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 do I 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.
Professional qualifications of structural engineers
A Structural Engineer has a degree in structural or civil engineering and likely a postgraduate qualification in structural or civil engineering. The majority of Structural engineers are members if the the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) and will have after his or her name the letters MIStructE, FIStructE, MICE or FICE. When this is the case, they are called Chartered Engineers.
It is generally considered a good practice to hire a Chartered Engineer, however there are also several Engineers with considerable experience who are not chartered. As an alternative option you can choose to hire a Chartered Building Surveyors that offers services in the same area. Structural Engineers can also assist you when dealing with Party Wall Issues.
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.
How much does a structural engineer cost?
Structural engineers cost depends on the nature of the work, the elements of the property involved, the number of visits and of-course your location in the UK. Several structural engineers only charge per hour, while others prefer to survey your property, look over your renovation plans and offer a final quote once they know exactly what what needs to be done. According to our research the cost ranges from £50 – £90 per hour and £350 – £2,000 per project.
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:
Structuralengineerscambridge.co.uk – anywhere between £350 – £1200 per project
Arkiplan.co.uk – anywhere from £400-800 per week.
Structuralengineersgrantham.co.uk – around £90 per hour.
Shollandgreen.co.uk: £900 to £2,000 per project.
Harveynormanarchitects.co.uk: £600 -£1800 per project
Structuralsolutions.co.uk : £50 – £75 per hour
Structural engineers fees
Structural engineers have different fees depending on if they are part of a company or if they work individually. In general, the smaller the company the lower the structural inspection fees. Expect to pay anywhere between £50 – £90 per hour and £400 -£800 per week. Many companies also work on a fixed fee.
Example fees bellow:
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 much does a structural report cost?
The cost of a Building Survey /Structural Survey ranges from £350 to £2,000 depending on the property type, size and location in the country. The Building Survey previously known as a Structural Survey, is a very detailed inspection of the property covering in detail the condition of a property.
The Building Survey describes in detail the condition of each element in the house, stating its state and whether it needs repair or maintenance and an indication of the cost to repair. Even though it is the most expensive survey, it is very comprehensive and detailed when it comes to the evaluation of a property’s condition and construction.
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.
How To Become A Structural Engineer
Design and shape the world: careers in structural engineering
Structural Engineering Costs
What Is A Building Survey