As you might have gathered from their job title, structural engineers are engineers who focus on the structures of buildings that are either being built or improved. Basically, their job is to make sure that the structure can withstand the elements and pressures that it's put against. You could be curious about the actual components of the structure that the structural engineer will focus on. These are some of the main parts that you can usually expect a structural engineer to pay attention to when looking at building plans and inspecting a structure.
First of all, it's important for a structural engineer to make sure that the structure has a good, solid foundation. The foundation of the structure should be strong enough to handle all of the weight that is going to be built on it, such as from the wood, brick, metal and other components that will be used during the building process. The foundation should also be able to handle the weight of all of the appliances and furnishings that will be installed inside the structure and all of the people who will be spending time inside. For example, a home might not need as strong of a foundation as an industrial building that will have lots of heavy equipment and many people walking around inside. The foundation should also be built in a way that allows it to withstand soil shifting over time.
Columns and Beams
Columns and beams will probably be used in the building process, even though some or all of them might not be visible. For example, beams are needed to help provide additional support for walls, upper floors that might be constructed and more.
Some walls in a structure are more important than others -- such as load-bearing walls that will need to be able to help hold some of the weight of the structure itself -- but all of them should be built in a manner that is secure. Exterior walls, in particular, should be able to withstand wind, soil changes and more, which are all things that a structural engineer should keep in mind.
People will be walking on the floors that are built within the structure, and furnishings and other items will be placed on the flooring, too. Therefore, the flooring should have enough joists and should be strong enough to hold the flooring itself and all of the weight that will be put on the flooring. Because of this, a structural engineer should spend time focusing on the flooring that will be installed to ensure that it's sufficient.
Contact a local structural engineer if you have a large building project coming up.