2 Scenarios that Mean it's Time for a Homeowner to Consult With Civil Engineers

Eugene Vargas

As a homeowner you may not think that you would ever need the services of a civil engineer, and may not even know what these types of professionals do when it comes to construction. Simply put, a civil engineer understands environmental and other factors that may affect the strength of a structure, such as water pressure that is put upon a dam, how winds can sway bridges, and so on.

For private property, a civil engineer will understand how to ensure the safety of a residential home construction, as well as other structures on the property. Note when you as a homeowner may need to call for the services of a civil engineer.

1. For major remodeling projects

Too often homeowners forget that certain walls, beams across the ceiling, and other features of the home are added to help support the weight of the home. Removing them without adding bracing or other means of support can mean that a home literally crumbles around you. This can be unsafe and add to the cost of a remodel, as parts of the home may need to be rebuilt entirely. A civil engineer can note where and how the home is supported and where new support beams or load-bearing walls need to be placed for a remodeling project, or for when expanding.

This type of service is vitally important when adding weight to a home, such as when adding an extra floor, putting in heavy flooring such as tiles or natural stone, adding heavy concrete countertops, and the like. A civil engineer can note if the home's structure can bear that weight and if not, how to add braces, beams, and other means of support.

2. For retaining walls and other installations on the property

Building a retaining wall on your property may not seem like a complicated project, but remember that a retaining wall is like a small dam. It is meant to hold back the water that is running onto or off of your property, and that water has weight. If the wall you build is too small and weak, it will easily crumble.

A civil engineer can also determine how a retaining wall, large trees, and other such installations on your property will affect the soil itself. You don't want to hold too much moisture on your property as this can cause water pressure to build up against your home's foundation, and you don't want to keep too much water off the property as then your grass won't grow. Before you put up any retaining wall or other major installation, consult with companies like SPAD Consulting Engineers for a second opinion.