When you have a new building project for your home or business, you need to make sure it’s structurally sound. Without good structural integrity, a building can collapse or fail and cause injury.
Whether it’s a new project or a renovation, choosing the right structural engineer is critical to keeping your project safe and sound. A cheap or hasty structural engineer can leave you with an unsafe building and potential lawsuits.
How do you find the right engineer for the job? Here’s what you need to know about hiring a structural engineer.
Why Do You Need a Structural Engineer?
A building has to withstand weather, weight, and other factors that work against the strength of its structure. A structural engineer is your expert that knows what works best within a building to keep it safe for many years to come.
These experts understand building materials, local conditions, and physics to help with the construction of your project. They work alongside you and your contractor to make sure the materials and design of your building can withstand any conditions that could weaken your building over time.
When choosing your structural engineer, make sure they have the credentials and experience to make your project a success. Here are seven questions to ask when interviewing structural engineers.
1. Are You Licensed?
If an engineer isn’t licensed with the appropriate professional certifications, there’s no need to go further. Find another engineer for your project.
A licensed engineer has approval from the state to provide services as a structural engineer. The state has approved this engineer as someone able to comply with building codes. Choosing an engineer without a license puts the safety of your building project in jeopardy.
Structural engineers who want to add to their lever of expertise can choose additional certifications through the Structural Engineering Certification Board. Many certifications help engineers learn more about how to keep structures safe with new materials or strategies.
Save time in your search. Always check the credentials of an engineer before asking any other questions.
2. What Are Your Specialties?
The next thing to ask a structural engineer includes information about their areas of expertise. Make sure your structural engineer is well-versed in your type of project.
- Can they handle a home renovation?
- Are they certified for LEED-rated commercial construction?
- Are they familiar with the building requirements for retail or restaurant space?
You might find a structural engineer near you with all the right credentials, but they should also have experience in your type of project.
3. Do You Know Local Ordinances?
Your structural engineer must know the current state and local ordinances for building projects. They must work within your city’s permits and regulations for any construction project.
You’ll want someone who can take your design plans and make recommendations and provide alternatives to your contractor to stay within the rules. When it’s time for the final structural engineer report, you need confidence that your engineer can help you create a building that will pass the city’s inspection.
4. Are You Insured?
Anyone who works on your construction projects needs insurance coverage, including your structural engineer.
In addition to licenses and certifications, make sure you get a copy of your engineer’s professional indemnity and liability insurance. You don’t want the liability of an injury that happens while your engineer is on the job site.
5. Can You Meet My Schedule?
Discuss the timeline of your project. You might find the perfect structural engineer for your job, but excellent engineers are in high demand.
Make sure your engineer can meet your milestone deadlines. Talk about the start date for your project and be sure they’re clear about when you must have a completed project.
If your structural engineer can’t meet your timeline, keep searching for an engineer who will meet your needs within your timeframe.
6. Can I Get a Project Estimate?
When you’ve vetted the background and abilities of an engineer, ask what they charge for services.
You’ll discuss the details of the project with your structural engineer. With that information, they’ll provide an estimate for their services during your project. Make sure you get this in writing with detailed explanations of any line items.
Stay within your budget. Outline a payment plan with your engineer. If you agree with the estimated costs, confirm your approval with your signature and the engineer’s signature.
7. How Much Does an Inspection Cost?
If you’re starting a renovation project, you might begin with a structural inspection. A structural engineering report will let you know the condition of your building before you start any design or construction work.
Confirm the cost of an inspection before you hire a structural engineer for this task. After you receive the structural engineer report, discuss it with the engineer. Take note of any foundation issues, doors that don’t close, leaning or bulging walls, or sagging ceilings.
You’ll want to make sure the repair of these structural issues is part of your renovation plans.
Do the Research When Hiring a Structural Engineer
The structure of your building is one of the essential parts of your project. Without a structure that works within your vision and meets all state and local ordinances, you’ll risk a safe environment and have a money pit on your hands.
Hiring a structural engineer is easier when you choose from a pool of licensed engineers. P.E. For Hire helps you to narrow down your search by connecting you with professional engineers who must have a license to offer their services through our website.
If you’re ready to find the best structural engineer for your project, get started by signing up for an account! It’s the first step toward completing your next project.