What was first – the chicken or the egg?
Or should I say Architect or Engineer first…..
This is a question that some Clients ask, who should they employ first, the Architect or the Structural Engineer.
The answer is not straightforward, as like most things it depends on what they are doing. If they are looking at maximising space and getting the best functional layout, it is best to employ the Architect first, presuming what he wants to do is structurally possible.
Then, when he has done his design and sorted out all of the special requirements, the structural engineer can then design the structural elements such as beams, columns or picture frames and foundations etc. to allow the structure to be built.
However, if it is not clear that what the Client wants to do is structurally possible, it is best to consult the structural engineer first so that he can talk through various structural solutions that would be possible with that particular building and that the alterations are feasible. This way, the Client does not waste a lot of money getting an architect to design and draw up a scheme that is not feasible or possible structurally.
I normally say to clients that almost anything is possible, depending on how deep their pockets are. (Some solutions would be possible technically, but would cost so much that they are not economically viable.)