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What Does a Structural Engineer Do?






Structural engineers are highly skilled, creative professionals who design the strength and stability of our buildings and other structures – anything from homes, schools, hospitals and public artworks even to bridges, rollercoasters and skyscrapers.

We typically work as part of a team alongside architects, builders and other engineers to coordinate the information and make sure all parts of the design work together.

The Process

  1. Undertake investigations – this part is really important as it allows us to understand the existing building or site conditions and allow for this in our design. For example, we need to know how strong the soil is to be able to design the foundations to ensure the soil doesn’t get overloaded.
  2. Assess the loadings – This takes account of load from the materials that make up the structure, the people/furniture/equipment that live in or use the structure and all other loading such as wind, snow, earthquakes etc.
  3. Design the elements – We break the structure down into elements and assess the loading on each. We can then make sure that each element is strong enough to resist the loading without failing, either by breaking or excessive deflection or vibration.
  4. Complete the drawings and detailing – We produce drawings so that the building can be easily constructed in accordance with our design. We think about buildability (how easy it is to build), value for money, aesthetic, weather protection and many other factors when producing our drawings.
  5. Site inspections – we inspect the construction works at critical points to make sure that our design assumptions were correct, and that the construction work is following our drawings.

We work through all stages of the design process but can add the most value by being involved early in the planning process to support the architect to scheme the design. Here we can advise on ways to make the structure simpler whilst still achieving the architectural intent which creates a more sustainable and better value solution.

A visual of the process can be found here