People spend more time at home now than ever. Thanks to lock-down laws throughout the country, our homes have become office spaces, coffee shops, and staycation destinations. Since people are home more and not spending money on yearly vacations, many have decided to invest in home renovations instead. Whether you’re going the DIY route or you’re hiring a contractor to make your vision come to life, when should you consult a structural engineer?
BEFORE STARTING A PROJECT There’s a lot to consider before you start taking down walls. First off, have a clear idea in mind of what you want the final outcome to be. The clearer an idea you have, the easier it will be to plan for that end result. Before you start with any project, you need to contact your city and acquire the necessary permits. When you do this, they’ll also give you an idea of whether or not you need to hire a structural engineer. A structural engineer is usually required if the renovation involves structural components. An engineer’s design ensures the structural integrity and safety of your home are maintained. If you do not get the correct permits before starting a project, it could cause problems if you eventually want to sell your house. PROJECTS A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER HELPS WITH There are several home renovation projects that require structural engineering, including: Increasing Basement Window Size If you are planning to maximize space in your basement, you may need to increase the size of your basement windows to meet egress requirements. Window size regulations ensure that there is an unobstructed exit in case of a fire or emergency. Removing Walls Open floor plans are great for entertaining or for big families that need a lot of space. But before taking down a wall, consult with a structural engineer to ensure that wall isn’t load-bearing. Adding on to Your Home Whether you’re building a second floor or an addition to increase your home’s square footage, you must first consult with a structural engineer. Whenever you add on to your existing structure, an engineer will make sure new foundations are effectively reinforced. Adding a Deck First, check and see if your city requires that you obtain a permit before starting on a new deck. Once your contractor comes up with a plan for a deck, a structural engineer will make sure it’s sound, and all the codes are met before the inspection. Handling Unexpected Problems During a renovation project, you’re likely to run into some unexpected factors. For example, some projects may require you to take out the drywall in your home so that an engineer can review the structural components. If that’s the case, homeowners should prepare for the cost of replacing that drywall. Sometimes, structural issues arise that homeowners weren’t aware of. If this happens, a structural engineer is obligated to inform you of any structural issues they find. An experienced engineer will be able to offer options and solutions to deal with any unforeseen structural deficiencies discovered during your renovation. GET STARTED ON YOUR RENOVATIONS! At BIE Engineering Corp, we have over 25 years of experience serving residential and commercial clients in Edmonton with engineering services. Contact us to request a quote and consult our engineers for pre-construction and structural design.