Structural Design and Analysis Services from Abbott Holliday Partnership

Welcome to the Structural Design and Analysis page at Abbott Holliday. Here, you will find a comprehensive overview of the various structural design services we offer, tailored to meet your specific needs.

Whether you are looking for detailed analysis, innovative design solutions, or expert consultation, our team is here to assist you. Scroll down the page to explore each service in detail, or click on the relevant link below to skip directly to the information you need.

For personalised assistance or to speak with one of our experts, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Structural design using CAD

Adequacy and analysis

Analysis and reports on construction defects

Many building defects are the result of poor workmanship and errors in construction. These often result in legal action or an insurance claim, and we can assist with both of these. In the case of analysing and reporting on the defects, one of our local Chartered Structural Engineers would first inspect the defects and the rest of the structure or building and take photos and measurements where necessary. They would produce a report which will be peer-reviewed by at least one of our other Chartered Structural Engineers, that highlights the cause of the defect and makes recommendations for how to resolve the issue(s). The report can be used in your insurance claim, and if required in a legal case, we can draw up the report in accordance with Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), which your solicitor can then use as part of the official case documentation.

Building regs regularisation

Often, building work such as a loft conversion or extension, has been conducted without approval from Building Regulations. If you are responsible for such a building, and you are trying to sell it, you may have difficulty doing so, as the buyer’s solicitor will ask for a copy of the building regs approval notice or completion certificate. Building regs provide an independent, third party assessment of the structural integrity of the building work. In such cases, one of our Chartered Structural Engineers would visit and inspect the works, and provide you with a report that is formatted in such a way that you will be able to upload it to Building Control as part of an application for a Regularisation certificate.

Calculations to check adequacy of existing structures

Often, people have buildings or structural components like columns, walls or balconies that have shown them reasons for concern, such as steel reinforcement corrosion, bowing walls or uneven floors. We are able to inspect the structure, take readings and provide a report and calculations that state whether the structure is stable, or any special measures that should be carried out, such as strengthening.

Regularisation for Building Control

We are able to advise on certifying building works that have been conducted without Building Control approval (Building Regs). Building Control normally insists that a Structural Engineer must provide an adequate report, drawings or calculations. We will visit the site of the works, inspect the structure, take photos and measurements, provide a report, sketches or drawings and help you to submit an application that will achieve regularisation for Building Control.

Reports on suitability for conversion

If you are converting a building that wasn’t necessarily designed for the purpose for which you are converting it, or if there have been any historical issues with it, it pays to have us conduct a suitability survey. Our survey, conducted by a Chartered Structural Engineer, will consider all the structural components of the building including the ground and the foundations. The same engineer will then produce a report for you, which either approves the structural stability of the existing building, or highlights areas of concern, with recommendations for remediating them through strengthening or re-building.

Soil investigations: arranging and advising

In nearly every case, structural engineers need to know the ground type beneath the building’s foundations, be it base rock, general geology of the area and soil. We need to understand the strata, soil type, strength, water table, impact of local trees and so on. One of our local Chartered Structural Engineers will visit your site, inspect the ground type, conduct soil investigations (also known as soil tests or soil surveys) and advise on the ground’s suitability for construction. Without a soil investigation, your project may experience delays or go over budget when the builders encounter ground-related issues with the construction of the building or services, (e.g. underground drainage). In the worst cases, the project may require a partial redesign, (e.g. selecting piled foundations instead of strip foundations). Finally, if you are in the stage of appraising a site for purchasing, conducting a soil investigation before you purchase can save you a lot of money and allow you to plan your project better, because you will have a far better insight into the complexity of the building project.

Structural analysis of existing structures

If you are planning some additional work or a change of use to your building, structure or site, our local Chartered Structural Engineers are available to perform adequacy surveys on its current condition. For example, if you are going to be installing some new equipment on an existing steel mezzanine structure in a warehouse, or you are going to be installing solar panels on a roof. We will inspect, analyse and measure the existing structure, consult on the loading of the change of use and report back on the suitability of the existing structure to support the changes. We can also then design any modifications that are required to make the structure fit for purpose, complete with drawings and calculations for your contractor and Building Control.

Balconies, handrails and balustrades

Balcony & balustrade design

Very often, balconies are designed by builders who won’t have the experience in structural engineering to account for factors such as proper embedment, corrosion-resistant balustrade design, or the correct concrete reinforcement. Consequently, we are frequently called to provide a Structural Engineer’s report on balcony failure (or balustrade failure). Instead, it is recommended that your balcony and balustrading is designed by a competent, chartered structural engineer with plenty of experience in balcony design. Please contact us to discuss your project, case studies from our client list, and a free quote.

