Simple home renovation projects may be accomplished by a builder or contractor alone; turning a closet into a bathroom can often be done quickly and easily with a skilled plumber, or you may be able to install new windows by easily rerouting pipes and wiring behind the walls. However, for larger home renovation projects, you may want to consult with an actual engineer before work begins. Note when the services of an engineer may be needed for your home project and how they can assist.
1. When there are ecological concerns
Is your home located near a nature preserve, wetlands, or any area that is important to the ecology? If so, you want to work with an engineer to decide the best methods of construction that won't disturb the ground with excessive vibrations and which won't affect air quality, water flow, and other such factors. Even if you're not legally obligated to take into account these ecological factors, if you're very eco-conscious, you want to work with an engineer to ensure your construction and the finished renovation project don't cause any harm to the wildlife or nature around you.
2. If your home is on or near a floodplain
Potential flooding around your home is a very important consideration when you're renovating, as even small changes to the ground can mean redirecting water toward your home rather than away from it, increasing your risk of a flood. Removing any amount of soil, such as for an extension of your home, can also allow waters to collect around the home's foundation. No matter the risk factor, if your home is near or already on a floodplain, consult with an engineer to contain this risk during and after construction.
3. When you need to remove large amounts of soil
A home expansion may involve removing large amounts of soil in order to pour a new foundation, as does pouring concrete for an in-ground pool or making a pit for a water storage tank. Whatever your reasons for removing soil, note that this will affect the integrity of the soil around it. The ground could get weaker and crumble if the soil is not compacted; as mentioned above, this could also affect water flow on your property. An engineer can note if the soil needs bracing of any sort or if you should grade your property after the dig to direct water away from your home, and also ensure the ground is still secure to hold your new installation or expansion.