Structural engineers design, plan and oversee the construction of new buildings and bridges, or alterations and extensions to existing properties or other structures.
Structural engineers design structures to withstand stresses and pressures imposed through environmental conditions and human use. They ensure buildings and other structures do not deflect, rotate, vibrate excessively or collapse and that they remain stable and secure throughout their use. They also examine existing buildings and structures to test if they are structurally sound and still fit for purpose.
Employers of structural engineers
- Construction/engineering consultancies
- Construction/engineering contractors
- Utility companies
- Local authorities
- preparing reports, designs and drawings
- making calculations about loads and stresses
- selecting appropriate construction materials
- providing technical advice
- obtaining planning and/or building regulations approval
- liaising with relevant professional staff such as architects
- monitoring and inspecting work undertaken by contractors
- administering contracts
- managing projects
- inspecting properties to check conditions/foundations
The career of a structural engineer is open to graduates of civil or structural engineering. If you have a degree or a diploma in another engineering or science discipline, you may also be able to enter the profession, but it could take longer and you may be limited as to how far you can progress.
- good analytical and problem-solving skills;
- strong mathematical ability;
- computer literacy;
- a grasp of physics;
- three-dimensional conceptual skills;
- excellent oral and written communication skills;
- diagrammatic skills;
- the ability to teamwork;
- attention to detail;
- the ability to liaise well with professionals from other disciplines;
- an interest in the design and structure of buildings.