A structural engineer is a critical component of your residential, commercial or industrial construction project. Below is a comprehensive guide on the reasons and benefits of hiring a structural engineer for your construction project. 

What Is the Work of a Structural Engineer? 

The primary role of structural engineers is to ensure the structural integrity of the building. As such, the engineer will conduct a site inspection to check conditions that may hinder construction. For example, the engineer may ask you to remove clay and peat soils since they pose difficulties during construction. If the building has underground floors, the engineer will check the proximity of underground water reservoirs. The engineer will also evaluate the current stormwater drainage system and the possibility of flooding during heavy rains.

The structural engineer will work with the architect to ensure the structural components can bear the building's weight. He or she may provide crucial advice regarding construction beams, foundation, slabs and pillars. During construction, the engineer will make several visits to the site to inspect construction works. He or she will ensure the builder follows the building code and the blueprints. 

When Should You Hire a Structural Engineer? 

A structural engineer should be hired at the earliest possible stage. Remember, he or she plays a critical role during planning, design and construction. His or her advice can help you avoid unnecessary costs. For instance, if the building cannot be built in the area, you may avoid the cost of leasing the land or hiring an architect to design the building. 

How Can You Hire a Structural Engineer?

Below are a few tips to observe when hiring a structural engineer: 

  • The individual should be experienced and licenced to operate in your area. Affiliation to professional association guarantees quality services.
  • The structural engineer should exhibit a high degree of expertise. Check his or her portfolio and contact previous clients to determine if he or she is qualified to provide engineering services.
  • The engineer will work with the architect, builder and local planning officials. As such, he or she must have excellent communication skills.
  • Check the terms and conditions of the engineer. For instance, what services will he or she provide? How much will the engineer charge? Does the professional have extra fees? What are the terms of contract termination?
  • The structural engineer should have a professional liability cover. It will provide compensation if you incur losses due to the engineer's negligence.

A structural engineer ensures that your building does not develop structural weaknesses after construction. He or she works with the architect and builder during the planning, design and construction process.