Are you in the market to hire a structural engineer for your next building project? There are more than 303,500 civil engineers in the United States and some specialize in structural engineering.
The sheer number of engineers in the nation means that it’s important to know what to look for to find the best one for your building project. Read on to learn 7 factors to consider when choosing structural engineers!
1. Extensive Experience
Structural engineering experience is a crucial part of finding the right one for your construction job. When you speak with prospective engineers, you need to be sure you are asking questions that will give you insight into the kind of experience they have.
How long has their company been in business? What are some of the biggest projects they’ve had in the area? Have they completed any construction projects that are similar to yours?
The answers to these questions are a great way to help you determine if this engineer is the best one for your current needs.
2. Strong Reputation
The structural engineer you pick should have a strong reputation in the community for their reliability and the quality of their work. One of the ways you can learn about a structural engineer is to read reviews on the internet.
Although as many as 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as friends, don’t overlook those important resources either. Talk to trusted family members and your closest friends about if they’ve hired a structural engineer in the recent past.
What kind of project did they hire a structural engineer to perform? What were some of the things they liked most about the firm? What did they like the least? Would they hire them again for a project?
The references and reviews you receive from family and friends can help give you a great starting point to start your search.
3. Consistent Communication
Whether you are building a bridge, tunnel, or large office space, your project will have many steps during the design phase. A large number of moving parts in different engineering projects make clear and consistent communication key.
You’ll only want to hire a structural engineer if they are ready to give you regular updates on where your project stands. One way to learn a lot about an engineering firm before you hire them is to meet with them in person.
Is your prospective structural engineer willing to take the time to answer your questions candidly and in a way you understand? If an engineer won’t take the time to answer all your questions now, what makes you think they will later?
Learning about when and how a structural engineer communicates will help give you a better idea of the way communication will work if you award the job to them.
4. Helpful Staff
Besides giving you insight into how an engineer communicates, an in-person office visit or phone call will tell you a lot about the quality of their staff.
When you call the office, is the staff kind and helpful to you? When you visit in-person, is the office staff ready to help you with your needs? You’ll want to find an engineering firm that has a strong support staff that cares about your needs.
An engineer will be the face of your project in day-to-day operations. Their office staff is an integral part of completing successful projects. That’s because the office staff are the professionals behind the scenes that keep a project on track. They’ll be the people making phone calls, pulling permits, and setting up inspections.
Oftentimes, you can’t move forward on your project until after there’s been an inspection performed by a government agency that approves that portion of the job as being lawful and safely designed.
5. Insurance Holder
You should avoid hiring a structural engineer that doesn’t have insurance coverage. Insurance is a must for any engineer you choose. That’s because insurance can protect you both during work on your project.
For example, let’s say your structural engineer is designing a retaining wall for your property. You’ll want to ensure they’ve got workers’ compensation coverage. They should also have general liability insurance. Before they begin working, insist that you get a Certificate of Insurance. This certificate should name you as an insured for the work they perform on this job site.
General liability insurance will protect you in the event something goes wrong and there are damages. Employers have workers’ compensation to cover the costs of medical care and lost wages for an employee injured while working.
6. Sticks to a Budget
There’s no way around it – most construction projects are long and costly endeavors. Before you hire a structural engineer, speak to them about how they handle budgeting on a project and the way they communicate potential budget issues as they arise.
A building project is a fluid process with lots of moving parts that all operate on different schedules to help create the final product. Before your engineer undertakes a project, you need a clear understanding of what their bid includes and what it doesn’t.
This will help you to avoid any unwanted surprises or being in a budget crunch as you near completion of a project.
7. Meaningful Certifications
The certifications that a prospective structural engineer possesses can be what makes them stand out from the rest of their competition in the industry.
Some of the very best engineers will hold a certification like a Professional Engineer license (PE). The PE is a senior-level certificate that requires an engineer to study and pass numerous exams to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the field.
When you hire a structural engineer with a PE certification, it will give you peace of mind that they’ve been through a rigorous program before they take on your project.
Wrapping up: Choosing Structural Engineers
Choosing structural engineers may seem like a daunting task at first glance, but using these seven factors can help you narrow down your search.
At P.E. for Hire, we are based in the State of California but are your digital source for finding qualified engineers on the internet. Our database has a wide range of engineering professionals so that you have a realistic look at who is out there and the services they provide.
Contact us today to learn more about our service and how it can help you!