Sunday, 1 February 2015

What is a Structural Engineer and how do I find one?

Do you need to appoint a Civil or Structural Engineer or are you looking to learn more about the profession? This is the first in a series of posts that will help construction clients know where to look, what to look for and what questions to ask when appointing an engineer. An experienced Engineer will recognise that the Client is the most important piece of the construction jigsaw, and thus helping a Client articulate his needs greatly assists in the successful delivery of projects.


Civil and Structural Engineers are responsible for the design and development of the structures we see and interact with every day from buildings and bridges, to railways and retaining walls. Project size can vary from the design of a single beam to the world’s tallest multi-storey buildings. Engineers are also involved in the investigation and alteration of existing structures and reporting on damage or failure.

Qualified Engineers are recognised by their membership of one or more professional institutions, typically the Institution of Civil Engineers (MICE) or the Institution of Structural Engineers (MIStructE). Members who have demonstrated excellence and have contributed greatly to the profession may attain the highest grade of Fellow (FICE or FIStructE).

Admission to a professional institution is granted by a rigorous assessment of competence across a range of technical and managerial skills, with the attainment of Chartered Engineer (CEng) being the prestigious benchmark that aspiring Engineers seek to achieve.

“The letters ‘CEng’ after your name carry considerable
prestige and clearly mark you out as a significant player in the 
world of engineering and technology” - Engineering Council


In choosing an Engineer that is a member of a professional institution you are assured that the Engineer will perform his duties in accordance with a Code of Conduct that requires him or her to always act with integrity and fairness, in the best interests of the Client, to exercise appropriate skill and judgement for tasks within their own areas of competence and to continually maintain and broaden their competence.

Both the ICE and the IStructE maintain an online searchable database of existing members and the IStructE also publishes a directory of subscribed organisations employing at least one professional member (www.FindAnEngineer.com).




If you’re looking for a Civil or Structural Engineer, remember:
  • Look for an Engineer with an association to a recognised professional institution 
  • An Engineer’s credentials can be checked online using a searchable database 
  • Qualified Engineers are governed by a Code of Conduct that ensures professionalism
Further information can be found on the websites of the ICE and IStructE, both linked to the right side of this page. Stay tuned for more articles being published in the coming weeks and months and if there’s anything specific you’d like covered then please let me know.