Structural engineer plays a vital role in all construction projects as he is the one that directly designs the skeleton that holds all other trades such as mechanical, architectural, electrical and plumbing works. Should there be any clashing with any of these construction trades, normally, the structural plan prevails so as not to compromise the structure’s strength and credibility.
But depending on the demands, architectural scope is the one that drives the project direction as this is the overall aesthetic and output of the structure.
To give you a better idea of the structural engineer’s work, please continue reading.
1. Design the project
Having himself thoroughly educated and attained a higher degree, structural engineers are the one capable to design a greater discipline in civil engineering, that is structural engineering. Structural engineers are the ones that design, plan and solely the person responsible for the physical integrity of the building, bridges, roads, and other large-scale projects.
Getting the title, itself requires years of education, money and time investments. Normally, structural engineers the persons tapped by the client and architects as the consultant of their structural projects.
2. Set loading parameters and specifications
As the one who designed the building or structure, structural engineers also are the one who set the design loading parameters and specifications with respect to the plan.
3. Act as a consultant
Structural engineers are key players during designing stage. Thus, they should be creative enough to meet the demands of the Architect or the client. Some clients are too minimalist that they do not want to see any protruding column or beams at all. Structural engineer, having set critical mind and innovative personality should find a solution as the client wants without taking for the granted the credibility and durability of the building.
4. Redesign the plan
Construction is a very diverse industry. As smooth as you think a construction site may be, there will always be problems that may arise anytime. A perfect example is the big hard boulder underneath the soil which was not anticipated only during the excavation works. If the construction management proceeds with the drilling, it would take the team longer time just to meet the design foundation plan. To solve this and meet the construction timeline, the construction management team asked the structural engineer or consultant to redesign the foundation plan with respect to the boulders.
Structural engineers again should be innovative and technically inclined enough to solve probable redesigning due to various unknown constraints.
5. Champions quality assurance
Being the one responsible for the structural integrity of the project, structural engineers are the people that promote quality assurance and quality control. Every reinforcing bar, the diameter, the designed bearing capacity of the concrete used should all as per plan and specifications. Any compromise would mean a series of problems or worse, would mean fatal accidents.
Every formwork, shoring, scaffolds, and accessories used during the realization of the project should all exceed or meet the design criteria as calculated. Safety should never be taken for granted and thus quality assurance and quality control in every area should be strictly followed.
6. Sign and seal the plan
Being the main brain during the designing stage, structural engineers are the only person technically authorized to sign and seal large-scale projects. The documentations are necessary for the occupancy and building permit of the project such as condominium buildings, apartments, hotels.
7. Go to person for maintenance or demolition
The building or structure will always deteriorate. That is why inspection and repair, especially for large projects, is important. Structural engineers are the right person to approach for this. Structural engineers would give advises and plans on how to properly repair any cracks on wall, suspended or whatever structural member there is.
They can give information on where to safely start a demolition project. They can even pinpoint which column or beams and how of them may be taken down simultaneously.
Having these critical roles in a construction project, it is important to choose and find some truly experienced structural engineers. Although there is numerous computer software nowadays used to design buildings, in example, StaadPro, wherein all you have to do is input the calculated environmental and designed assumptions with respect to the locations and it will give you reinforcing bar needed including the diameter, having an experienced structural engineer is still an investment.
Truly experienced structural engineers can give you advises that is relevant for a higher probability of profitability as they can give information on how to safely value engineer a certain structure. Those planned buildings that we now use have huge factor of safety before rupture all under the hardship and knowledge of structural engineers who patiently followed the road less travelled to attain that level of education.