Do you plan to build a new commercial building? Or do you plan to make modifications to one you already own? In either case, do you know what kind of contractor you need for the job? There's a lot of them, but there's a good chance you may need to start with a structural engineer.
Where Structural Engineering Fits In
Understand that every structure is a balancing act. At all times, every structure is under the weight of itself. It's also undergoing constant pressures from outside elements. Many things can destroy the integrity of a structure over time. These things can include winds, storms, adjacent buildings, subtle underground movements, etc.
When you're planning new construction, or even a new addition, you have to take these factors into account. In addition, you need a structural engineer if you notice any obvious structural damage. The people most qualified to help you with that are structural engineers.
You May Still Need Other Contractors
Many structural engineering firms also perform a lot of the construction work, but not all do. Mostly, you're hiring a structural engineering service to help with the design process. They will make sure your building will stand solidly against gravity, load stresses, and environmental influences.
Structural Damage Definitely Calls for a Structural Engineer
The other key service that structural engineers perform is the assessment and repair of actual structural damage.
- Foundation shifts or damage
- Bowing walls
- Warped or damaged wood structures
If you or anybody notices any damage of any kind, especially if there's damage to anything loadbearing, then you need a structural engineer to check it out. You will need to know as soon as possible if that damage is indicative of a larger problem or a future problem.
You May Need a Structural Engineer Stamp
Building a commercial building comes with a lot of local laws and regulations. Some of those regulations may require that you hire a structural engineer. Not every municipality will require it, but many do.
You will have to check with your local planning, building, or public works departments to see if you're required to seek a structural engineer's stamp on your plans. This can occur for both new projects as well as for modifications to existing buildings.
However, considering the importance of your building's structural integrity, you should consult with a structural engineer no matter what. At the very least, you should speak to a structural engineer, such as BIE Engineering Corp Edmonton, about your plans before you allow work to start on them.