Last Updated on September 6, 2021 by Admin
Structural engineering is the field of engineering that deals with the structural integrity and strength of a building or structure. Structural engineering is a specialty of civil engineering that ensures the structures are safe, stable, and don’t collapse under applied loads. Read this to learn about Structural Engineer Job Description and Salary Details.
Structural engineering is the subfield of civil engineering concerned with the strength and stability of buildings, bridges, airplanes, vehicles, and other structures.
The structural engineer works with architects and designers to calculate the system of support and other requirements to ensure the structural integrity of the finished product. Structural engineers apply knowledge of physics, math, and many other disciplines in their work. Structural design requirements can vary based on geological constraints and challenges such as earthquake zones and soil types.
Types of structural engineering
You may specialize in a particular area of structural engineering, such as:
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What does a structural engineer do?
Structural engineers oversee the completion of construction projects and ensure structures are durable and safe. Structural engineers design buildings, bridges, and other types of structures. They build 2D and 3D models using computer-aided design technology (e.g., AutoCAD).
They measure loads and presses to secure structural soundness. Structural engineer duties also include collaborating with contractors and guiding construction workers on site.
Overall, structural engineer job responsibilities include:
- Building structures based on technical specifications
- Tracking project progress and reporting on results
- Choosing appropriate materials to ensure durability
A structural engineer is responsible for designing and constructing physical structures to withstand external pressures. They are concerned with ensuring the integrity of each element of a structure, such as beams, foundations, columns, and floors.
Their job involves securing several different types of structures such as buildings, bridges, tunnels, towers, and dams. They also improve the integrity of existing structures. Structural engineering is a specialty of civil engineering, and people who want to practice structural engineering have to take certification exams.
Some responsibilities of structural engineers include:
- Preparing building designs and calculating the load and stress that a building can withstand
- Using computer-aided software to calculate a building’s reaction to weather
- Obtaining the regulatory permits for construction of a building
- Preparing cost estimates of structures and selecting materials for a building
- Supervising building construction and advising project managers
- Liaising with other professionals like architects, engineers, and builders to deliver a project
- Managing projects and administering contracts
Structural engineers often work alongside civil engineers and architects as part of a construction team. Structures must be able to deal with the conditions in which they are built. A house in Canada must have a roof that can bear the weight of heavy snow, and a stadium in California must be able to withstand earthquakes, for example. When building bridges, designers must consider the conditions of terrain, wind, water, and traffic volume. Structural engineers consider all of these factors and provide technical advice about the project.
A structural engineer’s job includes:
- Analyzing blueprints, maps, reports, and topographical and geological data;
- Estimating the cost and quantities of materials, equipment, and labor;
- Computing load and grade requirements, water flow rates, and material stress factors in determining design specifications;
- Inspecting project sites to monitor progress and ensure the project is being constructed according to design specifications;
- Conducting studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to identify potential problems and assess how they affect the project.
A structural engineer must also know the properties of various materials, such as their density, hardness, tensile strength, bulk modulus, and bending strength. They need to calculate how different materials will perform under stresses such as compression, tension, bending, and twisting, as well as under various environmental conditions of temperature, pressure, corrosive gases and liquids, and even radiation. They also need to predict how these materials will perform over an extended period.
Structural engineers rely increasingly on computer-aided design (CAD) systems, so proficiency with computers is essential. In addition to speeding up the drafting process, CAD systems allow quick and easy modifications of designs and three-dimensional (3D) visualization of finished parts and assemblies.
Responsibilities of a structural engineer
A structural engineer also plays a significant role among other professionals like surveyors, quantity surveyors, and architects engineers. The following tasks must be performed by a structural engineer:
- Design structures, such as buildings or bridges
- Create structural models by using computer-aided design software
- Measure loads and pressures caused by environmental or human influence
- Follow construction safety guidelines
- Choose appropriate materials based on structural specifications
- Monitor on-site construction processes and supervise construction workers
- Prepare and allocate budgets
- Track and report on project progress
- Collaborate with contractors and project managers
- Design models of structures using the software.
