A Guide To Understanding The Role Of A Structural Engineer When Your Home Has Incurred Damage From A Flood

If your home has recently experienced significant flooding, mold won't be your only concern. Instead, the very foundation and other safety aspects of your home could be at risk, and as such, it's important to be aware of the role of a structural engineer when that determination is being made. For instance, that professional will need to examine your home to find and assess any cracks, as they might impair the safety and functionality of the home. In addition, as damaged components of your home need to be replaced or repaired, the engineer in question will design ways to do so safely, in order to prevent the possibility of new damage occurring. Therefore, when you're wondering why a structural engineer is making major decisions for your home after severe flooding or why neither you nor the construction experts are permitted much input into the situation, it's best to consider the following facts.

Inspecting Damaged Portions Of Your Home

When severe water damage has invaded a portion of your home, whether it be a wall or even one of the support pillars that are part of its support system, the structural engineer will first need to determine whether the home is in any immediate danger of collapse or unsafe amounts of deterioration. If it is safe to enter the home and assess the damaged portions, he or she will inspect each aspect of the home, paying special attention to the entire support system of the home. Cracks, holes, and unstable walls or pillars will need to be examined, and it is not likely to be a quick task.    

Repairing (Or Not) The Home After The Damage Has Been Assessed  

For example, everything from the fasteners your home features to its wooden floors and the wood used in walls might need to be replaced, and that engineer is best equipped to determine if the existing damage affects the safety of the home or is merely an eyesore. If the foundation is impaired or in immediate danger of becoming damaged from an underlying issue like an unsafe retaining wall, the structural engineer will be able to determine what steps, if any, can be taken to repair the damage.

Removing non-essential walls or taking the steps to remove the load-bearing wall and replace it with a load-bearing beam or pillar might be necessary in order to make the home safe again. In extreme cases, homes have needed to be demolished because repairing them was unsafe or because the cost of repairing them exceeded the value of the home. 

In conclusion, the knowledge and experience of a structural engineer can have a dramatic impact on the safety and usability of your home after flooding. Therefore, it's a good idea to be aware of the information discussed in the preceding sections in order to have a clear understanding of their role at that time.