Homeowners typically don't consult with structural engineers very often, but their services can be necessary when it comes to renovation or remodelling projects and for determining the cause of certain damage to your home. If you've never worked with a structural engineer, note when their services may be needed, so you know your home is always structurally sound and in good repair.
Changing the foundation
If you're considering an addition to your home, whether that's a second or third story or an extension to the side of the home, you should have a structural engineer check the home's foundation, as it may need underpinning in order to manage this extra weight. Underpinning can also be needed if you make any changes to the home's interior that adds weight, such as putting in concrete floors or benchtops, or adding walls to break up certain rooms. You may not think of the added pounds or kilos of these construction projects, but any added pressure on a foundation should involve a check by a structural engineer before work begins.
Removing walls or other support
Even if a wall you want to remove in the home is not load-bearing, it can still help support the roof, flooring, and other walls around it. Taking out this wall or even cutting out part of it to create a pass-through can mean reducing some of that support. If you want to remove a ceiling in the first floor to create an open space for an entryway or back room, this also reduces the support of your home's framework. In these cases, you want to have a structural engineer note your plans so they can ensure your home's framework is always properly supported.
Signs of settling or water damage
It's good for a homeowner to recognize the signs of a home settling or shifting, such as cracks in the walls or ceiling, or a noticeable slope in the floor. Wood floorboards may not be level and even, you may feel bumps and bulges under floor tiles, and stone floors may even crack.
When a home shifts, this can also cause cracks in the foundation, which can then lead to water damage in the basement. If left unchecked, this water damage can make those cracks in the foundation even worse, causing severe damage to the home. A structural engineer can note why the home is shifting and settling, so you can remedy the cause of this damage rather than just patching up and covering over those resultant cracks.