Structural engineers

The Importance of Using a Structural Engineer When Buying and Renovating an Older House

The Importance of Using a Structural Engineer When Buying and Renovating an Older House

There can be something magical about restoring an older building to its former glory.  If walls could talk, the stories they could tell, the historical moments that they’d have been witness to…

Building techniques have changed and many precious skills have been lost, which makes it difficult to replicate the heritage styles in modern buildings.  To get that true character and rustic style, sometimes renovation is the only option.

Before buying or embarking on the renovation of an older house, we would highly recommend that you get a Structural Engineer to inspect the property.  We’re able to identify any potential structural problems and recommend solutions. We can also help you to understand the implications of any renovations that you’re planning, making sure that you don’t compromise the structural integrity of your home.

Older homes are likely to have been built using different materials and construction methods compared to those we use today. This can make them more susceptible to structural problems, such as foundation issues, cracks in the walls, and bowing or sagging floors.

In the case of Grade 1 or 2 listed homes, it’s even more important to have a structural engineer involved. These homes are considered to be of special architectural or historic interest, and any renovations must be carried out in a way that preserves their character. We can help you to navigate the complex regulations governing listed buildings and with our experience in traditional mortars and historic timber, we’re able to ensure that your renovations are sympathetic to the original design.

Initially we would carry out a diagnosis, collecting important information about the structure such as:

  • Assumptions made in the design and verification of design calculation
  • Quality of materials used in the construction
  • Result of soil investigations, ground water analysis
  • Quality control and method of construction

We may then follow up by conducting tests on the samples taken from the structure and on the structural members by;

  • Testing the concrete for ascertaining the compressive strength
  • Sampling and testing of subsoil
  • Chemical analysis of subsoil water
  • X ray diffraction tests on concrete
  • Hammer or ultrasonic tests on concrete
  • Load tests
  • Permeability tests
  • Vibration studies

Based on the results of these tests and field observations, we’ll then make recommendations based on your budget and your project aspirations, whilst ensuring that all elements of the project are compliant with building regulations and localised planning conditions.

We’re passionate about preserving our heritage so if you’re thinking about renovating an older property, give us a call on 01733 602844 or email