- Assessing the reaction of structures to pressures and stress.
- Finalizing the appropriate concrete materials that would be suitable for the structure.
- Estimating the budget of the project.
- Liaising to ensure that newly erected buildings are structurally sound with construction contractors.
- Using computers and computer-aided design technology for simulation purposes.
How to become a structural engineer
There are several routes to becoming a structural engineer. You can gain the qualifications you need by doing a university or college course or an apprenticeship. If you already have relevant experience, you may apply directly to an employer or train on the job. You should explore these routes to find out which is the right one for you.
Structural engineers usually hold a degree in Structural Engineering or a similar field. They have experience using computer-aided design software, such as AutoCAD. This role requires great analytical and mathematical skills to conduct accurate calculations. Budgeting and project management are also important structural engineering skills.
You can complete an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in civil, structural, or architectural engineering.
Training/Apprenticeship in a Reputed Firm
An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. Apprenticeships are open to anyone. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.
You could complete a civil engineer degree apprenticeship and then undertake further professional training to qualify as a structural engineer.
Following are the essential skills requirements to become a structural engineer;
- Analytical skills: A structural engineer analyzes facts and figures before making judgments, correcting problematic structures. The ability to analyze presented facts to find solutions is a required skill for this profession.
- Organization: People who practice structural engineering need to be organized because they design structures built. Strong organization skills help them to know the order of procedure for the delivery of their projects.
- Attention to detail: Structural engineers need to be detail-oriented because they design the fundamental structures that hold a building in place so that a small mistake could be costly. Attention to detail minimizes mistakes.
- Math skills: A structural engineering job requires good mathematical skills, as it will require using the principles of both mathematics and physics to design structurally sound projects.
- Problem-solving: Structural engineers use problem-solving skills to solve faulty building plans or existing structures with issues.
- Leadership skills: These professionals are often project managers. A project manager’s work involves managing a team and delivering a project according to agreed timelines.
- Communication skills: Structural engineers need to communicate designs and reports through presentations and in writing. They also need to discuss needs and project statuses with clients effectively.
- Computer skills: Structural engineer work requires design and calculation using software such as AutoCAD and RISA. These professionals should also be familiar with using email, word processing, and spreadsheets. Knowledge of CAD software applications like ETABS, SAFE, STAAD Pro, PROKON, RAVIT, ROBOT, etc.
Sample Job Requirements
- Previous experience as a Structural Engineer or similar field
- Excellent knowledge of construction methods and regulations
- Hands-on experience with AutoCAD
- The data-driven mindset with excellent mathematical skills
- Good communication ability (both written and verbal)
- Attention to detail
- Degree in Structural Engineering; a Master’s degree is a plus
Structural engineer work environment
Structural engineers may work in various environments, such as construction companies, utility companies, government establishments, and engineering consulting firms. A structural engineer often works both in an office environment and on project sites as needed.
Job locations can vary from metropolitan to rural areas, and their job may require travel if the client’s projects are not in the same city. Structural engineers usually work full time during standard business hours, although they may need to work overtime to meet specific deadlines as needed by their project. Common office equipment includes computers, phones, and design software.
The future of structural engineering
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the employment of civil engineers (there is no separate information about structural engineers) is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022. There should be opportunities for highly qualified applicants, particularly those who have kept abreast of the latest developments in technology. Having good grades from a highly rated institution should give a job seeker an advantage over the competition.
Structural Engineer Salary
As per Payscale, The Average Salary in India for Structural engineers is ₹487,386 per year.
(Note: Data recorded on 6th Sept. 2021.)
An entry-level Structural Engineer with less than 1-year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of ₹308,900.
An early career Structural Engineer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of ₹373,543 based on 484 salaries.
A mid-career Structural Engineer with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of ₹719,723.
An experienced Structural Engineer with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of ₹1,164,877
In their late-career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of ₹1,800,000.