Answers to 10 Common FAQs in Structural Analysis

As structural engineers, e2 engineers endeavor to analyze structural engineering and design projects from multiple angles, including those that present potential unique solutions the competition may miss. To that end, we often need to ask and answer numerous engineering questions for better informed design. In fact, we highly value learning, both as it aids in the design and engineering process as well as in other aspects of life.

As a result, we welcome engineering questions from our clients, particularly as they relate to the very same structural analysis questions we must pose to ourselves throughout the engineering process. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 structural engineering questions, as well as their answers:

1. What is static analysis?

Static analysis is a discipline utilized by engineers that determines the amount of stress a structure or material is under when subjected to outside forces or loads. During the design process, engineers typically utilize software to determine how a structure will respond to varying external forces. Static analysis alone is used for regular buildings under 240 feet tall and irregular structures under 65 feet tall. It also applies to both regular and irregular structures found in seismic zone 1, or structures found in occupancy categories 4 or 5 in seismic zone 2.

2. What is dynamic analysis and how is it different from static analysis?

Unlike static analysis, which studies forces that accelerate or change very slowly, dynamic analysis studies how structures respond to forces that change very rapidly. Dynamic forces can include things like blasts, earthquakes, waves, or even winds. Typically, dynamic analysis is used for buildings above 240 feet tall and irregular structures over 65 feet tall. Additionally, dynamic analysis may be considered for buildings in poor soil or active seismic zones.

3. What is modal analysis?

Modal analysis studies how the properties of a structure respond to external forces that may cause vibration. More specifically, engineers study the mass and stiffness of the structure to determine when it will resonate – or move at a frequency identical to the external force. In the event of an earthquake, for example, a structure resonating with the frequency of the earthquake may experience significant structural damage; thus, it is important to design structures that will not resonate at this frequency.

4. How many modes should be considered?

Code states that modal analysis must analyze at least 90% of the mass of each structure. While there is no inherent number of modes to consider, engineers must ensure the number studied amounts to at least 90% of the structure’s participating mass.

5. What is torsional eccentricity?

In structural engineering, eccentricity is measured as the degree to which two materials within a structure fail to share a center in common. Torsional eccentricity shows a difference between the center of mass in a building and the center of rigidity of a particular floor. Accidental torsion through exterior forces, such as earthquakes, can cause excess torsion or twisting around the center and cause structural damage.

6. How is torsional eccentricity accounted for in design?

Design codes have attempted to enforce certain adjustments during the design process to reduce damaging torsion. Primarily, codes require symmetrical arrangement of a building’s mass to balance stiffness on all sides of the center of mass. While some degree of torsion is always present, these steps can reduce the degree of torsional eccentricity and damaging shifts in mass.

7. What are structural irregularities and how are they addressed?

In structural engineering, there are three major structural irregularities: irregularities in strength and stiffness between floors of a building (also known as weak story and soft story irregularities), irregularities in mass, and irregularities in vertical geometry where lower floors fail to support the upper floors consistently. Each is analyzed in the design process using static, dynamic, or modal analysis. Then, such issues are avoided in design. Alternatively, engineers use solutions like horizontal diaphragms – which help to distribute horizontal stresses like earthquakes and blasts throughout the vertical supports.

8. What is the difference between rigid and semi-rigid diaphragm?

Horizontal diaphragms can resist horizontal seismic forces in two major forms: rigid and semi-rigid. Rigid diaphragms rotate and translate the horizontal forces to all members spreading the lateral load throughout. However, rigid diaphragms do not deform and spread the load based on the center of mass. Semi-rigid diaphragms spread the lateral load to multiple members of the system equivalently.

9. What are elastic response parameters?

A material or structure’s elastic response refers to the information engineers receive when the structure is exposed to force and deforms. Then, when the force is removed, engineers study how it returns to its original form. The elastic response of a building frame to external loading deteriorates as it approaches critical load. In the event of an earthquake or other sudden load, strain increases as critical load is reached and causes structural damage that will not return to its original form.

10. What are the different structural systems?

In engineering, a structural system refers to the various subsystems within a building project that help resist vertical gravity loads as well as horizontal loads caused by earthquakes and other forces. Interior structural systems include hinged frames, rigid frames that resist movement at the joints, braced frames and shear walled frames that do not allow lateral movement, and outrigger frames with projecting structures that stabilize overhangs.

It is our hope that this brief FAQ has helped you understand some of the circumstances your engineers must analyze throughout the design process. If you have more engineering questions or wish to discuss a potential project with our expert team, contact the premiere engineering firm in the Northeast. Reach e2 engineers at 860-437-3259, or complete our online contact form today.

