6 Reasons why you need a structural engineer

Posted January 20, 2021

6 Reasons why you need a structural engineer

With the residential property market on the rise and house renovations underway in 2021, the expertise of structural engineers becomes crucial when making important decisions. Whether you are selling, purchasing, building, or renovating, the professional services of a structural engineering firm is something you really need to include in the process.

Even if you are not even sure what structural engineers do, here are the 6 reasons why you need to hire one:


House renovations are a huge trend now in New Zealand, as due to COVID-19 homeowners are investing in their properties instead of traveling overseas. If you are looking at doing a small bathroom renovation, you probably need a plumber but not an engineer. However, if removing a wall is something that you have in mind, you will need a structural engineer to confirm that a house would not collapse. They will provide a report and may include a scope of work for a building company to use.

Tip: adding a spa tub to your bathroom might need extra reinforcements, so it’s best to check with a structural engineer if it’s safe to do so.

Major Renovations

Before you have your plans drawn to add a room, deck or sunroom get a structural engineer involved, as you don’t want to spend money on a design until you book a consultation and a site visit with an engineer. A team of experienced engineers will always advise if you need to test soil, check your water management and foundation strength that a designer might not address.

House Extensions

When building up or out, there are several factors you need to consider. What is the primary reason for extending the house? How will you use the space? What is your budget? All things considered, make sure your designer or architect has a strong relationship with a qualified structural engineer to be able to make things work. Additionally, all renovations and extensions need to comply with building codes.


With the Building Standards, things are pretty straight forward when it comes to building a brand-new home. However, as soon as the house requirements are outside of the scope of the Building Standards, structural engineers would need to confirm if it’s feasible to build what has been designed. After the earthquake in Christchurch, it might be crucial to conduct a soil investigation to insure your house has an appropriate foundation if it is being built on TC1, TC2, or TC3. Architecturally designed homes might need to have a specific type of foundation, bracing requirements, or other specific engineering design too, so it’s best to contact your local structural engineering firm.

Real Estate Transactions

As a part of your due diligence, it is a very good idea to have a house inspected and obtain a report before making a purchase. A general inspection may help to identify foundation cracks, uneven floors, or door jamming. In case there are some repairs to be carried out, structural engineers will be able to provide a valuable report and a scope of work. One more thing to be aware of is that your insurance company might require a structural assessment and report before reinsuring your house.

Structural Damage

After the earthquake, a large number of houses in Christchurch were badly damaged. Thanks to accurate reports of structural engineers, the EQC claims had been approved and the homeowners have now been enjoying living in safe and newly repaired homes. However, sometimes damage may have been left off the original scope of works from EQC, or perhaps the repairs carried out may be substandard. If you have any concerns with your house, engaging a structural engineer for an independent assessment is the next advised step. Not only earthquakes cause structural damage. Cracks and uneven floors can also appear as a result of settlement within the house. What also happens is an incorrectly built structure wears itself off resulting in a broken truss or even structural failure.

The team at Cephas Rock Structural Consultant Engineers will be able to assist with structural assessments, house repair, and renovation design, new build design, pre-purchase structural inspections, and construction monitoring.

Contact us now to book a consultation with a structural engineer.

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