Construction Job Profile: Structural Engineer

There’s an absolute load of building work going on in Sheffield at the minute. Loads of it! And it’s not going to be slowing up either with the Retail Quarter set to start shortly, and then there’s the HS2 which has been lingering over us for what seems like forever. We take a look at some of the people who will be helping complete these structural refurbishments of Sheffield…

Structural engineers help to shape the built environment. This construction job is ideal for people who enjoy a challenge, innovation, responsibility and excitement in a varied career.

Working in construction as a structural engineer presents both creative and technical challenges and requires excellent problem solving skills. The human body itself provides a good model for understanding structures. The central strength of the body lies in the skeleton, it is the hidden framework that supports our shape and is integral to our ability to function. Without it we would collapse. To a structural engineer, the same considerations of strength, shape and function are paramount in their conception of the framework of a structure.

Chartered structural engineers are an integral part of the design and construction team, with a wealth of experience and knowledge. They often lead a team of construction workers to create all kinds of structures from houses, theatres, sports stadia and hospitals to bridges, oil rigs and space satellites.

Chartered engineers would work on more complex projects bringing with them knowledge and expertise. Every structure has to deal with the conditions in which it is built. For example, bridges all around the world will need to carry all of the different loads from those crossing them, whether that’s people walking across or high-speed trains connecting communities. Structural engineers are important: everything we do, every day, is because of a structural engineer’s work.

Typical Tasks Include:

  • Supervising project teams and giving progress reports to clients and senior managers
  • Using computer simulations to predict how structures will react under different conditions, for example high winds or earth tremors
  • Making sure projects meet legal guidelines, environmental directives, and health and safety requirements
  • Preparing bids for tenders
  • Inspecting unsafe buildings and recommending options for repairs or demolition
  • Working closely with the design team and other professionals on construction plans
  • Developing design ideas
  • Advising on most suitable materials for the job
  • Working out the loads and stresses on different parts of a structure like the foundations, beams, arches and walls
  • Using computer simulations to predict how structures will react under different conditions, for example high winds or earth tremors
  • Making sure projects meet legal guidelines, environmental directives, and health and safety requirements
  • Preparing bids for tenders
  • Inspecting unsafe buildings and recommending options for repairs or demolition

The Working Day:

  • Work is both office based and on site
  • The working week is between 35 and 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday
  • Your work would be varied and you may need to work additional hours to meet deadlines
  • There may be an opportunity for you to work on projects around the world, depending on your employer and the nature of the projects you are working on

Salary Range:

  • Newly trained structural engineers can earn in the region of £18,000 – £30,000
  • Trained with experience structural engineers can earn in the region of £25,000 – £44,000
  • Senior, chartered or master structural engineers can earn in the region of £32,000 – £55,000

Your construction engineering salary will typically range depending on location and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options improve with chartered status.

Sound like something that’s right up your street? If so, take a look through our Construction courses here at The Sheffield College. There’s hardly going to be a shortage of jobs in Sheffield now is there…

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