Everything You Need to Know About Peer Reviews in Structural Engineering

There’s no denying that reviewing a construction document is a complicated, time-consuming, and daunting process. Keeping up with the various advances in the industry can be a real challenge – especially because structural engineering codes are typically updated every few years, and software changes even more rapidly. Thankfully, help is available in the form of structural engineering peer reviews.

Let’s take a closer look at these reviews, what they are, and how they work.

What Are Peer Reviews?

Structural engineering peer reviews are independent evaluations of a construction document conducted by a third-party provider. These analyses are designed to cover a number of criteria, including assessing different elements of a construction document, such as risk management, cost, constructability, code compliance, quality assurance, and more.

By helping you catch any potential problems before they materialize in the construction process, peer reviews can save you a lot of time and money while also providing you with valuable peace of mind.

Who Needs Peer Reviews?

In certain states and some situations, peer reviews are required before construction can proceed. The more complex the structure that you are planning on building, the more likely it is that you will be required to have your construction document reviewed before you can receive a building permit. However, even in instances where they are not necessary, peer reviews can still be incredibly helpful. For example, a peer review may accelerate the permit process.

No matter the situation, peer reviews are incredibly valuable for identifying potential problems that may otherwise go unnoticed until it is too late. Because of these benefits, many engineers and building officials rely on structural engineering peer reviews for every project they plan to complete.

How Peer Reviews Are Conducted

When done correctly, peer reviews should entail a collaborative effort between the Engineer of Record (EOR) and the engineer conducting the review (also known as the reviewing engineer). After assessing the structure’s design, the reviewing engineer should carefully communicate any questions or concerns that they might have to the EOR, then work alongside them to come up with effective solutions. In this context, the reviewing engineer acts as both a second set of trained eyes that can spot potential problems as well as a third-party consultant that can help find innovative solutions to those issues.

Expert Peer Reviews from e2 engineers

If a peer review is mandated for the structure that you plan to build or you feel that your project could benefit from one (even if it is not required), e2 engineers is here to help. We specialize in performing Independent Structural Engineering Review (ISER) for public projects (such as municipal buildings and schools) as well as those within the private sector. Our expert team of structural engineers can review all manners of construction documents, helping you highlight and solve would-be problems before they materialize into costly and time-consuming issues.

To learn more about our structural engineering peer review services, contact us today!

Six Benefits a Structural Engineer Brings to a Custom Home Build

Building a house on your own is not an easy task to take on, especially if you aren’t familiar with the different types of materials, codes, regulations, and other restrictions that can prevent you from creating the house of your dreams. In order to ensure the home you’ve built is structurally sound and designed properly, it’s best to hire a structural engineer. Not only will they help you design a custom home build that’s visually appealing, but they will follow all regulations to ensure it’s built properly to avoid unwanted projects down the road. The services and expertise provided by a structural engineer are invaluable, saving you time and money while ensuring that your vision for your new home is brought to life. To showcase why, we’ll take a look at the top six benefits that a structural engineer brings to making your house a home.

Pinpoint Potential Issues

The biggest advantage of working with a structural engineer on a custom home build is their ability to highlight potential issues in a design before they turn into costly problems. While other home renovation professionals can make aesthetically pleasing designs, they aren’t always able to pinpoint complex engineering challenges. A structural engineer can call attention to these challenges as well as develop ways to work around them in a proficient way.

Promote Structural Safety

When asked to help with a custom home build, safety is a structural engineer’s number one priority. If you were to tackle a steep project such as home building alone, you could potentially glaze over hazards or poorly built structures. To ensure that your home is safe and built to last, receive a full evaluation from an experienced structural engineer.

Ensure Your Home is Up to Code

In addition to ensuring that the design for your custom home is safe, a structural engineer will make sure that the design follows all of the codes and regulations set forth by your local government. If you do not comply with building codes, you may be setting yourself up for fines and an expensive re-do of your project. A structural engineer will make certain your future home isn’t violating codes and will acquire the necessary permits to move forward with your build.

Material Selection

Many professionals outside of structural engineering may choose materials based on looks, rather than purpose. However, the materials that your home is made of need to look amazing as well as serve a wide range of important structural needs. An experienced structural engineer will be able to help you choose materials for your home that fit both your vision for the design and offer the most advantages in terms of safety, durability, and longevity.

