What kind of projects do structural engineers work on?
Structural engineers either deal with existing structures or new structures which include buildings, bridges, dams, and roads. The structural engineer will work with the architect and/or owner to help their vision come to life and do their best to accommodate their wants and needs when working on new structures. The common projects that structural engineers work on are additions to existing structures where the existing structure needs to be able to support new loads and often requires reinforcing to support new loads.
When building owners or tenants want to add heavy equipment to the structure that wasn’t originally in the design structural engineers are in demand. The challenge of figuring out the most economical and feasible way for these additional loads, whether by reinforcing existing structural elements or by designing a new structure within the existing structure is taken care of by structural engineers.
When the architect has to alter or remove some of the building load-bearing elements, they team up with structural engineers. These alterations include the removal of load-bearing walls or columns or changing the type of occupancy and new load paths have to be created when structural elements are removed. When it comes to renovations of existing structures, structural engineers need to have a wide range of knowledge on different building materials and types of structures as they have to work with existing types of structures and finish them. They will have to use their investigation skills to determine how the structure was constructed and how the original engineer intended to in case of no drawings available for the structure.
The restoration of existing deteriorated structures or structures that have exhibited failures is also dealt with by structural engineers. All structures have a lifespan, when the structural elements deteriorate and the structural integrity of that element is compromised, it is the structural engineer’s job to design and repair to reinstate its structural capacity. Structural engineers will have to work with building owners and architects to come up with a way to restore or replace a deteriorated building envelope to make sure the building’s inside is protected from the outside elements. Building envelopes are a building’s first line of defense when it comes to protecting a building from elements such as wind, rain, and snow and will require repair as an important part of the structure.
There are a wide variety of different types of projects that a structural engineer could be tasked with working on such as New construction, bridge construction, city infrastructure, community development impact analysis, and project site inspections.