You may require the services of a structural engineer as part of developing your property investment portfolio. This role plays a part in renovation, change of use, maintenance, dispute resolution and valuation. It’s important to understand what this service provides and what structural engineer costs may be incurred. In this way, you can more accurately plan your spend.
What is a Structural Engineer?
A structural engineer specialises in building the structure. As part of their services, they are involved in designing, planning, and overseeing building construction. A structural engineer will often act as a consultant to an architect or building contractor. They calculate and advise on the material specifications of a construction project. For existing buildings, a structural engineer produce reports to assess the safety, strength and durability of a building or structure. In this way, they can determine its structural integrity.
The structural engineer that you appoint should be a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). In much the same way that your Chartered Surveyor should be Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited, this is a reassurance that you have ensured reporting of the highest standards. Your structural engineer costs should include this commitment to high standards.
Structural Engineer or Chartered Surveyor?
There need not be a decision between these two roles as they provide different specialisms. Despite this, the two can sometimes be confused. Structural surveyors tend to offer specialist services focused on specific structural concerns relating to a property. Unlike a chartered surveyor, they focus purely on the structural aspects of a property. Their report would not comment on the decorative state or value of the property. A chartered surveyor would provide a valuation report, which may advise a detailed report by a structural engineer. This may be in the form of a structural inspection or a report for a planning application or building regulations.
When to Appoint a Structural Engineer
Renovations and Change of Use
In order to be compliant, building regulations may require evidence that formal structural calculations have been carried out by the structural engineer. These would be standard within a renovation or change of use of a commercial building. For example, from retail to office or eating establishment. Any changes that are made to a building which could affect the stability of that building must be scrutinised by a structural engineer.
Building Management and Maintenance
As an owner or landlord, the ongoing health of your building is integral to the growth of your investment. In this way, your planned scheme of building maintenance would include structural engineer survey costs. Any building flaws which could affect the integrity of your building should be remedied swiftly to avoid further costs being incurred.
Acquisition and Valuation
It may be that the commercial building which you are planning to acquire to expand your portfolio has potential structural issues. In this circumstance, your chartered surveyor may advise further detail from a structural engineer. This will aid your negotiation process and inform your purchasing decisions.
A structural engineer can act as an expert witness in disputes between landlord and tenant. This may occur during lease renewal or end of a tenancy. As part of the dispute process, planning for structural engineer costs can enable you to source help to resolve the issue.
Structural Engineer Costs
Actual costs will depend on the reason for and extent of reporting that is required from your structural engineer. For commercial landlords and building owners, your chartered surveyor may have advised further detail from a structural engineer. This is why it is financially prudent to work with a firm such as Curchod & Co, whose expertise is extensive and wide-ranging. Since reporting costs are so varied, it is important to consult surveyors and engineers early in the process so that you can ensure that your spend is fully planned.
For more detail on the breadth of expertise available from our team of structural experts here at Curchod & Co, just get in touch.