Create an Efficient and Cost-Effective Design

When you choose to work with a structural engineer to design your custom home, your dream home will be brought to life in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. They will thoroughly analyze your design, highlight potential issues, and develop creative, out-of-the-box solutions. A structural engineer can save you time and money on your build while still making every effort to ensure that the final result is exactly what you envisioned it to be.

Conduct a Thorough Final Inspection

Once your custom home is built, your structural engineer will conduct a thorough final inspection. This is to ensure that there are no issues that need to be addressed before you move in, allowing you to begin living in your new home with complete peace of mind. To have that second opinion alleviates all potential second-guessing if you had gone forward in your custom home build alone.

How e2 engineers Will Make Your Custom Home a Reality

The value that structural engineers bring to a custom home build cannot be overstated. We go into every project with practical solutions that are unique to every one of our clients. With over 50 years of experience, we are the experts you can trust. If you would like to learn more about how the structural engineers at e2 engineers can help design and build your custom home, be sure to contact us today!

What to Look for in a Structural Engineer Consulting Firm

If you are intending to design a new building, choosing the right structural engineering consulting firm to help you throughout the design and construction process is one of the most important decisions that you will have to make. In this article, we’ll take a look at the qualities and standards that you will want to look for before hiring a structural engineering consulting firm. Here are a few things to keep in mind during the evaluation process:

Find Out the Types of Structures the Firm Works With

One of the first and most important considerations when choosing a structural engineering consulting firm is to make sure the engineer you choose is experienced at working with the type of structure that you plan to construct. The goals and obstacles associated with various types of structures can differ dramatically, meaning you will want to ensure that you hire a professional structural engineer that is accustomed to the unique challenges that designing your structure may present.

At e2 Engineers, we work with a wide range of structures, including municipal, multi-family, commercial, mixed-use, religious, educational, institutional, historic, coastal, and residential structures.

Ensure the Employees are Experienced and Qualified

Every structural engineering consulting firm is only as good as the team of engineers that it employees. Before you hire a firm, be sure to take the time to familiarize yourself with their engineering team, particularly looking at the experience and qualifications that each engineer on the team is able to demonstrate. When you are able to rest assured that you are working with a highly experienced structural building engineer, the likelihood of a successful project is drastically increased.

Our engineering team at e2 Engineers is comprised of eight highly-talented engineers who have over 50 years of combined experience between them in a wide range of industries.

Discuss the Firm’s Structural Engineering Process

In addition to learning more about the engineers that a structural engineering consulting firm employs, it’s also important to analyze the process that they use. An efficient, effective, and innovative process is often one of the most crucial keys to a successful project. Any firm that you are considering should be quick to tell you more about the structural engineering process that they intend to use.

At e2 Engineers, our structural engineering process is comprised of an out-of-the-box, multi-faceted approach to structural design. We strive to first recognize the challenges that a project will present, then work to create innovative, practical solutions to those challenges, using cutting-edge technology to maximize the effectiveness of our engineers. Efficiency is another objective that lies at the core of our structural engineering process. We always strive to deliver solutions more swiftly than the competition and highlight potential problems before they have the chance to evolve into a costly issue.

Choosing the right structural engineering consulting firm is a highly important decision, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a difficult one. By analyzing the core competencies of a firm, the engineers that make it up, and the process that the firm employs, you should be able to find out all of the information that you need to know in order to make the right hiring decision.

Of course, if you have any other questions about what we do here at e2 Engineers, we invite you to contact us today.

What to Consider for Coastal Construction Projects

Coastal construction is an appealing prospect for many, especially those who are thinking about owning beachfront property. However, building on the coast has different considerations than building on more solid ground. To help ensure your coastal construction project is a success, keep these things in mind.

Check the Elevation

Coastal properties routinely deal with water hazards and different foundational conditions. Before you start to even think about what you’re building, pay attention to what you’re allowed to build on any property you’re considering purchasing. There’s a chance your coastal property will need to have a first-floor elevation level of more than 12 feet. If this is the case, there will be some extra cost you can expect from your project.

Look into Flood Zones

Flooding can be part of the coastal property package, especially depending on how close you are to the water. Coastal flooding also tends to be much more damaging than regular inland flooding, thanks to wave action, storm surge, and erosion. When purchasing property, you’ll want to see what the flooding is like in the area and how it’s previously affected the foundation. As you build, you’ll need to have strong enough materials to withstand flooding.

Plan the Height of Your Project Carefully

Depending on the area you’re building your project in, you’ll have to comply with the community’s specific building codes. In some areas, there’s a movement to restrict the total height of coastal residential structures. This may change your plan by taking away intended floors, especially when you need to combine a height restriction with high elevation requirements. You should investigate this before purchasing a property and while pulling together your building plans.

