As a homeowner, you may not think about structural engineering very often – but there are actually a number of situations where having a structural engineer on hand can be extremely useful. Here are the top five situations where you may need to call in a professional to help with your home.
1. Removing a chimney breast
If you want to remove a chimney breast from your home (particularly if it is load-bearing), then you will need to have the work assessed by a structural engineer. They will be able to tell you whether or not the removal is possible, and what kind of support will be needed in order to maintain the structural integrity of your home.
2. Removing internal walls
Removing internal walls can have a big impact on the structural stability of your home, so it is always best to get an assessment from a structural engineer before proceeding. They will be able to tell you whether the wall is load-bearing and, if so, what kind of support will be needed to compensate for its removal.
3. You have noticed cracking within your property
If you have noticed cracks appearing in your walls or ceilings, it is important to have them assessed by a structural engineer as soon as possible. In some cases, cracking can be due to settling foundations or other relatively minor issues. However, in other cases, it can be indicative of much more serious problems such as structural instability. A structural engineer will be able to assess the cause of the cracking and advise you on the best course of action.
4. Building an extension
If you are planning on building an extension to your home, a structural engineer will need to be involved in the project from the outset. They will be able to assess the feasibility of your plans and help to ensure that the extension is built to a structurally sound standard.
What are the benefits of building an extension to a home?
Building an extension to your home can have a number of benefits, including:
Increasing the overall value of your property
Giving you extra space to enjoy within your home
Allowing you to avoid the hassle and expense of moving house
Of course, it is important to ensure that any extension is built to a high standard in order to avoid problems further down the line. This is where working with a structural engineer can be extremely beneficial.
5. Converting loft space
Converting your loft space into an extra room or storage area is a popular home improvement project – but it is one that should not be undertaken without consulting a structural engineer first. They will be able to assess whether or not your property is suitable for loft conversion and, if so, what kind of support will be needed to ensure that the conversion is structurally sound.
What types of loft space conversions can a structural engineer help with?
Roof light loft conversions are a popular type of loft conversion that involve installing windows in the roof of the home in order to let in natural light.
Dormer loft conversions involve extending the roof of the home outwards in order to create additional headroom and floor space within the loft.
Hip-to-gable loft conversions involve extending the side walls of the home upwards to meet the slope of the roof, adding extra height to any space.
Mansard lofts, also known as French loft conversions, are a type of dormer loft conversion that involves raising one side of the roof in order to create more living space. They provide an elegant and spacious interior while providing additional structural support for the home. This is especially beneficial for homes with aging roofs or those that require your home to be structurally reinforced for safety reasons.
Mansard loft conversions involve extending the roof of the home outwards and downwards at a steep angle, giving the impression of a normal room, rather than a loft conversion.
So there you have it – the top five situations where you may need to call on the services of a structural engineer. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list (take a look at our comprehensive guide of the top 13 times you might need a structural engineer for more information) – but it should give you an idea of when it is time to seek professional advice. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution and get a structural assessment carried out before proceeding with any work that could potentially impact the structural integrity of your home.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, don’t hesitate to give us a call – we would be more than happy to help!