A specialty within civil engineering, structural engineers create drawings and specifications, perform calculations, and review the work of other engineers. They make sure buildings don’t fall down or collapse. They also write reports and evaluations and observe construction sites. Often, they work alongside civil engineers and architects as part of a construction team.
Structural engineers research environmental risks and analyze the effects of them on buildings and bridges. The U.S. experiences a spectrum of weather each year. California experiences earthquakes, the south floods and hurricanes, and the north and midwest experiences blizzards and tornados. Structural engineers must account for the weather and the type of soil among other things while creating drawings. With all the weather data available, engineers have a good starting point to commence projects.
They must consider the ground surface irregularities in the direction from which the weather is coming. Irregularities include other buildings that will surround the building that is being constructed. Those other buildings will impede the wind. If a building stands alone on a new plot there are little to no irregularities. In this case, the full force of the wind must be accounted for.
Height and Material
The height of the structure also plays a part. The material that is used such as steel has to resist elements. Concrete walls or wood walls will have different resistances. Channeling effects or “wind tunnel” effects also are analyzed. They are even more important in cities like Chicago which is known as the Windy City for its high wind speeds. M-3 Enterprises has the experience and the knowledge to construct buildings that withstand every weather scenario Chicago experiences.
Structural engineers design roof framing (beams, rafters, joists, trusses), floor framing arches, columns, braces, frames, foundations (using helical piles), and walls. There’s a number of materials that they work with and they ensure that they meet specifications.
Why They Matter
Protecting people is what structural engineers do with their designs. They matter because, without them, buildings wouldn’t be able to resist different types of weathers and earth meaning buildings would fall or collapse causing damage to those inside or surrounding the building. Hundreds and thousands of people would get hurt. Their work might go unnoticed by everyday people but those in the field know what goes into making sure a building continues to stand tall.