Structural Engineering Design: Everything You Need to Know

Engineering Geek
5 min readMar 8, 2022

Structural engineering is one of the earliest engineering disciplines, dating back to when tree branches were lashed together with vines to form a shelter. From crude huts to the International Space Station, mankind has constructed and built increasingly larger and more sophisticated structures throughout recorded history, from crude huts to the International Space Station. If you’re interested in structural engineering, you need to understand certain fundamental ideas. Structural engineers are in charge of creating structures and components that are strong, safe, stiff, and stable to meet the client’s requirements.

Structural engineering organizations frequently employ architects, contractors, fabricators, building authorities, and other engineering specialty personnel in addition to structural engineers for obtaining structural and stress analysis services that can be implemented in sophisticated buildings or other projects.

Through this article, I will walk you through structural engineering designs, their features, and stages in design so that you are well versed with them before working on any project.

What is Structural Engineering Design?

While the civil design works with both design and construction, structural design is more concerned with analyzing and inspecting construction materials to ensure that they can support the design given by the civil engineer and architects.

The fundamental principles of physics are combined with material science in structural design to find, discover, create, and use materials that can withstand the structure’s stresses during its service or usage.

The technical design and requirements of a project are detailed in a structural engineering design. When planning a construction project, you must first produce a design that will be presented to the local government for approval of the building laws. If the design does not comply with building standards, you will have the option to change it rather than deal with concerns such as forced destruction later.

Principle Features of Structural Engineering

Structural engineers specialize in the design and physical integrity of structures such as bridges, buildings, and rivers. They aid in the safety, stability, and load-bearing capacity of these structures. They do it by using their technical knowledge to determine the proper construction materials and their shapes, geometry, and layout. All of this is done to ensure that the structure can endure external stressors such as gravity, earthquakes, and storms. Further, their work involves:

  • Calculation of the load: The first stage is to figure out all of the loads that will be acting on the structure once it’s finished. The building’s functional purpose, as well as construction regulations and codes, are utilized to estimate the building’s weight, as well as external factors that will act on the building, such as snow, earthquakes, and wind.
  • Design: The foundation, floor system, vertical supports, load-bearing beams, and other building structural elements are designed using the stresses and forces determined during the analytical stage.
  • Structural Analysis: Structures such as aircraft and ships, in addition to buildings, bridges, canals, and roads, are subjected to structural analysis. Structural analysis determines and calculates a structure’s displacement, deflection, and overall change in size or shape (deformations) owing to an impact or force by combining elements from materials science, applied mathematics, and applied mechanics. Aside from that, it investigates the relative external displacements, internal force, support reactions, accelerations, and stability of a structure or an object.
  • Design Codes: Every structural engineering design must adhere to the design codes as well as any other criteria imposed by the local government or the federal government. Every structural engineering design should be based on the design codes and standards as criteria. It’s worth noting that these codes differ based on your origin. Another important reason to work with experienced professionals who are familiar with all of the regulations is because of this. Remember that any project that does not comply with the design code and standards will be denied clearance.

Stages in Structural Engineering Design

Some of the steps involved in structural engineering design are:

  • Planning: The variables that go into a structure, such as concrete or steel buildings, are considered during the planning phase. You must consider the layout of the building and the proportions of the structure. The functions you desire for the building will be considered during the decision-making process. You must also consider sociology, asceticism, the environment, and the economic influence of the structure.
  • Design: The design phase is the next step in structural engineering. This is where you examine the real structure’s design. You’ll consider proportions, measurements, connections, structural members, and any additional materials you’ll be using.
  • Detailing, Drawing, and Schedule Preparation: The finer points result from an iterative process based on an understanding of structural behavior and material attributes. Good detailing ensures that the structure functions as intended and that excessive cracking does not detract from the exposed surface’s attractiveness. The careful detailing will ensure that structural members behave as expected and are strong enough.
  • Properties: It is important to know about compressive strength, modulus of elasticity, concrete grade, concrete unit weight, Poisson’s ratio, creep, shrinkage, durability when you are taking structural and stress analysis services from any professional as these are very basics in civil engineering.

Reinforcing steel is identified by its grade, while reinforcement, which is often made up of round bars, is identified by the bar type. Steel grades are identified by their typical yield strength and are labeled Fe250, Fe415, and Fe500, where Fe stands for ferrous metal and the number after it signifies guaranteed yield strength in N/mm2. The types of bars used as reinforcement in construction are mild steel round bars and high yield strength bars that have been deformed (HYSD). The surfaces of HYSD bars have ribs and lugs. They are made by a hot rolling method followed by a suitable finishing process.

  • Site Conditions: The designer must consider the construction site’s conditions. Some things to think about are:
  • The bearing capacity of the soil is the amount of weight it can support.
  • Your soil’s maximum load capacity
  • Foundation.
  • Any conditions that must be met to improve the soil
  • On the site where you want to build, the water level table


Structural engineers, like all engineers, have a big responsibility to make sure the public is safe and cared for and that their best interests are taken into account. It is impossible to overstate the importance of structural engineering and structural engineers. Finally, structural engineers verify that all structures and buildings we see are safe to utilize.