The role of a remedial engineer is critical in ensuring the ongoing safety and integrity of a building. But when do you need to appoint one and what do they do exactly?
To help you understand the ins and outs of remedial engineering, we’ve summarised everything you need to know right here.
What is a remedial engineer?
In brief, the role of a remedial engineer is to identify and rectify any issues, defects or damage to the structural nature of a building, or other structures for that matter.
Remedial engineering is important in ongoing construction, the development of infrastructure and civil engineering. When there is a suspected issue or potential issue, the engineer will provide an assessment and analysis of the building itself and then provide a resolution to ensure its ongoing stability and structural integrity.
There can be a wide range of issues that remedial engineers deal with. Sometimes, it’s as simple and straightforward as a crack that needs to be assessed as to whether it indicates surface-level or deeper damage. Other times, there could be foundation settlement issues which would require a more comprehensive fix. Even assessments of water damage after storms, floods or burst pipes could require the attention of a remedial engineer.
Due to the nature of the job, these experts need to possess a rather deep understanding of the mechanics, materials and techniques of structure construction. They’ll need to be able to carry out accurate assessments and provide effective solutions to strengthen or restore the structural integrity of the building.
What is structural integrity?
The term refers to the ability of a building to withstand external forces or intended loads without failing, breaking or having its functionality, safety and stability compromised.
Ensuring a building maintains its structural integrity is of critical importance. Why?
- It keeps any occupants safe.
- It prevents property damage.
- It extends the longevity of the building.
- It improves the durability of the building.
- It saves time, hassle and money for the owner.
- It ensures compliance with local building codes.
- It ensures resistance to natural disasters.
What to look for in your remedial engineer
Experience and Expertise
The key factor is experience in handling projects or structures similar to the one you need attending to. The more expertise they have with your specific requirements, the better service and more peace of mind they’ll be able to offer. Check out the portfolio of past projects and their proven track record when assessing different remedial engineering providers.
Social proof is a highly effective way of determining the quality of a remedial engineer’s service. Whether you read online reviews to gauge their level of skill and experience, speak to colleagues in the industry, or have your own research strategies, always consider the reputation of any service provided under consideration.
In Australia there are strict licensing and certification requirements for a remedial engineer. Make sure that you know what the standards and regulations are and that any engineer you contract is suitably certified and insured.
When you begin to engage with an engineer, consider how effective their communication is. Are they able to actively listen to your concerns? Are they punctual in their communication and clear in their response? These should all be factors that you take into consideration during procurement.
You need to appoint a remedial engineer when there is a structural issue or perceived issue. For that reason, their ability to problem solve and find effective solutions is critical to the service they provide. If an engineer is unable to provide a detailed assessment, well considered solutions and goal/budget aligned options, you may need to look elsewhere.
What to expect when engaging a remedial engineer
During the course of your building assessment, your remedial engineer will be taking a systematic approach to evaluating the problem and extent of the issue in your building. While every engineering provider works a bit differently, the general process is as follows:
1. Initial Inspection
The engineer will attend to your site or building and conduct a thorough analysis of the structure. This will allow him/her to identify and assess the extent of any problems. The assessment and inspection is the key to providing a comprehensive remediation plan.
Once the structural issues are identified, a more detailed and particular analysis is often conducted. This can include anything from material analysis to longer term monitoring. It can help the engineer identify underlying causes and pinpoint the most effective solution.
With all the analysis and information needed, you’ll receive a customised solution plan tailored to your needs and the unique requirements of the structure itself. These solutions may include extensive repairs, superficial reinforces, waterproofing or any other relevant measures.
4. Project Management
Many remedial engineers will oversee the project of restoration or repairs themselves. This will provide you with peace of mind that the implementation of the solution is being done properly, effectively and efficiently. It can also include the obtaining of any permits or approvals required.
5. Quality Assurance
Once the structure is fixed, a competent remedial engineer will likely conduct ongoing quality checks. This is to ensure the effectiveness of the solution and provide warranties for the work performed and the ongoing safety of the building.
When do you need a remedial engineer?
The best time to appoint a remedial engineer is as soon as you think you’ll need one. To ensure your building is secure structurally in the event that any issues or concerns come to your attention, make sure you choose to be safe rather than sorry.
When in doubt, call BIM Sydney!
The BIM Sydney remedial engineering team has been providing our clients with impeccable structural assessments and solutions for years.
If you’re unsure whether or not you need a remedial engineer to attend your site, give us a call today. There’s no such thing as silly questions and we’d be more than glad to help you work out the best approach to keep your building structurally secure and safe.