Starting on a new construction project or facing a structural concern to your home can be daunting. These projects that require many steps, professionals, and time do not always go smoothly. That is why hiring a good engineer at the very beginning can save you a lot of time, stress, and worry. Hiring a good engineer before a big construction project is critical to the completion of the project. Having the right plans in place before breaking ground can prevent a lot of headaches along the way. So just what do you have to consider when choosing an engineer?
The first rule of thumb is picking a licensed engineer with experience in your project area. If you want to build a house, picking a licensed aeronautical engineer won’t help you out anymore than picking a handyman friend to draw up a little sketch. You need the combined experience of a licensed professional who is knowledgeable in your project area. While the aeronautical engineer is no doubt well-qualified, they do not have experience with houses. And while the handy neighbor is experienced with houses, they lack the necessary qualifications. This is where a lot of projects can come of the rails, and early on too. Many individuals looking to cut costs and save time by hiring unlicensed designers actually end up having to go back to the beginning and pay twice.
Design standards are set forth by various international, national, and local codes. They are frequently updated, and as such, designers mut be continuously learning. In fact, this is so important, that continuing education is actually required in order to renew your professional engineers license in most states. Building departments compare every plan they get to the codes before issuing a permit. If the designer has left of an important element required by the code, the plans reviewer will not issue the permit. This is why getting a good engineer up front is important. They are aware of all the same codes that the plans reviewer has and can make sure your designs are up to par.
At ORB Engineering, we help a lot of people who are going backwards through the design process. Some individuals come to us after going to the building department with hand drawn sketches. These style of drawings are not usually sufficient for a design project. Others come to us after hiring a drafter, but do not realize they need the plans to be signed and sealed by an engineer. While this can sometimes work out, especially if the drafting is good, it does extend the process since it must go through another review and revision prior to ORB approving the drawings. A lot of drafters get around this by working directly with a licensed engineer. As such, you know you are in good hands. But be wary of drafters who cannot offer you signed and sealed drawings, as you will have to pay an engineer extra to get that seal of approval.
In the long run, it can actually save you time and money to start your process with a licensed, experienced engineer. The engineer can offer innovative solutions based on their experience, provide insight into the local building code, and provide the complete package-drawings with a stamp. While there are many paths to choose when starting a design project, going with the best from the start can really pay off.
More to come soon.