A structural engineer is a civil engineer who analyses how a structure is affected by the forces of nature, like gravity, the wind, and the soil around the structure. They can make a determination as to whether or not the structural can stand up to the elements that it is exposed to without experiencing further extensive damage or a possible collapse. Using his education, training, and experience, a structural engineer will help to ensure that all elements of the design and budget are incorporated in order to result in a building that is safe and structurally sound.
By understanding what a structural engineer does, you will be well equipped to hire a one who can help you to ensure that your home or professional building are structurally sound and safe from damage in the environment. Consider using the following questions to help you to hire your structural engineer.
What qualifications do you have?
It is important that your hired professional, in fact, a structural engineer who will be able to analyze the severity of the problems in your home. More than that, your structural engineer will be able to recognize what the source of the problem is and also the best solution to preserve the structural integrity of the building.
Remember that it is absolutely vital that the person you hire is not simply a contractor - a contractor, while experienced in building and providing repairs to structures may not be able to identify the minute damage and warning signs that could be present as a result of termites.
What will be covered during the initial site inspection?
It is important to understand what trouble areas your structural engineer will be evaluating during his site inspection. Naturally he will be paying close attention to the roof and the walls if those appear to be the primary areas of concern; however, an experienced and thorough structural engineer will then also do a careful inspection of the foundation of the home in an effort to rule out any additional issues that may be as a direct result of foundation damage.
Try to get everything in writing so that you not only have a checklist to refer back to but so that you also have an idea as to what you can expect during the inspection and repair process.
What solutions would you recommend?
Ask your structural engineer what solutions he most often recommends to the various structural issues that you are facing. It may be that your particular issue is a new one that he has not yet encountered, which would lend to questions about his experience and overall knowledge.
Having an idea as to what type of solutions you can expect to face will help you to better budget the costs involved with the repairs.
Be sure that you ask your structural engineer for a detailed explanation as to whether or not the repairs will offer you a permanent solution or if this is an issue that you will need to evaluate again at some point in the future.