Would you build a house without an engineer?

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  1. grand old lady profile image82
    grand old ladyposted 7 years ago

    Far too often I see people in the Philippines scrimping on expenses to build their first house by not consulting an engineer. They believe that an architect is sufficient.

    Do you believe a house can be built with just an architect, or would you insist on hiring an engineer too? Why?

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Without bragging, I could build a house without either an engineer OR an architect.

      Of course, it might not be pretty or particularly useful in my lifestyle, it might fall down at the first heavy wind or the roof might collect water instead of shedding it, but I could build one.

      Having been in the building trades for many years, there is a definite place for both, and they cannot fill the duties of the other.

      1. grand old lady profile image82
        grand old ladyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        ah wilderness, you made me lol, you are so funny! I appreciate your sharing of your expertise. In the Philippines there are architects who claim to do both, and it is happens more plentifully than I expected.

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Well, if Frank Lloyd Wrights works so often need engineering remediation (and they do) then I wouldn't trust anyone else to try to do both jobs.  Not without two college degrees hanging on their wall, anyway.

          "A good example of the need for structural remediation can be found in Mr. Wright’s riverside masterpiece, Falling Water. The iconic cantilevered portions of the home had at one point deflected close to seven-inches over their fifteen foot span, and analysis of the structure has revealed that the as-built design had placed these cantilevers dangerously close to their failure limits. Post-tensioning was eventually required to restore these portions back to their intended elevation and to prevent the sort of catastrophic collapse deemed inevitable "

          http://news.asce.org/frank-lloyd-wright … -engineer/

          1. grand old lady profile image82
            grand old ladyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            OHmigosh, Frank Lloyd Wright is such a genius! This is truly a learning experience to me, that his foundations weren't good, he must have worked without an engineer:(. Surprises, surprises, still I respect him as much as ever:). Thanks for the link to the article.

      2. IslandBites profile image89
        IslandBitesposted 7 years agoin reply to this


        But is true. My dad built our family house by himself. Almost 30 years ago, and is still standing (even after multiples hurricanes).

        (Unfortunately) is common practice here, when people dont have enough $$. Not everybody is as good as my dad. lol

        1. grand old lady profile image82
          grand old ladyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          IslandBites, I am so happy for you that your Dad built a strong house for your family. To think, it has even withstood so many hurricanes. You guys are really fortunate:)

    2. Live to Learn profile image60
      Live to Learnposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      It is important to have a structural engineer sign off on a structure which is far outside of the norm. However, simple structures are fine if you have any common sense.

      1. grand old lady profile image82
        grand old ladyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I agree with you that definitely, you need an engineer for structures that are really complicated. For simple structures, I really admire people like the father of IslandBites who successfully built a strong, solid house on their own. I have known someone who built a simple addition to his house, but after four years the walls started to crack. So if you do it so well, good for you:).

  2. profile image54
    FelixHAposted 3 years ago

    For sure  no, in general is a bad idea to build your own house without help of specialized people in this field

  3. Live to Learn profile image60
    Live to Learnposted 2 years ago

    Depending on complexityof design, it is possible to build a house without any engineer and without an architect.

    You have to have some basic knowledge and skill, but you don't have to hire professionals for the portions of the build you can do. I would recommend hiring electricians and an HVAC company and, possibly, a plumber (Depending on your level of knowledge) but the rest of it is quite doable.

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      I agree that you could build a simple house...if you had years of experience in building similar houses.  If you don't you will either have to hire an engineer/architect or spend the time learning what those years of experience produced in the way of knowledge and requirements.

      For instance, what is the depth of the foundation in the climate being built in?  What "grade" of concrete is necessary?  Do samples of the concrete have to be tested?  What is the 100 year snow and wind loading on roofs and walls?  What roof slope is reasonable, given that expected snow loading?  What insulation is reasonable given the climate of the area?  What are the legal requirements for outside wall thickness (it varies by location)?  What is the nail spacing for wall coverings, floor underlayment, roof and wall sheathing, etc., and what size nails?  If in the city, what are the requirements for a driveway meeting a roadway?  If in the country, what are the requirements for building a road to the house, and what works in the way of a base for a road/driveway?  Either way, what is necessary in the way of property drainage on your property?  Even simple things like placement and style of a mailbox come into play (how high of the road is acceptable).

      Last but not least, never forget that building codes differ everywhere and that the law must be followed.  Your efforts will be scrutinized, including both the blueprints you submitted for a building permit and the actual construction.  After many years in the construction field I would not hesitate to build a small house in my area...but only after intense study of the applicable laws - laws that are many and sometimes make no sense to me.

      1. Live to Learn profile image60
        Live to Learnposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Like I said. Some knowledge of the process, understanding of your climate and local building codes.

        We are building our own house at the moment. All work up to drying the structure in is well within our level of expertise. But, we both have experience in different phases of the process.

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          And there is the key - both are experienced and understand the needs.  Few people have that knowledge today.

          Along with, as you pointed out, the hiring of experts for the sub-fields such as plumbing and electrical.  As an electrician, I can fill the job of an engineer for a simple house but it took years of study and more years of experience doing it.  Plumbing is much the same, and so is HVAC.  These are not simple tasks today, and it requires much more than stringing a bit of wire or pipe.

          1. Live to Learn profile image60
            Live to Learnposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            I agree,although my usual rule of thumb is if the person who typically accomplishes the task didn't have to go through a rigorous course of learning to be proficient...i can do it with diligent attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the process.

            But, we aren't testing that theory with the electrical and HVAC.

            1. wilderness profile image94
              wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              Please don't (test the theory with electrical); there are simply far too many obscure laws and rules that no one that hasn't studied it will know.  Did you know that bedroom wiring must be on an arc-fault breaker?  Or that any outlet within 6' of a water source must be GFI?  That you must have a GFI outlet near any outdoor equipment, such as an air conditioner?  Plus in the attic if there is equipment there?  That no point on a kitchen counter, including islands, shall be more than 24" from an outlet?

              The list is exhaustive and few outside the electrical trade know them.

              1. Live to Learn profile image60
                Live to Learnposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                Yes, I knew all of those, except the first. My fear is that of everything I've studied and learned, there could be others I'm not aware of

                1. wilderness profile image94
                  wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  There will always be others - the code is updated every 4 years with new changes every time.  In most states an electrician has to have "continuing education", which consists of periodic classes to learn about the new rules.

  4. Castlepaloma profile image73
    Castlepalomaposted 2 years ago

    I for one, build my own tiny house. Or the wealthy businessmen will own you and your home most times.

  5. KenneyCrist profile image59
    KenneyCristposted 2 years ago

    Of course, you can build a house yourself, but I would not recommend it because without any engineering skills, you just can't think of a lot of things even if you read all the instructions, because there are many nuances that can affect the convenience and pace of the construction itself in the future! This is the same as conducting a light without an electrician, thinking that you can do everything yourself. You can of course, but the probability of error is very high. For example, our neighbors also decided to change the wiring themselves and could not. No wonder, because electricians spend a lot of time on training. And as a result, our neighbors decided to turn to good specialists gordonpowers.com.au and we were very satisfied.


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