Dated: 2nd March 2012
It’s very disappointing to see the lack of awareness by the general public about the engineering in general. I have read many discussions on LinkedIn and seen many Youtube videos, which shows how people don’t really understand who engineers are – in particular structural engineers.
Well! Like everyone else I will not give you a bookish definition of structural engineering. But today I am going to tell you what I enjoy doing and who exactly I am. People like to dream big! But what is the fun if that dream is not changed into reality – that is what I do. Someone dreamt big … as big as Palm Island in Dubai, Great Wall in China, Wembley Stadium in England, Acropolis in Greece, Empire state building in USA, Burj Al Arab in UAE, Kansai International Airport, Eiffel Tower in France, Ice Hotel in Sweden and then someone took the challenge and turned them into reality.
All that is built around you – your house, the place you work at, all that amazing locations where you go for holidays — bridges, roads, dams and every possible thing that you can think of were once just a thought. You see standing the most amazing iconic structures around the world – and yet you still don’t know the heroes behind them. Such a Shame!!!
I, a structural engineer shape the built environment. For any built structure, Architects designs to do make it pleasing for eye, unique, which fulfills the requirements and relaxes the environment – internally and externally – so we can say an architect makes sure a building is aesthetically pleasing, good for purpose and kind to environment whereas how it will be built or whether its possible to construct or if its not how to make it possible is where a I, structural engineer come in. I enjoy challenging myself, I take responsibility, I like excitement and innovation, what I do is very technical but also creative. I have excellent problem solving and mathematical skills and I need all these to make sure you have a high quality environment to live in.
I collaborate with many people on regular basis – meet new people and discuss about different projects to collate all information required to make sure what is needed is achieved – I work very close with architects, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, fire engineers, façade engineers and many others in a construction design team, I study plans of the project, understand requirements of the client (owner/person investing money), discuss the possibility and probability of the project, and work hard to produce structural design.
Starting from basic sketches showing ideas of how the building frame resist applied forces acting on it – from the weight of the material, additional load from the permanent furniture or variable loads that will be applied on it – this depends on the type of structure. Remember, no two buildings are same – they have different challenges due to different constraints and requirements all are met when producing a design and developing it into a set of drawings that are used to construct on site. Imagine if a bridge was designed using criteria for a house (like a house) – will it be able to stand under that load of you car or large vehicles? No not at all. And also against the Mother Nature, pressure from wind and storms, which can topple the building over just like a stack of cards, if not designed properly. I make sure through testing and prove using numerical calculations – not one or two sets but many many sets. It is even more fun with the latest Building Information modeling (BIM) techniques where the whole idea is developed in 3-dimensional format, not only improving the design quality of structures making sure they are even more safe and environmental friendly with less costs.
Then I put together a list of things in form of a specification making sure high standard material is used suitable for the job, adaptable with its surroundings. All is put together in form of detailed drawings that shows each an every thing that is to be built on site with high safety.
I – design, construct, repair, conserve and convert. Yes, I am a proud structural engineer.
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