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  • Writer's picturepatrickpmce

Why You Need a Structural Engineer?

Structural engineers make sure buildings don’t fall down.

That may be a massive simplification, but it’s the easiest way to explain the value of what we do. All building work is an act of defying gravity and resisting the elements, meaning that even the simplest house needs to be designed to bear relentless pressure from numerous forces. All it takes is one thing to be out of place to compromise the entire building.

In nearly all cases where we encounter a house with structural issues, bad construction is to blame, whether it was built in Victorian times or more recently. The temptation to cut corners is nothing new, and though we may love our old houses, once you peel back the layers you can find some truly outrageous shortcuts made by less than scrupulous builders over the years. This is true whether you’re working on a multi-million-pound town house or a small cottage.

Though it’s a fact that goes unappreciated if you were to ask someone on the street, building standards have enhanced dramatically in modern times, and structural engineers have played a vast role in that. Drawing on a mix of science, common sense and thousands of years of architectural and engineering history, we ensure projects are built safely and built to last.

Now, you may wonder if an architect designs the house and the contractors build it, where does a structural engineer fit in?

The answer is: right in between. A structural engineer is a bridge between the architect and the contractors, working with the former to make their designs build-able and with the latter to ensure the finished building is true to the architectural vision.

An architect could design the most beautiful home that perfectly realises their client’s wildest dreams, but that design is useless if it can’t physically be built. Build-ability becomes particularly difficult in our towns and cities, where houses are closely packed together and surrounded by infrastructure. How materials, equipment and waste are going to be moved on and off site has a massive impact on the design itself and how it’s phased, so it’s crucial that we’re involved in a project from its earliest stages.

Having a structural engineer on board from day one can also save you from very costly mistakes.

For example, we were recently working on a project that was intended to be a relatively simple renovation and extension job. But the house had severe structural issues including subsidence and bowing walls. After going over the calculations, we realised the work involved in renovating such a compromised structure was more expensive than knocking it down and rebuilding it.

Eventually, the house was rebuilt in an almost identical fashion to its original appearance using the original bricks and stone lintels but with the benefit of a sturdy, well insulated modern structure as well as an additional rear extension. Had the build continued with a renovation instead, it would have been more expensive with a less valuable end result.

If you are a property owner looking to carry out structural alterations call PM Consulting Engineers LTD today to arrange an appointment.

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