structural engineers planning

When to Engage a Structural Engineer

There are various situations where the expertise of a structural engineer can prove invaluable for your residential or commercial property. In the state of Florida, hiring a structural engineer is mandatory for certain types of projects. This is due to the specialized knowledge possessed by these engineers in analyzing, designing, and planning the structural components of your building. 


When it comes to commercial construction projects, it is common practice to enlist the services of a structural engineer who works closely with the property owner or developer. Before diving into the design phase, a Geotech engineer evaluates the construction site to determine its soil suitability for the proposed project. Armed with the Geotech report, our team at Ruffini Engineering can then create a tailored design that matches the specific soil conditions of the site. 

Once the viability of the construction site is established, the next step involves designing and planning the project. This is where the expertise of a structural engineer becomes crucial. Collaborating with architects and design teams, the structural engineer assists in the selection of appropriate building materials, determines beam size requirements, and devises a suitable foundation design. Additionally, they evaluate and factor in live load, dead load, and environmental load considerations. In adherence to Florida building codes, wind loads are of particular importance and are carefully incorporated into the structural design. 

Furthermore, a structural engineer plays a vital role in ensuring safety. For instance, in Florida, threshold inspections are obligatory for “threshold” buildings during their construction. A “threshold” building refers to any structure exceeding three stories, fifty feet in height, or those with an assembly occupancy classification. To conduct these inspections, a Special Inspector license is required. Rest assured; RES holds the necessary qualifications to conduct these inspections. 


Whether it’s a commercial or residential property, most regulatory authorities require confirmation of structural integrity from a qualified structural engineer. Whether you are constructing a new property from scratch or undertaking substantial or minor renovations, the insights and expertise of a structural engineer are immensely valuable. 

For renovation projects, even small-scale ones like removing a wall, consulting a structural engineer is highly recommended. While architectural plans may not be mandatory for such tasks, engaging a structural engineer can determine if the wall is load-bearing. If it is load-bearing, the structural engineer can design a beam and column system to replace it, ensuring the structural integrity of the building remains intact. 


Whenever you embark on a building project that requires building permits, it is typically necessary to obtain an engineering report, and in some cases, a drawing from a structural engineer before the building permit can be approved by city officials. 


While most people understand the need for architectural plans when constructing a new building, many are unaware of the importance of involving a structural engineer to review or enhance these plans. It is crucial, before ordering materials, to ensure that the architectural plans have been thoroughly inspected by a structural engineer to guarantee the structural integrity of the project. 


For those who desire to build custom homes rather than selecting from existing designs, it is highly advisable to have an architect consult with a structural engineer. This collaboration ensures that a proper structural framework is developed to accommodate the unique intricacies of the custom home. At RES, we have observed that architects tend to overdesign the structures for custom homes. Working with us can often result in cost savings compared to plans created solely by an architect. 


Considering Florida’s renowned theme park industry, structural engineers play a vital role in designing and ensuring the safety of structures within theme parks. At RES, we offer a wide range of services, including theming design, accessory and specialty structure design, project management, construction administration, structural and threshold inspections, estimating, shallow and deep foundation design, temporary shoring, retaining walls and site walls, trench and tunnel design, and pedestrian bridge design. We can bring your theme park imagination to life. 


In a state prone to storm damage like Florida, structural engineers are often hired by insurance companies or third parties to assess property damage caused by catastrophic events, such as hurricanes. If a consumer is skeptical of an insurance company’s structural engineer’s report, they may opt to hire an independent structural engineer to evaluate the damage as well. 


If you notice uneven or sagging floors, or unsettling cracks in your foundation walls, it is advisable to contact a structural engineer as soon as possible. Predicting the long-term durability of a structure is not an exact science, and an experienced engineer can offer valuable insights and potential solutions to prevent catastrophic failures. For example, if your deck appears to have shifted, contacting RES at this stage allows us to identify the cause and recommend necessary steps to avoid a disaster. 


Occasionally, construction companies fail to adhere to building codes, deliver poor craftsmanship, utilize defective materials, or design faulty buildings. In such cases, a structural engineer can determine the cause of the defect and offer cost-effective repair solutions. 


When purchasing real estate, it is wise to obtain a structural inspection from an engineer to ensure peace of mind. Whether it is a commercial or residential property, a structural inspection provides insights into the integrity of the property’s foundation. Foundation problems can go unnoticed until significant damage occurs, making foundation inspections an invaluable part of a real estate transaction. While traditional home inspections may not cover the foundation comprehensively, a home inspector may refer potential buyers to a structural engineer if there are concerns about the foundation. 


Since 2020, RES Engineering has proudly served the Tampa Bay area. Our team of experienced structural engineers is equipped to handle projects of all sizes, and we are committed to providing excellent service and expertise to our clients. 



Main Office Address

200 Union Blvd, Suite 200,
Lakewood, CO 80228

Florida Office

501 E Las Olas Blvd, Suite 200
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301