How do you know which Contractor to choose - Part 2 Structural Engineer

Structural engineers need to understand and calculate the stability, strength and rigidity of buildings. Where an Architect would devise the best design possible for a space, the structural engineer will work out how to construct it from a technical point of view.

For this reason, it is very common to find architects and structural engineers working together closely. No point in an architect coming up with a hugely creative design if it is not structurally viable!

Architects tend to work alone for straight forward structures such as a block of flats or a simple extension to  house. However for more complex structures a structural engineer will be required to define what design elements are possible.

The structural design for a building must ensure that the building is able to stand up safely, able to function without excessive deflections or movements which may cause fatigue of structural elements, cracking or failure of fixtures, fittings or partitions, or discomfort for occupants. It must account for movements and forces due to temperature, creep, cracking and imposed loads.

For example, a client I am working with at the moment has designed a magnificent glass atrium for a residential build. The structural engineer was contracted to ascertain the beam work required to support the weight of a glass roof. His considerations included weather resistance to wind and snow, the length of the beam and support work required to ensure it did not have to withstand excessive pressures that would lead to deflections or movements. Obviously when working with large glass structures, safety and security are paramount!

It must also ensure that the design can be constructed within acceptable manufacturing tolerances of the materials. It must allow the architecture to work, and the building services to fit within the building and function (air conditioning, ventilation, smoke extract, electrics, lighting etc.). The structural design of a modern building can be extremely complex, and often requires a large team to complete.


Leonardo Da Vinci is an artist well known for his painting "Mona Lisa". But did you know he was highly valued as an engineer in his lifetime? One of his original designs formed the basis of the design of a bridge in Norway,

Vebjørn Sand Da Vinci Project Norway

Vebjørn Sand Da Vinci Project Norway

Coordinating a number of different contractors is time consuming and sometimes complex. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand which contractors to use for a given project. This series, aims to demystify this for you. If you feel you may benefit from project management services, I would be happy to discuss this with you! Feel free to connect with me through the contact form.