Using structural engineering techniques, structural designers and planners construct plans and designs for structural components and systems that meet design objectives while also ensuring the safety and comfort of users or occupants. Safety, technical, economic, and environmental problems are the primary considerations in their work, although they may also take into account artistic and social considerations.
Even though structural engineering is often thought of as a speciality topic within the field of civil engineering, it may also be pursued as a separate study. It is now the case that the vast majority of practising structural engineers in the United States are also civil engineers, while the situation differs from one state to the next. Some jurisdictions require structural engineers to have a separate licence, which is necessary for the design of unique or high-risk facilities such as schools, hospitals, and skyscrapers, among others. The Institution of Structural Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers are the two professional organisations that most structural engineers in the construction business in the United Kingdom belong to.
Buildings, skyscrapers, stadiums, and bridges are examples of the kind of structures that a structural engineer designs. An engineer who specialises in structural design may also work on other types of constructions such as oil rigs, space satellites, aeroplanes and ships. The majority of structural engineers work in the construction business, but there are also structural engineers working in the aerospace, car, and shipbuilding industries, among other places. In the construction sector, they collaborate with a variety of professionals, including architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, and project managers.
Structural engineers ensure that buildings and bridges are constructed in such a way that they are strong and stable enough to withstand all appropriate structural loads (such as gravity, wind, snow, rain, seismic (earthquake), earth pressure, temperature, and traffic) in order to prevent or reduce the loss of life or serious injury. They also build structures to be rigid enough so that they do not deflect or vibrate beyond what is considered acceptable. The subject of human comfort is one that is often taken into consideration while setting boundaries. Fatigue is also a significant issue in the design of bridges and aeroplanes, as well as other structures that are subjected to a large number of stress cycles over the course of their lives. The durability of materials is also taken into account in order to guard against probable degradation that might compromise performance during the design lifespan.