There is a common misconception about Structural Engineers, which is that we super size everything. In some cases this can lead to a bit of banter on site with the builder and nothing more. He wants to use a two-b-four, we want a chunky steel. No harm done. In other cases, this misconception leads to real problems.
Consider the case where a time and budget stretched client is told by the builder that our structural design is over the top and that there are cheaper options available? This seems like manna from heaven for the client – not only can he or she reduce cost, but also the builder promises to carry it out more quickly because he has more control over the detail. In most cases after weeks of delay the client comes back to the Engineer cap in hand and asks for the original detail to be built. Why?
Because saving the client time and money is actually the Structural Engineer’s primary purpose – so that what they specified originally was already the most cost effective solution.
Did you know Structural Engineers lose sleep over shaving the extra kilogram off every steel? We are trained to spot un-buildable solutions and steer builders towards standard industry practice that allows them to use off-the-shelf components, tried and tested build details, to save expensive mistakes and rework. Your Structural Engineer will in most cases have already considered all the alternative options and ruled them out due to cost.
In reality, rather than increasing your build cost, a good structural designer will help decrease that cost. Out of all the available compliant and safe solutions we will always try to choose the most cost effective for you.
So next time you’re at the burger bar agonising over what size of meal to have, think about this; with the money your Engineer saved you, you can probably afford to super-size it!