How do Structural Engineers Design Structures?

How do Structural Engineers Design Structures?

Structural engineers play an important role within a construction project concerning the structural integrity of the design of the building. In this article, we will be exploring what a structural engineer’s role is, and what they take into account when planning a structural design.

If you are in need of a structural engineer in Cornwall or chartered surveyor, why not consider one of our experts here, at Martin Perry Associates? If you have any questions or concerns about a potential building project, our team is always happy to help with any queries you may have.

A group of structural engineers inspecting a property

What is a Structural Engineer?

Structural engineering is a branch of civil engineering with diverse applications. Most structural engineers will work primarily as consultants to architects or design-build contractors.

Traditionally, structural engineering was considered a sub-discipline of civil engineering, but it has since developed into an important and complex specialism that is an engineering discipline in its own right.


What Does a Structural Engineer Do?

A structural engineer’s role is closely tied to public safety, as they play a paramount part in ensuring that a building will be safe to use.

An architect or design-builder will often come up with a building layout. The layout will then be the structural engineer’s responsibility to evaluate; they will calculate the loads, which can include snow, wind and earthquake forces.

As well as the load sums, the structural engineer will need to fit the structure to the architecture and decide which structural systems are appropriate to use. The structural systems can include materials such as:

  • Steel
  • Concrete
  • Masonry
  • Wood

These can be used to create beams, columns and other types of building support.

A structural engineer’s key tasks include:

  • Preparing reports, designs and drawings
  • Making calculations about loads and stresses
  • Selecting construction materials
  • Providing technical advice
  • Obtaining planning/building regulations approval
  • Inspecting properties
  • Administering contracts


A structural engineer mapping out a doorway

How Does a Structural Engineer Design a Building?

Structural engineers are primarily concerned with the design and construction of buildings and structures. They will ensure that they are capable of safely withstanding elements that they will be exposed to.

A structural engineer will spend a lot of their time designing structures that include:

  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Tunnels

When a structural engineer designs a building, they will typically build 2D and 3D models using design software and measure loads and presses to secure its structural soundness.

Here at Martin Perry Associates, our expert structural engineering and surveying consultancy services can be invaluable to your next project. Contact our team today to find out how we can help with your renovation project.

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