What is a Structural Engineer and what do they do?

A Structural Engineer is a qualified professional, specialising in all aspects of building design and construction. Where appropriate, they are part of the design team with the Architect, Quantity Surveyor and Services Engineer.

The service they offer varies with the clients brief.  This can be best explained by giving examples:

  1. New Build Projects

These can be domestic, commercial, or industrial projects.  Generally, where there is an Architect appointed, they carry out a measured survey of the site, produce a scheme design for the client’s approval, then discuss the proposal with the Local Authority Planning Department.

When it is established that the scheme is likely to be approved, the scheme is submitted for planning approval.   However, it is not unusual for the Structural Engineer to perform some or all these duties as they may have all the necessary specialists in their team.

structural engineerThe Structural Engineer has expert knowledge of foundations.  They study the geological maps to assess the ground stratum. If appropriate, will organise a borehole site investigation survey. From the results they will design the appropriate foundations.

Once planning permission has been obtained they will design, draw and specify the structural elements of the project. Either the architect, quantity surveyor or the structural engineer will prepare tender documents, invite and assess the tenders received.

Once the client has selected their builder, the Structural Engineer may be involved in preparing the contract and awarding the job. They may also be involved in assessing the contractor’s programme.

The client may either use the Local Authority Building Inspector or appoint a Private Inspector to check the materials and workmanship. In either case there will be close liaison with the Structural Engineer.

During the construction period they will make periodic site visits to check the materials and construction. They will attend site meetings where costs and progress are discussed. Depending on the brief they will be concerned with the Final Account.

  1. Extensions or Alterations to Existing Properties

loft conversionExamples of these are Loft Conversions, Rear or Side Extensions or reconfiguring the internal layout of a property. The procedure from start to finish will generally follow that for New Build projects but it is more likely, that the Structural Engineer will be the sole  building professional involved.


  1. Structural Damage

When a Property Owner notices damage to their property, they will call in a Structural Engineer to inspect the damage and assess if it is structural or cosmetic.  The Engineer will make an inspection and if it is concluded that the cause is structural, they will determine the cause,

This could be ground settlement, defective drainage system, faulty materials or poor workmanship. Depending what is the likely cause. The client may require a CCTV drainage survey, a borehole site inspection or material tests. Once these are complete and the fault determined, some of the Tender and Construction procedure listed with New Build Projects will be followed but to a lesser extent.

  1. Structural Reports

These usually take the form of Reports only, some examples are:-

  1. Dilapidation Survey at the end of a lease.
  2. Assessment of the condition of a property prior to sale.
  3. Expert Witness Report for litigation matters.

Thus, it can be seen that Structural Engineering is a very diverse profession requiring a detailed knowledge of all aspects of construction.

For more details on this subject or if you believe you may require a Structural Engineer then contact me for a free appraisal via this link>>>

By | 2018-12-01T11:01:34+00:00 December 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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