When to involve an Architect or Engineer?

Hey Guys,

Over the years of my career I have worked with numerous Architects, Engineers, and Designers to help improve a facility.  Recently, I have been asked to help evaluate a portion of the building and had to defer the answer to a structural engineer.  The most important part to understand about contractors is they are licensed to perform the work, it does not qualify them to perform inspections or recommendations.

To add a further level of complexity, there are different types of architects and engineers.  Below is a list with a description of the different types.

Engineers: (Think functionality)

  • Civil Engineers: These engineers are responsible for roads, bridges, tunnels, foundations, and other items typically involving concrete.

  • Geotechnical Engineers: These engineers are a subset of civil engineering who work with the soils below and around the buildings.  Their work includes, making sure the structure will not develop sinkholes, compression, and movement of the soils.  

  • Structural Engineers: Structural engineers ensure the building will be able to support the load.  In short they are responsible to make sure the building is not going to fall down from numerous conditions.  Think of the steel and metal inside of a building

  • Electrical Engineers: They help design and ensure the functionality from an electrical stand point on the building.  With the constant demand of IT data centers, medical equipment, and other resources, it is important to ensure the electronics are sufficiently supplied

  • Mechanical Engineers (HVAC): These engineers should not be confused with regular mechanical engineers who work on machines, and various items.  Mechanical Engineers work on and design HVAC and plumbing systems for buildings.  These can be very complex as to ensure they work efficiently and effectively.

Architects: (Think Design or Aesthetics)

  • Residential Architects:  They design homes, and numerous residences throughout america.  They work with developers, real estate agents, homeowners, and residential contractors. 

  • Commercial Architects:  These Architects work with business owners, developers, and property managers.  The areas range from retail, multifamily, multistory, and office spaces.

  • Industrial Architects: Industrials Architects are designing numerous data centers, warehouses, and oftentimes storage spaces.  Their approach is more on functionality then aesthetics. 

  • Landscape Architects: Think gardens, lawns, and other outdoor areas.  Landscape architecture is focused on the outside appearance from a horticultural aspect.

  • Interior Designers: While not an architect, they work to ensure an aesthetically pleasing interior environment with colors, egress, and furniture for the building.  

Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions!