Frequently Asked Questions
These are a selection of questions we are often asked. If your question is not listed, please email us.
What exactly does a structural engineer do?
Structural engineers use science and mathematics to estimate the strength of a building. A more holistic explanation is given in this video from the Institution of Structural Engineers.
When should I hire a Structural Engineer?
We are called on at different stages of building projects either pre-purchase, pre-planning, after planning, during construction or if a fault is discovered.
We might be requested to look at a property pre-purchase to advise if the structure is sound. For example an international client wanted to know if they could rearrange a five-bedroom flat into four ensuite rooms before they negotiated an offer. Or another example, a developer wanted to purchase some land over tunnels and needed to assess how many storeys could be built above them.
We could be brought in to assist with the planning process. For example a client who worked in finance wanted a new basement under their property, which requires a Chartered Engineer to prepare particular documents.
We may be appointed post-planning to prepare Tender information and calculations for Building Control. For example a client wanted a new two-storey extension to be designed.
We may be asked to oversee the construction. For example a housing association wanted a Chartered Engineer to inspect their construction site every two weeks and produce a report as part of the Client Monitoring Team.
How do I know if a structural engineer is qualified?
The post-nominals CEng indicate a Chartered Engineer which is a protected title registered with the Engineering Council and recognised internationally. It requires at least an MEng (Masters in Engineering) qualification or its equivalent. Then a further period of 3-5 years gaining experience before passing an arduous entrance process to become a Member of an Institution.
The two principal Institutions for structural engineers are either the Institution of Civil Engineers (MICE) or the Institution of Structural Engineers (MIStructE). These are both recognised by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Certain employers, insurers or Building Control requirements can only be satisfied if the work has been reviewed and signed off by someone who is Chartered with these Institutions in other words CEng MICE or CEng MIStructE.
What makes a good structural engineer?
Structural engineering is a difficult and varied profession involving many different skills. In our view no one person can master all the skills required so it is a team game and important to work well collaboratively.
If we had to pick one thing that makes a good structural engineer we would argue it’s important to always know “why”. It is difficult to balance competing priorities if we do not know why particular requirements exist.
How much will my project cost?
Every project and building is different so please contact us with whatever information is available and we can provide a quote for our services. If you would like an estimate of total construction costs we can recommend a suitable expert to advise on those.
99 Structural Engineers
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