Monday, July 7, 2014

Custom homes require structural engineering plans

Structural engineered plans

In the world of construction you can do anything you want as long as you have a detailed drawing with an engineer’s stamp on it.

These drawings are called structural engineered drawings/plans.

Structural engineered plans are most common in commercial construction where every aspect of a buildings structural integrity and performance has been mapped out by an engineering firm. This is not only for the betterment of the building but it is also to help the general contractor bid, spec and build the structure.

In residential construction there is a lot less structural engineering; most buildings have little to no engineering because of the residential building code that exists. If you design a simple house then for all the load bearing walls, window and door headers and floor supports you only have to follow the building code for your plan to get approval from the municipality and you can construct the home.

Where things get tricky is when you start drawing complex custom homes. Because they are custom homes then you will have trouble fitting the normal building code into certain places in the home. Most custom homes have a lot of windows and open spaces. This creates certain points in the home that are load points, they are larger load points then in a normal home and thus they fall outside the parameters of the building code.

When something falls outside the parameters of the building code then it cannot be approved to be built, the only way it can be built is if it is designed by an engineer, placed on paper and has the engineers seal attached to it. The key is the engineers seal with it you can have anything approved, without it a building department will dismiss it immediately.

The moral of the story is that when you are paying for plans to be drawn by an architect or draftsmen you need to make sure that the plans are engineered. This will cost you more money but it will allow the general contractor to build your home without having to go out and get engineering for it. That could cost you more money and it will cost you time, time is what you don’t have a lot of when building custom homes.

A properly drawn structure with engineered drawing gives your contractor everything they require to understand how to build your home, this will also guarantee they also understand how much it will cost when they are preparing your budget before you begin building it.

So when you are looking at your new home plans make sure that you ask the question if you require engineering, it’s always cheaper to have it done before the build starts then after it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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