You probably know that you’ll need a contractor when building a home. Of course, you also need a plumber, electrician, roofer, drywaller, and flooring specialist.
But when building a custom home, you also need an architect and an engineer before you need those trades.
Of course, you know the architect is the creative genius behind making your home have the room configurations you desire and the exterior look the way you want.
You know engineers are involved in car design and planning roads and highways. You might be surprised to learn about engineers’ important role in building a custom home.
Read on to learn more about several types of engineers’ roles in building a custom home.
Why Do You Need an Engineer When Building a Home?
So, you might already know you need a builder and an architect to build a custom home. But you might wonder what role an engineer will play in the building of your home.
Different engineers will work to ensure the safety of your home’s major systems. Think about the key components of your home, including load-bearing walls, the foundation, roofing, plumbing, and wiring.
The engineers will consider these components and ensure they get built in a safe way and meet all of the safety codes once constructed.
The different engineers will work with the contractor and builder to help them with design goals, keep your home safe, and comply with building regulations while building.
What Does an Engineer Do?
The role of the engineer is to figure out how things work. Once they understand how you want different things in your home to work, the engineer’s role is to design it, so that happens.
The engineer will not only design but also help coordinate various complex systems so they all work together and get built functionally and safely.
Let’s consider a specific example related to home construction. Imagine you want your custom home to have an open balcony from the upper floor to the lower floor living spaces. You also hope to have dual staircases that reach that balcony.
The engineer’s role is to establish a structural plan for the architect and builder so that it follows safety standards and is structurally sound once built.
Types of Engineers Used for Building a Custom Home
You already know you’ll need a builder, kitchen designer, electrician, and plumber when building your custom home. Each of these trades will need direction from an engineer so they know how to install their part of the custom home.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of engineers you might need when preparing to build a custom home.
The first engineer on your list in your custom build experience needs to be the structural engineer, sometimes called the building engineer.
As their name implies, the structural engineer is responsible for addressing structural issues related to your new construction.
A structural engineer is a licensed and trained professional who’s responsible for ensuring the structure of your building is safe.
This type of engineer will take responsibility for structural analysis and engineering design. The engineer will consider what factors might impact your foundation, walls, roof, and other structures and systems.
They will ensure your custom home can withstand strong winds, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
The structural engineer can also identify the strength, durability, and stability of a variety of structures and the materials that are used to build the structure. They will help to avoid structural problems once the home is built.
A mechanical engineer is also an essential member of your construction team. The mechanical engineer is familiar with multiple engineering fields, including:
- Civil engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Structural engineering
The mechanical engineer will help you to focus on energy management in your plans. The mechanical engineer will know the local building codes you need to follow and can help to make sure your construction plans abide by those building codes.
They will likely play a role in planning the systems like electricity, HVAC, and plumbing that will be part of your custom home.
A big focus in new construction is green construction. People want to build and live in homes that are friendly to the environment and their wallets.
As you consider your plans and research, you’ll undoubtedly hear about eco-design and design for the environment, which is key to the sustainable engineer.
This type of engineer will focus on ecological sustainability. They will help your home plans focus on renewable energy and the associated costs that come with including them.
If green building design is important to you, you want a sustainable engineer as part of your team planning your custom home design.
Differences Between Engineers, Architects, and Contractors
When you’re planning custom home design, there will be many members of your team. You will need engineers, an architect, and a contractor.
You might wonder how each of these roles works together and is different too.
A structural engineer or building engineer will focus on the loads, structural impact, and building materials. They will examine the plans of the architect. They will also evaluate where the home is built and ensure the structure is sound for that location.
The architect is responsible for working with the engineer in the planning phase of your custom home. The architect is responsible for the design, aesthetics, and functionality of a building.
Finally, the contractor is responsible for the actual construction. This person will bring in a team that will follow the plans of the architect and engineer while constructing the home.
Key Role of an Engineer in Home Construction
Building a custom home can be very exciting. It also means you need to put together a team to plan and execute your custom home construction.
If you need any type of engineer for your planning, we can help. Check out our available licensed engineers today.