The first thing you learn once you start building structures is how complex they can be. Even a seemingly simple structure has various elements that must work together. Only then can the structure withstand everyday use and remain safe and comfortable for the foreseeable future. Well, the disciple that tackles this is called structural engineering. And until you know the importance of structural engineering in construction, you won’t be able to appreciate the process of building as a whole.
A person that tackles structural engineering is called a structural engineer. Not to be confused with a civil engineer. What structural engineers do is that they analyze, design, and implement various systems present in construction. They also inspect those systems and collaborate with architects, builders, contractors, and other professionals. By attending to these systems in structural engineering, engineers ensure that:
- The construction is safe and stable.
- The construction process is as cost-effective as possible.
- Various professionals and teams work in tandem.
- Various legal codes and regulations are met.
- The building adheres to eco-friendly principles.
During the analytics process, the structural engineer will consider the type of structure, location, intended use, and environmental conditions to determine the appropriate design and construction methods. As such, it should be evident that structural engineering is a crucial aspect of any building process and that no building can safely stand without it. Structural engineers work in various sectors, including residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure projects.
With what we’ve outlined, it should be reasonably apparent that structural engineering is a vital part of any building process. To further illustrate this, we will outline five essential tasks structural engineers achieve.
Safety is (or at least should be) the primary concern of any construction project. Whether it is commercial or residential, it is paramount that the structure in question is safe during construction. And that it remains safe once it is finished. That is the first thing that the structural engineer is tasked to ensure. They will consider the type of structure, its intended use, and its location to outline how to ensure its safety. Through careful analytics and in-depth knowledge of materials, structural engineers will determine a structure’s potential strength and stability. By doing so, they can outline what materials and methods suit the construction.
Whether or not a building will stand tall for decades is predicated on many factors. All these factors combined essentially determine the structural integrity of a building. Structural engineers analyze the foundations, beams, walls, columns, and connections to outline them. By doing so, they can determine whether the building can properly distribute intended loads. Furthermore, they look for outliers that tell them whether the building will withstand deformation, settlement, tilting, or even partial collapse. As you can imagine, structural integrity is closely related to overall safety as it guarantees the structure is safe enough for prolonged use.
Structural engineers will also ensure that all the building codes and regulations are met during construction. That highlights the multi-faceted importance of structural engineering in construction, as it can help prevent potential legal trouble or costly renovation. An experienced engineer will be well-versed in local building codes and regulations. As such, they can ensure that the building fully complies with these codes and regulations and becomes viable for permits and approvals from local authorities.
On the other end of structural engineering is cost-effectiveness. Namely, the job would be easy if all structural engineers had unlimited funds to engineer buildings. Top-quality materials would almost always ensure that the building is safe and structurally sound. Of course, no structural engineer has unlimited funds. In practice, they have a strong incentive to make the construction process as cheap as possible. And it is this balancing act between safety and cost-effectiveness that brings headaches to structural engineers. To ensure cost-effectiveness, engineers need to know the entire construction process. If they do, they can analyze the structure and determine the practice to achieve a realistic timeline while maintaining the necessary safety measures. They will look to minimize material waste, lower the power and water usage needed for construction and reduce total work hours.
The structural design of a building is only a part of the entire construction project. As such, it is paramount that structural engineers can collaborate with various professionals to weave in their design correctly. That includes collaborating with architects, contractors, and other engineers. As well as working with electricians, plumbers, and even movers. Being able to call upon storage companies, as experts at Triple 7 Movers LV advise, to store some equipment temporarily or having electricians available to make minor repairs at a moment’s notice can go a long way in ensuring the cost-effectiveness of the construction, so much so that most construction projects wouldn’t be finished if not for the resourcefulness of the structural engineers.
Utilizing new technologies
To achieve this, builders must rely on modern technologies and practices. That is also an aspect of construction that structural engineers are well-versed in. A part of their job is constantly looking for new materials, technologies, and construction methods to balance cost-effectiveness and safety. They also keep track of broader construction trends like green-building practices, energy-efficient designs, and increased use of sustainable and recycled materials. By adhering to these trends, builders positively impact the environment and manage to lower construction costs.
By now, you should have a fairly good idea of the importance of structural engineering in construction. The crux of it is that it ensures the balance between safety and cost-effectiveness. Structural engineers need to know local codes and regulations. That enables them to provide the legal aspect of construction. And they follow modern building trends, which allows them to ensure the eco-friendliness of the construction process. Without a structural engineer, you couldn’t build much more than a simple wooden shed.