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Amanda Harvey
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Amanda
Harvey

Renovation projects which require an engineer

Last modified: 2019/05/27 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

When it comes to large-scale renovations, there is plenty of potential to build in a way that enriches the lives of your family and loved ones. Of course, not everyone is well versed in the inner workings of home renovation. If the project is too big to tackle as a DIY job, you might be considering who you can hire to help things run as smoothly as possible. Working with an engineer will offer a way to avoid mishaps and make sure that the structure of your home isn't compromised.

Now, not every home renovation is going to require an engineer in order for it to happen. Luckily, in this article, we’ll offer the renovations where you should definitely be working with an engineer as well as the reasons behind it.

Here are the renovation projects which require an engineer

interior structure

source: unsplash

What is a structural engineer?

A structural engineer has an extremely well-rounded skill-set, an expert of the inner workings in buildings. They understand the construction process, the durability of materials as well as the strength and longevity of a structure. On top of this, they can tell you how safe a building is while also drawing up plans that detail specifications for the project including material suggestions and design calculations.

Even though the structural engineer is almost a jack of all trades, there are many different types and specializations within this field of work. Since this article is considering home renovation, when hiring a structural engineer you’ll want to work with someone who specializes in residential projects.

When do you need to hire a structural engineer?

There are many different renovation projects that will require the help of a structural engineer. The main instances where you’ll want to hire one is when you’re looking at altering or expanding a building, and more specifically, projects that might compromise the stability of a building, In most cases, a structural engineer will work in tandem with a contractor or architect and offer calculations and drawings. Deciding whether or not you need to work with an engineer will really depend on the nature of the project, but here are some examples of projects that could definitely use the guidance and expertise of one.

  • A home extension or an addition;
  • Removing or modifying internal walls;
  • Door and window modification;
  • Underpinning floors;
  • Solar panel integration.

Although this seems like a small list, it’s best to remember that if you’re changing the structure of your building or property in any way, an engineer must be consulted. An important note is that projects like those listed will require you to apply for a permit. If the project is quite complex, the permit applications will require technical information from that of an engineer. Thus, once you’ve narrowed down the project you’re going to take on, do some research regarding the rules within your municipality.

Removing a wall

Home structure

source: unsplash

Even if you think it’s going to be an easy task, removing an interior or exterior wall is challenging and dangerous. Accidentally removing a load-bearing wall will compromise the entire structure of your house, and this is a risk homeowners should not be willing to take, let alone it compromises the safety of all those living under your roof. For the removal or the inspection of a load-bearing wall, you must work with a structural engineer. They will be able to design a new beam which will work to replace the carrying capacity of the wall. Removing or moving a load-bearing wall could also mean replacement bracing walls will also be required.

When an engineer is not required

As we mentioned, structural engineers usually work in tandem with someone who does the actual building, demolition or removal. However, there are some jobs that might seem like they need the advice of an engineer when they actually don’t. The most common misconceptions are as follows:

  • Structural engineers will not remove wall or ceiling lining to look for damage beyond the immediate structure. This is because they’re likely to do a visual inspection only and are likely to miss something major.
  • Many believe that working with an engineer means you’re automatically granted a permit for your renovation. This is not the case and the drawings provided will need to be submitted to your municipality along with a permit application.

An engineer will be able to look for damage as well as notice specific signs if there’s something wrong with the structure of your home. However, they are not able to see through walls. Unless what they’re inspecting is accessible, so make sure they’ll able to see the potential problem.

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