What is structural engineering exactly?

It is a field of engineering dealing with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering theory is based upon physical laws and empirical knowledge of the structural performance of different materials and geometries.

Structural engineering — a specialty within the field of civil engineering — focuses on the framework of structures, and on designing those structures to withstand the stresses and pressures of their environment and remain safe, stable and secure throughout their use. In other words, structural engineers make sure that buildings don’t fall down and bridges don’t collapse.

Structural engineering is among the oldest types of engineering, dating back to the first instance of tree branches being lashed together with vines to make a shelter. Throughout recorded history, people have been designing and building increasingly larger and more sophisticated structures, from primitive huts to the International Space Station.

The names of the earliest practitioners of structural engineering are lost to antiquity. We will never know who designed the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Parthenon or the aqueducts of the Roman Empire. Some of the latter-day practitioners in this field are known, although often not as well as the structures they designed. Prominent structural engineers include Gustave Eiffel (Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty) and Eero Saarinen (Gateway Arch). However, most designs for famous modern structures such as the Large Hadron Collider and the James Webb Space Telescope are attributed to companies and government organizations.


Structural engineers are trained professionals who are responsible for making sure that the structures we use in our daily lives, like bridges and tall buildings, are safe, stable and don’t collapse under applied loads. They do this by applying their technical knowledge to specify different types of construction materials in various shapes and geometries and design structures that can withstand the pressures and stresses of their environment such as gravity loads, storms and earthquakes.

As a structural engineer, I work closely with my clients to understand the function of the project in order to provide a safe, constructable and economical solution to complete their project successfully. Generally speaking, the structural design process of a building can be divided into three stages: load calculation, structural analysis and design.

Depending on the function of the building, standards and building codes can be used to estimate the weight of the building, and snow, wind and earthquake loads on the structures. Once the loads acting on the structure are known, the structure is analyzed to determine the effect of all these loads on the individual elements of the structure. Engineering software can be used by structural engineers to analyze different kinds of structures. It is always a good idea to check the validity of the software results using first principal knowledge and basic structural analysis formulas. The forces and stresses from the structural analysis software can be used to design the main structural elements including the floor system, vertical supports, foundations and other parts of the building.

As a structural engineer, the safety of the public is my top priority. When it comes to buildings and infrastructure we use in our society, the consequences of a collapsed structure can be catastrophic. This is the why structural engineers use factors of safety in their design to account for uncertainty in load assumptions and unexpected deficiency in construction material or workmanship.

Is Structural Engineering a good career?

Structural engineers can start their career as a construction designer and can further become project managers. … Professionals in Structural engineering plays an important role in construction industry. They can also work as a self-employed contract engineer or as consultants.

Is Structural Engineering a good career & what is meant by structural steel?

Structural steel fabrication Melbourne is a category of steel used for making construction materials in a variety of shapes. … Most structural steel shapes, such as I-beams, have high second moments of area, which means they are very stiff in respect to their cross-sectional area and thus can support a high load without excessive sagging.

What is structural engineering salary?

The base salary for Structural Engineer I ranges from $55,395 to $71,564 with the average base salary of $67,396. The total cash compensation, which includes base, and annual incentives, can vary anywhere from $57,413 to $71,974 with the average total cash compensation of $67,396.

What are the 3 types of structures?

There are three basic types of structures: shell structures, frame structures and solid structures.