What is a Chartered Structural Engineer?
Are you concerned about any structural defects, such as cracks or a sagging roofline, in your home or other property in South London? If so, you will need the expert advice of an independent Chartered Structural Engineer in the South London area.
A Chartered Structural Engineer is a highly qualified and experienced professional who deals with a building’s strength, safety, and stability. Pole Structural Engineers are a firm specialising in assessing the structural integrity of existing residential properties across South London and Surrey. In addition, our sister company provides structural expertise for the design and construction of new buildings and the refurbishment and extension of existing houses.
Pole Structural Engineers Reports in South London
Pole Structural Engineers Reports are often required during the process of buying or selling a property. This is when people are most concerned about maintenance and repair costs and whether a property will be mortgageable or insurable. Most existing South London properties will have already demonstrated their overall safety simply because of their age.
What does a Structural Engineers report contain?
A good Structural Engineers report will contain:
- A concise, one-page summary in plain, easy to understand language.
- A full, clear description of the findings and conclusions reached from the observations of the site survey.
- Unbiased and practical recommendations for repairs. These might include a range of options from the minimum work required to a more effective long-term solution, with estimated costs.
- We can also issue a formal Certificate of Structural Adequacy.
A clear and detailed report conducted by an experienced and qualified structural engineer can potentially save considerable time and expense further down the road.
Before a Structural Engineer report is carried out in South London, a clear brief should be formulated to establish the scope of the work. The brief might be straightforward, such as assessing a single defect such as a crack; or it could more complex, looking at the entire skeleton structure of the property, including the roof, foundations, and load bearing walls.
The cost of a Structural Engineer report in South London will vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. The client should be clear about what Is being provided for the fee and agree to the payment terms. It is common practice for fees to be paid in advance to secure the services of the Structural Engineer and show commitment especially as many property transactions can change at the last minute and this can lead to difficulties in controlling our diaries.
As there are no industry guidelines for Structural Engineers Reports, we have defined our own two types of report: Structural Engineers Defect Inspection Report, also known as a Specific Structural Inspection (SSI), for specific localised defects. Structural Engineers General Movement Report, also known as a General Structural Inspection (GSI), for multiple cracks or movement.
What is the process for conducting a structural report?
Pole offers two types of structural reports and the process for a Structural Engineer’s site inspection is broadly the same for both types of report.
- A GENERAL MOVEMENT REPORT also known as a Structural Engineers General Structural Inspection (GSI), which is a comprehensive inspection to judge the overall condition of the buildings skeleton structure and looks at the main structural walls for signs of movement, cracking and subsidence.
- A DEFECT INSPECTION REPORT also known as a Structural Engineers Specific Inspection Report (SSI), which is a localised investigation of a single issue such as a crack in a bay window.
How a Structural Engineer operates – a medical analogy
A useful analogy to illustrate the role of a Structural Engineer is a medical one. Think of the building as the patient, the surveyor as the GP and the Chartered Structural Engineer as the orthopaedic consultant or heart specialist. Like the consultant, the Structural Engineer has greater specialist knowledge than a Building Surveyor and will be able to investigate and identify the cause and treatment.
Inspecting a house or flat in South London is like the first consultation with a medical professional – an external examination only. Anything more invasive is usually not required and would be a waste of time and money, in the first instance. Most clients who purchase a structural engineering report are the potential buyer of a property, and a homeowner would not allow their property in South London to be excavated by someone who might not proceed with the purchase. In the rare instances where a clear diagnosis cannot be given, a Structural Engineer will recommend either a very cautious approach to a purchase or further investigations and testing.
The purpose of the Structural Engineer’s report is to advise the client on the condition of the property and to help them decide whether to buy the property or not with defined risks or financial contingencies.
Structural Engineers with many years of experience like us can quickly identify the likely cause of most structural problems. This comes from our handling of thousands of similar cases. Most South London properties are old and tended to be built in the same way. Any structural defects are well known to us, and we can quickly recognise the cause of various cracks, damp, and other issues.
The external walls and one or two internal loadbearing walls make up the skeleton structure of most buildings. Most serious defects are contained within the external walls or internal loadbearing walls and inspection of the pointing and decoration can help to determine the age and nature of structural problems.
How much does a Structural Engineers Report cost in South London?
The price of a Structural Engineer’s site inspection and report can differ significantly in South London. The first factors that affect the cost of a Structural Engineers report are the complexity and size of the property. Structural Engineers’ fees can vary widely too depending on qualifications experience and expertise but also for commercial reasons. In assessing the quote, you should take account of the following:
- The qualifications and experience of the Structural Engineer.
- The expertise and reputation of the Structural Engineer.
- The comprehensive nature and quality of the structural report.
- The importance of the advice.
- The overheads of the structural engineering firm.
- The level and quality of the Insurance backed professional Indemnity Insurance.
- The response time of the structural engineer in dealing with the enquiry, attending the property, and issuing the report.
- Whether the Structural Engineer is a sole trader or part of a large organisation.
- Whether producing Structural Engineers Reports is their primary business and means of income or an occasional job filler in between larger projects.
It is important to remember that you get what you pay for
When it comes to choosing the right Structural Engineer for your report, it’s wise not to cut corners. Prioritise the quality of the advice and best value, not the lowest price. A cheap price in the structural engineering industry usually signifies reduced quality and service.
Fee for a DEFECT INSPECTION REPORT (SSI)
At Pole Structural Engineers we charge a simple lump sum of £ 1,000 +vat as a minimum fee to visit and report on any property in South London. While we do not charge on an hourly basis this is roughly 5-8 hours work at £150 to £ 200 per hour on average, and includes travelling time, collecting, and returning keys and other associated costs.
Fee for a GENERAL MOVEMENT REPORT (or GSI)
A GSI depends on the size of the property in South London and the extent of likely defects, but fees are normally £ 1500 +vat and is typically 8-10 hours work, with more time required for preparing and writing the report.
Is a Structural Engineer’s report a worthwhile investment?
A Structural Engineers report is only normally required when there is a known or suspected Structural problem. This will often determine whether a buyer decides to proceed with the purchase of a property in South London and whether the property is insurable or not. Few people would proceed with buying a property on the off chance that it may or may not have subsidence.
As buying and owning a property in South London is a considerable financial investment, the expert opinion of a qualified Structural Engineer is vital for peace of mind. Our clients are pleased to pay for the quality of advice we provide as indicated in our Google Reviews.