For Design Professionals

What about engineering?

When do I need to work with an Engineer?

• Whenever the engineering necessary for the project is beyond your skill level, you need to work with an engineer.
• As a Licensed Architect, you may prepare structural calculations for your own designs, but unless you have stayed current, it may be to your benefit to work with an engineer, ultimately saving you and your client time and money.
• As an unlicensed Designer, you may prepare plans, but are not permitted to prepare structural calculations. Therefore you will need to work with an engineer.

When is engineering required?

Whether you do the engineering yourself, or you work with an engineer, here are the primary situations that require engineering:

• Retaining walls which retain more than 4 feet of material.
• New, repair, or replacement of decks over 12feet high.
• Bridges
• Construction other than conventional, wood framing, per UBC 2320.
• Buildings of other non-standard construction, including split-level buildings and buildings of unusual shape, per UBC 2326.
• Non-standard foundations, including pier and grade beams.
• Trusses.
• Large load-bearing beams, including glu-lams.
• Large or high strength timber connections.
• Water storage tanks over 5,000 gallons (to include foundation and anchorage to foundation).
• Grading more than 2,000 cubic yards
• Swimming pools.
• Special Inspection and testing schedule.
• Contour mapping when required per building height

What are the benefits to working with an Engineer?

Save time, money, and resources!!! It is a good idea to get the engineer involved at an early stage, as the engineer is often able to find ways within the project to be more economical with your, and your client’s, resources, time and money.

o As a simple example, the engineer can appropriately size the beams, holdowns, and connections you need so you don’t spend extra money on materials you don’t need.

o An engineer can determine the most appropriate shear wall layout for the project and give recommendations that will be the most economical, yet still fit your artistic and architectural designs.

Codes are constantly evolving!!! Another important reason you want to work with an engineer is that codes are constantly evolving. You have a construction crew to manage and many other important tasks to accomplish, so utilize the engineer’s expertise with codes. It is the engineer’s job to stay current, ensuring your project will not only stand up, but will meet the most current building codes and standards. Help minimize your liability!

Special Inspections

In addition to inspections by the Building Inspector, the Building Code requires Structural Tests and Special Inspections of certain types of components. Welding, high strength concrete, and epoxied anchors are some examples of these components. There are many other situations that require these tests or inspections. These will be determined during the design process. It is important for you to know when these need to happen, so they don’t get missed. The project engineer may be able to perform some of these inspections, while others require a Recognized Special Inspection and Testing Agency.
Santa Cruz County List