In simpler terms, Structural Engineering is a civil engineering discipline that deals with the analysis of structures, design of structural elements that support and resist loading.
Structural Engineering is based on the principle of physics and arithmetic that involves applying information on physical law furthermore as an inquiry into the strength of various materials. Whereas the analysis and design of structural elements are key, it is equally important to understand them fully.
The safety of a structure depends on how best the structural analysis was done and the consideration of design codes. A thorough analysis helps in accurately determining the load the structure can bear, the wind velocity it can withstand and the overall capability of the building.
The fundamental aspect of structural design is to ensure structures are designed to withstand their own weight as well as safely carry the loads and pressures exerted upon them. It’s common to find most of the structures that do not consider structural engineering in its design running the risk of failing due to its own weight and the loads imposed on it.
Structural Engineering is a fundamental aspect in development of buildings because it directly impacts the safety and durability of buildings.
The structural aspect of a building should make sure that the building is in a position to stand firmly and safely, cracking and failure of fixtures, fittings, partitions, able to function without notable deflections or movements which may cause fatigue of structural components or cause subsequent discomfort to its occupants. Structural Engineering aids in accurately estimating the safe weight a building can carry, the storm force, winds a warehouse facility can withstand.
Applying Structural Engineering in transportation infrastructures such as bridges, culverts, subways, and road accessories is very important. Structural analysis in these structures enables engineers to safely determine the design standard according to the loads imposed on them. Having a safe transport system increases durability, efficient transportation as well as lengthening the life span of the structure.
One of the most important aspects of engineering is the structural element in utility work. Underground pipelines, sewer lines, and gas lines are heavily depended on the human population. These utilities are designed, constructed and maintained with the help of careful structural analysis. The durability, service life and safety of these utilities is highly regarded and factored in during the initial stages of design.
Structural Engineering is mandated to ensure the quality of materials, efficient use of resources so as to avoid wastage and high costs. For instance, structural engineers must be able to determine the optimal material grade such as testing the soundness of the structural material, the malleability as well as the strength of the material, this should meet the safety standard without necessarily raising the cost of the structural material.
The design aesthetic must also be achieved in the process of determining the grade of the structural material.
Upon the completion of a project, a regular inspection must be adequately carried out to ensure structures receive the necessary maintenance it requires to be able to retain serviceability. Maintenance is undertaken to restore and improve each part of a building and that its services meet the set acceptable standard at the same time sustain the purpose and value of the facility.
The adverse effects of poor maintenance can lead to structural failure, deterioration of structural members and building collapse reducing the serviceability of the structure. Therefore, proper maintenance should be given to all construction work to reduce the rate of adverse effects.
The overall impact of structural engineering on our daily life is based on how accurate the structural analysis and design have been observed as well as understanding the importance of all the structural elements.
Contemporary structural engineering techniques have highly contributed to sustainable building designs. The industrial revolution has diverted to new and innovative structural engineering techniques.
One of the most exciting developments has been parametric modeling which involves the creation of a detailed 3D model of a structure that can be changed interactively by adjusting design parameters. This makes design optimization much faster and easier.