As structural engineers, every project we undertake is unique, yet there is one consistent factor that rings true throughout them all. The earlier we are involved the better. You’ll struggle to find a professional in self-build who doesn’t want the involvement of a structural engineer as early as possible.
Despite the advantages of our services being well-known in the construction industry, some self-builders are swayed away by the cost of these structural services. Some even ask, do I need a structural engineer at all?
The key benefits brought through our involvement help to produce a project that is both safe, sustainable, and cost-effective. In this article, we’ll break down the key reasons for getting us on board, and why it’s best to get us involved early.
Changes Made Simple
Our first point of call on a project is to look at the Architect’s designs, build materials and the site, and design a structural support system that fits that design. We also help to ensure that the proposed build is compliant with Building Control. To put it simply, we’re here to make sure your building doesn’t fall over.
There are often a lot of basic changes that we can suggest that will help you build in terms of cost and in terms of timescales. Despite their simplicity, these changes are vital to getting your project off the ground.
This applies to renovations & extensions as well as new builds. If there are existing structural issues such as subsidence, cracking, or sagging, we will need to perform an inspection of the building. This helps us to identify what areas of the building need to be replaced before work begins.
While we aren’t responsible for the look of your building, we can help you identify the correct sizes, framing, and support for your structure. This is something we’ll struggle to do if we’re brought in during construction, unless you’re in the mood to knock it down and start again, that is.
Even the process of removing a wall may seem simple, but behind the scenes, we’re making important calculations to analyse how it holds the building together. Making these necessary changes once the construction phase has begun harbours huge risk, both to your cost and your time.
It’s not only the building we are assessing. We conduct detailed site investigations to assess factors such as ground conditions, water table, flood risk, adjacent trees, and site access to advise on the most suitable construction approach.
It is much easier to address these needs early in the design process rather than later. This is especially true for residential projects, as greater strides are generally needed to pass Building Control.
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Contact us, and we will help you move on with your Self Build dream!
Cutting Unnecessary Costs
As structural engineers specialising in residential design & self-build, our priority is to save our clients’ money in the long term. By being involved in the early design stages, we can eliminate the risk of structural complications during construction.
Carrying out remedial work adds to the cost, time, and frustration of the contractors and the client. We work with architects and builders to ensure a smooth and streamlined process.
Creating Lines of Communication
As structural engineers specialising in self-build and residential projects, we know that creating a consistent line of communication with our clients is imperative to a project’s success.
Entering a project in the early design stages allows us to advise and educate them on how their building is supported. From the floorboards to the roof tiles. Working together from the outset allows our clients to express their creative freedom whilst keeping in line with the required safety measures.
In most cases, we help our clients to evaluate the available construction methods such as timber frame, Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), or Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF). Our expertise in addressing these considerations helps optimise resources, provide cost certainty, and minimise design-led changes.
Compliance with Building Control
All building work carried out in the UK must be constructed in accordance with Building Regulations. A large portion of our job is making sure your structure meets these regulations.
Building Control will go through your proposals with a fine-tooth comb, looking at structural drawings and calculations from a structural engineer to dictate what structural reinforcement is needed before they sign off for the project.
In England, Building Control will want to see a set of calculations demonstrating that your house has been correctly and robustly designed. In Scotland, you will struggle to get a building warrant without a structural engineer.
As an SER Certifier, our work on your proposals ensures a simple process of passing these regulations. As soon as Building Control see our signature, they know the design is safe and structurally sound.
In Scotland, you can even save up to 15% on your building warrant fee if you have an SER certifier.
The Advantages of Working with ACA
Since our inception, we have worked to provide structural engineering services to AC Architects (ACA) clients. We now offer a market-leading service for both ACA & external clients, including several top Architects & Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) kit suppliers.
By combining our drawings & designs in the planning stage, we can produce a project that passes all Building Regulations with no issues. As they focus on how it looks, we focus on how it’s supported.
“Working so closely with AC Architects allows us to collaborate from the very beginning, which makes solving complicated issues much easier.”
– Susan Anderson, Senior Structural Engineer
At AC Structures, we work closely with our clients to create projects that are both safe and cost-effective. We have completed over 70 projects since we were formed in 2021, and our team is continuing to grow with both technicians and engineers.
If you’re interested in working with us, fill out our form and one of our team will be in touch.