Do I need a building surveyor or a structural engineer for my property?

Comparing the services and skills of building surveyors and structural engineers can be confusing, especially if you are undertaking a construction or renovation project. However, knowing which professionals you need is often the key to success, with each expert bringing unique skills and knowledge to the project.

What is a building surveyor?

There are many types of surveyors which are involved with property, including quantity surveyors, party wall surveyors, land surveyors and general building surveyors. The roles are naturally very different, however the professional you are most likely to need during a house purchase or construction project will be a building surveyor.

A building survey is completed by a building surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, with many potential house purchasers using the report as a way to gain a thorough insight into a property ahead of a sale completing. There are various report depths available, with older properties and those which have been extensively renovated often requiring a thorough inspection.

During a property survey, the Chartered building surveyor may notice potential structural issues, and in these situations a more thorough inspection by a structural engineer is required.

What is a structural engineer?

As the name suggests, a structural engineer specialises in maintaining the structural integrity of a property. In general, these engineers are involved during the construction process, and they are also hired during renovations and extensions which alter the original construction of a project. Through inspections, calculations, and accurate drawings the structural engineer will provide detailed specifications for the build, which will maintain the safety of the property and ensure it complies with building regulations.

Common examples of projects which require a structural engineer include:

• Extensions
• Moving doors and windows
• Loft and garage conversions
• Removal of load bearing walls
• Removal of a chimney breast
• Underpinning floors

In addition, structural engineers can also examine the structure of a property to identify the cause of issues such as cracking walls and sagging ceilings. Whenever there are signs of structural damage, a suitably qualified engineer will be able to identify the causes and recommend the require treatment.

How do I find the right professional for my property?

If you are undertaking any building work which requires inspection and approval by your local Building Control department, you will need to hire a structural engineer which is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) or the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE). We hope this blog post has helped to answer some of your questions about the cost to hire a structural engineer. If you would like to find out more about how Simplify can help, or if you would like our team to put together a detailed quote, please contact us today.