Knowing Your Partners: What is an Engineer?
This month, we’re going to be looking at the different professional designations you may be considering hiring when you are looking to renovate or to build a new home.
1. What is an Engineer’s role in a build or reno?
An engineer is a specialized, educated and designated professional who specializes in the various functions of a building (large or small). There are different engineers for each discipline: structural, mechanical, electrical etc. Their role is to ensure the building functions as it is designed to, and that it aligns with building codes and best practices for their specific discipline. I am oversimplifying here (please engineers, don’t email me about it, I know).
A structural engineer, for example, ensures the structural integrity of a building is strong and that it will withstand things like wind, earthquakes and meet building code thresholds. A mechanical engineer ensures things like air exchange, water (supply, venting and drainage) and elevators are designed and built to do what they are meant to. And an electrical engineer focuses on ensuring the safety and functionality of the grid of a home or building including lighting, receptacles and panels.
2. When should I hire an engineer?
The most common question I get is “when should I hire you vs hiring an engineer?” This is a complex question, and one that really varies from project to project. Generally, an engineer would be required to stamp any of my drawings that entail structural changes: anything that would alter the structural integrity of an existing building, and/or any designs I complete for a new build. I frequently partner with structural engineers, as they are required to review and stamp any drawings I complete that fulfill these requirements.
If you are curious about whether or not we can help you, please contact me for a free consultation.