All the articles from the January 2020 issue of The Structural Engineer.
Publish Date ‐ 2 January 2020
You must have wondered, probably increasingly, what the profession of structural engineering will look like in future. The authors of the papers in this special issue certainly have. They provide a glimpse into some of the possibilities which lie around the corner for us.
This foreword briefly summarises the commitments that engineers have made in declaring a climate emergency and considers first steps to build action plans that will support these commitments.
Over the past decade, I’ve had great opportunity to engage with our international professional community in thinking about the future of structural engineering. We see great opportunity for structural engineers to hold leadership roles in helping society meet its future challenges, and there is a generation of bright young professionals eager to make a difference in the world.
Our world is changing and we need to adapt and evolve to remain relevant. For the engineering profession, it is time to adopt a more human-centric focus to better leverage technological innovation and use it to make a greater contribution to our society.
The engineering sector appears to be becoming more and more disparate, with holism becoming harder to obtain. This paper proposes a potential solution to this through the upskilling of engineering professionals to become ‘specialist generalist technical lead’ designers within a renewed and simplified core design team.
Digital technology has transformed structural engineering over the past 50 years. Now artificial intelligence, which includes machine learning, promises to do the same for engineering design and practice, especially for situations that are too complex for the current generation of programs.
Eighteen months ago, I was appointed the 'digital leader’ of the structural skills network within my firm. The insight I’ve gathered feels like it should be shared more widely. I hope you find something here that either gives you a starting point for action, or reinforces the course you have already charted.
The skills required of engineers are changing. New technology and automation mean that fewer engineers are undertaking more – and more varied – work. What can we do to ensure that engineers with the right skills are encouraged into our industry today, and equipped for the industry of tomorrow?
The construction industry needs a shake-up and that shake-up has now arrived. PropTech or ConTech refers to the digital transformation of the construction industry. With that transformation, two tectonic shifts are about to occur: it will become the greatest time in history to be an engineer; and the master architect will return.
This paper explores issues around the ambitions for use of off-site methods, identifies some lessons from previous projects, and suggests ways to accelerate the adoption of manufacturing-led methods, including professional services delivery, education and skills.
The Jump Factory is an innovative construction technique developed and implemented by Mace and consultants Davies Maguire to construct two residential towers in the East Village, London. This paper describes the structural form of the factory, its support system and weekly lift cycle.
The number and diversity of materials in use in structures is increasing. This presents opportunities for engineers, but also poses challenges in how to continue to provide technical advice over such a wide range of materials.
As the climate changes there will be ever-increasing social and economic pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, with focus turning to the embodied carbon in products which has thus far been eclipsed by operational values.
It is simply not possible to build in the future the way we do today if we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, slow the depletion of natural resources and minimise waste production. These challenges can only be addressed if engineers and architects actively include them at the source of their designs.
Structural designers’ efforts to reduce environmental impacts traditionally consist of developing systems that minimise material quantities or use low-impact materials. A third strategy is currently (re)emerging: the reuse of structural components over multiple service lives and in new layouts.
This month's letters consider the environmental impact of flying, and return to the topics of the cost of professional indemnity insurance, subsidence issues, and building control on domestic projects.
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