Frequently Asked Questions
Useful guide of questions to consider during your project
- What is structural/civil engineering?
Structural engineers are trained to design the skeleton that supports the form and shape of man-made structures. Structural engineers need to understand and calculate the stability, strength and rigidity of built structures for buildings, to make them stand up..
- Why do I need a structural engineer?
The engineer will provide structural drawings and calculations which will be used by your building contractor and architect during the project work, to ensure it is built correctly and is safe. This information may also need to be provided to Building Control in order to comply with Building Regulations.
- What does a structural engineer do?
The engineer will provide structural drawings and calculations which will be used by your building contractor and architect during the project work.
- What is a structural survey?
The survey report will describe the condition of each element of the house and identify the property’s defects, their apparent cause, the urgency of repair, maintenance options and may also include possible remedial details.
- My house shows signs of cracking, is it falling?
We provide you with a full summary report and will aim to give a simple and clear explanation of any problems in terms of its cause. It will include options of recommendations which you could follow to resolve the matter.
Most importantly, if there are no significant structural causes for the concerned problem, we will reassure you and hopefully enable you to proceed with your purchase or sale of the property.
We will inspect and report on whether the visible defects are longstanding (and can be repaired cosmetically) or provide evidence of more serious ongoing structural problems. Detailed quotations should be obtained from a suitable contractor before making any financial commitment and we can refer you to a contractor if required.
- Do I need a structural engineer for my home project?
Yes, if you are thinking of carrying out any major building work or removing a wall or load-bearing element, which would require the design of structural elements to support the existing or proposed structure.
- Why do I need architects’ drawings first?
Initially they will help to give an accurate quotation for our service to your project. Architects drawings are used to visualise the proposed structure in comparison to the existing structure.
- Where will if find an architect?
Architects can usually be appointed via a Google search or can be found on the RIBA website www.architecture.com. We can refer you to few architects whom we work with if required.
- How long will it take to receive my drawings, calculation, report?
Once we have received your architects’ drawings and attended a site visit we would aim to issue the structural drawings within two weeks. Depending on the complexity of your project this time may vary. Your engineer will advise at the time of your site visit what the expected delivery time will be.
- How long does a crack report take to produce?
We would look to issue the crack report within 1 week of property inspection.
- Approximately how much should I be paying? How much does it cost to involve a structural engineer?
The cost of providing our services depends on the complexity and size of the project and on how much time we require to prepare drawings, calculations, reports and visiting the site. The fees of all our projects are calculated on a time basis and in most of the cases we will advise you in advance of the full cost of our service as a fixed fee if possible.
As an approximate guide please find the following budget costs for your information:
£980 – £1300 — Structural calculations for removal of chimney
£1280 – £1600 — Simple beam calculations for the removal of internal walls
£850 – £1000 — Structural inspection and report for a terraced property
£950 – £1250 — Structural inspection and report for a detached property
£1860 – £2300 — Structural calculations and drawings for a proposed loft extension
£2860 – £3700 — Structural calculations and drawings for a proposed loft & rear extension
THE ABOVE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY AND IS NOT A QUOTE FROM SSA.
WE REVIEW EACH PROJECT INDIVIDUALLY AND WILL ISSUE A BESPOKE FEE PROPOSAL.
- Who instructs a structural engineer?
The project manager or property owner will instruct a structural engineer. If your architect or builder is managing the project on your behalf, they will contact an engineer but confirm with you the cost before proceeding.
- When do I need a structural engineer?
Structural engineers are required to support your proposal. Once your architects’ drawings have been completed, they will need to be reviewed by an engineer before proceeding to specification and building control drawings by your architect. They will provide you with the necessary drawings and calculations which can be sent to the building control and your builder. Structural Engineers will look at all the possibility to reduce the construction cost and time where possible.
- What questions should I ask a structural engineer?
• Will my building work affect the neighbour at all?
• Will the existing foundations need to be strengthened?
• Can existing timber joists or steel beams be reused?
• Will there be any sacrifice on the available headroom?
• Could you recommend a builder?
• What type of foundation will the proposal require?
• Will there be any disruption to the occupants?
- What qualifications should they have?
They must have suitable qualifications and experience in structural engineering and in working with a similar nature of projects and be a chartered structural engineer and have a designation CEng.
- How do I know the engineer is a member of an institution or society?
Engineers who are chartered members of the Institution of Structural Engineers would use the designation MIStructE, and those who are chartered members of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
- Does the structural engineer need to inspect the property or site?
This will depend on the complexity of the projects. Site visits are recommended to visually inspect and take the required measurements. Usually this would help to speed up the design and help to issue the required calculations and drawings quicker. Site visits helps structural engineers to inspect the existing structure which can often be retained or reused to save on cost.
- What do I need to prepare for the upcoming site visit?
We will email you with a list of questions which are usually asked during the site visit, so that you get a head start on what you could be asked.
- I think my property is affected by subsidence, can you help?
Regardless of whether you are thinking to make a claim on your building’s insurance, we recommend that you obtain a structural engineers report. This will be crucial in determining the cause(s) of the structural movement and will certainly be required by insurers prior to accepting a claim.
- We would like to demolish our chimney, could you provide a solution?
Yes, we can provide structural calculation and drawings. You can then issue this to building control for approval and an experienced contractor for quotation. We can refer you to a contractor if required.
- Our floor is sloping slightly, can you provide a solution?
Usually these are caused due to a constant overloading of the timber floor joists. The timber joists are working more than it was designed for and could be undergoing creep. We can provide quick structural calculation and drawings for strengthening the joists temporarily to reduce the effects of creep. We recommend new floor joists to be installed for a permanent solution.