What is a Structural Engineer?
Structural engineers design, create, solve problems, innovate and use maths and science to shape the world. The structures they create are used by all of us every day; from houses, theatres, sports stadia and hospitals, to bridges, oil rigs and space satellites.
Structural engineers are involved at every stage of a structure’s realisation and they play a key part in design and construction teams. Working with architects, and alongside other professions, structural engineers create conceptual designs and ensure that the structure can be built and is stable and durable.
Structural analysis enables engineers to understand the effects of loads/stresses caused by gravity, the users of the structure, and the widely varying climatic conditions and ground conditions around the world. Choosing appropriate materials for the structure is also an important feature of the structural engineer’s work.
When do you need Structural Engineer?
Perhaps you have just gained planning permission for an extension, modification to your home or construction of a new building. Your next stage will be to obtain building regulations. To gain building regulations, a building control officer may require you to provide drawings and calculations for structural elements of your build project. A structural engineer is best placed to provide this service. Entos will liase with yourself the architet and building control to ensure that the structural design meets the requirements of the Building Regulations.
Below is list of some domestic examples that may require a structural engineer. Entos can guide you through the structural aspects of a building regulations application supplying drawings and calculations to support your application. A more concise list can be found at the following web address:
When erecting or extending a building
Conversion of a house to flats or bedsits
When building an attached, and some detached, garages
When making internal alterations which structurally affect the building
When converting a loft or roof space
Underpinning a building
When should I contact a Structural Engineer?
Generallly involving a structural engineer at the concept stage has a lot of advantages. The reason for this is that an engineer can advice on the feasability of a proposed scheme. Often schemes proceed through planning and a structural engineer is employed after planning is gained. The risk is that the proposed design is structurally not achievable or is expensive to construct. Furthermore, principal structural members may end up having a visually intrusive appearance on the proposed scheme. A couple of examples where employing a structural engineer early on the scheme is advantageous:
After obtaining planning permission, you then employ a structural engineer. it is highly likely that the engineer will want to assess the ground conditions. Following the engineers investiagtion the ground is found to be poor and the scheme will require piling this could result in significant costs. If this was determined before planning then the scheme could be designed to take account of the poor soil conditions.
Folowing receipt of planning permission you employ a structural engineer to design the structure around a large opening. The structural engineer willl assess the scheme and may find that due to the opening the building needs significant alteration for example more walls internally or the beam over the opening may require a post. This can aesthetically detract from the original design but could have been avoided if an engineer was employed early on in the project.
If you do have a reasonabably large or complex scheme Entos can get involved at the conceptual stage to provide advice of the feasability of a proposed scheme. We work closely with yourself architect and building control to ensure that the scheme is achievable at all stages. This early involvement helps minimise finicial risk and manage your expectations for the project.
We are always to happy to discuss a project with you, feel free to contact us