EXPERT VIEW: Sound advice on structural engineering

NEW figures from the Halifax have laid bare the soaring demand for controversial basement conversions.
It found that the number of planning applications for these fashionable schemes increased from 1,084 in 2012 to 3,064 in 2016 – a 183% rise.
Although the trend for subterranean living is predominately London-based, the demand for extra room extends nationwide, writes our Director of Structural Engineering Noor Awan in our latest our Expert View blog.
The Halifax’s analysis also showed that the number of planning applications for extensions shot up by 49% and loft conversions by 43% over the same period.
Structural engineering is integral to these schemes, whether it is the rich and famous installing cinemas and swimming pools in their basements or families adding an extra bedroom in the roof.
A reputable, experienced and professional firm of chartered surveyors may have its own in-house qualified structural engineer to help.
He or she will be able to provide specialist advice and support on all kinds of issues, including the structural stability of a building itself and its adjoining or adjacent properties, as well as ensuring plans meet building regulations.
Indeed, some councils now require a detailed engineering statement to support planning applications for basement conversions.
Additionally, structural engineers can also offer professional support with creative solutions for modern buildings, appraisals and reports, structural steelwork designs, engineering calculations, technical solutions and health and safety compliance.
The principles remain the same whether for residential projects or larger commercial or public sector contracts nationwide. At McAndrew Martin, we have our own Structural Engineering division which is intergral to the success of many of our projects from smaller regional schemes to major contracts nationwide.
It dovetails neatly with our other directorates – Architecture, Building Surveys, General Practice (including party wall work), Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and Project Management and Contract Administration – whilst also delivering added value for clients and helping us to provide the best service and professional solutions.
Cutting corners can only lead to disaster as the owners of some basement conversions have discovered when their multi-million pound house has collapsed around them.
MCANDREW MARTIN – PROFESSIONAL SOLUTIONS BY DESIGN

NEW figures from the Halifax have laid bare the soaring demand for controversial basement conversions. It found that the number…

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