Structural Engineers

Who Engages Structural Engineers?

Structural engineers can be engaged by anyone who requires professional advice regarding the design, rehabilitation, repair, and adequacy of structures. Structural engineers can identify problems and help reduce costs.

It is prudent to engage structural engineers because of their technical expertise and to check that construction works are in accordance with the design. 

When Might I Need To Engage A Structural Engineer?

A structural engineer can be engaged if you need advice about the design, repair or adequacy of the structure. Structures include houses, pergolas, decks or retaining walls.

Structural engineers can report on:

  • Poor construction quality.
  • Inferior or wrong materials.
  • Problems with footings.
  • Cracking of walls.
  • Structural damage caused by construction, or by storms or earthquake. 

What Can A Structural Engineer Do?

Structural engineers understand the behavior of structures. They have knowledge about design codes, and building regulations and applied loads.

Structural engineers can provide advice on the strength of materials, and can specify steel, reinforced concrete, masonry, timber or other materials.

Structural engineers determine structural form and document structural systems. Such issues impact on the affordability, constructability, compliance with codes of practice and aesthetics of the structure.

Structural engineers usually act as independent consultants who are part of a collaborative effort involving the owner, other engineering disciplines, builders and architects.

Structural engineers can check the design compliance of the structure with Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia. Most building approval authorities in Australia require an engineer to certify the structural adequacy of a project. 

What Can I Expect When I Engage A Structural Engineer?

When you engage a structural engineer you should make sure that the scope of work and the fees are defined. Agreements should be in writing. You should also understand the limitations of the engineer’s role and responsibilities.

Building approval authorities usually require the certifying engineer to carry professional indemnity insurance. Check whether the structural engineer you engage has current professional indemnity insurance. 

What Will The Structural Engineer Do?

When you engage a structural engineer you should expect to receive a complete set of documents in accordance with the scope of the engagement. Structural engineering documents form a part of a building contract. These documents may include drawings showing general arrangements, connection details, written specifications defining materials, workmanship, and dependent upon the scope, may include the construction methods.

A structural engineer may be engaged to inspect building works for design compliance. Inspections are usually undertaken at critical stages of the construction, such as excavated ground, tied reinforcement and exposed framing. If the works are not inspected by the design engineer, builder and/or the building surveyor take responsibility for construction compliance.