Accounting for Expected Erosion

We’ve already talked about flooding, but the impact goes beyond what property you purchase and what materials you need to build your home. Because coastal floods are often harsher, the foundational area will go through erosion and scour throughout your structure’s lifetime. The build plan of your structure needs to accommodate for this, so your building doesn’t start to tilt or sink over the years.

Pick the Right Materials

To withstand floods, winds, and other coastal conditions, you need to take into consideration the materials you use for your structure. While some lower-quality materials may be cheaper, you’ll find they aren’t quite hardy enough to withstand life on the coast. Some specific materials in which you want to invest include:

  • Roofing material
  • Paint
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Windows
  • Decking materials

All of these materials routinely go head-to-head with the elements of the coast. Even if you do save some money on your initial purchases, you’ll likely need to replace them inside of three years. It’s better to take care of the job right the first time.

Think About Your Foundation Type

Foundation plays a big role in how you elevate your home, but there are different types best suited for different coastal areas. You’ll find that building in a V Zone restricts some of your foundation options, while others function better depending on the type of coast on which you’re building. Some of your options include:

  • Elevated on Fill
  • Closed Foundations
  • Open Foundations

You should conduct thorough research to learn if there are any prohibited foundation types in your chosen area. Consulting with your builder can also help you make the best decision for your new building.

When it comes to building on the coast, there are lots of considerations you need to think through even before purchasing a property, let alone starting construction. Working with builders, like the ones at e2 Engineers, who have experience in coastal construction will be your best bet to having a structure that can let you have a building that lasts – so you can thoroughly enjoy the coastal experience. To get started, contact us today.


The Green Roof Revolution: A Growing Trend for Rooftops

The increasing popularity of green roofs in U.S. urban environments has structural engineers, developers and architects looking up these days. Over the past 10-15 years, green roofs have begun to appeal to building owners in U.S. cities. This trend only promises to increase as property owners see this roof as a way to embrace environmentalism. Although trending now in the United States, living roofs are far from a new concept. They have been in use around the world, in one form or another, for hundreds of years with the earliest versions in Iceland.  Europe saw its first modern green roof in the 1960’s; when Germany discovered that vegetation on a roof could help with storm water management. As this trend continues, the many benefits of a green roof are becoming even more apparent.

Other than the obvious aesthetic benefit, installing a green roof offers a multitude of other advantages. By growing plants on a building’s roof top, owners are effectively replacing the vegetated footprint that was destroyed or will be destroyed during construction. However, the advantages don’t stop there.

Green roofs hold numerous environmental benefits.  The EPA has reported that vegetated roofs help to reduce water runoff by as much as 75%.  While they also work to filter whatever water runoff does occur. Green roofs improve air quality in the surrounding environment. Rooftop plants will naturally filter noxious gases and help to rid the air of pollutants. The plant life on a green roof can extend the roof’s life by protecting it from UV rays and other natural elements that wreak havoc on roofing materials. Vegetated roofs have proven to reduce energy costs substantially.  They achieve this by acting as natural insulators against the cold and heat, and thus improve a building’s energy efficiency.

Besides the above-mentioned benefits, green roofs offer an aesthetically pleasing and healthy environment to work and live. In an urban environment where green space is scarce or at a premium, a living roof can offer anyone a place to relax and enjoy nature. Living roofs can be used as recreational spaces such as playgrounds or community gardens. These green havens increase biodiversity by providing vital habitats for species of plants and animals.

The green roof atop the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City is clear proof of the practical benefits of a living roof. This massive convention center has a six-block footprint and before 2014, its roof was completely barren. It is now the largest green roof in New York City. [Alan Steel, the CEO of the Javits Center reports that this eco-friendly roof boasts 300,000 bees, 25 different species of birds, a reduced temperature of six degrees and a 26% reduction in energy that saves the convention center three million dollars a year.] The roof’s soil and plants absorb seven million gallons of storm water runoff. With statistics such as these, it is easy to see how a green roof can improve urban work, school, and home environments significantly.  However, New York is not the only city reaping the benefits of green roofs. Major initiatives are happening in other U.S. cities such as Chicago, Portland OR and Washington D.C.

Trending green roofs are also being built as urban produce gardens for tenants to manage. Some say rooftop farms are the definitive wave of the future. In fact, ecoroofs around the world sprout vegetable gardens and many of these rooftop gardens link to restaurants. Restauranteurs are choosing to utilize their roof space to grow fresh vegetables and herbs. These owners see the value in sharing fresh, homegrown produce with their customers. Rooftop agriculture is also producing crops such as grains and fruits along with vegetables.

