A civil engineer is one whose work includes the design and planning of buildings and structures, and other manmade elements, such as roads, bridges, and sewers, and how these fit into the land around them. A civil engineer may plan such designs or note how they need repair and maintenance. As a homeowner, you may not think of ever hiring a civil engineer, but they can be very useful when it comes to certain repairs and plans you have for renovation. Note when you might consider hiring a civil engineer and how their services and expertise can benefit you.
1. Sewer or septic issues or projects
A civil engineer can note if your home is having problems with sewer lines getting clogged or leaking because of how the lines are installed; the ground may not be sloped or graded properly so that the sewage can run away from the home, or if the ground is too moist, it may be collapsing around the pipes so that it causes cracks and, in turn, clogs from dirt and other sediment.
If you are planning a new project that will involve the sewer lines or a septic system, a civil engineer can ensure that the lines and tank are installed properly and protected against damage from the soil, surrounding tree roots, and the like. Having a civil engineer plan these types of projects can mean avoiding having a contractor simply pull up all the roots of nearby trees to open up a space for the pipes, as an engineer can help to design the sewer system and lines so they work around these roots, thus preserving the environment.
2. Structural problems or projects
If your home is experiencing structural issues, meaning a cracked foundation or cracks in the walls or ceilings, you would do well to consult with a civil engineer. It may be that the foundation is too weak to support the weight of the home when surrounded by soft soil, or water accumulation is putting pressure on the foundation and causing it to weaken. This can cause walls or ceilings to crack. Your property may need to be sloped or graded in order to allow for water runoff, or you may need to treat the soil with an aggregate to make it stronger and drier.
It may also be that your home's frame is not strong enough to support its weight; if you added a metal roof, stone flooring, poured concrete countertops, or any other features that significantly adds to the weight of the home, it may shift and put pressure on the frame. A civil engineer can inspect the home's frame and note if it needs strengthening in order to avoid further damage. Contact a professional organization like SPAD Consulting Engineers to discuss your project and hire a civil engineer.