I have employed architect and structural engineer. The architect has done drawings and structural engineer has done calculation with limited sketches. Some designs have been wrong and have been modified and I’ve asked for clarifications of some junction details but they seem unhelpful. They blame the architect saying he should draw these on plans . Who would be responsible for drawing loft floor joist design . They both say it’s the other one .
I just want design clarified so I can order steels and get going.
Probe rely about £5000 down at moment .

  • Adam

    Hi Simon,

    You are unfortunate enough to find yourself caught up in a classic case of "pass the buck" finger pointing. I feel for you as it can be a very frustrating position to be in.

    To answer your query in a very simplistic way, Architects tend to design and "create" the ideas with the structural engineers then "proving" these by way of calculating the specification of materials that could then be used to safely build the design.

    As I say this is a very basic way to look at the role of each professional. There is in fact massive cross over between their respective fields . In many cases they are more than capable of performing both roles. Areas of responsibility will have been/should have been stipulated at the outset.

    It seems clear from your description that neither is particularly interested in helping you adjust your drawings. Out of interest who has pointed out that the design is wrong?

    I’m afraid that in your predicament (I assume that you have paid both for their work) you are going to have to dig out any paperwork (agreements, contracts etc) that you have and look them over carefully. You are looking for any wording that says that they will make amendments as necessary. If you find it in any aspect of the paperwork then you have a firm basis to make a case to whichever of the two the paperwork is from.

    Unless we are talking a significant alteration I can’t really see why they are refusing to help you on this. Small alterations are not uncommon when you begin the build when unforeseen factors rear their ugly head. Only just recently I had to get my structural engineer to make a last minute change to the design when it became clear we needed a splice in the steel to be able to get it through the building and into place.

    If you are unable to find any such wording then you are going to have to make a hail mary pass at them both. A letter to each explaining your predicament and how you feel a bit lost in the middle of it all is your best bet, especially if you are not experienced in the building process. Try to tug at the humanity of the individual. Be very careful to construct the correspondence in such way as to not sound accusatory or angry as that will resolve nothing. Hopefully one or both will see the situation for what it is and offer to help you out.

    That advice is given on the basis that you have had an agreeable experience with both people. If there has been friction or stressed relationships for whatever reason then the nature of your task is very different indeed. I have assumed that you have been nothing but an accommodating and cordial client.

    I wish you the best of luck in your diplomatic endeavours.

  • Fred Davidson

    In general, and in the absence of any evidence regards the appointment of these individuals, I would say it is the responsibility of the engineer to provide a working joist layout. But I’m an architect so I suppose I would say that!

  • Simon Dowding

    Just to answer your question about who pointed out the design was wrong.
    I have been the one who has pointed out the problems .It seems the architech didn’t look at the structural engineers designs!

  • Michael Humphreys

    You didn’t say exactly what was wring with the design but in simple terms the engineer will only add structural sizes to what the architect is showing. On most small projects the architect works as the lead-consultant and would be expected to provide a coordination role.
    In terms of timber joist design, the most that you should expect from the engineer is a specification of the joist size, timber grade and required centres. In a complicated situation they may stretch to showing how they are supported. ie On joist hangers.
    Hope this helps,

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