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Technical Guidance Notes

Accessible guidance for those wishing to develop a greater general understanding of structural design.

The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 8): Designing a pile-cap</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 8): Designing a pile-cap

This note concerns the design of pile-caps for small groups of piles. It relies on the strut-and-tie method to determine the amount of reinforcement required in the pile-cap; which is dependent upon the depth of the cap, the magnitude of the axial load being placed upon it, the cap’s concrete strength and the pile size and spacing.

Date - 28 November 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 7): Designing a concrete pad foundation</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 7): Designing a concrete pad foundation

The purpose of a pad foundation is to spread a concentrated force into soil. They are one of the most simple and cost effective types of footing for structures, and are the preferred solution for foundations due to the straightforward nature of their design and construction.

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 1 August 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 6): Designing a laterally loaded masonry wall</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 6): Designing a laterally loaded masonry wall

This note concerns the design of masonry walls subject to lateral loads (i.e.  those used as a cladding element). It discusses material assessment, restraint, geometry and exposure conditions. 

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 1 June 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 5): Designing a concrete column</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 5): Designing a concrete column

This note focuses on the design of reinforced concrete columns to BS EN 1992-1-1 – Eurocode 2: Design of Concrete Structures – Part 1-1: General Rules for Buildings. It covers the design of columns of all cross-section profiles (typically square, rectangular or circular).

Date - 1 May 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 4): Designing a concrete beam</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 4): Designing a concrete beam

This note focuses on the design of reinforced concrete beams to BS EN 1992-1-1 – Eurocode 2: Design of Concrete Structures – Part 1-1: General Rules for Buildings. It covers the design of multispan beams that have both ‘L’ and ‘T’ cross-section profiles.

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 26 March 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 3): Designing a concrete slab</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 3): Designing a concrete slab

This note focuses on the design of one-way-spanning concrete slabs to BS EN 1992-1-1 – Eurocode 2: Design of Concrete Structures – Part 1-1: General Rules for Buildings

Date - 27 February 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 21): Design and detailing of base plates to steel columns</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 21): Design and detailing of base plates to steel columns

Base plates are the primary means by which steel-framed structures transmit vertical loads into their foundations. 

Date - 1 May 2019
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 33): Retaining wall construction</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 33): Retaining wall construction

Guidance on the various forms of retaining walls currently in use. This note is primarily concerned with structures that retain soil.

Date - 1 October 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 32): Floor slab construction</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 32): Floor slab construction

When developing a scheme, the choice of floor slab construction is critical to the columns, foundations, walls and overall stability. As such, the floor slab’s form should be selected with care and consideration.

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 1 September 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 31): Drawing nomenclature</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 31): Drawing nomenclature

This note describes the basic knowledge required to read structural drawings.

Date - 1 September 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 30): Ground bearing slabs</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 30): Ground bearing slabs

An introduction to groundbearing floor slabs, touching on the slabs' reinforcement by considering both historical use of mesh as well as plastic and steel fibre reinfocement methods.

Date - 1 August 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 14): Structural analysis methodology</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 14): Structural analysis methodology

This note is a good practice guide for analysing and designing structures. It explains how structures are given form, modelled, analysed and designed. Mention is made of the need to rationalise the analysis process, but not at the expense of an economic design.

Date - 31 August 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 13): Reading structural steelwork drawings</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 13): Reading structural steelwork drawings

This note is split into two sections; the first contains information a designer of steel elements provides, while the second contains information a fabricator creates in order to manufacture and construct the steel structure. While one feeds into the other, the level of detail each set of information provides is very different, due primarily to the end result. One is informing the manufacture of the steelwork, while the other focuses on its installation.

Date - 2 August 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 12): Reading reinforced concrete drawings</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 12): Reading reinforced concrete drawings

In many cases, reinforced concrete drawings are more diagrammatic than their general arrangement counterparts and carry with them their own unique set of rules and nomenclature. 

This note does not cover the rules governing detailing of reinforced concrete. 

