January 26, 2017
After you have picked out and purchased your home plan you still need two more things. Naturally you will need a builder, unless you are going to act as your own general contractor. Most people don’t understand that you also need a structural engineer.
In many cases you will need a professional structural engineer to review, design and put their stamp on your plans before construction can start. This is necessary no matter whom you buy your home plans from. Structural engineers have specialized knowledge about calculating forces and material strengths which are vital to residential home construction.
Making sure that all the stresses and forces that are present in a structure are properly handled is incredibly important for a safe and long lasting home. It is not just the building that needs to be taken into consideration but also the ground it sits on.
All the weight and vertical forces a structure generates is transferred down to the ground. Knowing the conditions of the ground under your home is important because it can affect what materials are used in construction. This can affect the time and cost of new home construction.
Every home sits on unique ground and every part of the country has unique weather. The structural engineer has to take the weather into consideration as well. A roof designed to handle the tropical storms of South Florida will not stand up well to the winter snows in central Colorado.
Another important factor is what materials are used. For example a tile roof weighs between 9.5 and 12 pounds per square foot, while asphalt shingles only weigh about 2.5 to 4 pounds per square foot. Your engineer or truss manufacturer needs to allow for that into their calculations. Other factors such as window strength is important in coastal areas and must be accounted for as well as many other building systems or materials.
For these reasons each home plan needs to be checked and adjustments need to be made to accommodate the local weather and ground conditions. Our home plans are designed to meet most conditions, but every plan needs to be tailored to your specific local needs.
Beyond the ground and the weather, structural engineers also make sure that a home plan meets local building codes. Because we sell home plans all over the country, and the world, it would be impossible to design a plan that meets every code everywhere.
Many times your builder will either have a structural engineer working for him or they will have a relationship with a local engineer. While you can always hire your own engineer, it is usually best to use an engineer that has a good working history with your builder.
The cost for having your plans checked by a structural engineer will depend on many factors. While it is impossible to give specific prices here, in general it will cost anywhere between 70¢ to over $1.00 per square foot, depending on complexity and local permitting requirements. But again those are very general prices.
We may be able to provide assistance with structural engineering through our engineers. They are licensed in numerous states and are very familiar with our designs. Just ask us how we can help you in that matter.
Building a home requires the talents of many people with a wide range of experience and knowledge. It all starts with a home plan which we are here to help you find. Our extensive library of stock home plans should have a plan you will love.
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