When to Call a Civil Engineer for Your Home Construction Project

12 April 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

When planning a major renovation, addition, or remodelling project for your home, you may not think of calling a civil engineer and may assume that a builder or contractor is the only professional you'll need. However, a civil engineer can ensure that your plans are safe for your home and your property, and also alert you to potential problems that can be overlooked by a builder or contractor. Note when it's good to call a civil engineer when planning any major home project and why their services can be so important and beneficial.

Installing a bridge

If your home is in a somewhat rural area and the driveway often floods, you may think of having a bridge built over that area; this can be easier than trying to build a sufficient number of retaining walls or trying to grade the property in order to avoid that flooding. However, even if the bridge is very small and meant to hold just the weight of a family sedan, you should have a civil engineer help design that bridge and oversee its installation. Any weakness in the soil can lead to the bridge collapsing or sinking into the ground, and the bridge itself can easily snap, crack, or outright collapse.

You may not think much of this danger if it's just a small bridge for a family car, but the impact of having that bridge collapse under you while driving can result in serious injury and damage to the vehicle. This can also be a risk if the bridge were to crack or collapse while someone was walking over it. To avoid these risks, have a civil or structural engineer oversee the work of the bridge construction and placement.

Drainage and water

If your home project plans are near a water feature or any type of specially designed drainage, such as for a septic system, residential well, or underground trench drain, you need to have a civil engineer draw up your plans before work begins on any home project. Your new addition to a house or foundation even for a small barn or shed could interfere with proper runoff and cause water to pool and flood your property. The soil could also dry up and your property could suffer soil erosion.

Not taking into account this needed drainage could also result in contaminated water, such as from a septic system, being redirected toward your home or residential well. For these reasons, if your property has any special drainage needs or water feature, have a civil engineer review your plans before any construction work begins.