making your building as strong as is needed to make it safe, durable, cost-efficient, and so that architectural design that you want can be met.

When do I need to bring a Structural Engineer on board?

You will usually need to bring an engineer on board if you are building additions or adjusting the structural layout. It is likely that any project that requires building regulations approval will require a structural engineer to be involved.

Here are a few examples of project types where you’ll likely need to hire a structural engineer:

● Loft conversions

● Building an extension

● Removing or modifying walls of an existing structure (especially load bearing walls)

● Removing a chimney breast

● Building a basement

● Building engineered foundations, like rafts or piles.

● Constructing a new-build property.

Do you need to bring a Structural Engineer on board for your project? Or do you need some help determining whether you need to hire one? At PorthouseDean we specialise in providing structural calculations and drawings for small and medium scale residential projects. Get in touch today for your free upfront consultation with one of our engineers.