A significant construction project requires the input of a large number of different individuals or organisations. Fundamentally, you need to determine if you can construct the building safely and within budget and in many respects whether the entire project will be worthwhile and cost efficient. Part of the research will involve analysing the viability of the structure of the building itself. Because this is so important, you need to ensure that you choose a structural engineering company that will analyse all the various elements and provides you with the support that can be completely relied upon. What elements do you need to weigh up before you proceed?

Dealing with the Scope of Work

One of the most important documents that you need to create before the project begins is called the "scope of work." Within this document will be the entire project detail based on your expectations as a client. You will need to consult with a structural engineer while this document is being created and their input must be included. All stages must be analysed and their associated costs delineated. Unless this is completed comprehensively, you could experience cost "creep." You can also fall behind schedule as unforeseen problems get in the way, or could end up with a substandard final result.

Assessing Qualifications

You need to determine whether the structural engineer you choose is entirely competent for the type of project ahead. You need to look at their qualifications and experience, as well as certifications from within the industry. Often, time on specific jobs like this will be crucial and may be more important than paper qualifications.

Specific Suitability

Your job will require a variety of different materials depending on its structure type and on any external influences which may come to bear on its long-term efficiency. Ensure that your structural engineer is fully aware of what is required and has expertise in the range of materials and structure types. You may be building in an area that is very susceptible to brush fires or seasonal winds. Ensure that you have access to only the materials that are perfect in these circumstances.

Avoid the Yes-Man

You will want to deal with a structural engineer who is never simply a "yes" man. Some people work on the basis that they should tell a client what he or she likes to hear. This is not good in this situation as you must be advised of the "constructability" of your project. Is it achievable and within budget and will the structure be sound?

Thinking outside the Box

Having said that, you also don't want somebody who is afraid of their shadow or stuck in the past. A lot of innovation is taking place within the industry and it could be that the latest breakthrough will be just perfect in your case. Ensure that all eventualities and options are addressed before you make your final choice.