Why You Need a Structural Engineer

Posted on: 22 April 2019

When you have plans to build any structure, a home, commercial building, bridge, dam, pool, elevated tank, etc., you will require a structural engineer. The main job of the structural engineer is to make sure that these structures are erected with full support to enable them to stand without being affected by any forces. Such forces can be environmental (earthquakes, storms, wind, etc.) or human (number of people the structure will hold and the activity to be carried out in the structure).

What Does the Structural Engineer Actually Do?

He or she has been trained and is experienced in carrying out research, measurements and calculations, meant to identify the weight of various factors, for example, people, snow, mechanical equipment, etc. These measurements and calculations will help him or her know how support structures (columns and beams) will be installed. The calculations include weight, and the structural engineer has to think of other elements that could affect the structure in any way and make sure they are factored. This may include temperature changes as the structure will be exposed to different weather or climatic conditions.

The structural engineer will use drafting materials, calculators and scales to design the structure. He or she will then be at the site to make sure that everything is done according to the calculations and models.

What Materials Does a Structural Engineer Require?

Since the structural engineer will conduct some research and depending on your project, he or she may either use concrete, wood, aluminium, steel, brick or mortar.

Remember that the structural engineer will not be working alone; he or she will have to collaborate with architectural, electrical, mechanical, geotechnical, environmental, piping and acoustical engineers. These engineers will also have an influence on the type of material that will be used.

Hiring a Structural Engineer

It is important to note that when you hire a structural engineer, you might get to work with one or two. Sometimes, one may be located at the office and the other at the construction site. The one in the office will draw the designs, and the one at the construction site will interpret them and make sure the construction follows the designs. At other times you will have one who works both at the office and at the construction site.  He or she will draw the designs and still go to the site to make sure construction follows the designs.

Having the above information at the back of your mind, you will be able to know why a structural engineer is important and what he or she will be doing for you.