Ask A Commercial Structural Engineering Firm These 5 Questions Before You Hire Them

When you have a new build or remodel on a residential or commercial property, you may find yourself in need of a structural engineering firm. Structural engineers are often called in to assess, analyze, and design the “bones” of a building. From the effects of weather on structures to the framing, foundation, and building materials, structural engineers are counted on to make sure your project will literally remain standing.

So, how do you find the right firm? Here are the top 5 questions to ask a structural engineering company before hiring them:

What are your qualifications?

Structural engineering firms may be all encompassing or may focus on a particular field. Be sure you ask what the company’s engineers specialize in, their education and experience in those areas, and how they plan to utilize this experience on your build. Structural engineering firms must also be up to date on city codes and ordinances that will impact your project, as these can change or update frequently.

What are some of your previous commercial structural engineering projects?

While a company’s website might give photographic evidence of previous projects, it’s helpful to ask a potential firm about their portfolio to figure out if they’re a good fit. Are their past projects strictly residential or commercial? Were they short- or long-term projects, or a combination of both? Asking them questions on their past projects can also be extremely insightful. What are they most proud of when it comes to a particular structure? What was a challenge they faced on a certain project, and how did they deal with it? These questions can give you valuable information to determine whether the firm is right for your project.

What timeline and budget do you anticipate for this commercial structural engineering project?

When looking for the right commercial structural engineering firm, you want one that will give you a realistic timeline and budget for your project so you can compare costs. Asking this question can lead to more great information, too. For example, how would you handle a problem that arises that will delay our timeline or send us over budget? The cheapest or fastest firm is not always advisable. You want to choose the one that will best communicate, collaborate, and handle issues efficiently.

Do you have references I can contact?

In addition to a portfolio of past projects, a reliable structural engineer should also have references. Structural engineering firms many times will work with other professionals on a project, ranging from city representatives to other construction companies and contractors. If an engineering firm can provide a varied list of references, you’ll get a good idea of how well they work with others.

Structural engineers looking at plans for a commercial construction project.

Why do you think you’re the right firm for this project?

You are the one researching, comparing, and hiring a structural engineering firm. Don’t you want to hear if the company you’ve chosen thinks they’re right for you, too? Many commercial structural engineering firms will share honestly whether they feel that your project is right for their firm. You want to know this information before hiring the firm, rather than in the middle of your project. You want to hear the actual reasons a firm thinks they’re the right choice for your project.

There are a lot of factors to consider when hiring a structural engineering firm. You want knowledgeable, experienced professionals who communicate well and who can problem solve successfully while staying within an appropriate timeline and budget.

At DOP Engineering we pride ourselves on being responsive, meticulous, economical, honest, insightful, and prompt. Our structural engineers provide dedicated and innovative client-centered service. Please reach out to us for you next commercial or residential renovation project! We would love to answer your questions and determine how we can bring your dreams to life!