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The Importance of Structural Engineering

Structural engineering, a part of civil engineering, has emerged as a critical part of the construction process. Its first recorded use dates back to 27th century B.C. when Egyptian Polymath Imhotep designed and constructed the famed step pyramid of Saqqara. Leonardo Da Vinci created many outstanding designs ahead of his time using structural engineering methods. Its use became central to construction activities in the 19th and 20th centuries when steel was used in large scale to build huge structures, such as Eiffel Tower, WTC, Sears Tower, big apartment blocks, and infrastructure projects.

Structural Engineering

With advancement of technology and introduction of CAD for design and finite analysis, structural engineering has become a part and parcel of construction process for both building and non–building structures. Expert structural engineers are being entrusted with the responsibility to make designs, structural analysis, steel detailing, and safety assessment of structures to be constructed. It assures error-free design, risk analysis, effective cost and material estimation, and creative use of individual structural elements.

The followings points demonstrate importance of structural engineering for building structures and foundations.

Structure Design Support

Structural engineering plays a key role in designing both individual elements and the structure as a whole. The intricate designs of modern structures call for astute creativity in defining support and load resistance systems. An engineer expert in structural detailing is the most capable to provide precise information about foundations, floors, type of roofs, beams, quantity of steel required, alignments leading to durability, retaining walls, suspension of bridges, etc. Accordingly designs are amended and drawings are generated.

Structural Analysis

Use of complex designs and composite materials in modern structures demands effective structural analysis for design reliability, safety, strength, material specification, and stress design based on empirical and scientific basis. Structural engineers working as sub–consultant to architectures help delineate internal and external factors, such as load, wind velocity, intersections, nodes, components, and landscape on the structure steel system, utility, and capabilities. They detail capabilities of structures regarding support and performance satisfying building design codes, aesthetic features, criteria, and customer needs.

Safety Assessment

Structural engineering helps predict safety and assess capacity and stability of a structure against static and dynamic loading. Structural engineers check internal and external forces, including fracture, materials used, earthquake, vibration, creep, structure fatigue, temperature, wind, and dynamics, which have bearing on the structure. It also delineates structural ability to show warning signs before collapsing of pre–stressed and post–tensioned structures and requirements for their serviceability long after the construction is completed. This helps plan the design and construct the structure keeping in view the safety and security of workers, visitors, and customers and avoiding potential dangers.

Estimation

Structural engineering helps outline behavior of individual structural members and the most suitable geometries and material requirements for them. It divides a complex structure into individual elements and creates separate design and analysis for them while providing details structural analysis. Structural detailing of steel, fabrication needs, erection height, alignments, reinforced cement concrete components, composite structures, and replacement designs. The process also provides information on steel beams, frames, girders, gantries, and columns. This enables builders to test design efficacy, figure out material needed, and estimate costs while aiding creative and efficient utilization or resources.

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