Why is This Important?
When the authority having jurisdiction approves plans, they are accepting responsibility should a situation occur involving the structure of the building or home. This means that they will have to make sure that all these plans take into account the climatic and seismic conditions specific to your locale.
But why is this necessary? The thing is, structures are at the mercy of nature. This is why engineers spend years studying what makes steel strong and what makes concrete tough. They need to account for the stresses that the structure might have in everyday life and to compensate for that to ensure the structure’s integrity.
For example, a structure in a tornado-prone environment might have the same layout as one that is near a beach, but both structures will, at the core of it, be made differently and with different practices.
Isn’t This Included In The Design of the Home?
The simple answer is— no. When we talk about home design, we are talking about architectural plans. These are the plans that an architect will draft for you, to be approved by you as well as the authority having jurisdiction. This plan will cover the aesthetic appearance of your structure which will be used as a reference by the engineers.
That said, your engineers and architects are meant to work together. This is so that the engineer, when designing how the structure is going to be built, can consult with the architect on the possible impact they might have on the building’s design and vice-versa.
It should be noted that any architect claiming to be able to make plans that include the engineering aspect of the structure should not be taken seriously, except in some special cases. Each profession will have its own licensure exams and should be treated as two separate job roles.
When Do I Contact A Structural Engineer?
Generally, you will want an engineer anytime you have a project that is involved with structures, be it a renovation or from-scratch construction. In any case, though, most of the time a set of plans will be required so take that as a sign that you should be looking far and wide for an structural engineer that understands your needs.
Work with a Structural Engineer Today!
The bottom line here is that safety must be your primary concern when talking about engineers. Some will claim to be able to do jobs for the lowest fee but at what cost? The trick is to understand who you’re working with— this will be the biggest factor in whether your construction project will be one to be excited, or worried about.