Are you sitting at home right now, or in an office, or anywhere indoors? Look around you, the walls, stairway, entrance, the ceiling; why do you think the ceiling hasn’t fallen on your head yet?
The purpose is not to create panic, rather, to make a point. The reason why the walls around you are still intact is that someone made sure that it does.
Structural Engineers make sure that the very building you are sitting in, the complex structures around you, the houses, the bridges, the towers, stadiums, etc., are all carefully designed and constructed with precision.
Structural engineering involves the analysis, design, construction, and maintenance of structures that reinforce or counteract loads, such as skyscrapers, dams, bridges, etc. Structural Engineers are tremendously skillful professionals, who work closely with architects and surveyors, and are the guardians of safe construction of the places we live, do business in or visit.
Their job isn’t just restricted to designing, but also the supervision of the construction and maintenance of a project. This is the very reason why these highly skilled individuals possess a very broad skill set to overcome a variety of challenges in designing structures, creating computer drawings, reviewing models and shop drawings, managing clients and suppliers, create proposals, monitor site work; the list can just go on and on.
So how does a Structural Engineer pull this off without breaking a sweat? Well, to learn that, you need to know what are the most common habits all successful engineers possess.
The ability to predict a structure, way before it is even built and determine the tasks, manpower, supplies etc., is key and is needed to complete the projects in the most efficient and the most cost-effective manner. Visualization of the entire project, possible challenges, required outcome, necessary vendors, resources etc. beforehand helps structural engineers always stay a step ahead and tackle any challenges even before they arise.
Because the weight of the world is on their shoulders, they are responsible for most of the important aspects of the construction lifecycle, which is why structural engineers need to know everything about everything (in construction obviously!). Successful structural engineers have outstanding core knowledge of their mathematics and physics, they are skilled in design techniques, working with maps, drawings, models and have adequate knowledge in computer-aided design software.
Structural engineers are (or they ideally should be) natural problem solvers. As they play a very crucial role in the construction lifecycle, they must have the ability to face complex problems and be able to identify the most reasonable approach to dealing with them. They need to be analytical enough to effectively and accurately assess the strengths and weakness of possible solutions and choose a reasonable approach.
There is no room for errors for these engineers and nothing can be left to chance, hence structural engineers need to stay on top of things and lead the way to progress. They must be able to communicate and delegate ideas clearly to all stakeholders, partners and vendors involved in the project and their communication skills have to be concrete (no pun intended), as they need to make sure the project procedure flows efficiently.
Structural engineers are able to assess the work of others on a project and make sure they are complying with standards. The success of any project depends heavily on their being able to accurately estimate costs, resources, and materials as well as the time.
Project Management in itself is a vast subject and if not the most, one of the most crucial aspects of the construction lifecycle. Critical tasks, like document control, budgeting, cost management, purchasing, on and off-field management, has to be on point and streamlined.
Apart from the 5 main habits mentioned above, engineers must be able to utilize and integrate such applications into their projects as this can help them tremendously to complete their projects not just in time, but also avoid risks before they impact their project bottom line.