As building owners continue to see the value of installing a green roof, they are also deciding on which type of living roof will best suit their needs. The two specific types of vegetated roofs in common use today are intensive and extensive.

Extensive green roofs usually contain one to six inches of soil, which means they can support only certain types of plants. These roofs are lighter in weight and have lower maintenance, nutrient, and irrigation requirements than intensive living roofs. Examples of plants used on an extensive roof, range from sedums to small grasses, herbs and flowering herbaceous plants which need little maintenance and no permanent irrigation system.

Intensive green roofs, on the other hand, contain at least six inches of soil or more and will support a wide variety of plant types. Plant options can include full-grown trees and shrubs. These roofs are quite heavy and require a lot of maintenance.

In the past few years, it is no longer a question of whether to go green.  But more of a question of where and how to go green. Living roofs have been the answer to those questions. Green roofs provide a resolution for those seeking to turn a harsh urban environment into a sustainable, bucolic landscape. Living roofs improve a society’s quality of life.  Their benefits are increasingly being identified, measured, and acknowledged by building owners and by the general public. Denver has just become the latest city to require rooftop gardens or solar panels on large, new buildings. Will this trend continue? Increased government support, new laws and incentive programs to install green roofs will help to ensure that the green roof trend in the U.S. will continue long into the future.

Whether retrofitting a building with a contemporary green roof or starting from scratch, the load bearing capacity of a building must be determined first by a certified, structural engineer before plans for a green roof can begin. As part of your team, e2 engineers offer our extensive experience to ensure comprehensive green roof design development based on a building’s construction, condition, and weight loading capacity. Not your average engineers, e2 engineers can help guide your decisions as you watch your green roof plans come to life.

A real estate investor’s best friend: Their engineer

They say that things are never too bad if you’ve got your best friend by your side. For a real estate investor, that person is often their engineer.

There are numerous challenges for the real estate investor. One of the biggest is analyzing properties and getting a good return on investment. That’s why you should make an engineer your best friend. The sooner they get involved, the better decisions you can make. This can save you time, money and headaches.

How an engineer can help real estate investors save money

A lot goes into deciding which properties are worth your investment dollars. An engineer may find those items that make an outwardly profitable property less so. Factors like how much it may take to develop the land, rehabbing an existing building and structural issues could cost major bucks that you weren’t planning to spend.

Even the best looking properties can have hidden problems. Structural issues, drainage troubles and underground root growth are just a few of the issues that can eat up your investment and blow your budget. Having a qualified engineer walk through a property with you to point out potential problems can help you avoid making risky investment decisions.

Finance is also a huge part of real estate investing and engineers are not afraid of math. As such, they might help you work through the numbers to manage costs, organize bids and make sure you are getting the best possible deal.

To be successful as a real estate investor, you need to build a team of qualified professionals with the right expertise to help you. The field of engineering is multifaceted and broad and there are numerous specialties you will need along the way.

While you may hire a home inspector to look at potential properties before purchase, a better option could be a mechanical engineer. Home inspectors are typically more like general practitioners, looking for signs of possible troubles. These professionals usually recommend consulting an expert, like a mechanical engineer, for further review. It’s the equivalent of going to your primary physician for a check-up and then being referred to a specialist for a more complete observation and comprehensive tests.


How an engineer can help real estate investors save money (cont)

Also of note, engineers can work on the problems they locate; many home inspectors are prevented from doing this. Engineers are able to conduct a more exhaustive, thorough evaluation of a property.

You can find structural engineers to answer questions about the safety and durability of a property. For example, they can help determine if the roof can support a large HVAC unit or whether it’s possible to tear down walls.

Software engineers can design programs that help you reach more customers and streamline processes. They can also be used to help you find investment opportunities. Everyone knows that smart real estate investing can be like looking for a polar bear in a snowstorm; in other words, finding those hidden gems that can bring in a big ROI. Those with a software engineering background are in the habit of using networks and creating systems to filter through lots of information and find what you need.

If your investment involves disturbing the land in any way, you need a civil engineer. Some states or areas actually require a report signed and delivered by a civil engineer for even a 50 square foot disturbance.

Civil engineers who specialize in land development can help with zoning ordinances, property impediments and any soil problems. They stay up to date on local, state and federal land regulations to help you avoid surprises.

In addition, civil engineers have experience in construction, managing contracts and completing construction projects. This kind of familiarity with contractors, project management and building codes can be invaluable in the course of real estate investing. It can help with cost estimation, land development, overcoming obstacles and time management. Also, having this kind of knowledge at your fingertips may put you in a better position for negotiating and property analysis.

