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Structural Engineer- Your Design Team FAQ

Architects are qualified to provide structural design, and this is appropriate for many simple domestic projects, but structural design is ideally carried out by a structural engineer.

  1. The structural design essentially defines the load- bearing “skeleton” of the building.
  2. The architect will create a spatial design with viable spans, loads, depths of foundations, and space for additional structural elements where needed.
  3. The engineer will then determine the precise design of the structural elements in keeping with the design the client has chosen.
  4. Architectural (showing space, aesthetics and organisation) and Structural drawings (purely construction) will be sent to the builder.

The engineer should have qualifications, insurance and membership of appropriate professional bodies. The structural engineer should undertake to certify the design for compliance with Part A of the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations, and may be appointed to design and certify various elements under Building Control subject to detailed discussion.There are some limited circumstances where an engineer can be omitted from the design team. When the design is very straightforward it is sometimes appropriate for the main contractor to assume responsibility for the structural design, or for a sub- contractor such as steel fabricator to provide a design service in-house. This is common in some design- build models.

We recommend all clients to have some direct input from a structural engineer on all our projects. We can put you in touch with a number of skilled individuals and firms according to the needs of your project.

In our experience, structural engineers provide insight and understanding of structure which enables the project to employ an “elegance of means”. Their professional fees can often pay for themselves by eliminating superfluous costs, because engineers have the scope to constrain use of expensive structural materials and avoid over- specification.

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