Handrail design

A lot of handrails on balconies, in industrial or institutional use, are designed by builders, not structural engineers. This is acceptable when the handrail is there simply to assist somebody using a staircase, but there are some situations in which the input of a Chartered Structural Engineer is crucial. For example, the handrail around the edge of an industrial mezzanine in a factory, on an architectural staircase where the handrail supplies the support for the whole structure, or that of a pedestrian bridge over a busy road. We have many examples we would be happy to share with you where we have designed such handrails. Likewise, please engage with us if you wish us to conduct a structural survey on a handrail that is showing signs of corrosion or structural failure.

Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers

Conversion, alteration and extension design

Alterations & extensions

Every extension and almost every alteration carries with it a structural change, even something seemingly straightforward such as widening a door going through to a conservatory, building a retaining wall, installing a dormer window or converting an empty loft space into an occupiable space. Our Chartered Structural Engineers collaborate well with your building contractors, architects, surveyors, planners and project managers to ensure your project goes smoothly.

Barn conversions

It can be a sizeable and complex project to turn a barn into a habitable building, especially if the barn’s original structural elements are to be retained, as these elements weren’t necessarily designed for the loads associated with habitation. In addition to the assessment and any augmentation that these structural elements may require, the building will also need building regulations approval, so a structural engineer would need to produce a set of calculations for Building Control in order for the building to be signed off. In summary, a structural engineer is required wherever a change to the structural use of a building is taking place, such as the conversion of a barn into a home or office building. The engineer can conduct a survey and assessment of the existing structure and foundations, and then create the design of the structural elements in association with your team of architects and contractors.


Abbott Holliday is perfectly positioned to help you with your conversion project. We can help with loft conversions, (with any necessary roof structure or floor strengthening alterations), one or more storey extensions, both domestic and commercial, and conversions of any structure for a change of use, just to name a few. We will work with your architect if you are using one, and we will also provide calculations for you to use to get your Building Regs certificate. For our guide to loft conversions, see our article at

Loft conversions

In nearly every case, a loft conversion will require a structural change, for which you will be advised to consult with a structural engineer. In our guide to loft conversions, ( we explain what is involved at the start, (when you are estimating costs), which questions you should ask your structural engineer, and what the engineer is likely to do. Loft conversions are one of the practices in which Abbott Holliday specialise, so we would be happy to discuss your loft conversion project with you.

Foundations, floors and ground beams

Floor load upgrades

Many times, the use of a property may change and the loading on the floor structure may be increased, (e.g. if a grand piano is being installed in an upstairs room of a house, if a roof space is going to be used as a habitable room or if new machinery is being installed on an existing structure). In some cases, it’s not just the downward load that needs to be designed for, but lateral or varying forces, (e.g. a steel mezzanine floor may need to be strengthened to account for lateral movement of heavy vehicles). Our Structural Engineers are all chartered and are experts at designing for all floor load upgrades, including taking in to account the existing structure and providing full calculations.

Foundation design & ground beams design

The type of foundation required for your project varies tremendously on multiple factors such as the existing and proposed works, the type of ground, water levels, proximity of trees and other nearby structures, drainage, site restrictions, building use and budget to name just a few. Our Chartered Structural Engineers are experts at advising on and designing the foundation type to suit your project, including concrete slab or raft foundations, strip foundations, timber foundations, piles or pier-and-beam foundations, basement foundations, isolated spread footings and so on.

Mezzanine floors

By their nature, mezzanine floors are not typical in terms of their loading and design characteristics. The loads they support and create are often complex and therefore their structure needs to be designed with variable forces in mind, along with the rest of the building’s structure. We have years of experience in the structural design of mezzanine structures and we will provide drawings and calculations to your architect and building contractor.


There are many types of piling to consider when planning the foundations of your structure, as much as whether piling is needed at all. We have over 40 years of experience in designing piles out of reinforced concrete, steel or in some cases, timber, and depending on the project and your objectives, we can specify a number of different solutions including end-bearing, friction, sheet or bored piles. Please call us to discuss your particular project parameters with one of our local Chartered Structural Engineers.

Underpinning design

Where the existing foundations of a structure are not sufficient for the loads and pressures of that structure, or if that structure is being added to, we would often recommend underpinning. This involves either strengthening or adding to the existing foundations, which is work that is done with the structure in situ. There are a number of types of underpinning including beam & base underpinning, piled underpinning and traditional concrete underpinning. After our initial site visit, we would be happy to recommend the most appropriate type of underpinning for your structure, and design it for you.

Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers

Ground work design


We work with clients on the structural aspects of basements in existing buildings only. We are occasionally asked to provide for damp-proofing, but we refer you to speak with damp specialists for this, as there are many factors to consider, many of which are outside the scope of a Structural Engineer. For your basement project, there are many factors to consider such as lateral forces and their interaction with downward forces from above. Our design will take these factors into account and we will also provide you with calculations for building regs sign-off. Please call us today to discuss your project.

Design of underground drainage systems and surface drainage

Getting the design of drainage systems correct is critical because not only must waste water and surface run-off be removed from your site quickly, but if it’s not done right, any resulting leakage, blockage or overflow can cause structural problems for your building. For example, water seepage from damaged drains can cause the ground to swell, causing heave damage to your foundations. Also if the drainage system is being planned for a site that has had historical ground movement, or there are new building developments nearby, the drainage system must be designed to take these factors into account. As well as being experts at designing underground drainage systems and surface drainage, we can also inspect and analyse existing systems that are showing signs of being defective.

Paving design

When planning paving projects, you need to be aware of your ground type and geology. There may also be localised ground movement or impact from local trees. There may also be a nearby structure like a retaining wall, and the project may be further complicated if you predict there will be heavy vehicle use. To plan your paving project correctly, please call us to discuss how we can help. Without the correct advice or design considerations, there is a risk that the paving area in question will suffer structural defects and will need to be re-built.


Architects seeking Structural Engineers

If you are an architect seeking a structural engineer, we are well positioned to assist you with new build or conversion projects. We have structural engineers spread out across London and the South-East, so we are local to you. All our engineers are chartered, to give you reassurance of our expertise. Finally, all our work is peer reviewed by at least one other chartered structural engineer, meaning the quality of our work is very dependable. We are a family business that has been running for over 40 years and have countless fantastic testimonials and 5-star reviews. We take on domestic and small commercial projects and are trusted by many other architects who use us as their preferred supplier on an ongoing basis. Please call to have a conversation about your project and discuss an ongoing partnership.

Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers

Road and bridge design

Bridge design

We offer a bridge design service, whereupon our team of structural engineers will visit the site, determine the span, research the ground type & geology and calculate maximum load types. These loads will include the loads crossing the bridge such as vehicles or passengers, the load of the bridge itself and other applied loads from the environment like snow and wind blowing from multiple directions. We will then design the structure of the bridge, taking these factors into account, along with your own project factors such as budget, material & construction preferences and timescales. Our drawings are all peer-reviewed by at least one of our other Chartered Structural Engineers and they are always accompanied by a full set of calculations.

Road design

If you are planning a new road, driveway or car park, please contact us to consult on the design. This will encompass ground and geology analysis, selection of the best construction type according to the use, vehicle type, budget and conditions, and calculations. Your contractor will then be able to use the drawings and calculations to construct the road. All our Structural Engineers are chartered and we have been in business for over 40 years, so we will be able to provide you with a highly competent and reliable road design.

Roof design

Roof design

We are specialists in the structural design of new roofs and cover the full range of construction types such as cut timber roofs, trussed timber roofs, steel construction, flat roofs, very large roofs or roofs for industrial buildings, roofs with integrated dormers or roof lights, curved profile roofs, thatched roofs, glass roofs, green or live roofs, and mixed construction types. We can also design for different roof coverings, (e.g. a roof with concrete tiles or solar panels, which will be a lot heavier than a traditional slate roof). Please give us a call to discuss your requirements.

Roof framing

In domestic and small commercial buildings, roofs are mostly made of wood, owing to its cost when compared with metal. Often, the roof framing will need to be adjusted, for example if the building is being extended, the roof covering is being changed or a loft conversion is taking place. Often, this requires the type of roof frame to be changed so there aren’t any horizontal elements cutting across the space and getting in the way. We have decades of experience adjusting roof framing to accommodate this type of change, so please give us a call to discuss your options.

Roof structures

The proper design of a roof structure is critical to the stability and longevity of your roof. Many factors need to be taken into account with your roof structure, such as the nature and condition of the walls onto which the roof load will bear, any intended habitation of the roof space, the weather conditions, (e.g. to size the design for wind and snow loading), the budget and how that affects the choice of building materials, the addition of roof features such as roof lights, dormer windows, chimneys and solar panels, and so on. Please contact us today to discuss your project with one of our Chartered Structural Engineers, and let us help you design a roof structure that is fit for purpose.

