Structural engineers spend most of their days working on ways to repair, restore and rebuild everything from roads and overpasses to bridges and skyscrapers. What happens when an engineer tells you that it would be better to tear something down? Here are some reasons why a structural engineer would advise a complete demolition rather than repair or restoration.
The Supporting Structures Are Beyond Repair
If you have a very old bridge or a very old house and the feet or foundation are too badly damaged for proper repairs and restoration, a structural engineer will advise you to tear them down and rebuild. This is especially true of any structure located near a fault line or in an area prone to bad earthquakes. Repairing and restoring the supporting structures just does not make sense, since the next earthquake could completely undo the repairs and the construction crew you hired would have to fix everything all over again.
The Body of the Structure Is Broken, Shifting or Sinking
Different types of soil can cause a building or home to shift in opposing directions, causing the structure to break apart and create giant cracks in the walls. When both the foundation and the building or structure are so badly damaged that simple repairs extend beyond complex restoration techniques, then an engineer will advise that at least that section of the structure should be torn down and rebuilt with underground supports. The new section with supports will keep the building from sinking, shifting and/or breaking again, ensuring that the structure remains safe and sound for human habitation for many years to come.
The Entire Structure Is Too Dangerous
From the feet or foundation to the roof or platforms, the entire structure you were hoping to restore is just deemed far too dangerous for a restoration crew to work on. When there is a high probability that a wrong step will send a worker through a floor several stories, and the entire foundation is crumbling beneath its own weight, a structural engineer will probably condemn your project or refer it to a city building code inspector to legally condemn. Although this may be a terrible disappointment to you, you can at least tear it all down and rebuild something much nicer on the property, or reconstruct from pictures the exact building that once stood there. Either way, you should not look at a total demolition as a total loss.