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Will I need a structural engineer for my project?

Know when to give a structural engineer a call.
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If you are here, then you’re probably curious if your new home or renovation project needs a structural engineer. Here, we’ll do our best to answer that question. 

We’ll tell you what structural engineers do, their role in the construction process, the residential projects that require their expertise, and how we can help you get the best ones in the country on your team.

What is a residential structural engineer and why do you need one?

Residential structural engineers are licensed professionals who make sure that your home will be safe and structurally sound. They calculate forces and loads, analyse specifications, and suggest the building materials that will improve the physical integrity of the homes they’re working on. 

When do you need a structural engineer?

Homeowners taking on a simple renovation or new home projects might not need the assistance of a structural engineer. Engaging a building designer or a draftsman might suffice. 

However, there are instances when design professionals need input from a structural engineer to make sure the design is strong enough for the site of the home and the surrounding environment. Structural engineers ensure that the house won’t collapse or become unstable. 

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So, when do you need a residential structural engineer?

It will depend upon the nature of the project. If your new home or renovation project involves any of the following, you are in need of a structural engineer:

  • Unique, complicated designs
  • Tearing down loadbearing interior walls
  • Door and window placement modifications
  • Home extensions (vertical and horizontal)
  • Loft conversion
  • Solar panel installation
  • Building or removing reinforced concrete columns
  • Building retaining walls
  • Building in cyclone-prone areas
  • Building on sloping sites 
  • Building on poor, soft, or clay soil
  • Steel floor beams 
  • Roof girders
  • Suspended concrete slabs
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You also need a structural engineer to inspect your property before you start planning a renovation. These inspections are important especially when there are cracks or other concerning issues on the original property. The structural engineer should assess the damage, identify the possible causes, and advise on the best way to address them when you renovate.

Here at Superdraft, we always advise our customers on whether they need a structural engineer or not. Our building process eliminates second-guessing, which is great for first-time home builders and renovators. We give our customers a heads up from the onset to avoid problems and delays in building approval and construction in the future.

Cost of hiring a structural engineer

Like many construction professionals, structural engineers charge by the hour and it costs between $75 to $250 per hour*. It varies depending on the amount of work needed, the size of the house, the complexity of the design, and the skills level and experience of the engineer. 

Superdraft can help you get competitive quotes because we have hundreds of structural engineers in our network across the country. We can help you organise quotes and coordinate with them for all your engineering needs. 

*Rates are only estimates.

Tips when working with a structural engineer for home renovations

1.  Review their credentials carefully

Before hiring a structural engineer, you should first review their credentials carefully. In Australia, structural engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. There are also some professionals who choose to get master’s degrees specialising in structural engineering.

At Superdraft, we can connect you to experienced and qualified structural engineers. Sign up for our platform to find a reliable professional today.

2. Prepare contingency funds

There are structural damages that will only be discovered after removing the wall, floor, and ceiling linings of the house. Without removing these, structural engineers might not detect internal damage, especially when there is no evident damage on the surface of the building. 

This is frustrating, but you need to address these problems now that you are aware of them. Make sure that you have contingency funds that you can use to fix the hidden issues you’ve discovered. 

3. Prepare existing house plans

If you have an existing home and plan on doing some renovations, it’s best to prepare your original house plans beforehand. This will ensure that the structural engineer can review and approve your plans as soon as possible.

Find a structural engineer in Australia now

If your home improvement project involves structural changes, then you will need the assistance of a structural engineer. Examples of these include tearing down loadbearing walls, converting lofts, or moving doors and windows. Otherwise, it’s fine to simply work with a building designer or draftsman.

At Superdraft, we can connect you with thousands of experienced and licensed building designers, draftsmen, and engineers. We also have an easy-to-use and intuitive project planning dashboard where you can track and manage your construction project with ease. Sign up today!

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