Our Services

IMAG0352We provide a wide range of structural services to an equally wide range of clients. From the first time homeowner wanting to create some extra space, to the large corporate bank wanting to develop a brownfield site into residential care home new build flats. A small example of what we can do for you follow.

We provide calculations in a mixture of traditional hand created and computer generated formats. Our drawings our created using CAD, in some instances, traditional hand drawn format. Our information packages are supplied in hard copy as well as pdf format for conveniently sending by email.

Structural Design

We have carried out a large variety of new build and refurbishment projects up to £ 20.0m.
They consist of :

  • offices
  • domestic
  • retail
  • residential
  • multi storey car parks
  • warehouses
  • schools
  • sports facilities
  • industrial buildings

We are conversant with all structural materials and are equipped with the latest computer hardware and software to aid our design in steel, reinforced concrete, pre-cast concrete, masonry, timber, glass.

New Build

Varying from large scale commercial projects to individual houses and new sporting facilities we have considerable experience in new build across all market sectors including Educational, Commercial, Residential and Industrial.

We are conversant with all structural materials and are equipped with the latest computer hardware and software to aid our design in:

  • steel
  • reinforced concrete
  • pre-cast concrete
  • masonry
  • timber
  • Aluminium and fibre reinforced      concrete.

Refurbishment & Change of Use

We have extensive experience across a wide spectrum of refurbishment projects within the Retail, Residential, Educational and Office sectors.  These have ranged from the refurbishment of small retail units to large residential/ commercial dual use and listed buildings.

Structural Surveys & Assessments

We can undertake a variety of structural survey and assessment activities.

Buying a new home?

When buying a new home you may be advised to have a full structural survey carried out on the property. This is where we come in.
We  will assess whether a defect exists in the property and whether the defect presents a risk to the future stability of the property. We will also inform you of the remedial work which would need to be carried out on the property. A full structural survey may well identify a problem which could significantly affect the value of your prospective new home and your ability to sell it in the future, Structural Surveys are recommended by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and Consumers’ Associations.

Are you experiencing cracking, subsidence or a bulging wall?

It could be harmless, but you need to find out. If you spot a crack, the best thing to do is to contact us so we can discuss a survey to inspect the cracks and inform you of the best course of action.

Has your property been subject to structural damage?

Whether a water main has burst and flooded your house or a vehicle has driven into it, you will need a Structural Engineer to determine if structural damage has occurred. We have extensive experience in liaising with Insurance Companies and Loss adjusters. Contact us to discuss a structural survey and we will be able to guide you through the process and hopefully remove some of the inevitable stress along the way.

Are you a developer considering a property purchase for investment?

A popular service we provide to our developer clients is essentially a professional viewing. This is often on a property at auction where no paperwork or surveys exist. We can visit the property via the auctioneer or agent and carry out a visual inspection. We then follow up with a verbal briefing to our client highlighting any potential structural issues and cost implications. In some cases we advise our client of serious issues that have led to the client not purchasing a property and saving very large sums of capitol on a moneypit. We back up our findings with a brief  bullet point list of findings. This is a very time and cost efficient service for the busy cash buyer of property where a fast turnaround is required.

Party Wall Matters

Since the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into common use nationwide the Practice has provided the services of a Party Wall Surveyor for both the promoters of new work and for adjoining owners.

Employing a structural engineer in this surveying role has been seen as an efficient way to proceed as it has avoided the need to use two professionals to act for each party when structural issues are encountered.

The projects undertaken have been varied considerably in size, ranging from domestic conversions up to large refurbishments where construction adjacent to the boundaries has involved the preparation of multiple Awards.

We also have associated party wall surveyors who’s details we are happy to pass on to our customers.

Fire Escape Surveys

We have substantial experience in the field of fire escape and external structures safety, such as staircases, and have worked with a cross section of clients from hotels, commercial offices and residential management companies to ensure that not only the safety considerations of such structures are met but to increase the lifespan and serviceability of the escape structure.

Following the initial preliminary structural survey, which is carried out in order to ascertain the safety and viability of the fire escape structure and will identify all corroded, damaged and substandard members, a full written report including photographs, calculations and drawings will be produced.   Within the Fire Escape and External Structures safety report will be repair plans and work schedules.

