Why do I need a structural engineer? | By Marie Kohler


West Bend, WI – Construction projects come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from building a new facility to remodeling and renovating an existing one. No matter what the project it is important to keep in mind the need for a structural engineer.

They are the ones who sit down and work all the calculations to determine if the building is structurally sound. The safety of a building is their number-one priority.

The focus of a structural engineer is to look at the framework, or bones of a building. If there are problems found within the structure, they will find not only what is causing the issue, but a solution as well. They design structural components necessary for a building to be safe and take into consideration the different types of forces the building will face including wind and snow.

Eight years ago American Companies designed and built a facility for Plasticraft Molds of Richfield. When we drew up the site plans, we included plans for a future expansion. By having a full plan, we were able to cut costs by having the original building ready for the expansion.

As part of the plan, the construction of an expansion wall was included. This means a wall was constructed with steel while the other three walls were constructed with concrete.

By doing this, the original building was already prepped and ready when Plasticraft called last year to build the addition. Our team was able to start construction on the new part of the building and easily attach the new walls to the older ones. Once this was accomplished, the steel expansion wall was removed.

The structure of the building also needed to support the addition of a crane that would help move product around the facility. Having the full plan of the building was beneficial in many ways. American Companies was able to cut down on cost by having the original building ready for the expansion. It is not always possible to add onto an existing building, that is why it is valuable to plan for the future.

There are also opportunities to repurpose an existing building, for example American Companies was hired to transform a warehouse that was no longer in use and redesign it into a luxury apartment building. This meant adding floors, stairwells, walls, doors, windows, and other necessities needed for apartments to the building.

During the process of assessing the building, we determined that the structure could support an additional floor. The additional apartment units added overall profitability for the project. With the help of the structural engineer, American Companies was able to turn an old warehouse into a beautiful, one of a kind, apartment building with a community room and a fitness center.

The job of a structural engineer goes far beyond these examples. While a structural engineer is not needed for every type of project, any type of alterations or remodeling being made to a building will require a structural engineer on the team. The stability and strength of a building is the number-one priority.

Having a structural engineer ensures that requirements of a building are being met and it is the safest it can be. The renovation or remodel of a building can make for lasting impressions. With the help of a structural engineer, there are many different options and ways to take an existing building and make it something new. Knocking down a wall, adding new walls, adding new rooms, even adding a new level are all ways to achieve a new look and purpose for a facility. All that is needed is a building, an idea, a purpose, and a structural engineer.

American Commercial Real Estate

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