A qualified and Structural Engineer (SE) plays a very important and valuable role in structural design, even if it is a simple single storied house.
Unfortunately, even today few well-educated potential house owners do not realize a SE’s role.
As I walk along the streets observing simple residences under construction, I observe that most of the structures are over designed and, in a few cases, grossly under designed. On casual enquiry, I was given to understand the owner has given the complete responsibility of construction of the building to an ‘experienced’ contractor who neither has any professional credentials nor has the contractor hired a person with professional qualifications to design and supervise construction.
The structural design, in these cases, seems to be based on ‘factor of ignorance’ rather than ‘factor of safety’
It is very unfortunate that we follow lot of rules and regulations to have a house plan sanctioned by authorities, the same authorities have not made it a cognizable offense to have a structure constructed without the assistance of a professional structural engineer (In a pharmacy, one must have, at least by law, a qualified pharmacist to dispense prescribed medicine).
Let us list out the reasons why a SE is required.
A House can achieve its architectural comfort by doing a proper general arrangement of columns and beams. Most of the local contractors in Sri Lanka following thumb rule to decide the spacing between columns and beam where they mostly place columns for each 10’. The unwritten rule has become must in the domestic construction industry in Sri Lanka. So even though there is not a need for the columns and beams in particular areas they put a column and resulting in uncomfortableness in the living space.
Some examples of disturbing columns and beams in living space.
2.A proper structural design can ensure the safety and durability of the building.
3.You can save in lacks:
A SE will not only design a safe structure (as per the Bureau of Indian standards), which is durable and economical, SE will bring add value during the design stage in co-ordination with the Architect.
What you should do:
What you should not do:
I hope that the article would be helpful for your house construction.
Thank you and all the very best!