Certificate of Structural Adequacy – general


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Certificate of structural adequacy for structures not covered elsewhere.


The specification-of-intent comprising of technical drawings and written specification.


The process starts with a qualitative review of the technical drawing. The plan will be viewed and sectioned millimetre by millimetre in two orthogonal directions and along any additional viewing plains suitable for the proposed structure. The sections will be visualised and the documents checked for presence of such sections. Details of all junctions will be visualised and likewise connection details looked for amongst the documents.

Then review the proposal by applying a notional load in 12 directions (3 axes of translation x 2 directions, 3 axes of rotation by 2 directions.). The structure will then be checked for triangulated bracing or connections of suitable form for moment resistance.

If the specification seems complete, and the structural form appears suitable. Then calculations for ultimate strength will be carried out. Depending on the structure and its purpose additional calculation checks will be made for stability and serviceability (deflection).

If the calculations validate the structure is suitable-for-purpose, then the calculations will be summarised and presented in a 1 to 5 page certificate: certifying the structure as structurally adequate. If the structure is too complex to be conveniently summarised then the full set of calculations will be presented in a report.

If the structure is found not to be adequate then advise will be given identifying the changes to be made to make the structure adequate.


Here in South Australia a certificate of an independent technical expert (CITE) can only be legitimately issued if the person has had no involvement in design of a proposed structure. In short a certificate of an independent technical expert is a second check. A second check cannot occur if there has been no defendable assertion that the structure is fit-for-function in the first place. So whilst council’s increasingly sending building applicants off to get CITE’s it is typically not practical for them to get such document. Furthermore few people have want of a certificate indicating that the structure is NOT fit-for-function. {It is also to be noted that the development approval fee is for an independent assessment: therefore need design or proof calculations completing before submitting proposal to council. Council will then employ someone to issue a CITE.}

Therefore some initial design or assessment is required before can get a CITE. For really simple structures the calculations can be done, simply by pushing numbers through a pocket calculator. If the designer can do this, then so can the independent reviewer, and therefore no need to present detailed calculations. As design gets more complex the designer needs to document the calculations to keep track off: “what they have done” and “where they are going”. Summarising the calculations is thus additional effort after doing the calculations. For complex structures producing a suitable and meaningful summary may take considerable effort: therefore it is more practical to submit calculations.

However a proper independent review is not a matter of checking designers calculations, it is about checking specifications. The independent reviewer does their own calculations. There is no point doing such review calculations if there is no defendable assertion that the proposal is fit-for-function.

This service provides the: defendable assertion that the proposed structure is fit-for-function. If the proposal is not fit-for-function then the service will provide assistance to make the proposal fit-for-function.

Long experience (over 20 years) has shown that proposals are typically incomplete, and therefore our ability to issue a CITE is compromised. The certificate of structural adequacy has less risk of being rejected due to lack of independence, most especially in those situations where there is no design-calculations or proof-calculations.