Frequently Asked Questions
Does SE&I provide residential consulting services?
SE&I was originally established to provide structural engineering design and consulting services to residential clients. Our founder saw a need in the Middle Tennessee real estate market and began offering services to homeowners, buyers, sellers and general contractors. If you have discovered a structural problem with your home or are purchasing a new or existing home we would be more than happy to assist you with your needs.
Does SE&I have a licensed professional engineer on staff?
Our principal, J. Michael Vines, is a registered professional engineer in the State of Tennessee (license no. 106257), the State of Kentucky (license no. 30832), the State of Alabama (license no. 35052-E), and the State of Georgia (license no. 24268). Mr. Vines is also a Licensed Structural Engineer in the State of Illinois (license no. 081-005974) and has been certified by the Structural Engineering Certification Board.
What is the difference between a professional engineer and a structural engineer?
Some states have discipline specific licensing where an engineer is registered in the discipline in which he/she practices. The state of Tennessee does not currently license engineers based on their discipline. In states such as Illinois, California, Oregon, Washington an engineer is required to be a licensed structural engineer in order to design buildings of a certain nature. For example, in order to design a hospital or power plant an engineer must be a licensed structural engineer. This discipline specific licensing requires specific knowledge in structural engineering design that a typical civil engineer or geotechnical engineer would not have. In order to obtain this licensing an engineer must take and pass two separate eight hour exams that are administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors. The first exam is the Structural I exam that covers steel, concrete, masonry and wood design. The second exam is the Structural II exam that covers building design for wind and seismic loading conditions. Rest assured that a licensed structural engineer will have the knowledge and expertise to properly evaluate the condition of your home or building.
How much does a residential structural evaluation cost?
The determination of the fee or cost of a structural evaluation is much different than the cost of a typical home inspection. It is common for a home inspector to operate based on a set fee or the cost may be based on the square footage of the home. Home inspectors can use either of these methods to determine their fee because they have a standard list of items to inspect or evaluate during the site visit. Each house will typically have the same systems (electrical, plumbing, mechanical) and all have interior and exterior finishes that must be evaluated.
It is difficult to provide a set fee for a structural evaluation prior to visiting the site since each alleged structural problem is different and is affected by the specific method of construction for the home. No two houses are exactly the same. Therefore, our fees are based on a set hourly rate, but the total fee will vary depending on the complexity of the specific condition in the home.