When To Hire a Structural Engineer over a Civil Engineer
Posted in: Architecture,Commercial
On October 31, 2022

If you are undertaking a new construction project, renovating a home extensively, or carrying out other construction works, you may need to hire a civil engineer, structural engineer, or both. There is a lot of overlap between their functions, but they generally handle different aspects of construction projects. Several factors determine which professional to hire, and we will look at them below.

Type of Structure

Hire a Structural Engineer

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The type of projects you would like to undertake will determine its requirements and thus the professional to call. Civil engineers are the perfect choice for plans and designs for retaining walls, site grading, septic tanks, stormwater systems, as well as drainage and sewer systems. Because of how involved some of these projects can be, it is best to get in touch with a civil engineering firm in St. Louis with extensive research handling such projects.

Structural engineers, on the other hand, are the right choice for remodeling and additions to existing structures, condominiums, and multi-family dwellings, new custom homes, mixed-use buildings, and decks and patios.

Geographic Location

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The project’s geographic location will also play a part in which professional is right for the job. This is because it determines the engineering design as well as the implementation needs of that specific project. 

Some locations will require either of the two depending on local laws and regulations as well as the location, use, type, and size of the project. Other determinants include topography and climate patterns of the area and proximity to water bodies such as rivers and oceans,

Project Design and Evaluation Requirements

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An experienced civil engineer from Sumer Innovationsis needed if the design and plans include traffic control, erosion control, subdivision, and hydrology studies. Peer reviews on certain projects might also necessitate the input of a civil or structural engineer, again, depending on the requirements as well as local ordinances.

Construction estimates, building code research, documentation requirements, and calculations also fall under the purview of a civil engineer.

A structural engineer is required for existing structures where any work to be carried out involves load-bearing walls and on-site evaluations. Pool engineering, fire rebuilds, shoring design, structural calculations, equipment foundations and anchorage, solar installation support, and foundation engineering are all done by civil engineers.

Failure or Collapse of a Building

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When a building collapses, you need the input of both a civil engineer and a structural engineer. The civil engineer will check whether the building was completed according to the plan and design that were put forth. They will also check to ensure timely and proper maintenance was done following relevant local codes.

The structural engineer will check that the materials used, including concrete, steel, lumber, and others, had the required strength and resistance to ensure the structure was safe. The structural engineer will consider every factor that could contribute to the collapse and make a final determination of the cause of the collapse.


There are various factors to consider before deciding whether to hire a civil or structural engineer. It is important to consider the projects in its entirety, considering the tasks a civil engineer would undertake and those a structural engineer would.

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