Structural engineering is a branch of civil
engineering. Structural engineers analyze the forces (gravity,
wind, horizontal pressures from water and soil) that act upon a
structure (homes, buildings, bridges, retaining walls, and tunnels)
to determine whether or not the structure can effectively resist the
forces. To do this structural engineers receive extensive training
in the engineering sciences. They
understand how the basic principles of calculus, physics, and
chemistry apply to internal stresses that are found inside of a
structure. Using this knowledge, the engineer is then challenged to
design a structure that is economical and aesthetic in construction.
Is my contractor a Structural Engineer?
In most cases no. Contractors have lots of
experience in building and repairing structures. In some ways contractors are similiar
to nurses, just as nurses have a lot of knowledge about medical practices, in most cases
they need a doctor to diagnose the exact illness of a patient and the proper medication to
treat that illness.
detect many warning signs that normal homeowners may not notice such
as cracking and possible termite damage. Where the contractors are
lacking is in the ability analyze the severity of such problems,
what is causing the problems, and what an appropriate solution would