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What do structural engineers do?

Structural engineers are specialists in design, construction, repair, conversion and conservation. They are concerned with all aspects of a structure and its stability.

Building structure is like a skeletonRelatively little is known about this unsung band of heroes, who are fundamental to any build project.

In a nutshell, if a structure was a human body then the architect would be concerned with the body shape and appearance, and the structural engineer would be concerned with the skeleton and sinews.

Structural engineers are a key part of the design and construction team, working alongside civil engineers and architects. Together they create all kinds of structures from houses, theatres, sports stadia and hospitals to bridges, oil rigs and space satellites.

Every structure has to deal with the conditions in which it is built. Houses in Switzerland and Canada will need a very strong roof structure to deal with continuous snow and ice loads. Bridges all around the world will need to carry different kinds of crossing loads, be that people, cars or even high speed trains. It is a structural engineer's job to consider all the possible factors.

Structural engineers make a difference and shape the built environment. They are people who enjoy a challenge, responsibility and the excitement of an innovative and varied career. Structural engineering presents both creative and technical challenges and requires excellent problem solving skills.

Structural engineers are important: everything we do, every day is because of a structural engineer's work.

It's what we do: is a short film made by the Institution’s Yorkshire Regional Group to increase awareness of the work done by structural engineers. If you would like a copy of this DVD, please contact our education department.

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