A Forensic Structural Engineer's role is to ensure that a building is safe and capable of bearing stresses created by human use, poor quality or natural environmental conditions.
A structural engineer can be called to inspect and produce a structural inspection report that shows signs like cracks in the walls, sagging in the ceiling of your property, doors and windows not closing, uneven floors, etc.
The structural engineer can assess the damage, determine the possible cause/s, and suggest remedial measures. Structural Engineers can play a significant role when purchasing a property or planning a renovation or extension project.
Suppose you want to know your building project's structural strength or integrity. In that case, a qualified engineer will examine your current structure to ensure it is safe and as per the Australian regulations and standards.
You can also discuss the structural forensic report cost with the engineer openly. A "Site Inspection" by a forensic structural engineer is $490 + gst (can differ based on the job's complexity, scope and distance.)
FULL Forensic Structural Engineering Report
The cost of a Full Forensic Structural Engineering Report is different for each project. The following are the rates usually charged:
- Hourly rates for a structural engineer usually begin at around $150, and for complex projects that require a thoroughly professional service, it could increase up to $450 an hour. It is directly proportional to the work involved and the time spent by the engineers. And the cost per hour will also depend on the type of engineer working on your project (Principal Structural Engineer, Senior Structural Engineer, Junior Structural Engineer.)
- A preliminary report with no additional research, you may be charged around $990. But a detailed Full Forensic Report could cost you around $2390 onwards
- Building inspections: They do not have fixed rates as it depends on the property size, type of inspection and travel time. The costs usually are:
- For small dwellings – between $550 to $790
- For medium-sized dwelling – between $790 to $990
- For large buildings or more detailed inspections – between $990 to $1,990
For large-scale renovation projects, which need intricate details prepared by an engineer, the costs are:
- Starting from $990 and upwards relative to the size of the project and location
- It could be between 2 to 12% of the estimated construction cost
Costs for a contour survey and a soil inspection:
- If it is a basic soil inspection - $550 upwards
- If it is both soil and contour survey- $1000 upwards
Which projects can a structural engineer help you with?
These are some of the projects that need a structural engineer:
- Inspection of buildings before purchase
- Constructing an extension
- Conversion of a loft
- Adding a second story
- Damages are caused to the structure due to earthquakes or other natural calamities
- Property defect examinations and report
- Installing solar panels
- Removing or modifying internal walls
- Footing design
- Reinforced concrete column design
- Dilapidation Inspection Reports for Property Owners & Demolition Companies
- Structural Engineering Services
- Civil Engineering Services
The benefits of getting your property inspected by a structural engineer
Before buying a property or starting renovation, please do a thorough inspection with the help of a skilled structural engineer to verify the property's strength.
This will help avoid physical damage and financial losses if the property structure collapses or gets damaged.
These are the benefits you get from an inspection:
- If you have decided to add certain features like solar installation, an assessment will ensure that your building can take the additional load. Without an inspection, you could be endangering your family's life along with yourself.
- Carrying out an inspection will increase your chances of getting maximum compensation from insurance companies if anything untoward happens.
- If you remove an internal wall without an inspection, it could weaken the entire building. The structural engineer will help in avoiding such eventualities.
- If you add more floors, an inspection will verify if the foundation can take the extra load.
- If you disagree with a party over your property, you can hire an engineer for inspection. They can provide an impartial view and prepare an independent Dilapidation report on their findings.
Important things to bear in mind before hiring a Forensic Structural Engineer
Before hiring a Structural Engineer to inspect your property, you need to ensure that you pick the right person for the right job. You need to ensure the following things:
- The Structural Engineer carrying out the inspection must be registered on the National Professional Engineers Register (NPER).
- The engineer needs to possess valid insurance (Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance)
- Prior experience in a variety of projects is a must.
- It would be best to ask for a written quote before committing to hiring their Engineering services.
- You need to know that you will have clear and good communication throughout the project.
- Ask for relevant reference/s so that you can make enquiries and make sure that they have experience in the necessary fields.
It is always advisable to get a structural inspection report from a qualified engineer before starting a new renovation and/or extension project. Making changes to your home can alter the integrity of the structure. Doing so would help you ascertain whether your property can withstand the load of any new structural changes and is safe to be occupied by you and your family.