What is Structural Engineering?
Structural engineering is a branch of civil engineering, and its applications are diverse. A great deal of what structural engineers do involves designing structures such as buildings, bridges, tunnels, etc. It’s the structural engineer’s responsibility to calculate different forces (such as hurricane, wind and earthquake forces), design the structure to fit a pre-determined layout, and decide on what structural systems to use. The structural systems include steel, concrete, masonry, wood and other materials from which the engineer selects beams, columns, and other members that make up the building support. Structural engineers are involved in the design of new buildings, renovations and repairs and also handle the demolition of buildings. Additionally, structural engineers inspect structures before and after construction to determine if there are any structural concerns and ensure proper construction.
How will ORB handle my project?
From the moment you first contact us, ORB will have a hands-on approach to your project. We will be sure to monitor the progress of your project and maintain close contact with you to get you the exact results you need. When you first contact our office, we will gather the scope of work of your project to assess what you need and how we can best serve you. Next, your project will be assigned to a project manager who will provide a budget for your project. This project manager will stay with your project until the very end. This includes sending reports and following up on comments from the building department until you have your permit. Once the budget is accepted, your project will formally begin. This may involve setting up a site visit or an in-person meeting. We will always perform a quality check to make sure your documents are accurate and reliable. Finally, we will present to you your final signed and sealed design or report. For drawings for permitting, we will respond to comments and make changes as needed until you have your permit. Your project manager will be accessible through the whole process to provide you with the best quality and service.
Why do you not give quotes over the phone?
Structural engineering can at times be a complicated process. It is difficult to assess a project over the phone after a brief conversation. Most times, a project manager must be consulted and additional information gathered before a quote can be provided. We would hate to quote you too much and overcharge you for a project that should have been less. We will gather as much information as possible in order to provide an accurate quote to you within 24 hours.
Why would I, as a homeowner, need a structural engineer?
A structural engineer can assess many issues in a home and provide cost effective solutions. For example, if you find water leaks, mold, or cracks in walls, and engineer can inspect these areas and provide solutions for both fixing your home and preventing it from happening again. This is helpful especially when buying or selling a home and you want to confirm the building has no major issues that will be costly to fix in the future. Another reason a homeowner might need a structural engineer is if you want to add an addition or renovation to your home. Many times, the city and county building department will require additions and renovations to be permitted before construction. A structural engineer can draw up the plans you need for permitting and construction. ORB has experience in drawing up plans that are buildable and cost effective.
My bank/mortgage company/insurance company says I need an inspection, can you help me?
We can perform a variety of inspections that will satisfy a bank, mortgage company, or insurance companies requests. To best assist you, please have the exact wording of the type of inspection the company is requesting. Many times, a company will only need a specific area or issue inspected and we need precise information in order to write you a report that will satisfy the company’s needs.
Can you review plans I drew myself?
Yes, we will gladly review plans you have drawn and sign and seal them for permitting. However, if there are any issues we will recommend changes and not approve them. Please keep in mind that if many changes are needed for your plans to be up to code we may have to assess an additional charge for the changes.
The county/city building department says I need plans for something I already built, can you help me?
ORB will gladly draw up your “as-built” plans for you. For these types of plans we may need to conduct a site visit to gather all the measurements and data we need to replicate your construction in our drawings. We will also recommend changes if the construction was not built to code. In this way, we can help the permitting process go smoother.