Why is a Structural Engineer Necessary for an Outdoor Space?

Now more than ever, structural engineers can help homeowners realize the benefits of well-designed outdoor spaces. When you are ready to expand the functionality of your outdoor seating and entertainment options it is necessary that you do so in a way that keeps the party going and keeps your guests safe. Regardless of the design idea, the help of a structural engineering firm can truly elevate a space.

A Structural Engineer Assists in the Design of Outdoor Structures

Expanding a deck or patio for extra seating, adding design elements for aesthetics or function (such as gates or pergolas), or adding safety features (like railings) are all things to consider when designing an outdoor space. While deck or patio upgrades might seem easy, they can get complicated structurally. When factoring in the types of materials offered and the methodology necessary for sound long-term construction, you often need a structural engineer’s consultation to ensure that modifications are correctly completed.

For example, a pergola or covered patio can be fully covered or partially enclosed, affecting which materials you need to use and how much should be budgeted for. If you opt for certain lighting options in your outdoor space, you’ll need to consider the electrical layout and what will work well with your overall design, while also not harming the structural integrity of joists and joints.

Perhaps you want to create a separate structural unit like a workshop, “man cave,” or “she shed.” These separate structures will not only benefit from but often require, the expertise of a structural engineering firm.

Structural Engineers Help With Permits

Not only can a structural engineering company help with the design elements and safety of outdoor living space, but they are also able to help with the logistics of a project from timeline to budget to acquiring necessary permits. All too often homeowners and real estate investors take on patio projects themselves without realizing the city’s building codes that must be followed and permits that must be obtained prior to construction. Without this knowledge, there could be some serious implications. Not consulting a structural engineer about permits poses a real risk of having to pay fines or penalties after construction. Worse yet, you will likely run into inspection problems when you try to sell your home down the road.

A structural engineering firm can advise on which ideas for your outdoor space are feasible, given your time and budget. They can also help assess improvements that would be a good return on investment. Additionally, they can help you define which projects will need permits and point you in the right direction to keep your valuable (and often expensive) home upgrades legal and safe. Perhaps not every outdoor project needs the help of a structural engineer, but we strongly recommend it.

Wondering if DOP Engineering is the right South Florida structural engineering firm for you? No project is too small! We love working with homeowners! Contact us for a consultation to make your outdoor design ideas a reality.