Roof terrace upgrade

If you are considering a new roof terrace, an upgrade to your terrace because of a change in intended use, or building work such as roof features, parapets or handrails, please engage us to inspect the existing construction type and report to you on whether or not an upgraded structure is required. If it is, we will be happy to design the structural changes or new structure, in such as way that the drawings and calculations can be used by your contractor for the construction, but also so that you can achieve building regulations sign-off.

Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers

Structural design

Building design

Whether you’re an estates manager, a developer, an architect or a public sector institution, we can work in partnership with the team you have assembled to create the structure you are planning. We are a family business which has been operating for over 40 years. All our Structural Engineers are chartered, all our work is peer-reviewed by at least one other Chartered Structural Engineer and we have multiple engineers across London and the South-East, so we can provide you with a local service. Please call us today to discuss your design requirement.

Concrete design and concrete structures

At Abbott Holliday we are experts in the design, analysis and surveying of all types of structural concrete. These can include raft & pile foundations, pre-formed components, reinforced concrete, pre-stressed and proprietary types of concrete. When it comes to working with architects on concrete-based designs, we understand the balance that is required between design and structure, and are perfectly positioned to help achieve a design vision that can be brought to reality through the careful and expert design of concrete structures.

Design in steel, concrete, timber & masonry

We conduct domestic and small commercial structural design work, from extensions to new buildings on your site, or re-builds of existing structures. This can include working with your architect and Building Control, as well as providing drawings for use with Building Control, planners and contractors Abbott Holliday Partnership is a family business with over 40 years of experience in steel, concrete, timber and masonry design. All our engineers are chartered, ensuring the highest standards of Structural Engineering. We have engineers based across London and the South East, so your engineer will be local to you. Finally, all our drawings are peer-reviewed by at least one other Chartered Structural Engineer, assuring you of the highest levels of technical knowledge and experience. Please call us today to discuss your project.

Masonry design

We are experts in structural design of masonry, amongst other common building materials. This includes brick, stone, concrete and reinforced masonry, being used in all manor of structures including load-bearing walls, retaining walls, cantilevers, stairs, archways, lintels, bridges, porticoes, monuments and more. We are a family business, running for over 40 years, and all our Structural Engineers are chartered, meaning our masonry design services are of the highest quality. All our drawings and calculations are peer-reviewed by at least one other of our Chartered Structural Engineers, giving you reassurance of absolute design precision.

Structural design

We have a long history and heritage in structural design for domestic and small commercial customers, and we are able to design structures from simple home extensions or loft conversions, to new school buildings or re-roofing, all the way up to steel mezzanines in warehouses or pedestrian bridges in universities. All our structural engineers are chartered, all our drawings and reports are checked by at least one other chartered engineer, and we have engineers spread out across London and the South East, which means we have an engineer local to you. Please call us to discuss your project.

Walls and retaining walls

Lateral restraint

It is common, mostly in older buildings, for walls to bow outwards, often because of poor roof structure design, causing the downwards force of the roof’s weight to push the joists outwards as well as down, taking the wall with it. This is especially common if the home owner replaces the original roof covering with a heavier alternative, (e.g. swapping slate for concrete tiles). There are a few solutions, each of which carries a different cost, but all of which our Chartered Structural Engineers are adept at handling.

Openings in walls

If you are wanting to knock through a wall to make an opening, please give us a call. We will first confirm that the wall is load-bearing. If not, there is no need for us to design additional structure to support load from above, but it is important to check as some walls give the impression of being non-structural stud walls even though they are load-bearing, (e.g. dot-and-dab plasterboard construction that is used to regularise uneven masonry wall surfaces). After determining that the wall is load-bearing, we will calculate the loads that will need redistributing and design a structure (normally a beam or combination of beams) to span the opening. We will supply you with the drawings for your builder to use, and the calculations for you to use with Building Control to get building regulations sign-off.

Retaining wall design

It’s advisable that retaining walls should be designed by a Structural Engineer when they exceed a height of one metre. This is often due to factors relating to the ground type, surrounding structures, site conditions, topography and so on. If you’re unsure whether or not your retaining wall needs to be designed by a structural engineer, please give us a call or fill out the form on our Contact Us page.

Wall removal

We are happy to consult with you on the removal of a wall, be it load-bearing or not. However, it is advisable to check either way since many load-bearing walls show false signs of not being load-bearing, (e.g. dot-and-dab plasterboard construction that is used to regularise uneven masonry wall surfaces). If the wall is load-bearing, we will design the structure that is needed to span the opening as well as the calculations that you will need for your application for building regs.

Every commission is handled personally by one of our highly experienced chartered engineers

Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers