Why You Need a Structural Engineer When Buying or Building a New Home

Over the past several years, prospective home buyers have been taking an increasing role in the design and function of homes they are having built.

Photos By: Burge & Associates Architects

No longer satisfied with homes that look identical to others in a development, home buyers want a stylish home that meets their requirements, not the other way around. For too long, home buyers have had to adjust their lifestyles to homes which have already been built and now they are speaking out about wanting to help design the home they will be spending a great deal of their lives in. If this sounds like you, one thing you may not realise up front is that you will need the services of a structural engineer.

Don’t Architects and Structural Engineers Do the Same Thing?

This is a question so many people ask and so the simplest answer is yes, at times their jobs overlap. However, an architect will design the space, inside and exterior, whilst a structural engineer with take those plans and then go about seeing to the structural integrity of the building.

Once the plans are laid, the structural engineer, like Brisbane engineers such as Incode, will make sure that the design is compliant with building codes and that all structural materials are also up to those codes. This is the person who will specify exactly what is needed when installing HVAC systems, plumbing, electrical wiring and even ventilation. Those duties are beyond what an architect has been trained to do.

Why Is a Structural Engineer Important When Buying a New Home?

Here again, a structural engineer will conduct all the necessary testing to ensure the structural integrity of a building and that builders followed building codes. Not all builders are as ethical as they should be and cutting corners could lead to devasting losses of life and property for the homeowner. Consider, for a moment, the 1974 floods in Brisbane as the result of getting hit by Tropical Cyclone Wanda.

Rain fell for more than three weeks which resulted in the loss of many homes. Today, building codes are much stricter and so when buying a home, it is imperative to hire a structural engineer to assess whether that home is structurally sound and up to current building codes. If not, you have the right to insist on renovations prior to signing a contract or you can refuse to buy that home altogether.

Builders and Structural Engineers

Finally, bear in mind that most builders work with a structural engineer and that is something you might like to investigate. If you are not satisfied that the engineer has done enough to ensure the structural integrity of the home you are looking at, you can always hire your own structural engineer to give you an unbiased assessment.

Remember, it is always in your best interest to contract a structural engineer who will be that one person who lies between you and catastrophic losses. Without a professional, unbiased report, there is no way of knowing what will happen if flooding rains and high winds of another Wanda strikes the area.

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7 Electrical Safety Tips for Kids at Home

We all love to decorate our homes, but safety around electricity is  something many people overlook. Here are some easy basics so you can stay safe this season!


Photo: New River Building Co.

Electricity runs our life, but it can also be lethal. Adults are aware of the power and pain regarding electricity, but kids don’t understand it properly. At home, kids move around quite carelessly. If there remains any electrical glitch at home, the children may be a victim. To deter these types of accidents, electrical safety is must at home. 7 such electrical safety tips for kids are discussed below.

Leakage Proofing the Entire House

This safety comes at the top of the list. Electrical leakage is something that can’t be seen. It can only be felt after you get a shock. Fortunately there is another way to detect such leakage. You should call an electrician to detect this leakage.

A house, be it new or old, there is always a chance of leakage. Your kid may unknowingly step into that leakage and may suffer lethal damage. So you should check if there is any leakage in your house and fix it as soon as you can.

Cover the Electrical Outlets

The electrical outlets can cause accidents. Kids are curious. They can put their fingers or any object into the electrical outlets. Kids just don’t have the brain to understand the outcome. So a grave accident may occur.

To stop this, electrical outlets should be covered properly. This will ensure safety for them.

Keep Children Away from Electrical Sources

You may use a grinder or a vacuum cleaner, but you shouldn’t let your kids to go near these machines. Heavy electrical tools discharge greater amount of electricity. As kids just don’t know their proper usage, they shouldn’t be allowed to go near them. This should always be remembered.

Don’t Use the Switch with Wet Hands

It is well known to the adults that no electrical instrument should be used with wet hands. But, kids ignore this lesson and cause accidents. They should always be reminded that wet hands can cause severe damage to their body. So, they should always keep their hands dry while using any electrical equipment.

Avoid Heavy Watt Electric Toys

The toys that require highly charged batteries should be avoided. This may sound quite unnatural, but this is a true fact. Often toys get heat up while charging and can cause accidents. Kids love this type of toys but they don’t know what danger is larking behind. It is parents’ duty to keep away from such heavy watt electric toys.

Don’t Keep Loose Plugs and Open Wire

Sometimes unintentionally you keep the plugs loose or keep some wires open in the room. This can cause serious problem. Your kid may hold this bare wire in his/her hand and may get a lethal shock. For your kids safety don’t keep any open wire or loose plug within your house. You can call an electrician to fix this loose plug.

Check your Entire House

The last precaution you can take by checking your entire house by an expert electrician. From your kids room to your bathroom, every corner of the house should be checked. There might be damaged a cable or weak section in your wiring. The electrician can find the fault and fix it.

The above safety tips should never be ignored. Remember precaution is better than cure. So, always remind your kid about these safety tips and your kid may lead a safe life.

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