Who calculates the maximum safe weight of a bridge? Who estimates the wind force a warehouse can withstand in a storm? Who evaluates the endurance of a building in case of an earthquake. The answer to each one of these questions is a structural engineer. From the magnitude of tremors to gale force winds, it is engineering that ensures the durability and complete safety of all structures.
Beyond functional security, civil engineering also defines the efficient usage of all building resources. It is an engineer who calculates the optimal grade of a material that is functional, safe and not economically prohibitive. They perform this task while working in collaborating with architects to ensure the aesthetics of the project are met. Pithily put, engineering amalgamates:
- visual appeal
- practical function
- budgetary resources
A Deeper Understanding Of Structural Engineering
The two principles that guide engineering are mathematics and physics. It is when physical laws are considered hand in hand with empirical research that the strength and capacity of any material can be estimated. Additionally, geometry has to be factored in to determine the soundness of a building. Design and analysis are the core elements of engineering.
The Heavy Responsibility of Structural Engineers
A subset of civil engineers and project management, structural engineers have the responsibility of:
- designing large buildings like tunnels
- estimating physical integrity of structures like bridges
Their duty is far removed from those of an architect. While architecture is all about size, shape, appearance, and functionality, structural engineers work singularly on technicalities. It is the obligation of a structural engineer to bring the vision of an architect to reality.
The Numerous Role Hats They Wear
Mechanics. Physics. Mathematics. Creative problem-solving. 3D conceptual skill. All of them are abilities that a structural engineer must imperatively have. But the diverse hats they wear are not limited to these capabilities. Structural engineers have a well of qualities that include:
- Support in Design
They play a crucial role in planning individual elements of a structure and the whole. Their primary function is the design and detailed data about:
- Type of roofs
- Wall retention
- Quantity of steel
- Calculating the stress
- Suspension of bridges
It is their designing role that ensures the beam, columns, and foundation can support the load of the whole structure.
- Analysis Of Material
Technology has given rise to intricate designs that employ an amalgamation of construction material to create modern buildings. Effectively using them and guaranteeing the strength, reliability, and safety of the structure is the task of structural engineers. They analyse the different materials available and decide the specification of each. They estimate the precise and detailed requirement of the substances while keeping in mind codes, regulations and features the client demands.
- Investigation Of Site
The first step to any construction project is a comprehensive investigation of the site where the building will occur. It is the job of the structural engineer to survey the location. They investigate if the site is suitable for constructions and the earth is apt for the upcoming building.
- Security of Workers
How stable a building is when faced with static or dynamic loading is one of the most apparent roles of a structural engineer. But the safety element is not just after the project has been built, it is incorporated during construction too. When engineers plan the design, they ensure that the workers, laborers, and visitors to the site are always secure. They make the building less hazardous and hassle-free.
- Coordination With Others
A project management consultants demands the collaboration of many different professions. It is the onus of the structural engineer to communicate needs and coordinate operations. They have to be in constant touch of:
- environmental scientists
- Government bodies and authorities that inspect the building
- A Managerial Head
The one final cap that structural engineers need put on is that of a manager. It is their chore to check the delivery of every construction material and make sure that it matches the set specifications. They also keep an eye on the equipment required during the building. Furthermore, they supervise and manage all the labour involved on site.
What Training Do Structural Engineers Need?
An undergraduate course in a discipline of engineering followed by professional qualification under the Institution of Structural Engineers. The career demands meeting stringent standards and immense practical experience. Once an engineer gets a foot in the field, they need to train and learn for the rest of their profession. It is vital because the industry is continuously upgrading materials and methods of construction. Any individual who is glad to invest time and dedication to the field will rise high in the sector with exciting projects thrown their way.
It’s An Engineer’s World
Succinctly said, the world of construction and the one we live in is an engineer’s oyster. Without them, we would not have tunnels that break the monotony of traffic or bridges that span kilometres of rivers and oceans. It is structural engineering the dynamically marries physics with mathematics to produce amazing buildings with the best possible design.