Whether you’re carrying out a new build, extension or simply refurbishing your property, find out here whether you need to hire a structural engineer.
in this article
What does a structural engineer do?
Whatever your construction project might be, it’s extremely likely that at some point, you will need to think about hiring a structural engineer. All building renovations, refurbishments, and extensions usually involve some work that could put you, your family, or your contractors at risk at one point or another.
Structural engineers are fully trained to ensure the safety of any property. They have highly proficient maths and physics skills to calculate how sturdy and secure such buildings are careful. They are even available to organize the safe and secure running of a property demolition.
Why do I need to hire a structural engineer?
- For new builds – structural engineers work on all kinds of residential and commercial projects, including designing bridges, tunnels, stadiums, offices, homes, and skyscrapers. So whatever kind of property you’re planning to build, make sure you consult with a structural engineer throughout.
- For refurbishments and extensions – to make your refurbishment safe, it’s advisable to hire a structural engineer, especially if the work involves removing fundamental parts of structures such as walls, columns, knocking through doorways, or constructing new areas such as basements.
- To assess how safe a structure is – you can hire a structural engineer to report how safe property is. This is particularly useful if you are buying a new property and could even enable you to negotiate the asking price. On the other hand, providing a structural report is useful for potential buyers if you are selling your property.
- When demolishing a building, a structural engineer can safely advise how to demolish whole properties or specific parts of buildings.
Professional qualifications of structural engineers
A Structural Engineer has a degree in structural or civil engineering and likely a postgraduate qualification in structural or civil engineering. The majority of Structural engineers are members of the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) and will have the letters MIStructE, FIStructE, MICE, or FICE after their name. When this is the case, they are called Chartered Engineers.
It is generally considered a good practice to hire a Chartered Engineer. However, there are also several Engineers with considerable experience who are not chartered. As an alternative option, you can hire Chartered Building Surveyors that offer services in the same area. Structural Engineers can also assist you when dealing with Party Wall Issues.
Benefits of hiring a structural engineer
A structural engineer will have a degree in civil or structural engineering and have obtained the appropriate skills and expert knowledge in the required field. For instance, they will be able to:
- Understand the different strengths and various properties of a wide range of building materials.
- Evaluate the structural integrity of a property before, during, and after a major property refurbishment or renovation, helping to keep you and your employees safe during construction.
- Calculate and estimate the effects of different parts of the building on others – such as whether a doorway will be able to cope with the added pressure of an upstairs refurbishment/extension.
- Analyze internal structures and the overall stability to determine how safe it is and produce subsequent reports or certificates for you or architects and project managers.
- Communicate with architects, interior designers, and project managers to find suitable compromises between the desired aesthetics and structural safety.
- Offer practical advice about how to prevent the building from warping and/or collapsing during the course of the renovation.
- Help with the removal or restructuring any floors, walls, or ceilings (particularly load-bearing walls) that need to be replaced during the project.
- Help plan for a loft, garage, and/or basement conversion.
- Help plan for a new conservatory and/or two-story property extension.
- Offer professional advice about re-routing your plumbing, pipe-work, and any electrical wiring that obstructs your renovation.
- Help acquire the appropriate planning and building regulations approval from your local authority.
How much does a structural engineer cost?
Structural engineer’s cost depends on the nature of the work, the elements of the property involved, the number of visits, and of course, your location in the UK. Several structural engineers only charge per hour, while others prefer to survey your property, look over your renovation plans and offer a final quote once they know exactly what needs to be done. According to our research, the cost ranges from £50 – £90 per hour and £350 – £2,000 per project.
Still, to help give you an overview of the average cost of a structural engineer, we have sourced several different figures from the following companies and websites:
Structuralengineerscambridge.co.uk – anywhere between £350 – £1200 per project
Arkiplan.co.uk – anywhere from £400-800 per week.
Structuralengineersgrantham.co.uk – around £90 per hour.
Shollandgreen.co.uk: £900 to £2,000 per project.
Harveynormanarchitects.co.uk: £600 -£1800 per project
Structuralsolutions.co.uk: £50 – £75 per hour
Structural engineers fees
Structural engineers have different fees depending on whether they are part of a company or work individually. In general, the smaller the company, the lower the structural inspection fees. Expect to pay anywhere between £50 – £90 per hour and £400 -£800 per week. Many companies also work on a fixed fee.
Example fees are below:
1) Walk Around Survey from £225 (excluding VAT) 2) Specific structural inspection report from £350 (excluding VAT) 3) General Structural Inspection and Report from £485 (excluding VAT)
Although different companies offer different price plans, make sure your final structural report cost is included in the quoted figure. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay extra for this proof-of-safety document once the building work is all complete.
How much does a structural report cost?
The cost of a Building Survey /Structural Survey ranges from £350 to £2,000 depending on the country’s property type, size, and location. The Building Survey, previously known as a Structural Survey, is a very detailed inspection of the property covering the condition of a property.
The Building Survey describes the condition of each element in the house, stating its state and whether it needs repair or maintenance and an indication of the cost to repair. Even though it is the most expensive survey, it is very comprehensive and detailed when evaluating a property’s condition and construction.
How to find a structural engineer
If you want the best deal possible on your residential structural engineer fees, make sure you also check out several different companies before signing on the dotted line. Ask friends and family whether they can recommend anyone from their own home improvement projects, and be sure to investigate online too.
As long as you budget carefully and don’t start spending money on your refurbishment before it’s been fully approved, there’s no reason why hiring a structural engineer should add too much to your final home renovation costs!
Useful Tips When Hiring
- To become a structural engineer, you need a degree in civil or structural engineering or something similar and up to four years of training.
- Structural engineering carries real-life and death responsibilities, so high levels of competence are a must.
- Choose a structural engineer who is local to you and check their qualifications, references, and work portfolio if they have one.
- Make sure your structural engineer has Public Liability insurance to cover you if anything goes wrong.
- It’s wise to hire an engineer affiliated with the Institution of Structural Engineering (ISE). However, not a trade association as such, members of the ISE sign up to a code of conduct that should assure that you get a good level of service. A royal charter governs the institution, and its main purpose is to promote the art of structural engineering and uphold standards in the industry.
How To Become A Structural Engineer
Design and shape the world: careers in structural engineering
Structural Engineering Costs
What Is A Building Survey