Commercial real estate development projects can be challenging because of the increased regulatory burden. A structural engineer may be required for any building project, whether commercial or residential. However, in the case of commercial real estate, you would be legally obligated to retain the services of a structural engineer. To ensure that buildings and other structures you plan to construct are safe and meet the necessary regulatory requirements, structural engineers must design them and then analyze their stability. Having these experts on staff will give you peace of mind that the structure you are erecting can safely withstand any forces or loads that may be applied.
Many modern-day wonders like the Burj Khalifa in the UAE or the Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur would be impossible to complete without advances in structural engineering. This article will therefore focus on the importance of structural engineering in the realm of commercial buildings.
What is Structural Engineering?
From the beginning of our species’ existence, we’ve worked to make the world a better place by modifying and adapting to it, even if many of the earliest and most impressive human feats were, in retrospect, the result of essentially trial and error. But as formal education grew more formal, civil, and structural engineering emerged as some of the top fields of education.
To securely design the structures and infrastructure that connect the modern world, structural engineering prescribes applying the rules of physics, mathematics, and practical information to understand how the structure is constructed and can be made safer. It is possible to properly forecast how different shapes and materials used in structures will behave under various loads and stresses because of the modern knowledge provided by structural engineering. Structural engineering was instrumental in constructing everything from the ancient Egyptian pyramids in Giza to the Golden Gate bridge.
Structural Engineer: The Role and What it Entails
Structural engineers are experts in ensuring that buildings and bridges we use daily are strong enough to withstand the weight of people and other objects. Structural engineers also ensure that buildings can resist natural disasters like earthquakes, cloud bursts, and even geography and project-specific challenges like heavy winds and rising sea levels. They utilize their technical expertise to determine what materials will work best in what configurations and make choices accordingly, said Gus Romo, founder of Romo Planning Group in 2001, has over a decade of experience as a City Planner. He brings independent contractors to public agencies through RPG, which contracts with cities, counties, and private firms. Romo holds a Bachelor’s in urban and regional planning from Cal Poly Pomona and an MBA from the University of Redlands.
Structural engineers need to be well-versed in the fundamentals of mathematics and physics and have the imagination to apply this knowledge in novel ways. Knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, and physics is necessary but not sufficient to define an engineer. One way to hone these abilities is to use them in the pursuit of building things that will last. Here are some of the skills a structural engineer must possess:
- Structural analysis
- Civil engineering
- Project management
- Foundational design
- Inspection and due diligence
Importance of Structural Engineering in Commercial Buildings
For commercial real estate developers, structural engineering is of paramount importance, given how the cost and safety of a project can impact sales and the trust they have established over the years. A structural engineer ensures that a commercial building is built to modern standards and adheres to regulations. Understanding the importance of structural engineering in commercial projects can also help you understand the impact availing structural engineering services from a specialist firm can have on your project. Here are some of the primary reasons why structural engineering holds such a prominent role in flourishing as a commercial real estate developer:
A new commercial building’s construction process begins with thoroughly examining the site. First, a site study will be conducted by the structural engineer to determine whether or not the soil is suitable for the building. Soil correction, in which the water-retentive soil is dug up and replaced with more practical material, may be required before construction can begin in areas where it rains frequently. During a site examination, structural engineers put their expertise to work to officially confirm that the site can support the project without any problems.
Together, architects and structural engineers develop detailed blueprints for a building. As was previously noted, the structural engineer is in charge of the general design of the building’s foundation, consideration of various environmental loads, and determination of beam and truss sizes. When designing a building, keeping safety standards in mind is essential. The structural engineer is currently tasked with analyzing the effects of various stresses on the structure and providing a safety rating based on a culmination of all the structural risks. It might be the optimal stage to consider the BIM modeling services by a specialized firm.
To begin construction, it is essential to wait until the structural engineer has finished a site inspection and drawn up all necessary construction plans. But often, project-specific challenges can get in the way of construction. For instance, trapped gas or water under a building lot can severely impact construction plans. To ensure optimal delivery times, it would help if you could account for such challenges and craft solutions for them in advance so that you do not have a construction crew on site waiting to start construction.
Meeting Building Code and Other Regulatory Requirements
The structural engineer must collaborate with other experts to guarantee compliance with all applicable safety standards in the area. These rules could impact everything from the building’s foundation to the number of units you can build. The regulations are particularly stricter for commercial projects, and each violation will be met with fines and delays in the construction process.
In a nutshell, a structural engineer turns an architect’s or designer’s dream into a reality. Structural engineers are responsible for designing the framework of buildings to ensure they are safe while also meeting the desired aesthetic. Structural engineering is particularly important in commercial property development, and you cannot understate its importance for a project’s successful and timely completion.