Structural Engineers & Designers FAQ

What is a Structural Engineer?

A structural engineer is a qualified professional who can assess a wide range of structural issues with properties both domestic and commercial. They often assess cracks and foundation issues.

Is a structural engineer the same as a structural surveyor?

In some cases, a structural engineer can be referred to as a structural surveyor, they are usually both qualified to a high level, however, one may be more site-based carrying out surveys, whilst the other may be office, desk-based creating calculations and designs.

What do structural engineers and surveyors do?

They will design, survey, calculate and assess the structural design elements of a project. This includes demolishing a load-bearing wall, designing a house, a bridge or even a hotel.

Do I need a structural engineer for home alterations?

If you are planning to make internal alterations, such as demolishing a chimney breast or a wall, or you’re planning to add an extension, you will need to hire a structural engineer.

If you are changing the structure of a building in any way, you will need a structural engineer. Doing so, without proper structural calculations, could be catastrophic. If you are making changes to load-bearing walls or removing chimney breasts you will need to have accurate beam calculations to ensure the structural integrity of your building and to satisfy building control.
This also applies to changes to floors, roofs or foundations. Our role is to ensure that the structure and foundation of your building continue to be structurally sound.

Whenever a new build is being planned, you’ll need to hire the services of a structural engineer.

How much is a structural engineer?

Some companies will charge by the hour, other companies however will be experienced enough to know how much time is involved in a project and may offer a set fee. Expect to pay from £75ph or around £500 for a survey of a 3-bed house including a report.

What is a GSI Structural survey?

GSI stands for General Structural Survey and often refers to a full survey of the property

What is an SSI Structural survey?

SSI stands for Specific Structural Inspection and refers to an isolated issue or concern, such as a crack in a wall.

Is a structural surveyor or structural engineer the same as an architect?

No. A structural surveyor will attend a property and survey for defects or assist a client in ensuring that the structural elements of a project are being supervised. A structural engineer will often be more involved in the design element and surveying, whereas an architect will create the design for the project but will not include the structural calculations or design of load-bearing beams etc.

Who deals with building control?

This is usually your approved contractor or your architect

What is building control?

Building control aims to ensure the safeguarding and competence of any works carried out that involves the structural element of a property

Approved Document A contains design standards and guidelines for the structural stability and safety of all buildings and provides direction on how not to affect the structural integrity of other buildings. 

The information included covers structural loading, including safety standards for building foundations, disproportionate collapse i.e. a building’s ability to stand in the event of an accident, and ground movement potential, including subsidence.  

The document includes diagrams detailing different areas of construction, including roof frames and brick walls, and provides design rules for masonry and timber works for traditional houses.