What is a Structural Engineer?
A structural engineer works with the designer, architect, surveyor, and builder to help ensure that a building or structure can stand on its own. They use math and science to carefully make their recommendations to the other people involved in a project. There are many different specialties one can choose to pursue like seismic, conservation, commercial spaces, and infrastructure. Lastly there are those who are most knowledgeable in homes and other residential buildings. It takes a great deal of creative problem solving and teamwork to be a good structural engineer no matter which specialty you choose. All structural engineers have at least a BA in engineering and every state requires licensing with most requiring ongoing education to keep their license.
What is a Structural Contractor?
A structural contractor is a general contractor subject to whatever education, certification and training required by the state they work in. A contractor who markets himself as a structural contractor is one whose expertise is beyond a contractor who may only handle roofing issues or handyman type work. If your contractor indicates he handles room additions, deck construction, home remodeling or repairs to foundation problems or subfloor issues, he more than likely has some of the same training and experience as an engineer as it relates to building load and construction regulations. A contractor who markets themselves as a structural contractor may have taken some engineering courses for their continuing education credits or in college.
Do I need both a Structural Contractor and Engineer?
That depends on the scope of the project. If you’ve seen any of those home flipping or remodeling shows on television these days, you’ve probably seen an episode where the flipper wants to take down a wall and the general contractor has to contact a structural engineer to see if the wall is load bearing or not. That’s just one example of when you may need a structural engineer in addition to your contractor.
If your home improvement project will at all impact the existing structure, either by adding a new room, removing a wall, or even taking an entire room off the home, you should consult a structural engineer and make sure he is working with your architect and contractor. Because Heavenly Foundations is in the Tampa Bay area, we often get calls from homeowners telling us that their home inspection has recommended they contact a structural contractor. We are just the company to help as we’ve specialized in concrete foundations problems and structural repair to historic homes in the area who have suffered with water and wood destroying organisms to their beams or subfloors. Heavenly Foundations is your one call for home remodeling and structural repairs in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.