Date - 2 August 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 11): Floor vibration</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 11): Floor vibration

This note is an introduction to the assessment of floor vibrations - a frequently overlooked aspect of the design process. Floor vibrations can lead to expensive remedial works, as occupants complain of discomfort due to excessive movement.

Updated October 2016.

Date - 2 July 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 10): Principles of lateral stability</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 10): Principles of lateral stability

This note explains the various methods adopted to ensure lateral stability and robustness in structures.

 

Date - 2 July 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 1): Principles of design</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 1): Principles of design

An introduction to the core design concepts found within current UK codes of practice.

Date - 1 January 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 22): Workmanship and quality inspections by the structural eng</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 22): Workmanship and quality inspections by the structural eng

This note covers the inspection of structural elements typically present within buildings during their construction and/or alteration phases.

Date - 2 September 2019
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Notes: an introduction</h4>

Technical Guidance Notes: an introduction

An introduction to the series from the Institution's former Director: Engineering and Technical Services, Sarah Fray.

Date - 1 January 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 20): Design and detailing of lintels in masonry walls</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 20): Design and detailing of lintels in masonry walls

A significant-sized opening in a masonry wall will always require a lintel to bridge over it. This note offers advice on the different types of lintel available, their detailing requirements and design.

Date - 1 March 2019
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 2): Designing a steel column</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 2): Designing a steel column

This note focuses on the design of columns in simple construction to BS EN 1993-1-1 – Eurocode 3: Design of Steel Structures – Part 1-1: General Rules for Buildings. It covers rolled steel ‘I’ and ‘H’ sections acting as columns within a braced steel frame structure.

Date - 1 February 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 19): Design and detailing of windposts to masonry walls</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 19): Design and detailing of windposts to masonry walls

Windposts are typically steel elements (vertical props) that provide lateral support to masonry panels. They help reduce destabilising horizontal forces that typically originate from wind pressure.

Date - 2 January 2019
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 20): Site Investigations</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 20): Site Investigations

The chosen form of any substructure is entirely dependent on what the site investigations reveal. It is typically up to the structural engineer, with the aid of geotechnical engineers and specialists, to determine the extent of this investigation and interpret its results.

Date - 30 November 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 2): Derivation of dead loads</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 2): Derivation of dead loads

Dead loads (permanent actions) are defined as the weight of static materials contained with a structure. This includes the self weight of the structure as well as the fixed materials it is supporting.

Date - 1 January 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 19): Soil bearing capacity</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 19): Soil bearing capacity

When designing foundations (from a simple pad footing to a pile cap) there is a need to determine the soil's bearing capacity. This note explains the principles of how this is determined, and how it impacts on foundation design.

Date - 26 October 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 18): Design of timber floor joists</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 18): Design of timber floor joists

One of the most common structural elements, these are normally found in residential properties, but also in medium-sized commercial developments. This note explains the principles behind their design and provides a worked example. In accordance with BS EN 1995-1-1 Eurocode 5: Design of Timber Structures – Part 1-1: General – Common rules and rules for buildings.

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 26 October 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 17): Element size estimation</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 17): Element size estimation

Once the concept and scheme design has been determined, initial sizing of elements commences. This note shows how to size elements, prior to detailed design. This process allows the engineer to gain an appreciation of structural form.

Date - 26 September 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 16): Lateral torsional buckling</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 16): Lateral torsional buckling

This note explains how steel elements are restrained against buckling and what the structural engineer should consider when analysing steel structures with respect to buckling resistance.

Date - 26 September 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 15): Moment distribution</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 15): Moment distribution

Moment distribution is a method by which statically indeterminate structures are analysed elastically. It’s based on the relative stiffness of elements, and shifts bending moments from one section of the structure to another until they become balanced. Once this balance has been achieved, forces and bending moments are modelled.

