What Does Structural Engineering Involve?

Structural engineers work to combat factors such as wind, snow, rain and the effects of gravity on a range of structures including bridges and buildings. They also ensure that these structures comply with standards and building codes.

Many structural engineering Auckland companies offer a range of services. These include structural surveys, BER certificates and audits, fire safety engineering and structural inspections.


Often described as the ‘bones and muscles’ of structures, structural engineering ensures that buildings and other man-made structures are safe for use. From assessing whether they can handle loads to analysing how the structure will react to environmental forces, this is a large area of engineering and involves problem-solving using different maths and technologies.

For example, in a recent project we carried out structural engineering design for a new two-storey architecturally designed home, detailed concrete reinforcement in foundations and retaining walls and provided a construction inspection to Construction Monitoring Level 2. We also addressed structural related queries during the building consent phase with the local council and liaised with Daniel Marshall Architects throughout the construction process.

Structural engineers need to be able to think quickly and solve problems. They need to be able to work under pressure to meet deadlines and stay within budgets, while still producing high-quality work. The profession dates back thousands of years, with the first known structural engineer being Imhotep who oversaw the pyramids of Egypt in 2700 BC.


Structural engineers are trained to combat the effects of gravity, wind and other environmental factors on structures like bridges, buildings and other architecture. They analyse data, consult maps and plans, determine stress factors and monitor construction sites to ensure safety. They also work with different materials and must understand how they interact. It’s possible to access this career through academic study or through apprenticeships, which take away the cost of tuition and couples learning with work.

Although there is some crossover between structural engineering and architecture, it’s important to note that architects are concerned with aesthetic design elements, while structural engineers focus on the structure itself and its stability. This makes it a more technical career than an architectural one. If you want to pursue this career, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. The University of Auckland offers this course with a range of specialist options.


Structural engineering is a specialist branch of civil engineering that works with large structures, buildings and bridges. This work requires the use of physics, maths and materials science to design structural systems that can cope with different loads and environmental forces. Engineers also need to ensure that the structures meet standards and are delivered on time and within budget.

The profession of structural engineers grew out of a combination of traditional construction skills and the development of new mathematical and analytical tools. It is a challenging career that requires the right level of education, experience and qualifications to progress.

Structural engineers must be able to combine the needs of the client with their own knowledge and expertise to design the right structure for the specific conditions. This includes taking into account the impact of factors like wind, snow or gravity on a range of different structures. Structural engineers are also responsible for designing mechanical structures such as lifts, escalators and marine vessels.

Project Management

Like other engineering disciplines, structural engineers need to be able to work well in teams as well as independently. This includes being able to manage the risk and change aspects of projects as they develop. To do this effectively, they need to set up a project plan and process before the project starts that allows them to identify potential risks and problems and respond quickly.

Structural engineers are not usually trained to design houses as this falls under the civil engineering discipline, but they may have been exposed to elements of architectural and building designs in their early careers. They also do not typically focus on the mechanical aspects of buildings like heating, cooling and plumbing.

Jochem has extensive experience in the design, monitoring and management of heavy civil, rail, underground and maritime infrastructure works across New Zealand, Australia and Asia. He combines technical ingenuity with construction experience gained through full time site-based roles to deliver solutions for complex and challenging projects.