If you are planning to build a new structure or make modifications that could affect your home's existing structure, then engaging a structural engineer to work on the project is essential. A structural engineer will have the skills needed to make certain that whatever you are building will be stable and strong enough to last. Their work will cover every aspect of your project so engaging them right at the start is vital if you want to avoid costly mistakes.
However, one of the problems that many people face when engaging a structural engineer is that they have little idea exactly what their work involves. They may not be sure what questions to ask that will ensure they have the best engineer for their project. Fortunately, here are three questions that you can ask a structural engineer to make certain that you have the best available choice.
Can you show proof of your insurance?
It is always sensible to check that a structural engineer or any other professional you engage is carrying appropriate insurance. Nothing should go wrong with their work, but if their advice or workmanship does lead you into difficulties, you must know that you won't lose out financially. If you can't see evidence of some level of professional indemnity insurance, then you must look elsewhere for your structural engineer.
What permissions must be sought?
Your structural engineer should have a good grasp of how the law applies to your situation. They should be able to talk to you about the need for planning permission and explain what building regulations and health and safety regulations apply. If you will be working on an older structure, then they might need to discuss the implications of any local or national historical significance possessed by the building that you want to change. Knowing at an early stage what approvals you will need to seek can help you to prepare proposals that address any potential concerns your project might raise. You could find that you struggle to attract builders to your project if you don't stand a realistic chance of it being approved.
Do I have to tell the neighbours?
Often before building work can begin, you should notify your neighbours or anyone else who may be adversely affected by the work. A structural engineer will be able to advise you on this or they could refer you to a specialist surveyor if the case is beyond their expertise. Having the right people to call on throughout the life of your project will ensure that it runs smoothly and is completed on schedule. Contact a structural engineer for more information.