Unknown issues could be lurking just below the topsoil of a property. Sometimes environmental engineers might be needed for site assessments or regulatory compliance help. Electrical engineers can be beneficial if you want to make major electrical distribution changes or for troubleshooting and repairs.

Real estate investors can also benefit from the services of a project engineer. This is someone you can use to communicate with design teams, obtain permits, prepare estimates and write contracts.

It’s also possible to partner with an engineer that has experience in fixing old homes or solving home improvement challenges. Who better to advise you on purchasing a home or building than someone who has actually built one? With this kind of assistance, you could gain more freedom to take on those investments others may pass up, giving you an increased range and more profitability.

How an engineer can help a real estate investor avoid headaches

Engineers often have a unique vision and way of thinking that helps them transform problems into opportunities. These mental tools and analysis skills translate well for the real estate industry.

Engineering is about discovering how things work and finding solutions. Since real estate investing involves a multitude of problems, it’s helpful to have an engineer working alongside you so that when issues arise, you can rely on his keen eye for detail and problem-solving expertise.

Purchasing a building or property is a painstaking and complicated process. You need someone with the patience and penchant for thoroughness that engineers have come to be known for.

Engineers are also accustomed to being very project-focused and task-based. As a result, they know how to see a job through to its conclusion.

The field of real estate investing can be tricky, uncertain and confusing. You need someone you can trust for sound advice to make the most of your investment dollars. Proper planning, financial management and the skills an engineer brings to the table are all vital for your success.

10 FAQs every structural engineer hears

To find the right answers, you have to ask the right questions. When it comes to questions about homes and buildings, who better to ask than a structural engineer?

Still, you need to know if the answers you get are correct. With that in mind, here are some of the most common questions every structural engineer hears and how the top-quality pros should respond.

1 – What, exactly, does a structural engineer do?

Structural engineers specialize in determining the integrity of a home or building. They evaluate problems and establish solutions.

A building or home must withstand numerous factors throughout its lifetime. Weather, gravity and the pressure that a structure affects upon itself can all lead to major consequences if it cannot endure against these forces. In the event that something goes wrong, you need to call a structural engineer in your area.

These are licensed professionals educated about the physics, materials and calculations that can affect how a structure will hold up under various conditions. They can determine the strength, durability and safety of a structure. This usually includes the building as well as related structures such as retaining walls, garages and new additions. If damage has been done and repairs are needed, a structural engineer will give you an objective breakdown of the issue and recommend the appropriate next steps.

Most importantly, a structural engineer can help allay your fears. Often, homeowners are told they have structural damage that requires extensive repairs, especially older homes. These reports can come from contractors, inspectors or builders, telling homeowners the work will cost $10,000 or more. Many times, a structural engineer will conduct an impartial, third-party review and determine that while some repairs are necessary, it will be far less than the tens of thousands of dollars in the original estimate.

2 – There is a crack in my foundation. Should it be repaired?

The foundation is undoubtedly the most vital part of any home or building. A structural engineer can look at the loads transferred and determine the root of the trouble. Load transfer could be the cause but sometimes, it may be a design issue. You might also be facing a drainage problem or too much root growth. He will determine the true cause and advise next steps.

3 – My building was reviewed by a home inspection company. Do I really need a structural engineer, too?

A home inspector is typically a generalist who looks for signs of a potential problem. If they find something of note, they will usually advise you to consult a specialist to look at the issue in depth.

A licensed structural engineer will know what to look for. In addition, he will have more knowledge and training on the problem than a home inspector would. Think of it this way: if you had a medical issue, a registered nurse could give you sound advice but for an expert opinion, you would ask a trained physician. Whether buying or selling, it’s crucial to hire your own structural engineering experts.

4 – What structural issues should I be concerned about when remodeling?

In addition to the cost and time commitment of improvement projects, there may be many structural concerns. For example, before removing a wall, you need to know if it is load bearing. You might also want to correct sloped floors or bowed walls in basements.

Prior to any significant retrofitting or remodeling project, it’s important to consult a structural engineer. They can make recommendations, conduct a review and keep your newly redesigned structure from falling down around you.

5 – What structural problems can be handled by a structural engineer?

Soil movement (especially on a hill), damage from the weather or other natural causes, and destruction to load bearing wood by termites can be disastrous. There could also be issues regarding either interior or exterior stairs.

6 – How do I know you are qualified?

