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Below is in article written by our staff to better explain some Basic concepts for structural inspection. Enjoy! And please, ask us questions if you have any
General Principles of a Structural Inspection
A structural inspection is best being performed by a licensed professional engineer who is a structural engineer by trade. The reason is, a structural engineer designs houses, buildings, etc. which include all the structural components including beams, columns, load bearing walls, foundation, etc. So, the person who knows how to design a structural component is also the most qualified person to inspect a structure and know where failure occurred.
Non-structural components of a house or a building are obviously supported and attached to structural pieces. So, when a foundation moves, it could cause secondary damage to the non-structural components, such as tile in the floor or even the ceiling.
Since a Structure is a Structure, it doesn’t matter if it’s residential or commercial. Steel, concrete, wood, etc. don’t know if the building they’re supporting is a house or a sky scraper. The structural failure will look the same regardless if it’s a building or a house. The key in identifying a problem is knowing the type of construction.
In a house, and especially in San Antonio and Austin Texas, most structural problems identified are due to foundation problems. Most house foundations are not properly engineered and not properly built either. Unfortunately, most structural engineers do not work in the residential field, so civil engineers try to design foundation to the best of their knowledge.
Though foundation problems are common in San Antonio, Austin, and many other parts of Texas, one must not assume a crack is a foundation problem. An inspection done by a structural engineer would generally uncover any potential structural and non-structural issues. A word of caution, if you think you have a foundation problem, please do yourself a favor and do not call a foundation repair company because most of the time they will tell you that you have a foundation problem when in fact you don’t (and many of them will try to charge you thousands of dollars). The only person capable to give an unbiased structural inspection is the engineer who doesn’t work for a foundation repair company.
Cracks in the sheetrock are common and many times they have nothing to do with the foundation moving or the building shaking from the wind, but they are just cracks that appear because the material itself is brittle and expands and contracts with changes in ambient temperature, thus creating cracks. An inspection from a structural engineer will just cost you practically nothing in comparison with making any repairs you don’t need to make.
An inspection on the foundation before pouring concrete is also necessary if you live in San Antonio. A plan and Inspection is required in Austin. Usually called a pre-pour inspection, it simply involves a structural engineer going to the site and inspecting a foundation prior to concrete being poured to check for the proper amount of rebar, beam width and depth, spacing, slab thickness, etc. Although a better practice is the have the foundation engineered first, and then have the engineer to go and check the construction.
There’s also construction inspection in general, and the type of the inspection necessary varies depending on the material or type of construction. For example, in the construction inspection of a retaining wall, the engineer would verify bars, spacing, sizes of footings, etc. just like an inspection for a slab. For the construction inspection of a steel building, then one of the inspections would be checking that the connection between the beam and the column is correct.
Though in some cases the government may require you to have an engineer inspect a type of building or construction, it is usually beneficial to the owner and the contractor if the engineer can perform an inspection on the work he design. In San Antonio, for example, a foundation inspection for residential and commercial projects is required, but a framing inspection for a house is not required. In this case, to ensure safety and good construction, and to make sure the plans were followed correctly, an inspection by the engineer is strongly suggested.And for more on where do you need a Structural Engineer in San Antonio, just click Structural Engineer San Antonio. Structural Engineer Austin
We hope this article was very helpful to you and if you have any more questions or need help on your next project, please do not hesitate to Structural Engineer San Antonio page or Structural Engineer Austin page for more info.and please visit our