Most of the projects that we work on require the services of a structural engineer.

Typically the following projects will require a Structural engineer

  • Loft Conversions
  • Extensions
  • Removing load-bearing walls
  • Basement/cellar conversions

Why is a Structural Engineer required on a building project?
In simpler terms, a structural engineer for a residential building project is responsible for ensuring that the building is designed and constructed to be safe, stable, and structurally sound.

They work with architects and builders to determine the appropriate materials, sizes, and shapes needed for the building's foundation, walls, roof, and other structural components.

What are the fundamental differences between the roles of a structural engineer and an architect or architectural technician on a domestic building project?

Architect/Architectural Technician: An architect is like the designer of the building. They think about how the building should look, how it should function, and what the client wants. They create drawings and models to show how the building will look.

Architects also make sure that the building follows the rules and regulations set by the planning department and building regulations.

Structural Engineer: A structural engineer is like the safety expert for the building. They focus on making sure that the building is strong and won't collapse. They calculate and design the important parts of the building that support its weight, like the foundation, columns, beams, and walls.

They also consider factors like wind and loading to make sure the building can withstand those forces. Structural engineers work closely with architects to make sure the structure is safe and fits with the design.

In simple terms, the architect makes the building look nice and functional, while the structural engineer makes sure the building is safe and won't fall down. They work together to create a building that is both beautiful and strong.

Working together, they can create a building that meets all of the necessary requirements for safety, functionality, and visual appeal.

SER Registration; The Structural Engineers that we work with are SER registered.

SER stands for "Structural Engineer Registration" and refers to a certification scheme specific to Scotland. It is managed by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and aims to ensure that structural engineers who work on buildings and other structures in Scotland meet certain standards of knowledge and competence.

The scheme requires engineers to demonstrate their qualifications and experience, as well as their ability to apply technical knowledge to real-world situations. SER registration is voluntary, but many clients and contractors require engineers to be SER registered as a condition of employment or to ensure quality and safety standards are met.

What type of domestic construction projects requires a structural engineer?

Structural engineers may be required for various types of domestic construction projects, including:

  • New build properties
  • Home extensions or loft conversions
  • Basement conversions
  • Removal of load-bearing walls
  • Roof conversions
  • Renovations or refurbishments of existing properties
  • Installation of new windows or doors
  • Repairs to existing structural elements
  • Retaining walls or garden walls
  • Structural alterations to listed or historic buildings.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements may vary depending on the size and complexity of the project, as well as local building codes and regulations. It’s always recommended to consult with a structural engineer to determine whether their services are required for a particular project.

Structural Engineers report: In the case of a small domestic job like removing a wall, a structural engineer's report may be a simple letter confirming that the wall is not load-bearing.

The purpose of this report is to assure that removing the wall will not negatively impact the structural stability of the building.

It is important to note that these reports are typically issued when no further structural design work is needed. The letter serves as documentation and provides peace of mind, stating that the wall can be safely removed without causing any structural issues.

This letter will accompany the architect's drawings as part of the building warrant application.

An example project requiring only a structural engineer report

In the case of a small domestic project where a non-load-bearing stud wall is to be removed to create an open-plan dining/kitchen/living area, a structural engineer's report would be sufficient to confirm that the wall is indeed non-load-bearing.

This report would assure that removing the wall will not compromise the structural stability of the building.

However, it's important to note that even though a structural engineer's report is sufficient for confirming the non-load-bearing nature of the wall, a building warrant would still be required for this type of project. The building warrant is a formal approval process by the local building authority to ensure that the proposed changes meet all relevant building regulations and safety standards.

If the wall were load-bearing, meaning it supports the weight of the building, the involvement of a structural engineer would be more extensive. In such cases, the structural engineer would need to produce detailed design drawings and an SER certificate.

These documents would outline the necessary structural changes and demonstrate that the proposed modifications maintain the building's structural integrity. A simple report alone would be insufficient in this scenario.

To summarize, for a small domestic project where a non-load-bearing wall is to be removed, a structural engineer's report can confirm its non-load-bearing nature. However, it is essential to obtain a building warrant from the local building authority regardless of the load-bearing status of the wall. If the wall were load-bearing, additional design drawings and an SER certificate would be required.

Structural Engineers Fees
The fees for structural engineering services can vary depending on the specific project requirements, the complexity of the design, and the experience and qualifications of the structural engineer.

For smaller domestic projects such as a home extension or loft conversion, the fees may typically range from £795.00 to £3,000, but this can vary depending on the scope of work and the specific engineer hired.

A structural engineer's report starts at £295.00.

Structural engineers typically charge for their services on a project basis. The engineers that we use charge a fixed fee

We will ask them to provide a fee quote that details costs and outlines what's included

We work with several Structural engineers and would be happy to discuss this with you.