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Structural Engineering - Empathy

Star Before going to a structural engineer make your house design structurally sensible.

Try to think like a structural engineer

Don't make things difficult

Hopefully when you drew up your house plans you at least tried to avoid doing anything that was too contentious from a structural point of view.  You want to make sure you have concrete at all the corners of the building, rather than trying to do things such as corner wrap-around windows.  Try to think structure yourself.  Try to make sure you are at least happy that the stresses in the walls are nicely spread out, rather than all concentrated at a weak point.  Obviously you will want windows and doors in your house, and that will mean that the weight of the house above will need to be routed via the walls on either side of the opening, but just try to think sympathetically about what you are asking those walls to do.

Be prepared to modify your plans

Even though you will have tried to design a house that works from a structural engineering point of view, it may well be that the actual structural engineer finds things about for example your window placement that makes things difficult.  Difficult means extra construction cost.  If you stick rigidly to the window placement then the structural engineer will probably be able to find a way to make it work, but it is likely to involve a lot more rebar and perhaps a few expensive steel beams.  The more economical approach is to be prepared to adjust the position of the offending window or door to make things easier from a structural engineering viewpoint.