Some structural engineers specialise in designing structures to withstand unusual weather, like heavy snow, high winds and coastal storms.
Other specialists design structures for earthquake zones, helping to save lives by designing buildings that won’t fall down when they shake and twist in earthquake conditions.
Many structural engineers help respond to natural disasters: assisting rescue efforts, and designing improvements to make more resilient communities in future. They also help improve the lives of the world’s poorest people.
There are engineers who have particular skill in renovating old buildings, adapting them for re-use to modern standards and breathing new life into old structures.
Other engineers investigate the reasons why structures fail - sharing their knowledge to help prevent incidents in the future.
Many structural engineers work exclusively on people’s homes: designing safe, efficient works like chimney removals, extensions and loft conversions and assessing and repairing issues like subsidence and damaged walls.
Fiona Hughes, a Student Member of the Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team, describes the 2016 mission to Ecuador - and the significance of their report.
Peter Robinson has been a practising structural engineer since 2007. Here he discusses a project to build a 60 metre pedestrian footbridge over the Akanyaru River in Rwanda, providing a huge boost to local people.
Becky Rabjohns discusses her work with charity “Engineers without Borders” in Kenya, helping to improve school buildings in an outskirt of Nairobi.