Structural engineering dates back to the 27th century B.C. when the Egyptian Polymath Imhotep designed and built the step pyramid of Saqqara. Much later, Leonardo Da Vinci, a man ahead of his time, designed structures that were unseen in those days. Then came the age of steel in the 19th and 20th centuries, and this led to the birth of the skyscraper, which required a high level of engineering know-how. The structural engineer has become part of the construction package, and here are a few of the responsibilities that go with the territory.
Structural design and support
Structural engineers play a part in both the complete building and individual aspects, with the modern buildings requiring strong support and load resistance systems. An experienced engineer could give detailed information about,
* Foundations * Floors * Roofing * Material quantities
With the complex designs of today, the stresses and loads on materials is a critical factor, and the project must be analysed by the structural engineer, who is working with the architect to calculate internal and external factors.
Dynamic and static loading can affect the stability of a structure, and there are many elements that can have a bearing on the structure, such as,
* Materials * The elements – Sun, wind, rain, and snow. * Vibration * Fatigue * Temperature
The structural engineer might be the person who interacts with the local authority, dealing with the various aspects that any large project would involve. All construction materials would have to be to a given standard, and a structural engineer would ensure that the standards are met. If one is about to start a project, and is looking for structural engineers in Perth, an online search will reveal a reputable company in the vicinity.
Structural engineering involves the estimation for all construction materials, which is critical for the planning stage. Steel alignment, fabrication requirements, and concrete beams, all come under the care of the structural engineer. A novice might design internal elements, such as beams or floors, while a more experienced person would be in charge of an entire building.
Structural engineering is all about safety, checking internal and external forces for stress loads, looking for tell-tale stress marks that would forewarn of an imminent problem. The safety of the workers, visitors, or guests would also be the responsibility of the structural engineer.
Usually a structural engineer would specialise in one particular area, such as bridges, roads, high rise buildings, or residential structures. As more hands-on experience is gained, the engineer is given more challenging assignments, eventually leading to a senior role, where he or she would be in charge of a project. Elaborate structures require something out of the ordinary, in terms of design, and some structural engineers have to be very creative to come up with practical solutions.
The construction industry would be at a loss without structural engineers, the unsung heroes who design and ensure that the structure will remain intact, whatever the elements can muster.