Structural Engineer’s role in Site Inspection
If there is one role that is indispensable to the future structural integrity of a building during its construction it is that of the structural engineer.
It is the structural engineer who makes sure during the construction process that the physical integrity of the building is maintained, from the time the first brick is laid and the first steel girder secured at the construction site. The structural engineer’s inspection is above all, an opinion as to the structural strength of the building or home and its load bearing capacity at present and in the future.
It is the structural engineer who ensures that structural elements of a building its foundation, framing, is as per the design and is being built to accept the anticipated loads to be placed upon it. Also, it is his role to test that the structure will withstand nature and environmental upheavals like storms and earthquakes throughout the life of the building.
If the building that the structural engineer is inspecting is old it is only a registered professional structural engineer who is permitted to render an opinion as to the present and future structural integrity of a building. While others like the civil contractor and architect may observe and report defects rot and cracks but the opinion as to their significance in the structures ability to stay erect and not collapse can only be rendered by a structural engineer.
A thorough physical check performed by a qualified doctor is not a guarantee of continued good health similarly as with the human body, there are variables in building structures that are not predictable.
For instance, there may be a tectonic shift beneath the earth where soils move in a non-linear fashion this may render a structure unstable. Or the wood n steel used in the construction may shrink or swell and this may cause cracks in the structure. It is only the structural engineer who can take the present and future behavior of materials used and suggest corrective measures so that the life of the structure is secured and prolonged.
It is in this role that the structural engineer accountable for the physical health of a building and its future wellbeing as well and their expertise is put to use at every stage of the evolution of the building from its concept and design to when it is finished and handed over to the future inhabitants.
At this stage, the structural engineer deals primarily with the design of structures – calculating the loads and stresses the construction will have to safely withstand. I t is the role of the structural engineer to factor in the different qualities and strengths delivered by a range of building materials, and understand how to incorporate support beams, columns and foundations in the structure to make it a safely inhabitable structure for the lifespan of the building.
Before work begins at the site of construction the structural engineer will investigate and survey the building site to determine the suitability of the earth for the requirements of the upcoming project.
Through the complete construction of the project, the structural engineer is required to coordinate and consult with other members of their project including, the on-site managers and contractors, architects environmental scientists, and landscape professionals. Once the project is complete it is the structural engineer who is required to assist government bodies in their own inspections relating to the project.
So it is that the role of the structural engineer is of paramount importance at every stage of the construction of a building