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What is structural engineering?

What is

Structural Engineering?

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.   Contractors can 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 be.


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