Every state and the District of Columbia require structural engineers to be licensed in order to provide services. There are different fields, such as electrical engineers or chemical engineers, so be sure the professional you hire has the appropriate specialization.

To obtain a license, they need at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Additionally, some states require at least four years working in the field and passing the licensing exam.

After receiving the license, structural engineers are assigned a special identification number. This number will appear on all approved plans and prepared reports. Beware of any structural engineer who will not or cannot provide his or her license number.

7 – What are some of the signs that I might need an inspection by a structural engineer?

A cracked foundation or walls, sagging ceilings, windows that stick or won’t close completely and doors that jam or can’t be closed properly could all be signs of trouble. You might also notice leaning walls outside, a bulge or curve in a concrete wall or weakness and chipping in your concrete foundation. Other problems can include moisture in your basement or crawl space and cracks in ceramic or vinyl tile on your floors.

Many of these troubles indicate a problem with the foundation. It’s best to fix smaller issues today before they become big headaches tomorrow.

8 – How can I know for sure that your work is high quality?

You should ask for and expect a portfolio of recently completed work and references. Some good questions for references include whether the work was delivered in a timely manner and whether the project was explained in easy-to-understand terminology.

9 – What should I expect from an inspection by a structural engineer?

All visible areas of the foundation are examined for signs of stress or deterioration

Basement and crawl space is looked at for any evidence of moisture

The framing should be inspected for signs of insect activity, rot and weakness

Elements of the roof, such as flashing, surfacing and gutters are checked to ensure the best performance and no leaks

10 – How much does it cost to have an inspection done by a structural engineer?

When buying or selling property, the costs can really add up. Many people don’t want to tack on the added expense of hiring a structural engineer to offer yet another opinion. On average, a structural engineer will charge $300-$500 an hour. Others may determine price based on a percentage of the total cost of a project.

Although some companies offer free assessments, customers may still be worried that the engineer will over estimate the necessity of fixing a potential problem, leading to thousands of dollars in repairs. However, the price of any inspection is small change compared to repairing a major structural issue in the future.

Do you have additional questions in mind that weren’t covered above? Contact one of our knowledgeable structural engineers at e2 engineers in CT, today!

What type of engineer do you need?

So, you need an engineer for your next building project, but what type of engineer do you need? Well there are about 40 different types of engineering. The types of engineering range from mechanical to chemical to electrical, and many more. For your building project you’re going to focus on civil engineering.

Civil engineering is an engineering discipline that deals with the design and development of infrastructure like buildings, roads, bridges, and railways. Civil engineers not only design and develop new infrastructure, but they also play an important role in rebuilding projects in instances like natural disaster. Civil engineers can be found in both the public and private sectors. This can be a very broad engineering discipline, so we will examine a few different branches of civil engineering.

Site Engineering

A site engineer’s role varies greatly from project to project. A residential project will have very different needs from a commercial or municipal project. Although their responsibilities change depending on the project, the basics remain the same. All projects will include organizational, technical, and supervisory tasks(examples?). Projects can be anywhere from a small home to a multi-million dollar high rise.

As part of the site management team, site engineers are responsible for the health, safety, organization, security, and supervising of people and resources. Site engineers are instrumental in effective communication with the site manager and subcontractors. They mark out the site, and they make sure the designs are implemented correctly. Site engineers also manage relationships with consultants, clients, and their representatives. Site engineers can be seen as managers of the construction site. They are a primary source of quality control and technical advice. Another essential job function is ensuring accuracy of all calculations, checking material quantities and drawings, and surveying the job site.   

Structural Engineering

Structural engineering involves the analysis and design of structures that will safely bear or resist the loads, stresses and other forces. Structural engineer’s designs must satisfy given design criteria (as per the project guideline or code specified), predicated on safety, (e.g. structures must be load bearing so it does not collapse while being used) or serviceability and performance (e.g. building must be stable and not sway causing discomfort to the occupants). Buildings need to be made to endure massive loads as well as changing climate and natural disasters.

Structural Engineers have a responsibility to their clients and the community to provide safe designs. Typically, structural engineers are responsible for the structural design of the project, including the specification of the design loads, issuance of design documents, and review of submittals. Structural engineers are tasked with making creative and efficient use of the budget, structural design elements, and materials used to achieve these goals.

Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical Engineering deals with earth materials like rocks, underground water, and soil, and their relationship to the design, construction, and functionality of infrastructure. It is very closely related to engineering geology and is sometimes called ground engineering. Engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers work very closely. Together, they form a ground engineering team that is imperative to the investigation, design, and construction of infrastructure.

