Friday, 17 February 2012

How to make it as a Structural Engineer

Structural engineers design structures to withstand such pressures as weather and human use. They ensure buildings and other structures don’t bend, twist, collapse or vibrate.
Structural engineers design most structures including houses, theatres, sports venues, hospitals, office blocks, bridges, oil rigs, space satellites, ships and aircraft. They work in close partnership with architects.Structural engineers have to choose appropriate materials such as bricks, concrete, wood and metal to meet design specifications. When construction has begun, they are often involved in inspecting the work and advising contractors.They also examine buildings and other structures to test if they are structurally sound.

Typical work activities they are involved in include the following

Structural engineers ensure structures are sound enough to withstand pressures while also making efficient use of funds and materials in order to achieve these structural goals.
Typical activities include:
  • analysing configurations of the basic structural components of a building or other structure;
  • calculating the pressures, stresses and strains that each component, such as a beam or lintel, will experience from other parts of the structure due to human use or environmental pressures such as weather or earthquakes;
  • considering the strength of various materials, e.g. timber, concrete, steel and brick, to see how their inclusion may necessitate a change of structural design;
  • liaising with other designers, including architects, to agree on safe designs and their fit with the aesthetic concept of the construction;
  • examining structures at risk of collapse and advising how to improve their structural integrity, such as recommending removal or repair of defective parts or rebuilding the entire structure;
  • making drawings, specifications and computer models of structures for building contractors;
  • investigating ground conditions and analysing results of site tests, such as soil samples;
  • liaising with construction contractors to ensure that newly erected buildings are structurally sound;
  • applying expert knowledge of the forces that act on various structures;
  • using computers and computer-aided design (CAD) technology for simulation purposes.

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