4 Important considerations of structural analysis and design

Structural design is the orderly investigation of the stability, strength, and rigidity of structures. Structural analysis and design’s main objective is to produce a structure capable of resisting all applied loads without failure during its intended life. If the structure is erroneously designed or if the actual applied loads exceed the design specifications, the device will probably fail to perform its intended function with serious consequences. The primary purpose of a structure is to transmit or support loads. A well-engineered structure greatly minimizes costly failures.

A structural design project is divided into three phases, planning, design, and construction. The structural design of any structure first step is establishing the loading and other design conditions which are supported by the structure and therefore must be considered in its design. The second step is the analysis and computation of internal gross forces, as well as stress intensities, strain, deflection, and reactions produced by loads, temperature changes, shrinkage, creep, and other design conditions. The proportioning and selection of materials for the members and connections to respond adequately to the effects produced by the design conditions is the third and final step.

There are four important factors in structural analysis and design:

  • Design code and standards

Structural designs must comply with all national, state, or local building standards, permit requirements, and design codes. These criteria serve as guidelines when designing a proposed project.

  • Load considerations

An analysis of load consideration is a vital part of the structural design. Load considerations will depend on the type of occupancy and the height of the structure. There are three common loadings of a building, Dead Load (DL), Superimposed Dead Load (SDL), Live Loads (LL).

  • Framing

The important part of the process to ensure the safety of the structure is determining the proper structural support and framing. Structural analysis, through the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology, can help in determining appropriate slab thickness, beam dimensions, orientations, design of footings, and more.

  • Schedule

Once all analyses and designs have been completed, a structural markup, including the design, schedule, and budget must be submitted. A complete collaboration between all stakeholders is necessary to ensure every detail is accounted for in the overall schedule. The ultimate performance of a building relies on the collaborative efforts of all project participants.

Structural analysis and design are just a part of the collaborative efforts required to achieve a successful project. Structural engineering teams must provide robust experience, results-oriented designs and solutions, and a time-sensitive, client-focused approach to all projects.

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