Geotechnical engineering uses rock and soil mechanics to investigate the subsurface conditions and materials of a particular site. This means evaluating any displacements, stresses, and strains on the soil. This helps to determine the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of the materials and assess any risks posed by the site conditions. All of this information is very important to the design, earthworks, and structural foundations of the project. The focus is analyzing and designing soil stabilization systems, which provide enough support to the structure that will be placed on the soil, ensuring the safety of the people using the structure. It is important that the structure is able to remain standing on unstable soil, and there are safety measures established to minimize the damage to infrastructure due to landslides or earthquake. Other projects a geotechnical engineer may take on deal with underwater soil, like offshore platforms and marinas.

No matter what type of civil engineer you need, what matters most is that the engineer that you do choose is practical, efficient, and knowledgeable. The engineers at e2 have over 50 years of combined experience in various industries. We recognize patterns and obstacles quickly.  Producing creative solutions while maintaining thoroughness, speed, and safety is what makes us e2. If you are interested in working with e2 Engineers call (860) 437 – 3259 or contact us

What Are Structural Engineers?

Structural engineers are people who focus on a specialized field of civil engineering. It involves the planning, analysis, design, construction, inspection, monitoring, maintenance, rehabilitation and demolition of permanent and temporary structures. Structural engineers handle the research of the behavior of structural systems and their components and reviewing the work of other engineers. It takes into account other factors such as the technical, economic, environmental, aesthetic and social aspects of structures. The various structures can include educational, municipal, multi-family, commercial, mixed use, institutional, religious, historic, coastal and residential. They can be composed of any structural material such as stone, wood, steel, concrete, plastics, aluminum, including composites and novel materials.

Structural engineers are in a very creative profession and can be considered as an art as well as science. It makes a significant contribution to infrastructure and industry, as well as residential and recreational areas.

The design of a structure simply means that the structure be built in such a way that it will be able to withstand all the load effects on it during its lifetime. The structure should not collapse due to any abnormal loading such as that occurring during an earthquake or landslide. Structural design is a balance of theoretical analysis and practicality, something that structural engineers typically excel at. It takes into account things like the degree of certainty of load bearing and forces, the actual behavior of the structure as opposed to the idealized design model, the actual behavior of the material compared to assumed behavior, and the actual properties of materials used compared to the assumed materials.

Some structural engineers work to design the structures. Carrying out the strength calculations, while detailing and making structural drawings. Others specialize in the actual building and development of the structures, and some work in research. Structural engineers commonly work with other professionals such as architects, builders, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers. This is to ensure that every aspect of the structure is safe, stable, economical, aesthetic, environment friendly, sustainable and capable of fulfilling their intended functions.

What’s The Difference Between Structural Engineers and Other Engineers?

People sometimes can get confused as to what separates structural engineers from architects or civil engineers. This is a common occurrence since most people think that all 3 “just design buildings.”  

To better explain the difference, think of buildings like a human body. There are a lot of similarities between the two.  The musculoskeletal system can be compared to the structural system in a building. The circulatory system in the body is like the HVAC system in a building. There’s a plumbing system (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or MEP), and skin (curtain walls, waterproofing membrane, EIFS) to keep the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. A person has to stand on a stable surface (foundation) to keep from falling over.

With that in mind, the architect’s job is to figure out exactly how the “person” will look. They decide where the arms go, where the legs go, what the face looks like, eye color, hair color, where the elbows bend, how far the knees are supposed to bend, other things of that nature. In terms of a building, they determine the building’s layout, appearance, functionality, and aesthetics. It’s a very complicated and difficult job.

The structural engineers get the plans from the architect, and they figure out the mechanics of the musculo-skeletal system. They determine where to put the bones, where to attach the muscles so that the body is able to function the way it should. How does this relate to a building? They determine the proper placement and sizing of beams, columns, slabs, foundation specifics, and all the systems used to resist the different loads. Examples of loads a building will encounter include wind, snow, earthquakes, and landslides. The building needs to be able to withstand the load and transmit it to the ground.

The job of the civil engineer has less to do with the human body, so we will no longer use that analogy. Any drainage and waste systems in the building need to be connected to municipal sewer systems. The building also needs to be connected to the municipal water supply. Cars need to be able to reach the parking lot, and the parking lots have to meets the needs of the building. The parking lot also needs to drain properly so it is usable when it rains. All this is the domain of the civil engineer.

Need An Engineer?

Based on what you’ve read above, think it’s time to call in a professional? If you find yourself in need of structural engineers that will do the job right, drop us a line at