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 31 August 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 14): Design of unrestrained timber beams</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 14): Design of unrestrained timber beams

This note addresses the design of solid and glulam timber elements that are unrestrained against lateral torsional buckling. It explains how such beams are analysed and designed. The impact of notching the supports of beams is also considered with respect beam's shear capacity.

Date - 20 November 2017
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 13): Masonry cladding to steel-framed buildings</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 13): Masonry cladding to steel-framed buildings

This note introduces structural engineers to the interfaces between a primary structure that is principally formed from steelwork, and a masonry cladding system.

Date - 2 October 2017
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 12): Introduction to steel portal frames</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 12): Introduction to steel portal frames

Portal frames are a simple and very common type of framed (or skeleton) structure. Steel portal frames, in particular, are a cost-effective structural system to support building envelopes requiring large column-free spaces. 

Date - 29 May 2014
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 11): Steel fibre reinforced concrete ground bearing slabs</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 11): Steel fibre reinforced concrete ground bearing slabs

This note describes how steel fibre reinforced concrete groundbearing slabs are designed.

Date - 1 May 2014
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 10): Design of reinforced concrete walls</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 10): Design of reinforced concrete walls

This note explains how reinforced concrete walls are designed to withstand high in-plane bending forces, in accordance with Eurocode 2.

Date - 1 April 2014
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 1): Designing a steel beam</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 1): Designing a steel beam

This note focuses on the design of non-composite steel beams to BS EN 1993-1-1 – Eurocode 3: Design of Steel Structures – Part 1-1: General Rules for Buildings. It covers both restrained and unrestrained rolled steel ‘I’ and ‘H’ beam sections.

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 12 January 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 9): Visualisation of structures</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 9): Visualisation of structures

It is essential for structural engineers to be able to express their ideas clearly through their designs. This note describes two common techniques used to draw in three dimensions.

Date - 2 May 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 27): Introduction to masonry</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 27): Introduction to masonry

The three forms of masonry are brick, concrete block and stone. This note introduces the first two as they are the most common. Used as a form of cladding - at least for concrete and steel-framed structures in the UK -  loadbearing structural masonry is still in use, and employed in the construction of low-rise buildings and soil-retaining structures.

Date - 1 June 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 26): Cracking in concrete</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 26): Cracking in concrete

An understanding of what causes concrete to crack is important when inspecting new works or existing structures.

Date - 1 May 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 25): Introduction to fatigue</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 25): Introduction to fatigue

This note discusses the concept of fatigue and how its effects can be countered.

Date - 26 March 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 24): Precast concrete planks</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 24): Precast concrete planks

This note describes how prestressed precast concrete planks are constructed, specified and installed.

Date - 27 February 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 23): Introduction to piling</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 23): Introduction to piling

This note describes the different types of pile, the design concepts employed when determining their size and depth, how they are constructed and the various tests that can be carried out to assess a pile's integrity.

Date - 1 February 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 22): Biaxial bending in columns</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 22): Biaxial bending in columns

This note describes the concept of biaxial bending in columns of any material, as well as the effect direct bending has on column design. 

Date - 12 January 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 21): How to avoid torsion</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 21): How to avoid torsion

The twisting of elements within structures due to eccentric loading is best avoided. Such actions develop torsion forces - which the elements were not designed to withstand. This note shows structural engineers how to avoid problems that can lead to significant remedial works and/or failures.

Date - 30 November 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 8): Derivation of loading to retaining structures</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 8): Derivation of loading to retaining structures

This note concerns the assessment of loads that apply to retaining structures, typically generated from soil. These forces primarily come into play during the design of retaining wall structures, but they can also be found in water-retaining structures and storage vessels.

Updated October 2016.

Date - 2 May 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 7): Barrier and vehicle loading</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 7): Barrier and vehicle loading

This note concerns lateral loads that are applied to barriers, and wheel axle loads from vehicles. 

Date - 1 April 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 6): Notional loading (equivalent horizontal forces)</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 6): Notional loading (equivalent horizontal forces)

Notional loading (equivalent horizontal forces) are loads resulting from inaccuracies and imperfections introduced into the structure during its construction. This note explains how notional lateral loads are incorporated into the design process.

