In short, structural engineers are needed whenever there is a problem to be solved, or a problem to be unraveled, with respect to a structure. Of course, municipalities and large institutions hire both architects and structural engineers when they are building anything from a garage for their vehicles to a bridge or large municipal building. 

Some New Homes Being Built Require Structural Engineers 

Other homes can be constructed only with plans from an architect or even licensed contractor. For example, Areté Structural Engineers are working on a home which is on such a steep slope that walking down to the building site requires stairs. This home is being tied back into the bedrock of the slope with steel rods nearly 20 feet long drilled into the rock and surrounded by high-strength concrete. A home could not be built in this setting without using a structural engineer.

Adding a Garage, living Room Addition, or Other Space Onto a Home which Requires a New Foundation or Structural Support 

If you add any of the above, it may also require a structural engineer’s design or approval. Areté works with homeowners to remove walls and support the remaining structure to open up space, e.g., between a kitchen and a dining room, to offer a more open floor plan. We also develop plans for home renovations or additions so that added space will be safely integrated into the overall plan and design of the home.

If a Home is Being Bought or Sold 

When selling or buying a home, an engineer’s approval or diagnosis of problems may save one or both parties hundreds of thousands of dollars of repair costs, or prevent a costly or dangerous failure. A local contractor recently related a story of his family holding a joyous summer family reunion, with 25 people plus dogs and furniture out on a rear deck. The entire deck, which was poorly supported on 2×4 joists and posts, suddenly collapsed with all its occupants. Many of his family were prevented from serious injury by falling on the dogs, which all trotted away unscathed. Still, there were 10 people hospitalized, and the contractor’s mother broke her leg in two places. That contractor now knows why you need to have a structural engineer design your deck! He has that moment burned into his memory as a builder, and is dedicated to building with an impeccable standard of safety and quality. That is one reason why he works with Areté Structural Engineers.

Controversy in Structural Engineering Demonstrates Why You Might Need a Structural Engineer

In the wee hours of the early morning of June 24, 2021, the beach-facing half of the 12-story condominium tower, Champlain Towers South, collapsed to a heap of concrete rubble and snarled strings of twisted steel rebar. Caught in the wreckage were 98 people who perished that night. The structural engineer who was responsible for turning the design into a reality and approving the construction of the towers, Sergio Breiterman, had already passed away in the 90’s and his engineering firm, Breiterman, Jurado, and Associates, had long ago disappeared as an organization. His legacy of errors had not fully disappeared, however, as a Coral Gables municipal building he had signed off on the 1970’s was still (barely) standing, after hundreds of thousands of dollars of repairs. Ironically called the Public Safety building, it reportedly “leaked like a sieve” and “smelled like a wet dog” when it rained. (Source: Before role in Surfside condo that fell, engineer had hand in another building mess ( This clumsy project evidently leaked from the first day it was occupied, lacked structurally designed barricades to keep cars from driving off the parking deck, and had structural flaws from the beginning which forced the fire department to keep their trucks on the ground floor of the parking garage. The legacy of poor design, negligent construction supervision, and lack of regular assessments demonstrates when you need a structural engineer!

Arete Provides StructuralEngineering Services

Do you have questions about structural engineering? Areté Engineering does structural engineering design of homes and commercial buildings, plans for wall removals, decks, and other renovations, and structural assessments on existing homes and buildings.  Areté Structures designs and builds Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer pedestrian bridges. Areté Infrastructure division designs and inspects major and minor bridges throughout the Southeast. Come visit us at: Home – Areté Engineers