Extensions

Due to the current financial climate many homeowners are choosing to extend their existing home in order to gain valuable space rather than moving up the property ladder. If planned and executed well, building a home extension can not only provide you with additional living space but can also add considerable value to your property

It is vital when planning a building extension to ensure that everything done complies with the government’s building regulations. Unless the planned extension is a porch, conservatory or detached garage built at ground level and taking up less than 30m2 of floor space (always check with the Local Authority first to confirm their criteria), it is likely that building regulations will be relevant. (see building regulations section on this website)

It is therefore necessary to engage the services of a Structural Engineer to ensure that the relevant structural calculations and drawings are produced so the regulations can be satisfied. These drawings will also enable your builder to price and construct the project.

We have considerable experience working with individuals and businesses from the initial structural feasibility study to submission of calculations and drawings and would be more than happy to talk to you about your proposed building works and home extensions.

Loft Conversions

The conversion of your loft, attic room or dormer can be an extremely cost effective and efficient way of adding new living or indeed storage space to your property. Although it may not be necessary to apply for planning permission, under new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008 a loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to certain limits and conditions. However, building regulations will apply to such an extension.

The regulations will be applied to ensure, for example:

  • loft conversion – the structural strength of the new floor is sufficient
  • the stability of the structure (including the existing roof) is not endangered      in your loft or attic conversion
  • safe escape from fire
  • safely designed stairs to the new floor
  • reasonable sound insulation between the conversion and the rooms below

We would always recommend the instruction of an architect or architectural technologist to provide building regulation drawings and specifications for a loft conversion. We would then use their approved drawings to provide structural calculations, drawings and details to ensure compliance with the building regulations Document A ‘structure’.

Basement Conversion

Another popular way of adding more space to your property is converting or renovating your basement or cellar, this is called a retrospective basement and building Regulations will apply for work of this nature. They will cover such areas as underpinning and foundations, fire escape routes, ventilation, ceiling height, damp proofing, electrical wiring and water supplies. We would always recommend the instruction of an architect or architectural technologist to provide building regulation drawings and specifications for such works.

You must also consider the Party Wall Act 1996 if other properties adjoin yours (above and to the sides) and you share walls.

At Sean Clark Associates we have considerable experience in all aspects of the renovation of basements, from small one room conversion to substantial additions of lower ground floors.

Garage Conversion

An increasingly popular way of adding more space to your property is converting or renovating your garage into a habitable space. Building regulations will apply for work of this nature. They will cover such areas as foundations, fire escape routes, ventilation, ceiling height, damp proofing, electrical wiring and water supplies. We would always recommend the instruction of an architect or architectural technologist to provide building regulation drawings and specifications for such works.

You must also consider the Party Wall Act 1996 if other properties adjoin yours (above and to the sides) and you share walls.

At Sean Clark Associates we have considerable experience in successful conversions with great space gaining results.

Subsidence & Underpinning

Subsidence is the downward movement of the ground supporting a building, with particular problems occurring when that movement varies from one part of the building to another, producing cracks.

The three main causes of subsidence are the underlying soil, the age of the house and the proximity of trees or shrubs. Another cause of subsidence is damaged drains and the softening or washing away of soil under foundations.

Cracks are usually the first warning signs, although most buildings have some cracks due to the natural expansion and contraction of bricks caused by changes in temperature. What you should look for are small, usually vertical diagonal, cracks – especially around doors and windows. These will usually be thicker than a 10p coin and wider at the top

If you spot a crack, the best thing to do is contact a Structural Engineer who will be able to inspect the cracks and inform you the best course of action

Cracking Advice & Monitoring

Cracks can be a result of structural or thermal movement or a combination of both.  Most buildings crack at some time during their service life and this cracking is often of little consequence and requires just a cosmetic repair.  Indeed, it is only when these distortions and cracks are progressive and potentially threaten the safety and future of the structure that we need to investigate.

A non-intrusive and cost-effective method of monitoring structural movement is through the installation and checking of a crack monitor.  Because of the influence of seasonal variations on the movement of structures it is often advised that monitoring takes place over a twelve month period thus encompassing all the typical seasonal changes.

If you notice cracks in your property that are causing you concern or you are thinking of selling your property and would like to be able to answer with confidence if a prospective purchaser asks whether the cracks are serious, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will discuss the best way forward for you.