Architect or Structural Engineer?

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Architectural Designer or Structural Engineer?

Planning a home extension project is a really exciting time, however, if you are new to home improvements (or even if you are not) then the terminology and the variety of decisions that you are faced with can sometimes be overwhelming. You are likely to be told that you are going to need a wealth of professionals or experts who can help to make sure that your building project goes to plan.

Aside from the builders who are going to be in charge of the actual physical aspects of building the extension or the conversion, there are two main experts who can help you to ensure that your project goes just as you want it to. These are architectural designers and structural engineers.

What are the difference between these two experts and how can they help you?

What Is The Role Of An Architectural Designer?

The main thing that an architectural designer is going to be known for is the fact that they are going to be able to put together the finer details of the extension or the conversion and ensure that things look just the way that you want them to.

That said, this isn’t all that an architectural designer can do for a building project. In fact, they can take charge of a variety of things and guide you through the entire process. 

More often than not an architectural designer will be one of the first people that you speak to about your plans and they will be on hand to help you to figure out exactly what it is that you want and need.

They can sit down with you and discuss your needs and make those visions come to life. They will provide you with drawings, or they may even be able to provide you with 3D models should you require them.

These drawings that are created are part of the package that you need to send off for planning permission and then will help your plans to get approved. 

After your planning permission has been approved, then you can ask your architectural designer to help you to get you through the building regulation stage. This is when you justify to your local building control that your home will still be safe for you and for your neighbours too.

It will be the architectural designers responsibility to put together a comprehensive design specification that provides solutions to all building control matters relating to the build with the exception of any structural elements.

You may think that an architectural designer will be ready to move on once the permissions have been granted. However, this is not the case. 

An architectural designer will be on hand during the construction phase and ensure that everything that you need is going to happen and that the quality that you are left with is the best that it can be.

So, What About A Structural Engineer?

That leaves us with a structural engineer. What do they do during the extension or conversion process? Whilst an architect will look at a wide range of aspects of the process, the service that a structural engineer will provide you with could be seen as being much more specialist.

In the most basic form, a structural engineer is there to help make sure that the changes that you are making are not going to result in the entire building falling down. They will look at the work that you want to have carried out and assess the impact that it may have.

It doesn’t matter what you are having done. Whether it is a loft conversion, an extension to the rear of the property or perhaps even removing a chimney, they are on hand.

The main things that a structural engineer will look in to include:

  • The materials that can be used to build the extension or convert the space
  • Where the site is located
  • The weight of the building
  • Whether or not any structural support is needed


Once the engineer has ascertained whether a structural alteration requires supporting they will need to provide mathematical calculations to work out the loads and forces and then select a steel beam or other structural support/lintel that is able to safely distribute those loads.

This is an important part of the process and one that you absolutely need to get right else you can find yourself in trouble and having to make changes or explain your actions and choices.

So in conclusion your typical extension or loft conversion project is in all likelihood going to require the services of an architectural designer and a structural engineer at certain stages of the design phase. 

At Fixed Price Architecture we work closely with structural engineers all over the Country and can take the stress out of your project by liaising with a local engineer and providing any structural calculations your project may require.


Planning Permission Drawings For Extensions, Loft Conversions, Outbuildings, Conservatories, Porches, Garagage Conversions and Much Much More… We are The Number 1 Online Architectural Services Company For Planning Permission Drawings in The UK!


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