Updated October 2016.

Date - 1 March 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 5): Derivation of snow load</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 5): Derivation of snow load

There are several variations and conditions the designer must be aware of when determining snow loads onto structures. Based on Eurocode 1: Actions on Structures Part 1-3; General Actions – Snow Loads this note draws on the UK National Annex as it makes reference to projected snow falls that are typical in the UK.

Updated October 2016.

Date - 1 March 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 3): Derivation of imposed loads</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 3): Derivation of imposed loads

Imposed loads (quasi-permanent variable actions) are defined as loads that are applied to the structure. 

Updated October 2016.

Date - 1 February 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 29): Post fix anchors</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 29): Post fix anchors

The technology behind post-fix anchors is increasingly complex. This note provides some clarity around the multitude of options that can be presented to a designer required to specify anchors.

Date - 25 June 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 28): Introduction to extreme loading conditions</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 28): Introduction to extreme loading conditions

This note pays particular attention to partial factors with reference to BS EN 1990: Eurocode – Basis of structural design, to illustrate how extreme events are approached, and explains how the code interprets the application of loads (actions) for such events.

Date - 25 June 2013
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 18): Design of unreinforced masonry retaining walls</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 18): Design of unreinforced masonry retaining walls

This note is an aide to those seeking to design an unreinforced masonry retaining wall. Following this guidance will prevent cracking and ensure that the wall performs as intended.

 

Date - 1 October 2018
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 17): Simple connections in steel frames</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 17): Simple connections in steel frames

This note clarifies the term 'simple connection' by explaining its use when designing connections within steel frames. Additionally, guidance on different types of simple connection and the design checks that need to be carried out, is provided.

Date - 3 September 2018
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 16): Design of reinforced concrete bored piles</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 16): Design of reinforced concrete bored piles

This note describes the method by which bored piles are designed using current UK codes of practice. It explains how to interpret soil conditions and design piles to match what has been discovered following a site investigation.

 

Date - 1 March 2018
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 15): Design of timber posts</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 15): Design of timber posts

The design of timber posts follows the same principles as the design of vertical structural elements formed from other materials. Extreme fibre stresses or buckling due to applied axial forces are the key components affecting a post’s ability to perform. The major difference is the anisotropic nature of timber, which, for vertical elements, has a significant impact on the assessment of their performance as a structural member.

Date - 1 February 2018
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 4): Derivation of wind load</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 4): Derivation of wind load

There are several variations and conditions the designer must be aware of when determining wind loads on structures. Based on Eurocode 1: Actions on Structures Part 1-4; General Actions – Wind Actions, this note draws on the UK National Annex as it makes reference to wind speeds that are unique to the UK.

Date - 1 February 2012
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 35): Introduction to structural glass</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 35): Introduction to structural glass

This note is an introduction to glass as a structural material. It describes glass in terms of its properties, how it reacts when subjected to various forces, and the design methods being explored by structural engineers.

Date - 28 February 2014
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 34): Introduction to below ground drainage</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 1, No. 34): Introduction to below ground drainage

This note explains the basic principles of below ground drainage for both surface and foul water. It describes the different types of drainage pipe available, their installation and interface with structure, and their testing and maintenance.

Date - 3 February 2014
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Notes - Level 1 (35-volume package)</h4>

Technical Guidance Notes - Level 1 (35-volume package)

All Level 1 Technical Guidance Notes (originally published in The Structural Engineer magazine).

Date - 1 March 2014
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 9): Designing a reinforced concrete retaining wall</h4>

Technical Guidance Note (Level 2, No. 9): Designing a reinforced concrete retaining wall

There are three different forms of this type of wall, all of which are designed to resist overturning and sliding failure. The primary difference between them is their height. The taller the retaining wall, the more likely that counterforts and beams spanning between them will be necessary. 

Updated in October 2016.

Date - 1 January 2014