structural engineer inspection sydney
  • March 15, 2021
  • Effective Building
  • 0

A structural engineer inspection Sydney is an excellent way to safeguard yourself against having to spend thousands on repairs in the future. However, if the property you’re looking at has certain defects uncovered during your pre-purchase building inspection, you may require the Effective Building & Consultancy services to perform a further inspection. 

Structural engineers possess specialised knowledge relating to the forces and loads in structures like tunnels, bridges, and buildings. This means they’re the experts to call upon if your property has earth retaining walls, footings in clay soils, reinforced concrete columns, suspended concrete slabs, steel floor beams, or roof girders.

In this blog, I’ll walk you through finding a structural engineer, what to expect, and the budget involved.

What is a Structural Engineer Inspection Sydney?

A structural engineer inspection Sydney is a visual inspection conducted by a structural engineer to evaluate the structural soundness of a building and its weight-bearing components such as foundation, framing, beams, posts, columns, and trusses.

It’s performed when a property owner has questions about the structural integrity of a building or structure. This could entail an analysis of the whole structure or an examination of a specific element of the building.

Common reasons you may need a structural engineer inspection:

  • Cracked foundation
  • Settlement or wall cracks
  • To remove a wall in a remodel
  • Add a second story to a home
  • Add solar panels to a roof.

A structural engineering inspection is different from a typical home inspection. A home inspector performs a general inspection of the

  • Interior plumbing
  • HVAC system
  • Roof & attic
  • Windows, doors, and floors
  • Basement
  • Foundation
  • Some aspects of the existing structural components

After the inspection, the home inspector will generate an inspection report of their findings. However, if he were to suspect a potential issue with a framing component, foundation, or another weight-bearing area, they would need to refer the client to a specialty professional, such as the structural engineer.

Good thing, Effective Building & Consultancy is led by a structural engineer who could perform an inspection of the area in question, provide a written report with expert findings, and work scope of any needed repairs.

Why Need for a Structural Engineer Inspection Sydney?

Structural engineers spend years studying and training under a professional engineer to become licensed with the state they want to practice in.

Qualifications include:

  • Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from an accredited college
  • 5 years of apprenticeship under a professional engineer before obtaining a license
  • Pass multiple accredited examinations

Having these qualifications make them certified to perform specialty inspections and complex analysis of homes, buildings, and other structures. It’s similar to doctors in the medical system. If your family practitioner (home inspector) were to suspect a heart problem, they would refer you to an established cardiologist.

Your home or building’s structure isn’t something to take a chance on. If you suspect a problem with your property, hire a certified structural engineer to look into the problem.

When to Get a Structural Engineer Inspection Sydney?

There are several situations where you may want to have a structural engineer inspection Sydney to ensure your property is well-built.

Selling Your Home

Most people consider hiring a structural engineer when purchasing a home, but there are also many benefits when a seller uses a structural engineer. For example, if you’re looking to sell your home time, you might consider having any areas of concern looked at before putting the house on the market.

If you know that your foundation is cracked, you need to have a structural engineer inspection Sydney to give your buyer confidence to buy and speed up the closing deals. Moreover, you can also determine what issues are worth repairing or not and can negotiate the price accordingly.

If you know your home needs foundation work, you have the opportunity to collect some repair quotes. Having a plan of action ahead of time can bring the seller peace of mind and allows you to learn the realistic sale price.

Make sure that your structural engineer provides you a comprehensive building inspection report. If possible, this should have a scope of work that a contractor can use to fulfill the repair/correction work. Moreover, the structural engineer inspection Sydney report may also help obtain any necessary building permits.

Buying a Home

If you’re buying a home, you may want to have a structural engineer inspection Sydney performed. This isn’t typically required from mortgage lenders, but it’s a good idea to get a full view of the property’s condition. Remember, a building inspector will give the general condition report of the whole home.

If the inspector discovers defects on any of the weight-bearing components, they may throw up a “red flag” and recommend a structural engineer inspection Sydney for further assessment.

Common problems that require a structural engineer:

  • Sloping floors
  • Foundation crack
  • Settlement
  • Temporary basement support

Having a problem in this condition could be the reason to require a structural engineer inspection Sydney. Sometimes, mortgage lenders may need this to confirm the structural health before they release the payment. Though it’s not a requirement, it’s wise to proceed with the structural engineering inspection to ensure that there are no severe structural problems.

If there are issues, you can walk away from them or negotiate the price to accommodate for repairs.

Structural Movement, Ceiling, or Wall Cracks

A well-built home shouldn’t have any settlement beyond a few small cracks in the concrete slab foundation. With this being said, very old homes may have some wall or ceiling settlement cracks and sloping floors. These happen simply because structural members weren’t designed for deflection the way they are today.

