Chartered Structural Engineers

Mead Structures Ltd are a Chartered Civil and Structural Engineers based in Sussex near Brighton and Worthing. Offering Structural Engineering services throughout Southern England - East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, London and beyond, our friendly Engineers have a client focused approach to Structural Engineering that puts service before fees.

Working closely with our Clients, Architects and Contractors, we pride ourselves in providing a fast, reliable, cost-effective Structural Engineering service tailored to suit their specific needs. Residential, commercial or industrial, minor works or larger development, we have the expertise to meet your Structural Engineering requirements.

Our experience covers a wide variety of Civil and Structural Engineering disciplines, from renovation and refurbishment projects to new build schemes in a variety of market sectors. Using their specialist local and historical knowledge our skilled Engineers also undertake detailed Structural Inspections and prepare Structural Engineers Reports on specific defects for valuation and remedial purposes.

For an informal discussion with one of our Chartered Structural Engineers, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Friday, 18 November 2011

A basic guide to finding and appointing a Structural Engineer for home-owners in the UK

At Mead Structures we like nothing more than to talk about Structural Engineering to anyone who is unfortunate enough to ask what we do. Over time, we have found that many people associate Structural Engineers with large, prestigious and complex projects such as sky scrapers or stadiums. This is true, however a Structural Engineer in the UK is less likely to be involved in designing a Wembley Stadium than a small extension to a terrace house near Wembley Park Station.

In reality, most people's experience of employing a Structural Engineer stems from wanting to make structural alterations to their properties or needing a report on a structural defect for their mortgage lenders, insurers or for their own peace of mind. In these cases, how does the average home-owner with little experience in the construction industry find and appoint a suitably qualified Structural Engineer?

Making Initial Contact

The first challenge faced by a potential customer is to find a company or individual offing Structural Engineering services near to their location. There are a number of sources of such information, including:
  • The Institution of Structural Engineer's Find an Engineer website. 
  • Directory services such as FreeIndex, Yell, Qype, etc.
  • Recommendations from local building professionals such as Architects, Surveyors or Contractors.
  • Internet search engines such as google, yahoo, bing, etc.    
  • Recommendations from the local authority's Building Control department.
The IStructE's Find an Engineer Website ( is a particularly useful resource as all companies wishing to be included must employ at least one Chartered Structural Engineer.

Ensuring Competency

Once contact details for a Structural Engineer have been obtained, it is important to ensure that they are suitably qualified to undertake the work required. By asking a few simple questions a customer can be reasonably assured that they are appointing a competent company:
  • Will the works be undertaken by a Member or Associate Member of the Institution of Structural Engineers?
  • If not, what professional qualifications does the Engineer hold, are they relevant and will they be supervised by a Member or Associate Member of the Institution of Structural Engineers?  
  • Does the practice carry Professional Indemnity Insurance and are they able to offer proof?
  • Do they have experience in undertaking the type of work required?
  • Is the Engineer easy to get hold of and, if not, did they return your call quickly? This could give an indication of the practice's ability to respond to any problems that may occur quickly and efficiently.
The final point may seem trivial but there are Structural Engineers out there who are in full time employment and who 'moonlight' in their free time. Whilst most are competent and fully qualified, they often only work in the evening and are consequently difficult to contact when most needed.

Agreeing a Fee and Appointing a Structural Engineer

Once a customer has found a Structural Engineer that they feel comfortable working with and have satisfied themselves that they are a reputable, qualified and experienced practice it is necessary to agree the extent of the work required and the fee.

The Structural Engineer should define the extent of their services and scope of the works to the Customer and advise of any potential shortcomings with their services.  The Engineer should also state clearly how their fees are to be calculated and along with any expenses and VAT, including frequency and timing of payments.

Most Structural Engineers will charge on an hourly basis although some may have fixed fee scales for common work such as inspections and reports. Some Structural Engineers may be happy to quote a fixed fee if they are confident that the work is well defined and straightforward. The Structural Engineer should be able to provide a written confirmation of their fee proposals.

The above is a very brief guide to help anyone looking to appoint a Structural Engineer. Further guidance can be obtained through the Institution of Structural Engineers -