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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is structural engineering?

    Structural engineering focuses on a building's load-bearing capabilities so that the structure can withstand its intended use. A structural engineer formulates innovative solutions to problems that arise and places great emphasis on safety. The job also requires creativity because structural engineers work with the aesthetic aspects of a project.

  • Is civil engineering the same as structural engineering?

    Structural engineering is a more advanced subdivision of civil engineering. Both types of engineering work to build structures. However, the primary difference is that the structural engineer works closely with the load-bearing materials and determines how they will perform their intended duties. In contrast, a civil engineer focuses primarily on the design elements of the project.

  • What does a structural engineer do?

    Structural engineers are helpful in just about every facet of the building process. They can evaluate the construction plans for any possible issues. Once a structure is erected, they can perform inspections on the property to determine any fundamental problems. These professionals are commonly in demand if there is damage to a home, such as from a fire or storm.

  • When should I hire a structural engineer?

    The expertise of a structural engineer is used on a variety of building projects. Anything that involves load-bearing walls or foundations may require a structural engineer’s input. Some project examples include:

    • Building a new deck or replacing an existing deck

    • Building an addition to a home, such as a sunroom, additional story, or bump out

    • Inspecting a home after a fire or storm to determine how much structural damage is present

    • Planning or installation of solar panels or other weighted objects

  • Do I need a structural engineer to add or remove a wall?

    A structural engineer determines whether the wall being removed is load-bearing or not. If the wall is load-bearing, the structural engineer comes up with a plan to support the load during and after the project. When adding a wall, these professionals can ensure it supports any weight placed on it.

  • I have a crack in my foundation. Do I need a structural engineer?

    The location and type of crack determine the need for a structural engineer. If it is a cosmetic crack, a structural engineer probably isn’t necessary. Cracks that impact the integrity of a property need a structural engineer. Cracks that are 1/8-inch wide and stair-step cracks are examples that require a structural engineer.

  • Can a structural engineer be an architect?

    An architect works on the design and layout elements of construction. The structural engineer works to ensure that the structure is going to remain standing with normal use. In short, the architect is responsible for how the rooms look and the flow of the building. The structural engineer checks the integrity of the design and can inspect the structure after any potential damage.

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