There are many moving parts in the construction industry, from the design phase all the way through to the installation of lighting and other fixtures. It is often easy to forget just how many roles and sub-roles there are at every stage, and this can be confusing to people from outside the industry looking in. One such role that is extremely important but often ignored is the structural engineer. A structural engineer is responsible for the safety of everyone who will ever walk in or on the building being created, so it is important to know a little bit about them if you ever need to call on one.
What Part Of The Building Process Is The Structural Engineer Involved In?
Structural engineers are contracted quite early on in the overall timeline of the development of the building. When an architect comes up with plans for a building, they will consult with a structural engineer to ensure that their designs are safe. A structural engineer's task in that instance is to do all the necessary calculations testing whether the material and design can hold up the expected stresses and normal wear and tear. If something is amiss or not up to par, they will advise what materials need to change, how the risks can be mitigated and what to do moving forward.
Is That All A Structural Engineer Does?
On the contrary, that is just the start of a structural engineer's involvement with a project. They also monitor most phases of construction to see that everything is being carried out according to plan. They can make spot checks on certain areas and advise on when something is being done poorly. They also help with applications and permits that the building might need to begin construction. In some cases, a structural engineer can act as a project manager over the whole construction, but at the very least, they are consulted at regular stages.
Do I Need A Structural Engineer If I Am Simply Doing Renovations?
Any alteration to a building requires you to do a full investigation as to whether the changes will affect the safety of the structure. Even simple renovations should pass through a structural engineer's desk to get their approval. In the case of major alterations, it is often a legal requirement to get approval before starting work. Think of a structural engineer as the person primarily concerned with the safety of people who will eventually use the building. Their role is to ensure plans and concepts are grounded in reality, and that they can actually be achieved safely.