What is structural engineering?
Structural engineering is a specialized subsection of civil engineering that involves applying physics and mathematics to design the load-bearing elements of a structure. Structural engineers are trained professionals that are able to accurately determine the performance of various materials used in construction to resist loads and stresses on structures. The basic principles of structural engineering have been used for many thousands of years and played a huge part in building ancient structures like the Colosseum or the pyramids.
Do you need a structural engineer for your project?
Structural engineers play an important role in the design of a building. We like to explain this by taking a residential home as an example. If the house looks nice, feels comfortable, and fulfils the functional needs of the occupant, this means that the Architect has done a good job designing the building. The structural engineer’s job, however, is to ensure the structure of the building remains safe and stable.
When it comes to buildings that form part of our environment and society, the consequences of structural failure can be disastrous. This is why the Australian Standards used by structural engineers include many different safety factors that must be built into the design of all structures. Public safety is the top priority of our structural engineers when carrying out a design.
What does a structural engineer do?
Our structural engineers here at Constructive Building Consultants work very closely with our clients to understand the ins and outs of their projects in order to provide safe and economical solutions to ensure each project is delivered successfully. The structural design process can be divided into three stages:
- load calculation;
- structural analysis; and
Depending on the intended purpose and function of a building, various Australian Standards and Building Codes are used to calculate the loads that could impact the building during its life cycle such as gravity, snow, wind, and seismic activity. Once the engineer has ascertained the loads acting on the structure, it is then analysed to determine the influence of all these loads on the individual elements of the structure. On complex structures, software can be used to calculate the outcomes of the different loads. Checking the results obtained from the software using first principal knowledge and basic structural analysis formulae also needs to be carried out as part of the process. The results from the structural analysis can then be used to design the footings, walls & vertical supports, floors, roof, and any other structural requirements of the building.
Contact us to answer your questions today.