What Does A Structural Engineer Do?

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Wondering What A Structural Engineer Does?

Read our quick guide to help you understand the role of a structural surveyor.

Some people can easily confuse a structural surveyor with a building surveyor.

What Does A Structural Engineer Do? The difference between a building surveyor and a structural surveyor is that a structural survey, carried out by a structural engineer, is designed to look specifically at the structural integrity of a property.

A building survey carried out by a building surveyor, consists of an inspection of all accessible areas, detailing any defects or maintenance issues.

A professionally qualified structural engineer will be able to assess your property for any structural defects. The typical process of a structural survey carried out by an experienced expert will include;

An overall detailed external inspection of the property, to include, 

  • An assessment of any chimney stacks for defects or deterioration. This can be carried out using a long extendable pole and camera, binoculars, or even with the use of a drone to perform an aerial survey of the roof and chimney.
  • Assessment of the roof for defects and deterioration. Survey methods include the same as the chimney inspection above.
  • An assessment of the elevations, taking into account deterioration to any render, brickwork or stonework and the major mortar joints.
  • The structural engineer will also take into account the topography (land gradients) of the property, along with the ground levels.
  • If terraced or attached, the structural surveyor will also assess any adjoining properties, in order to ascertain if any adjacent deterioration or defects are affecting the main property.

These detailed inspections will provide a full understanding of the overall exterior condition and an indication of any issues that could be contributing to structural deterioration to the structure.

Detailed Survey summary of the affected areas of concern

  • The structural surveyor will visually assess each individual defect.
  • Any cracks or fractures will be measured to obtain the length and width, in addition the position and direction will be assessed and recorded.
  • Probing and sampling may be required as cracks are the results of stress exceeding the strength of the structural elements.
  • The cause of the crack or defect will be confirmed and any further required monitoring of the defect(s) will be recommended.
  • Where necessary the roof structure and all required load bearing walls will be assessed in full from a structural perspective.


  • The structural surveyor will provide a detailed report on completion, detailing his undertakings, along with all of the data and results that were obtained.
  • The report will detail the cause(s) of the defects assessed.
  • The detailed report will state any recommendations and works that are required to rectify any issues, allowing a suitable contractor of the clients choice to fulfil the correct rectifications.
  • Where required, the surveyor will detail what further monitoring is recommended, for issues that are suspected or confirmed to be active.

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