Factors Involved In Choosing The Right Structural Engineer

The engineer’s operational efficiency and the whole structure’s cost are the key components in selecting the right Structural Engineer. Safety and quality have recently become one of the strategic competitive tools for project success. 

You should pick a structural engineer who understands the structure’s purpose and agrees to the financial terms. This way, the overall operational efficiency will increase. Careful consideration of the construction company and the engineers is an excellent start to your construction plans.

At Seismic Safety, we offer you the best earthquake retrofit/house foundation bolting, foundation repair/replacement, floor adjustment, and Earthquake Brace and Bolt (EBB) services in and around southern California. Even though we specialize in the seismic retrofit sector, we have served over 20,000 properties since 1995. We have been around the circuit for more than 50 years making homes safer and secure.

All selection processes vary, but there are three essential selection stages, an evaluation should include. It should consist of the scope of work, qualifications, and details of pre-proposal interviews or proposal presentations. While pricing is an important consideration, you must first determine each company’s actual price to make a valid comparison. Seismic Safety has compiled the information below for you to consider while picking your structural engineer.

Assessment of Structural Engineering Firm

1. Knowledge of design

Although the structure designer’s job is not involved in physically designing the structure, it is necessary.

2. Clearly defined workspace

The scope of work is the most basic document to consider when choosing a structure engineer, as it provides the same basis for comparison. The scope of work is created by the customer and sometimes improved by the engineer. This document aims to convert the customer’s ideas into working projects and eventually formulate a proposal. 

If the work scope is not met, the cost estimate is likely to be inaccurate, as problems may arise during construction, and additional costs will be required to overcome. If the work scope is not consistent with the companies’ assessment, cost estimates cannot be compared objectively because the work is different.

3. A holistic approach to building construction

A construction company’s approach to a project is usually a positive indicator of expected results. If the business sees a different problem, it will solve the problem regardless of the overall environment. However, if the construction company’s philosophy has a holistic understanding of the purpose and the overall structure, it will result in an outcome, part of a comprehensive system. 

The business approach must consider a suitable, practical structural concept and an economical design resulting in a structure that can be easy to construct and operate within the structure. A structural engineer will have to consider what equipment exists, how all the equipment fits, and how operators move through the entire structure to design a plant. Based on this analysis, structural engineers will make decisions that ensure employee comfort and safety, maximize equipment efficiencies, and manage the facility to the best of its efficiency.

4. Project Specific Experience

General experience in building construction is sometimes not enough, even if a structural engineer has been practicing for decades. The number of projects completed in the specific area in which your project requires expertise should measure experience. Try to familiarize yourself with the specific materials, frame types, or external influences that will affect your project.

5. Access to a variety of technical talents

Engineers within the structural company must have a working knowledge of the various engineering aspects to meet the different requirements. You can define the expertise of the engineers as:

  • Material: concrete, brick, steel, etc.
  • Types of structures: shopping malls, storage facilities, industrial plants, pipelines, towers, roofs, material handling, churches, chemical plants, etc.
  • External effects: wind, fire, earthquake, etc.

Look for companies with specific experience that applies to your project.

6. Innovation

With some experience and an engineering degree, most structural personals are useful. However, most projects are complex, and each project is unique. It sometimes requires applications that are missing from the pages of a university book. 

It is crucial to choose a construction company that reflects creativity and original thinking. Whether a company can do the job, ask for examples of past projects that presented unique challenges. Find out which innovative solutions they used and how successful the outcomes were.

7. Advanced Technology

While most companies use technology, it is essential to acknowledge that the company you choose uses software applications to do very complex design and analysis. Many of these applications add value by offering 3D visualization, modeling, or techniques to better understand the process and avoid pitfalls.

8. The technical ability of the structural engineer

In building construction, competence is based on education, skills, the ability to apply those skills to specific situations, and previous experience. Education is obtained through a four-year degree from a recognized university. Upon passing a formal examination, that student attains the status of Chartered Structural Engineer. 

Thanks to their training, engineers put together a “toolbox” of skills. As their career moves and they gain experience, they will improve their ability to understand how and when to use these tools. A good measure of an engineer’s ability is to ask what difficult problems he has faced in his career. Also, carefully evaluate the answers to those problems and how and what he did to solve them.

9. Certified Professional Engineer

Every state requires civil engineers to stamp the technical drawing and take legal responsibility for technical calculations and the overall work. In this way, you can submit relevant documents for the application for a building permit. 

According to the US laws, after graduating from a recognized university, a professional engineer status is given by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, gaining experience, and passing theory and practice in engineering and PE.

10. Knowledge of building codes

Every jurisdiction comes with building codes, a set of rules for minimum safety acceptability levels for buildings. Civil engineers are required to design, understand, and construct according to the code’s guidelines. Due to the complexity and cost of their own making, most local jurisdictions and states have adopted a version of the International Building Code.

The Role of Time and Money

We have examined several intangibles that should be considered when choosing a construction company. However, the two most important factors to consider are time and money. 

After identifying the price factors described above, estimate the cost of the suggestions you have collected and make sure the references can ensure the engineer’s work’s timeliness. By compiling all this information, choosing your structural engineer should be relatively easy and successful.

We at Seismic Safety understand that no structural engineer is the same. Not all degree holders are skilled structural engineers. Besides being skilled, the most challenging part of finding the right engineer is finding one that matches your requirements. 

Hence, we offer our clients a free consultation to make things easier for them. Our team will guide you through the steps to find the right choice. Call us at 626-791-2300 and make this free consultation a fruitful one.