Structural engineering is a vital element in the design and construction of a commercial building. In commercial construction, design elements, electrical systems, and mechanical systems are all supported by the building structure. The building must fulfill its function in a durable and feasible way from the foundation, through the columns, to the roof. Licensing requirements for structural engineers can help assure you that they are capable of doing their job.
Structural engineers design the support structures in architectural drawings. They help solve problems which may come up for the architects and other engineers. They will calculate the strength and quality of the elements from raw materials to intricate pre-engineered components. Calculations of the stresses of load-bearing structures will assure that the building is neither too weak nor over-engineered. The design of the building must allow it to withstand stress and bear the load of the structures.
Structural engineers are responsible for seeing that the designs and materials of the building make it safe for occupancy. Will it be strong enough to maintain its integrity for the life of the building? Different aspects such as physics, mechanics, and mathematics will all be considered during the project. Engineers conduct site surveys and check the earth and bedrock structure to make sure that it has the required stability to support the completed building. Environmental aspects such as rainfall, snowfall, wind, flood, earthquake, and erosion factors are all considered, along with environmental impact. For example, if the building will be subjected to snow, would it be able to withstand the worst snowstorm in the historical records of the area?
The structural engineers are involved with the contractors, owners, and architects during construction. They are a critical resource for the construction contractor to get answers to questions on design features. They help owners and architects select quality and cost-effective materials. Visits to the construction site by the engineers assure contractor compliance according to the drawings and help building inspectors by making structural observations.
Structural engineers will also study new methods and materials introduced to the industry. And determine if they can improve the integrity or economics of a project. They may also be able to integrate sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives.
Structural engineering lowers the total cost of ownership of a building by making it last longer. It brings value to the project in longevity and cost savings over the life of the building.
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