Civil Engineering & Structural Engineering

Updated: 4th July 2011

This article will explain the role of Civil / Structural Engineers and how they can provide professional advice for a wide range of projects.

What is a Civil or Structural Engineer?

Civil and Structural Engineer's are both recognised by the Engineering council. They are professionals who have gone through an academic and professional learning curve and have sufficient credentials to give advice on a wide range of engineering issues.

Like Surveying, Civil Engineering is a very broad profession and covers a wide range of specialism's such as roads and highways, drainage, foundations, infrastructure, slope stability, retaining walls, ground investigations etc... They provide detailed calculations to ensure all infrastructure and buildings are safely built and can withstand the environment surrounding them.

Structural Engineering is a specialism of Civil Engineering which predominately deals with buildings and other structures (such as bridges).  They also provide necessary calculations for building control and an SER certificate which ensures the structure has been designed safely and to current building regulations (i.e. they do not sink or collapse and can withstand pressures put on them e.g. wind, rain and snow).

Do I need One?

For a typical home owner, our Consultant Engineers will be able to assist our Chartered Surveyors in advising on the safe removal of walls, chimney breasts, lintels, new steel beams or columns, timber joists and rafters (repair or new build) etc.  They will also assist our Architectural Technology and Building Design team in groundwork issues like foundations, drainage, retaining walls, remedial works or refurbishing old damaged buildings.  They will provide advice on other alterations such as loft conversions and extensions and can certify the design for building warrant purposes.

For a larger scale commercial or developer client, our Consultant Engineers will be involved from the outset and will assist in the develoment of preliminary designs that can be properly estimated to give detailed indication of anticipated project costs.  The Engineer will provide guidance on the most cost efficient form of construction, be it in timber, steel or concrete; it is vital that the Engineer works well with the Architectural team from an early stage.

The project Engineer will not only be able to give valuable advice but can will also prepare the necessary structural calculations required for Building Regulations Approval, and with SER certification he can save valuable time in obtaining a Building Warrant.

When Should I Employ One?

As an integral part of the Keith Farmer Associates approach to building - you don't need to worry about 'employing' an engineer as we include this input within our overall service.  It is important to know that complicated structures or refurbishment projects may require early input from a Structural Engineer.  We will advise exactly at what stage specialist input is required and what they will be doing.  Our Consultant Engineers typically work remotely with a Senior Surveyor or Architectural Technologist as their eyes and ears - saving considerable time and substantially increasing value for money for our clients.  Our local team act as a single point of contact for every customer. 

If you have a project in mind and only need an engineer (perhaps you have already appointed an architect or you've undertaken drawing and design work yourself?) we are happy to provide a suitably qualified Consultant Engineer that will work closely with you. 

If you are one of our clients (or plan to be) we will be happy to speak to you over the telephone should you have any more questions about the role of Engineers within the team.

Article by: Dr Kashif Ashraf CEng MICE

For Keith Farmer Associates. 

Edited: Ian Firth BSc (Hons) MRICS





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