Whether you’re carrying out a new build, extension or simply refurbishing your property, find out here whether you need to hire a structural engineer.
What Does A Structural Engineer Do?
Whatever your construction project might be, it’s extremely likely that at some point you will need to think about hiring a structural engineer. All building renovations, refurbishments and extensions usually involve some sort of work that could put you, your family or your contractors at risk at one point or another. Structural engineers are fully trained to ensure the safety of any property and have highly proficient maths and physics skills that enable them to carefully calculate how sturdy and secure such buildings are. They are even available to organise the safe and secure running of a property demolition.
Why might you need to hire a structural engineer?
- For new builds – structural engineers work on all kinds of residential and commercial projects including designing bridges, tunnels, stadiums, offices, homes and skyscrapers. So whatever kind of property you’re planning to build, make sure you consult with a structural engineer throughout.
- For refurbishments and extensions – to make your refurbishment safe it’s advisable to hire a structural engineer, especially if the work involves removing fundamental parts of structures such as walls, columns, knocking through doorways or constructing new areas such asbasements.
- To assess how safe a structure is – you can hire a structural engineer to produce a report of how safe a property is. This is particularly useful if you are buying a new property and could even enable you to negotiate on asking price. On the other hand, if you are selling your property providing a structural report is useful for potential buyers.
- When demolishing a building – a structural engineer can advise on how to safely demolish whole properties, or specific parts of buildings.
Benefits of Hiring a Structural Engineer
A structural engineer will have a degree in civil or structural engineering and therefore have obtained the appropriate skills and expert knowledge in the required field. For instance, they will be able to:
- Understand the different strengths and various properties of a wide range of building materials.
- Evaluate the structural integrity of a property before, during and after a major property refurbishment or renovation, helping to keep you and your employees safe during construction.
- Calculate and estimate the effects of different parts of the building on others – such as whether a doorway will be able to cope with the added pressure of an upstairs refurbishment/extension.
- Analyse internal structures and the overall stability of a property to determine how safe it is and produce subsequent reports or certificates for you or architects and project managers.
- Communicate with architects, interior designers and project managers to find suitable compromises between the desired aesthetics and structural safety.
- Offer practical advice about how to prevent the building warping and/or collapsing during the course of the renovation.
- Help with the removal or restructuring of any floors, walls or ceilings (particularly load-bearing walls) that need to be replaced during the project.
- Help plan for a loft, garage and/or basement conversion.
- Help plan for a new conservatory and/or two-storey property extension.
- Offer professional advice about re-routing your plumbing, pipe-work and any electrical wiring that obstructs your renovation.
- Help acquire the appropriate planning and building regulations approval from your local authority.
Residential Structural Engineer Fees in the UK
So exactly how much does a structural engineer cost? Well, that depends on your location, the size of your property and the price plan you choose. Some companies only list structural engineer costs at an hourly rate, while others prefer to survey your property, look over your renovation plans and offer a final structural engineer cost once they know exactly what needs doing. Still, to help give you an overview of the average cost of a structural engineer, we have sourced a number of different figures from the following companies and websites:
Ø Structuralengineerscambridge.co.uk – anywhere between £350 – £1200 per project
Ø Arkiplan.co.uk – anywhere from £400-800 per week.
Ø Structuralengineersgrantham.co.uk – around £90 per hour.
Ø Shollandgreen.co.uk: £900 to £2,000 per project.
Ø Harveynormanarchitects.co.uk: £600 -£1800 per project
Ø Structuralsolutions.co.uk : £50 – £75 per hour
Ø Rivergate.co.uk : 1) Walk Around Survey from £225 (excluding VAT) 2) Specific structural inspection report from £350 (excluding VAT) 3) General Structural Inspection and Report from £485 (excluding VAT)
Although different companies offer different kinds of price plans, make sure your final structural report cost is included in the quoted figure – otherwise you’ll have to pay extra for this proof-of-safety document once the building work is all complete.
How to Find A Structural Engineer
If you want the best deal possible on your residential structural engineer fees, make sure you also check out a number of different companies before signing on the dotted line. Ask friends and family whether they can recommend anyone from their own home-improvement projects, and be sure to investigate online too. As long as you budget carefully and don’t start spending money on your refurbishment before it’s been fully approved, there’s no reason why hiring a structural engineer should add to much to your final home renovation costs!
Useful Tips When Hiring
- To become a structural engineer you need a degree in civil or structural engineering or something similar, as well as up to four years training. Structural engineering carries with it real life and death responsibilities so high levels of competence are a must.
- Choose a structural engineer who is local to you and check their qualifications, references and work portfolio if they have one. Always make sure your structural engineer has Public Liability insurance so that you are covered if anything goes wrong.
- It’s wise to hire an engineer affiliated with the Institution of Structural Engineering (ISE). Although not a trade association as such, members of the ISE sign up to a code of conduct which should assure that you get a good level of service. The institution is governed by a royal charter and its main purpose is to promote the art of structural engineering and uphold standards in the industry.