The Role of Structural Engineers?
In last week’s post, we talked about the various design phases of architecture. The final phase is the construction drawings, which has all the dimensions, notes, and details necessary to pull building permits and start construction. However, another critical element in addition to these construction drawings are the structural plans that prepared by a licensed structural engineer, not an architect.
While the architect is responsible for the design of the building, the structural engineer’s role is to provide a separate set of plans that ensure the structural integrity of the building. Within these plans, the structural engineer will indicate how the foundation is to be built, which can largely be a result of the soils report and underlying soil types. With regard to framing, the structural plans will describe the sizes of lumber, framing details, straps, hold-downs, and shear walls.
In larger architectural firms, a structural engineer may be employed on staff. However, it seems that in many cases that the structural engineer is with a separate firm. The architect may subcontract with this firm, or the developer/builder may contract directly with the structural engineering firm. In either case, the architect’s construction drawings and these structural plans are submitted to the city/county for the plan check process.
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