Can I do My Own Structural Calculations?

Building a house or a massive commercial building is a complicated procedure compiled of several stages. The act of designing a building includes many disciplines, each one contributing an important element to the whole process. Architects give life to your building ideas and make them function the way you want.

Different engineers are responsible for different construction work and structural engineers make the building stand. They are responsible for designing structures that defy gravity, withstand heavy winds, and continue standing even after deadly earthquakes.

Besides building new homes, structural engineers help with the right home improvements to save homeowners some money. One important phase of constructing and improving a new home or building is the structural calculations performed by the structural engineers. 

To save money, people try structural calculation on their own. Is it possible to do your own structural calculation? Before answering the question, let’s shed some light on what is structural calculation?

What are Structural Calculations?

It is a comprehensive process with detailed calculations if simply put, the math behind the construction of the building. These calculations include the resources needed and the potential costs involved in the construction. It also includes

  • Information, measurements, and requirements of foundations and how they will be dug.
  • The raw material and labor required for the job along with expected costs of construction and a timescale.
  • Precise dimensions and detailed planning of structural work, fittings, joints, walls, beams, and more.
  • Information about the type of reinforcement used; steel or concrete
  • Potential risk, environmental considerations, and preparation for certain disasters.
  • Loading analysis including live loads, dead loads, and loads inflicted by forces of nature

Can You Do Your Own Structural Calculations?

Structural engineering is a field of study that helps learn an individual learn about what goes into making a building. Unless you have studied and had relevant experience in the field, it is not possible to perform the structural calculation.

If you go for it anyway, the results would not be desirable. For houses, buildings, and building extensions to stand, comprehensive planning and detailed calculations are mandatory. By watching a few tutorial videos, or researching about it on Google will not make you a structural engineer.

Plenty of important considerations should be taken into account when building a new home, which most novices overlook. If the individual is keen on performing calculations and see how the process goes, he can work closely with the structural engineer.

Working with an engineer will make one somewhat aware of the process but still, building a home is a huge responsibility that should not be left to chance or in the hands of an inexperienced individual. This work should be outsourced to an experienced structural engineer for quality construction.

Most homeowners want to do the structural calculations themselves to avoid the cost. Little do they know, it would cost more if the building is not up to the standards. That’s why structural engineers are needed who are experts in structure and infrastructure. 

Why Are Structural Calculation Required?

Structural engineers work as consultants for large construction projects. Structural constructions performed by them are essential when building a new home. These calculations are important for two reasons

  • It is a government policy to do structural calculations before undertaking construction. A person can not start construction without completing structural calculations first. This is one of the reasons why you should not do calculations as it needs government approval and poorly done calculations would not be entertained. 
  • It lays out an extensive plan for a construction project without leaving any detail. It also highlights potential risks like whether walls will support the second floor or the structure will withstand forces of nature.


When Are Structural Calculations Needed?

Structural calculations are undoubtedly needed to build new homes and buildings. However, they are not needed for certain home improvements. If small changes are to be made, there is no need to waste money on hiring a structural engineer. For basement or loft conversation, extensive work, moving a wall bearing, or a chimney, you will certainly need the help of a structural engineer.Structural Calculations

Advantages of Structural Calculation

While it is tempting to do the structural calculation but it can get so difficult that you will have no other way but to give up. It is a large requirement and must comply with the building standards. 

No one wants things to go wrong or see all the money go to drain, therefore, structural calculations provide the homeowners with a safety net. It ensures the right material in the right quantity is assigned to the construction work.

Concluding Thoughts

It would be risky to do the structural calculation if you do not have any relevant experience in the field. If the calculations done by a novice do not comply with building regulations, the authorities may stop the work or make you undo the work done.