Residential Structural Engineers | London & Home Counties

While many homeowners, property owners, and designers have no problem visualising the result of a renovation, home improvements or building work, most have little grasp of the structural demands of such ideas and dreams – nor how important a residential structural engineer will become as they seek to lift their project off the page and turn it into reality.

The rise in popularity of project investments and fixer-upper properties means that renovation is at an all-time high, with buyers seeking out the shells that they can bring back to life through renovation and building – and though it may not be the most glamorous job on the market, most of it couldn’t happen without a residential structural engineer. In this article, we’re introducing the role of structural engineers, their services specifically around residential projects, and how they can help to turn a building site into your dream home.

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What are Residential Structural Engineers?

To consider the role of a structural engineer, particularly in the residential sector, you first need to recognise the health and safety implications of significant building and project work. Whether you’re looking to add an extension or complete a loft conversion on an existing property, the very phrase “structural engineering” points towards changes being made to the foundational structure of the building. These types of fundamental changes to the building require high-level expertise, usually a civil engineering degree and plenty of experience.

The role of a structural engineer is first to enter your residential project in the early stages, surveying the property as it is and determining whether the building can withstand your home improvement ideas. They will assess the durability of the core structure and its safety and will then be able to help submit the correct planning permission outlines as well as support the creation of a finer details plan and strategy for materials.

Residential Structural Engineers, Harding Chartered Surveyors

When would you use Residential Structural Engineers?

There are several instances where a structural engineer might be called upon in home renovation works and interior projects – namely when you are adapting an existing space for a new purpose or layout, renovating the floor plan of a new build, or adding house extensions to expand your property.

To consider the role of a structural engineer in its most basic sense, it becomes clear that you need structural engineering services when you are considering a project that will change the structure and/or purpose of a property. Loft conversions, for example, revolve around transforming a storage space into a habitable part of the home, and require significant inspections to provide assurance that the structure is durable and sound for building control and renovation work.

Likewise, garage conversions and other projects which require the removal or modification of internal walls will require first a full inspection carried out by a structural engineer and then help in collecting and compiling the necessary technical information to get the job done.

To help you determine if you need a structural engineer as part of your next residential project, we’ve compiled a list of instances where such support may be needed:

  • Building or adding an extension to your home
  • Altering the way an interior space is used, for example, a garage conversion or loft conversion
  • Removing or moving internal walls
  • Removing a chimney breast to expand the space available in a room
  • Fitting solar panels
  • Adding or removing internal beams
  • Adding a green roof to a property

If you’re considering home renovations or work which could affect the structural integrity of your property, and which requires significant support in terms of building regulations and health and safety, contacting a structural engineer is a necessary part of your project and can help to ensure that works are completed to a high standard.

About Harding Chartered Surveyors

At Harding Chartered Surveyors, we aim to be direct, open, and honest. Our structural surveyor is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), therefore we abide by strict ethical standards.  We benchmark ourselves against the client feedback we receive. If you have a project requiring a structural engineer, please get in contact with us today and we will come back to you with a quote.

Residential Structural Engineers, Harding Chartered Surveyors

How can I find the right Structural Engineer?

Matching your project with the right structural engineer means considering a few different things – namely the relevance of their experience, and their location (mainly for the purpose of convenience).

To look specifically at residential structural engineering as a core part of the home renovation sector, you should be looking for an engineer who has experience in residential settings and projects revolving around structural design in the home. As part of your search, look for an engineer who can talk you through what it takes to submit planning permission, how to draw up an accurately measured blueprint and floorplan, how to ensure the right measurements and structural calculations are submitted for material purchase, and how to bring your project together safely and within budget.

In addition to this, we would recommend always asking potential engineers to see their proof of membership in either the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). This demonstrates their professionalism and shows that they are fully trained and licensed to carry out residential structural engineering projects.

How much do Residential Structural Engineers cost?

The cost for structural engineering services varies greatly depending on the size and complexity of the project, how much you want to change following your structural inspections and subsequent project outline, and how long the project is anticipated to take. For the most part, the project will commence with a consultation followed by a thorough inspection. This inspection is what will allow an engineer to understand the site as it is and the anticipated work, which will then enable them to draw up a comprehensive proposal for the full work.

We always recommend getting quotes and proposals from a few different local structural engineers before commencing work, to ensure that you are getting the best possible price and quality of service according to your project. You might be able to find this information on the website of a local structural engineer, or you can enquire directly about their engineering services.

Creating a structural engineering report for the whole of a small property should take just a few hours to assess and complete and should cost upwards of £950, whereas if it were to view a single or two small defects then it could be around £600.

Other engineers may offer a fixed price to work on your project. Depending on your project and its size, this can range from £600 to £2000. Occasionally, structural engineers may charge an additional fee for services such as a walk-around survey, generic structural report or inspection report.

Residential Structural Engineers, Harding Chartered Surveyors
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We used Hardings to compile an independent expert witness report for some poor workmanship we had completed at our home. Their report helped us win our case and reclaim our costs.The report was concise, succinct and detailed - providing everything we needed to win our claim.
I have used Harding Chartered Surveyors service for a new build snagging survey. The report was thorough and detailed beyond expectations. The communication with the surveyor was excellent and the end-to-end process was very easy and efficient. I would definitely use them again and recommend to a friend.
The team at Harding Chartered Surveyors were fantastic to work with. Kate helped us identify the work we needed and arranged a surveyor to visit our property. Throughout, she was clear about timescales, costs, and next steps. Our surveyor, Scott Ingham, was thorough and helpful, speaking with us by phone immediately following the survey about the largest areas of concern (which, thankfully, were not major!). The report that was produced was easy to read and helped us understand what areas of the property might need work with approximate timelines and costs. All of the work happened on time, and there were no surprises in the process. Everyone was friendly, professional, and helpful. I highly recommend!!
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Residential Structural Engineers, Harding Chartered Surveyors