Usually, settlement occurs within the first 10 years.. Most of the settlement will probably happen within the first 3-5 years and after that, movement should be minimal until that 10 year mark Saturated soils can affect any movement after that point. 

Concerning Structural Movement

Living in a brand new home experiencing settlement.

This signals a construction defect. You need to hire a structural engineer to find out what’s going on.

Living in a home older than 10 years old having some settlement signs.

New settlements may be related to improper interior humidity levels, ground soils, or poor water management. Either way, your structural engineer can provide you with insight and any necessary repairs.

Completed a remodel and add extra weight such as a fish tank or a kitchen island.

Each time you remove load-bearing components or install additional load within your home (piano, granite countertops, island, fish tank, pool, etc), a structural engineer should be consulted.

If a load-bearing item was removed with the appropriate temporary supports and an adequate replacement beam/column system, you may be in big trouble. Your home could fall down or experience major damage. On the other hand, if you add weight to your home, you may want to know the existing system can carry the load. 

Homes are designed to carry a specific amount of weight. If you put extra weight on an existing system, you may need to install additional supports to distribute that load properly. Your engineer can help you determine this.

Remodeling

A structural engineer should be involved whenever there are altered weight-bearing components in the home. In Sydney, most building departments require a structural engineer inspection Sydney to obtain a building permit for simple remodels such as installing a new deck or removing a wall.

If you’re scheduled to remodel, check your city’s policies so you can plan and budget accordingly.

Cracks, Foundation Bowing, Sinking, or Upheaval

Small fine cracks aren’t an issue when it comes to foundations. However, if you’re seeing cracks even ¼” in size, bowing foundation walls, or any kind of movement, you might want to have a structural engineer inspection Sydney performed to analyse the condition.

Small cracks can turn into huge problems if the issue isn’t addressed. Foundation issues can lead to water infiltrating the basement. Many times, the damaged area is easy to fix as long as the root of the problem is attended to.

A structural engineer can tell you if the problems are due to the insufficient water management system, incorrect backfill or poorly compacted soils, or a faulty foundation design. If there’s any concern, it’s better to get answers sooner than later. 

Accidental Structural Modification

If your plumber cuts into a framing member that he shouldn’t have or if trusses in your attic are removed without consulting an engineer, your property’s integrity could be at risk. If you or your contractor accidentally alter a load-bearing component, a structural engineer inspection Sydney should be set up immediately.

Storm Damage

If you or your contractor believe you have storm damage, you might consider getting a structural engineer’s opinion. An engineer knows that there are designs that can make or break a structure. That said, a licensed structural engineer holds authority in the building industry.

If your property is covered by an insurance company, you may present a structural inspection report presenting storm damage as sufficient evidence to approve the claim.

Drainage Issues

Drainage issues can wreak some havoc on a building’s foundation. It can cause expensive interior damage. A structural engineer inspection Sydney may help you pinpoint where the issues originate and how to use a proper water management system that will preserve the foundation’s integrity.

How Much Does a Structural Engineer Inspection Sydney Cost?

After reading some facts above, you might be wondering about the cost of structural engineer inspection Sydney.

Some structural engineers charge by the hour. Those rates can vary from about $60 to $100 per hour. A typical inspection will take about 1 to 3 hours and may cost you around $300 to $400. The inspection itself may go pretty quickly, but you must factor in the analysis time, travel time, calculations, scope of repair work, and report submission. Sometimes, it can be hard to quote a job until the engineer inspects the situation onsite.

What Should You Expect from a Structural Engineer Inspection Sydney?

It’s recommended to ask your structural engineer/inspector upfront about the things to expect as every inspection company operates variedly.

However, many inspection companies will provide a written building inspection report stating:

  • If the structure is structurally sound
  • The repairs needed to be made to correct the issues
  • A step by step scope of work

The client’s contractor could use this inspection report to perform the work. Moreover, this is also sufficient to satisfy your local building officials for granting a permit or releasing funds. But it’s important to verify too much of the information you need to include in your report since some cases require more extensive analysis.

This report is also beneficial in some ways:

  • A great source to have as certification/documentation by the property owner.
  • Builders can use reports as guides to them, ensuring their work is done properly.

How to Hire a Structural Engineer for Your Building Inspection

It’s important to know the background of your building inspector. By knowing the structural engineer’s resume, you’ll learn about his qualifications, skills, and experience. Here’s the resume of one of Sydney’s top-notch structural engineers:

Elie Farah CV scaled

Another that will do the trick is to check out the Google Reviews to see what the customers are saying. It’s also a nice idea to get a referral from a trustworthy person.

The Sydney building department has a list of structural engineers in the area. If you’re struggling to find, check with them too.  Well, that’s it. I hope that your questions are answered regarding the structural engineer inspection Sydney.

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