Hiring a structural engineer is a big decision. You want one that’s trustworthy, knowledgeable, and able to guide you to understand the different components of your building or home in compliance with building codes. Structural engineers design, inspect and build structural systems that support weight or resist forces. Structural engineers are involved in all phases of new construction, including planning site layout, building design, and ensuring the structure is safe and sound by overseeing construction. Here are some things to consider when hiring a structural engineer:
Their Experience and Expertise
When choosing a structural engineer, ensure they have experience with the type of project you want to complete. If you’re building a new home, check that your structural engineer has experience designing residential structures. If you’re renovating an existing home or office building, ensure that your structural engineer has experience with renovation projects.
Are They Licensed and Insured?
Be sure your state’s licensing board licenses them for architects or engineers. The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE ) was formed to protect the public against unqualified engineers. The licenses verify that they have passed all their exams and have been deemed competent. Ask about their educational background and professional experience before hiring to understand the knowledge and skills they bring to the table before making decisions about choosing a particular candidate based solely on price alone, as is often the case.
Get the Right Person for the Job
While many structural engineers are generalists who design any structure from the ground. Some specialize in specific areas such as bridges and dams, high-rise buildings, commercial buildings, and deck buildings. If you need help with a specific type of structure, like helical piles for decks, ask about their specialization when interviewing potential candidates for the position so that they can help you choose an engineer who best meets your needs.
Look Into the Insurance Coverage and Liability
When hiring structural engineers, ensure the company has proper insurance coverage and liability. You should look into whether or not they have workers’ compensation, general liability, errors and omissions insurance, and builder’s risk insurance. These are important, as they protect your business from losses due to onsite injuries or damage caused by their work.
Be sure to check how long the company has been in business. If they’ve been around for less than five years, they may not have enough experience with the type of work you want them to do.
Do You Need an Engineer, Architect, or Both?
It’s important to know the difference between structural engineers and architects, as they have different responsibilities. You might need both, but understanding their roles helps you figure out which one is the best fit for your project.
They are responsible for the design of building elements, including the layout and aesthetics of the building. When building, hire an architectural firm with experience drawing for construction projects and ensure that the plans meet all building codes.
They certify that buildings are safe, functional, and stable. They work closely with architects but focus on ensuring that a structure does not collapse or break under its weight. They do not necessarily design or draw up plans for buildings themselves. They advise how structures should be built to achieve goals like strength or flexibility.
Structural engineers work to create safe and sturdy building designs, with a focus on how a building stands up to natural elements like earthquakes and the weight of future traffic. They help ensure your building plans fit into local zoning laws. You should hire experienced structural engineers to get the best results.