What type of engineer do you need?

So, you need an engineer for your next building project, but what type of engineer do you need? Well there are about 40 different types of engineering. The types of engineering range from mechanical to chemical to electrical, and many more. For your building project you’re going to focus on civil engineering.

Civil engineering is an engineering discipline that deals with the design and development of infrastructure like buildings, roads, bridges, and railways. Civil engineers not only design and develop new infrastructure, but they also play an important role in rebuilding projects in instances like natural disaster. Civil engineers can be found in both the public and private sectors. This can be a very broad engineering discipline, so we will examine a few different branches of civil engineering.

Site Engineering

A site engineer’s role varies greatly from project to project. A residential project will have very different needs from a commercial or municipal project. Although their responsibilities change depending on the project, the basics remain the same. All projects will include organizational, technical, and supervisory tasks(examples?). Projects can be anywhere from a small home to a multi-million dollar high rise.

As part of the site management team, site engineers are responsible for the health, safety, organization, security, and supervising of people and resources. Site engineers are instrumental in effective communication with the site manager and subcontractors. They mark out the site, and they make sure the designs are implemented correctly. Site engineers also manage relationships with consultants, clients, and their representatives. Site engineers can be seen as managers of the construction site. They are a primary source of quality control and technical advice. Another essential job function is ensuring accuracy of all calculations, checking material quantities and drawings, and surveying the job site.   

Structural Engineering

Structural engineering involves the analysis and design of structures that will safely bear or resist the loads, stresses and other forces. Structural engineer’s designs must satisfy given design criteria (as per the project guideline or code specified), predicated on safety, (e.g. structures must be load bearing so it does not collapse while being used) or serviceability and performance (e.g. building must be stable and not sway causing discomfort to the occupants). Buildings need to be made to endure massive loads as well as changing climate and natural disasters.

Structural Engineers have a responsibility to their clients and the community to provide safe designs. Typically, structural engineers are responsible for the structural design of the project, including the specification of the design loads, issuance of design documents, and review of submittals. Structural engineers are tasked with making creative and efficient use of the budget, structural design elements, and materials used to achieve these goals.

Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical Engineering deals with earth materials like rocks, underground water, and soil, and their relationship to the design, construction, and functionality of infrastructure. It is very closely related to engineering geology and is sometimes called ground engineering. Engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers work very closely. Together, they form a ground engineering team that is imperative to the investigation, design, and construction of infrastructure.

Geotechnical engineering uses rock and soil mechanics to investigate the subsurface conditions and materials of a particular site. This means evaluating any displacements, stresses, and strains on the soil. This helps to determine the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of the materials and assess any risks posed by the site conditions. All of this information is very important to the design, earthworks, and structural foundations of the project. The focus is analyzing and designing soil stabilization systems, which provide enough support to the structure that will be placed on the soil, ensuring the safety of the people using the structure. It is important that the structure is able to remain standing on unstable soil, and there are safety measures established to minimize the damage to infrastructure due to landslides or earthquake. Other projects a geotechnical engineer may take on deal with underwater soil, like offshore platforms and marinas.

No matter what type of civil engineer you need, what matters most is that the engineer that you do choose is practical, efficient, and knowledgeable. The engineers at e2 have over 50 years of combined experience in various industries. We recognize patterns and obstacles quickly.  Producing creative solutions while maintaining thoroughness, speed, and safety is what makes us e2. If you are interested in working with e2 Engineers call (860) 437 – 3259 or contact us

What Are Structural Engineers?

Structural engineers are people who focus on a specialized field of civil engineering. It involves the planning, analysis, design, construction, inspection, monitoring, maintenance, rehabilitation and demolition of permanent and temporary structures. Structural engineers handle the research of the behavior of structural systems and their components and reviewing the work of other engineers. It takes into account other factors such as the technical, economic, environmental, aesthetic and social aspects of structures. The various structures can include educational, municipal, multi-family, commercial, mixed use, institutional, religious, historic, coastal and residential. They can be composed of any structural material such as stone, wood, steel, concrete, plastics, aluminum, including composites and novel materials.

Structural engineers are in a very creative profession and can be considered as an art as well as science. It makes a significant contribution to infrastructure and industry, as well as residential and recreational areas.

The design of a structure simply means that the structure be built in such a way that it will be able to withstand all the load effects on it during its lifetime. The structure should not collapse due to any abnormal loading such as that occurring during an earthquake or landslide. Structural design is a balance of theoretical analysis and practicality, something that structural engineers typically excel at. It takes into account things like the degree of certainty of load bearing and forces, the actual behavior of the structure as opposed to the idealized design model, the actual behavior of the material compared to assumed behavior, and the actual properties of materials used compared to the assumed materials.

Some structural engineers work to design the structures. Carrying out the strength calculations, while detailing and making structural drawings. Others specialize in the actual building and development of the structures, and some work in research. Structural engineers commonly work with other professionals such as architects, builders, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers. This is to ensure that every aspect of the structure is safe, stable, economical, aesthetic, environment friendly, sustainable and capable of fulfilling their intended functions.

What’s The Difference Between Structural Engineers and Other Engineers?

People sometimes can get confused as to what separates structural engineers from architects or civil engineers. This is a common occurrence since most people think that all 3 “just design buildings.”  

To better explain the difference, think of buildings like a human body. There are a lot of similarities between the two.  The musculoskeletal system can be compared to the structural system in a building. The circulatory system in the body is like the HVAC system in a building. There’s a plumbing system (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or MEP), and skin (curtain walls, waterproofing membrane, EIFS) to keep the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. A person has to stand on a stable surface (foundation) to keep from falling over.

With that in mind, the architect’s job is to figure out exactly how the “person” will look. They decide where the arms go, where the legs go, what the face looks like, eye color, hair color, where the elbows bend, how far the knees are supposed to bend, other things of that nature. In terms of a building, they determine the building’s layout, appearance, functionality, and aesthetics. It’s a very complicated and difficult job.

The structural engineers get the plans from the architect, and they figure out the mechanics of the musculo-skeletal system. They determine where to put the bones, where to attach the muscles so that the body is able to function the way it should. How does this relate to a building? They determine the proper placement and sizing of beams, columns, slabs, foundation specifics, and all the systems used to resist the different loads. Examples of loads a building will encounter include wind, snow, earthquakes, and landslides. The building needs to be able to withstand the load and transmit it to the ground.

The job of the civil engineer has less to do with the human body, so we will no longer use that analogy. Any drainage and waste systems in the building need to be connected to municipal sewer systems. The building also needs to be connected to the municipal water supply. Cars need to be able to reach the parking lot, and the parking lots have to meets the needs of the building. The parking lot also needs to drain properly so it is usable when it rains. All this is the domain of the civil engineer.

Need An Engineer?

Based on what you’ve read above, think it’s time to call in a professional? If you find yourself in need of structural engineers that will do the job right, drop us a line at info@e2engineers.com