Civil Structural Engineering — An Overview of What It Encompasses

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When it comes to the designing and construction of large and complex structures such as high-rise buildings, roads, dams and bridges, you will need civil structural engineering services. Civil engineers are the professionals that specialise in meeting all the structural engineering needs of civil structures like the ones highlighted above. 

As a construction contractor, you do not need to have an in-depth understanding of civil structural engineering, but it is always a good idea to have a clue about what this field of engineering involves, as you might need to enlist the services of a civil engineer at some point.

Generally speaking, civil engineers must make sure that they structures they build are safe, durable, cost-efficient, serviceable, and aesthetically pleasing. To meet these requirements, civil engineers perform two primary functions: (1) they come up with the structural design of a civil structure and (2) they analyse the design.

Read on below to find out what structural design and structural analysis involves:

Structural Design

Structural design involves determining which type of structure befits a specific function, what materials are to be used to construct the structure, the loads or forces that the structure must resist, and the dimensions and layout of various components of the structure. When coming up with a structural design for a particular structure, civil engineers must perform detailed calculations geared towards making sure that: (1) the structure will be suitable to be used for its intended purpose; (2) all components of the structure are strong enough to sustain the design loads and; (3) the whole structure is stable and will remain serviceable during its entire lifespan.

In addition, structural design encompasses the meticulous preparation of drawings that will be used to communicate technical details of the engineering plan to those who will be contracted to build the structure.

Structural Analysis

Without structural analysis, the civil structural engineering process would be incomplete. Structural analysis involves assessing the structural design of a particular structure by calculating how the structure would be able to sustain the design loads it may be subjected to during its lifetime. The calculations are then used by civil engineers to choose the right construction materials for the structure, and to see to it that the structure is suitable for the intended purpose.

Civil structures require huge capital investment to build, so it is important to do the job right the first time. Getting the input of a certified civil structural engineer will go a long way to ensure that you meet the standards for your particular project.