What is a structural engineer?
Endeavouring to construct a building requires teamwork from a wide array of people trained in specialized skills. An integral component of a building construction crew, as well as other large projects–such as planes and ships–is the structural engineer.
You may be familiar with the mastery of an architect and their concern with the look and function of a building; the structural engineer ensures that the building will remain durable against the forces of nature and common accidents. They consider the likely abuses that a structure will face and then rework the design to achieve a safer result. Modern materials are also complex in their chemical makeup, as well as confusing in their numerous variances, so a structural engineer is also knowledgeable in how these materials interact.
An assortment of different situations in every contract means that study and experience is needed to understand what is safe to construct at which location, so not only would it be disastrous to attempt to build a structure without this type of engineer, but it’s also illegal. Keep in mind that residents that seek to take on projects like building an extension or modifying their walls on their own property are often required by their state to have their work inspected by a structural engineer.
In Portland, structural engineers are necessary for nearly every type of sizeable construction job, so let’s learn more about what a structural engineer does and how to best seek their service.
What do structural engineers do?
People have been building domiciles and places of congregation since the beginning of recorded history. Structural engineering dates back thousands of years, although most of the major developments within the discipline have been relatively recent. Genius mathematicians and geometers of the last few hundred years set the groundwork for the modern superstructures that currently surround us. Before the invention of certain techniques, as well as the synthesis of new materials, structures were limited to simple designs and puny heights. Now, engineers have learned to use triangles and other complex shapes to distribute weight evenly, thereby increasing the stability of the structures on which they work.
Structural engineers also protect the public from unsafe structures. Sometimes, something will be built that hasn’t been safely designed or inspected, usually to save the project owners money. When this happens, it’s only a matter of time before an innocent person is exposed to danger. A number of things could result from mismanagement in structural design. A total collapse is possible, but there are also more subtle disasters that happen. If it’s possible that the second floor of the building will have hundreds of people standing on it at one time, then the structural engineer must make sure that the first floor ceiling is reinforced to withstand the weight. If the building is constructed in an area that receives earthquakes or tornadoes, then it’s imperative that the structure is prepared for such events.
First, the structural engineer will examine and revise the plans for the building. If you’re seeking the help of a structural engineer after having already started construction, then prepare to make some serious changes to your existing structure. Once the initial recommendations have been made, the structural engineer will monitor the progress of construction and make sure that the proper procedures are being followed. Everything from the general location to the specific placement of rivets is considered. Throughout every stage of construction, the structural engineer makes sure that the building stays true to their plan.
How do I Find A Great Engineer?
Finding a licensed structural engineer is easy to do. There are many private businesses that offer the services of a structural engineer, as well as independent contractors. In Portland, the Structural Engineers Association of Oregon can be contacted for specific questions or concerns about building projects. Most states make it easy to get in touch with a structural engineer, because it’s for the benefit of everybody involved. A great structural engineer will increase the safety of a building, without sacrificing aesthetic and presentation; however, sometimes certain negotiations are required between the architect and structural engineer to find a balance between stability and beauty. The ability that you hire will be proportionate to the money you’re willing to spend: an experienced and well-trained structural engineer will demand a good chunk of the project funds. Most people will want to simply get their structure up to code so that they don’t face any legal repercussions, in which case a more humble structural engineer can be found.
Now that we know more about the importance of a structural engineer, there’s no reason not to seek a licensed and trustworthy professional to take on this position. We provide competitively priced and highly reliable structural engineering service, within the Portland area. Our team will save you money in the long run, by helping you avoid fines or damages caused by poorly stabilized structures. The next time that you need the expertise of a structural engineer, don’t hesitate to contact us for a cutting-edge and highly accredited professional to add to your project crew.
Lewis & Van Vleet (503) 966-4993