Careers In Construction Engineering – Structural Engineer
Nick Rothery shares the responsibilities and opportunities available for those pursuing a career as a structural engineer. Check out the job description below and after reading this, don’t forget to check out our latest structural engineer job opportunities.
If you like the challenge of realising the plans and designs of architects and planners to create structurally sound, safe, sustainable structures then a job as a structure engineer is for you. Here technical meets creative and innovation leading to an exciting and challenging career.
Here we share a typical job description and further details about the role of a structural engineer.
Structural Engineer – Job Description
Structural engineers shape the built environment, from houses, offices, sports stadia and hospitals to bridges, oil rigs and Artic research stations! Working with architects and surveyors, structural engineers ensure that whatever the build it can withstand the loads and stresses it will have to bear; as well as improving the places we live and existing structures.
The world of engineering has plenty of opportunity to specialise in a particular field, and no more so than for a structural engineer. Therefore roles and responsibilities may vary, but typically would include:
- Working with clients, architects, contractors and other professionals on construction plans.
- Contributing to entire projects from concept through to eventual completion.
- Developing design ideas, using computer aided design (CAD)
- Advising on the suitability of materials for specific jobs.
- Calculating loads and stresses on different parts of a structure like the foundations, beams, arches and walls
- Using computer simulations to predict how structures will react under different condition; extreme weather, seismic activity etc
- Inspecting existing structures and recommending options for repairs or demolition
- Ensuring projects meet legal guidelines, environmental directives, and health and safety.
- Preparing bids for tenders.
- Supervising project teams and giving progress reports to clients and senior managers.
Naturally you will need to be an excellent problem solver, have great design skills and management skills to help drive through projects on time and on budget.
Qualifications and Experience
Structural Engineers can enter the profession at a technician grade wit a National Diploma in Engineering, or equivalent. However a Bachelor of Engineering degree or four-year Masters (MEng) degree in structural or civil engineering is necessary if you wish to progress to other grades: Incorporated or Chartered membership.
For further information on qualifications and courses, visit The Institute Of Structural Engineers.
Continued Professional Development
CPD is essential for anyone working as an engineer, ensuring that you keep up-to-date with new technologies, developments and changes to rules and regulations. Read our post on CPD for further information.
Having worked as a structural engineer in the built environment you may want to expand your experience in other areas. Your skills will be relevant in construction design, project management, research and lecturing. Or consider moving into consultancy work, for example providing services to building insurers.
Overseas opportunities are also available, particularly in countries with large infrastructure projects. There are also opportunities to assist disaster relief agencies, for example in the rebuilding of communities after disaster has struck.
- Starting salaries for structural engineers can be between £18,000 and £25,000 a year.
- Experienced engineers can earn between £35,000 and £45,000. With senior structural engineers earning over £45,000 per year.