Who are the IStructE
The Institute of Structural Engineers, otherwise known as IStructE, was originally founded in the year 1908. Originally formed as a concrete institute it was far different from the polished product we see today. It wasn’t until 1922 that the institute moved towards structural engineering, renaming themselves as the institute of structural engineers.
As an institute, they work towards increased industry standards, shared knowledge and understanding and the provision of a voice for the profession. Structural engineering plays a key part in creating a better built environment, but in order to succeed, standards must be met. Therefore, the IStructE set a global benchmark for standards, sharing these expectations worldwide. In order to help structural engineers meet these standards, they provide training and support in order to build communities of technical excellence.
Structural Engineering through the eyes of IStructE
The role of a structural engineer in regards to construction is integral in regards to safety, practicality and longevity. Without them, many projects would fail, or pose a significant health and safety risk to all involved. The IStructE provide a clear definition of the work of a structural engineer. They describe them as highly skilled, creative professionals whose job it is to design structural strength and stability. According to their website, a structural engineer needs to hold three key qualities in order to succeed in this profession.
An innovative designer
A structural engineer will design projects strong enough to support their suspected load. Not only this, but they must be built to last, renovation is almost always easier than recreation. For that, a structural engineer needs to be able to design a structure that will not only last but will be visually appealing.
Firstly, a structural engineer will not be working alone. They will work as part of a team, alongside professionals such as architects, builders and planning engineers. It is the responsibility of a structural engineer to ensure that a buildings design is strong enough to support itself. Even structures designed purely for aesthetics must be able to endure the elements.
A problem solver
The IStructE understand that the need of structural engineers is a one that changes with time. Now, there is a huge focus on our use of sustainable equipment whilst also the competitive need to create something bigger and better than ever before. It is the responsibility of the engineer to try and design structure that are grand and exciting, whilst also being sustainable and long lasting.
What is it like being a structural engineer according to the IStructE?
There is a lot of expectation on the professionalism of a structural engineer. In order to succeed in such a role, extensive training and continued professional development should be followed. Although you can be taught all the skills necessary in order to work in such an elusive industry, there are a few personal interests that may assist you in your studies. Given the requirements and responsibilities of the role, it is helpful to have an interest in mathematics, physics or design. The IStructE state that anyone with these three core skills should consider a job in this industry.
In addition to maths, physics and design, there are a number of other qualities involved with the work of a structural engineer. Firstly, you will need to be able to think creatively. Have an understanding on materials and their best uses and how these can be best applied to your given project. Then you need to be a natural assessor. A lot of work will include the assessment of current buildings in order to highlight any renovations there may be. Following that there is the need to be able to work well in a team. Communication is a big part of your work and you will work closely with other professionals. You need to be confident in your skills to do so.
Finding your feet with IStructE
If you are yet to branch out into the world of structural engineering, the IStructE site has a lot of information that can help you. Further to that, sites like the College of Contract Management also aim to help increase your understanding of the industry through articles, seminars and online courses. Regardless of what point you are at in life, deciding to learn a new skill or improve an old one is a great opportunity for growth. If you are looking at a career in structural engineering, make sure you train accordingly to ensure your best chances at success.