What does 'Structural Engineer' mean when buying a property?
Find out what Structural Engineer means when you are buying a property. 'What does Structural Engineer mean?' plus over 150 other property related terms and jargon in plain English
A structural engineer is often bought in when the structural integrity of a property is in question.
Note structural issues will be reported in all surveys so the term Structural Survey is a little but misleading. If a surveyor is carrying out a Valuation Survey they will also report structural issues because these have a fundamental effect on the property value.
Surveyors are not qualified to know for sure if there are issues but they are qualified to spot tell tale signs. The Structural Engineer will either confirm or dismiss these.
Depending on the extent of the issue (is it the whole property or just one part of it) a structural engineer will cost anything from a couple of hundred pounds all the way up to around the £1,000 mark.
The cost can be negotiated with the vendor although some might refuse. Personally I pay for the structural engineer with an agreement that if there is a major issue with the property the vendor will purchase the report from me. I'll use a structural engineer that the vendor's insurance company would accept, this way if an insurance claim needs to be made the vendor needs my report anyway.
They will conclude one of three ways:
- Yes there is an issue with the property
- No, the property is stable (the tell tale signs are historical from movement in the distant past.
- Not sure - the building needs to be monitored, potentially over several months, to assess the issue.
If its the last conclusion that usually leaves the deal dead in the water unless you know what you are doing, you can confirm the property is fully insured, your mortgage lender is willing to go ahead and you are ready to take a punt!
Actual confirmed issues are easier to deal with as costs can then be calculated and a position negotiated with the vendor.
To find out the smart way to deal with situations involving structural engineers when you are buying a property pick up a copy of my ebook How to Really Buy a Property.