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Real Estate

How Structural Engineers Can Help You Inspect Buildings To Improve Safety

Buildings are often inspected to ensure their safety, but structural engineers can play an essential role in this process. Here are some top reasons why you might want to hire a structural engineer for your building inspection. They can:

  • Have specialized knowledge of Building Codes and how they’re enforced.
  • Assess a building’s components’ condition and recommend repairs or replacements.
  • Identify structural stability issues and recommend corrective action.
  • Determine the cause of an earthquake or other seismic event that damaged a building.
  • Provide expert testimony in cases involving property damage or injury from a building’s failure.

Now you know the reasons to hire a structural engineer, let’s see what the Benefits of Structural Inspection are?

Structural inspections can help identify potential safety hazards in buildings and help to improve the overall structural integrity of a building. Structural inspections can also identify potential building code violations, leading to fines and corrective actions. Look for a structural engineer near me before buying or selling property.

Here are some of the benefits of structural inspections:

  • Reducing the risk of structural failure.
  • Detecting code violations that may lead to safety concerns.
  • Improving the overall structural integrity of a building.

Common Types of Damage Found During Structural Inspection

Structural engineers are often called on to inspect buildings for safety purposes. During a structural inspection, they may find typical types of damage that can lead to unsafe conditions. Here are five examples:

  1. Defective framing and trusses: A weak or incorrectly assembled frame can sag and cause the structure to collapse. Trusses may also be inadequately attached to the frame, allowing them to sag and cause structural failure.
  2. Invisible damage: Damage only visible under a microscope or with special equipment can cause serious problems. For example, water infiltration into the building through cracks in the foundation can lead to rot and decay, which can ultimately lead to the building collapsing.
  3. Cracks in walls: If there are any large cracks in a wall, the structure behind it could be in danger of failing. This is especially true if the damage is near a joint, where pressure from the surrounding walls could cause the crack to widen.
  4. Leaks in roofs: A leak in a roof can allow water, snow, or windblown debris into the building below. This water can corrode metal components inside the building, leading to further structural failure.
  5. Failed or weakened columns: If a column is weak or has failed, it can cause the building to collapse. This can happen even if the column appears in good condition from the outside.

How to Choose a Structural Engineer for Your Building Inspection Needs

The following are tips for choosing a structural engineer to help with your building inspection:

  1. Ask Around:

When looking for a structural engineer to help with your building inspection, ask around for recommendations. Many professionals have friends or colleagues who they can recommend. If you don’t have any friends or colleagues who are structural engineers, look online for reviews.

  1. Consider Licensing and Experience:

Before hiring a structural engineer, one must consider their licensing and experience. Licensing requirements vary by state, but most states require at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. Structural engineers must also pass an examination administered by the National Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (NBE). Most experienced structural engineers have also earned a master’s degree in engineering or a related field.

  1. Ask for References: 

After interviewing potential structural engineers, ask them to provide you with references. You can also ask them to send you a copy of their license, registration, and examination certificate. Once you have reviewed these documents, you can more easily determine if the engineer is qualified to help with your building inspection.

Wrapping up

Structural engineers are vital members of any team tasked with ensuring the safety and well-being of people inside a building. By inspecting buildings for potential safety hazards, structural engineers can help prevent accidents, which ultimately saves lives. Beyond just conducting inspections, structural engineers may also be called upon to provide recommendations on how to fix the issues found during an inspection. If you need assistance with your building’s safety or want to learn more about what a structural engineer does, be sure to speak with one today.

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