How to pick the best consultants for structural engineering

By Vincent Brady

When you’re working on a project it isn’t long before you become heavily invested in the result. It could be a commercial or residential project; you’ll want the best results. Structural engineering experts are the people that can provide detailed designs to help your project run smoothly. They look at the bigger picture to ensure you achieve the desired result for the stated budget.

Who should you turn to when you’re in need of structural engineering services? Below we’ll give you some tips and advice on finding the best structural engineering firm for you.

What do structural engineering firms do?

 While many projects are run on a tight budget, structural engineering is one area you shouldn’t scrimp on. Structural engineering is a major component of your build and can go a long way to ensuring your project is successful. Some of the areas structural engineering covers are:

  • Advising on regulations, planning applications, and building codes.
  • Ensuring everyone involved in your project remains safe.
  • Assessing the structural integrity of the building on an ongoing basis.
  • Working with other professionals, such as the architect, to ensure everything goes to plan.
  • Providing innovative and cost-efficient solutions that are safe and sustainable.

Because structural engineering requires such a broad range of professional knowledge, it’s common for firms to offer other closely related services, from planning submission to project management and lots in between.

Ensure your structural engineering firm are qualified

The high level of responsibility placed upon a structural engineer means it’s crucial to ensure they are sufficiently qualified and experienced for the project you’re engaging them to work on. This can include qualifications, regulatory standards, accreditation, an idea of the approach they use along with recommendations from previous clients.

Any professionals working for a structural engineering firm will usually hold a university degree and have completed years of training. Some may have even taken an additional set of higher-level exams that are directly related to the industry. It can be hard to gauge the suitability of some members of a firm, as most reputable firms will be made up of a multi-talented team, each with their own particular specialisms.

Word of mouth or recommendations are a good way to gauge the competency of a firm. Someone you know who is unbiased can provide invaluable advice and feedback on their personal experience with a structural engineering firm.

Whichever firm you decide to speak to, make sure you’re comfortable with them before moving forward, as the successful outcome of your project may depend upon them.

Do you like their style?

Part of structural engineering is problem solving. Whether it’s coming up with innovative engineering solutions to complex situations or selecting the right materials to ensure structural integrity and budget requirements are met, a structural engineer will be faced with an unlimited number of questions on each project.

While style is the first thing you’d associate with structural engineering, the solutions they devise often say a lot about their level of experience and broader knowledge. The best structural engineers can think outside the box and implement creative solutions. Using a structural engineer with a vast knowledge of available materials and who shows a meticulous attention to detail will help make the other professionals’ jobs easier. It allows an architect to be more creative, working with freedom, confident in the abilities of the team around them.

What is their approach to your project?

Some structural engineers will focus on just a single problem or aspect of your build, but the most effective ones will take a more holistic approach. They consider all the different aspects of the project and the client’s own desired outcome. When you speak to a firm ask yourself how interested they seem in the bigger picture. Do they enquire about many different aspects and the other professionals that will be working on the project, or do they focus directly on just the engineering challenges that will only affect them?

A reputable structural engineering firm will be happy to share previous work

A structural engineering firm that are proud of their portfolio of work should have no problem sharing it with you. They should be able to talk you through previous projects and show you how they solved problems. Take note of how enthusiastic they are when speaking about previous projects. Ask them questions about the projects. Did the project finish on time? Did it go over budget? What unexpected challenges did they face?

They should also have no problem providing the contact details for a couple of previous clients. This can be invaluable, as they will be able to tell you how smooth (or not) the relationship was with the firm. Were they always responsive to communication? Did they always explain themselves clearly? Did they work well with the other professionals working on the project? These insights can be invaluable.

Use trusted and qualified experts to ensure your success

Banrach Consulting Engineers have been in business for over 15-years. Over the years we have worked on every type of project imaginable, used a wide variety of materials, and built a multi-talented team that ensures we can always solve a client’s problems. Our project management service has been popular with our clients, taking all the stress and hassle of managing a project off their shoulders, allowing them to just dip in and out to keep on eye on progress as they wish.

We’re already trusted by solicitors and loss assessors and have been asked to consult as expert witnesses when there is a court case relating to loss from fire, flood damage, boundary disputes, poor workmanship, or accidents.

If you have any further questions about structural engineering, civil engineering, plans, project management, subsidence engineering, or just about anything related to construction-based engineering, then don’t hesitate to give us a call on (01) 969 6373. We’re a friendly bunch and love to hear from potential clients, regardless of the size or budget for their project, we’ll help if we can.