Residential Structures

Residential building construction, generally defined as one and two family dwellings, generally must comply with prescriptive requirements of the applicable Residential Code. Structural elements, foundations and connections can typically be selected directly from the code so that it is not necessary to engage an engineer for residential projects. However, there are circumstances in which residential owners and their architects and contractors can benefit from engaging a structural engineer to improve the performance or reduce the risks involved with a complex project or to efficiently and effectively assess existing conditions and remediate distress.

See also: Services for Homeowners

Richard J. Driscoll, Consulting Engineer provides structural and foundation engineering services for residential projects to architects, contractors and others, including:

  • Complex Foundations: Deep foundation elements, including piles and anchors, require engineering design and, typically, subsurface exploration.
  • Forensic Investigations: Cracks, settlement, moisture stains and a variety of other damage and distress conditions can be indicators of a larger problem. A structural engineer can apply an understanding of the physical behavior of the distressed system and will be more likely to be able to find the root cause. This is particularly important if foundation movement is suspected.
  • Engineered Framing: Typically the use of engineered design is permitted for portions of the structure that do not comply with prescriptive requirements. Large beams and columns made of steel or engineered wood products are common elements requiring engineering design and are often necessary to allow removal of bearing walls.
  • Existing Construction: Existing structures, particularly wood-framed, single-family homes designed prior to the adaptation of building codes, often do not comply with current building codes. When new framing is added to an existing home, any elements supporting the new framing must comply with current code. This can trigger the need for engineering analysis and possibly strengthening of existing elements.
  • Flood and Wind Resistant Construction: Construction in or near flood zones and coastal regions may require engineered foundations and structural systems to resist flood and wind loads.
  • Retaining Structures: Earth-retain structures present specific hazards and typically require engineering design. Retaining walls of significant height or that are subject to live loads or that are distressed should be inspected by an engineer.

See also: Contractor ServicesDelegated Design, Forensic Engineering Foundation / Geostructural EngineeringStructural and Foundation InvestigationsStructural Engineering