Civil Engineering's Structure Design : Processes and Importance

What do you mean by structural design in construction?

Structural design is a waypoint of civil engineering that is sometimes also considered to be the skeletal structure of construction as a whole. Identifying the most cost-effective specification for a structure or structural component is the foundation of structural design.

A structural engineer often supervises the on-site construction of projects on behalf of other planning professionals, such as architects and building services engineers. Structural integrity plays a crucial role in the functionality and safety of industrial equipment, hospital instruments, and automobiles.

Design Principles for Robust Structures

Creating a structure that can sustain all applied loads for the period of its planned life is the basic objective of structural analysis and design. Poorly designed system components may malfunction, leading to serious repercussions including significant expenses or, in the worst case, the loss of life, which cannot be compared to any cost.

In order to create stable, practical, and cost-effective structures, the structural engineer must first determine the structure's purpose and configuration.

1. Direction - It is the direction of the force that determines its course. Strong winds, such as those in hurricanes, would act against the house's side, while heavy rainfall, heavy snowfall, or hailstorms would act downwards in the direction of gravity. A variety of materials and reinforcement systems are needed in order to effectively combat different types of forces.

2. Magnitude - A measure of the magnitude of all the forces acting on a structure at any given time. It is crucial for engineers to determine and analyze all the forces that are applied to a structure during its construction and operation. After a thorough calculation of all the load-bearing capacities of all the structural components, the design of the structural components should be determined.

3. Location - It is also the position of the force that determines its action. An engineer should take into account the effects of expected forces on each individual region of the structure, not just on the whole structure as a whole.

It is crucial for the sturdiness of a structure that civil and structural engineers consider all three properties of forces when studying or analyzing the structure.

What is the procedure of Structural Design?

1. The Functional design - It is essential that building components are constructed in accordance with the codes and standards from the beginning of the design process. The following may be involved:

a. Positioning of the Beam
b. Layouts of staircase
c. Orientation and placement of the Column
d. Selecting proper footing
e. Layouts of slab

2. Structural Analysis Model: After the initial design is completed, the dimensions of each building element must be calculated. A structural analysis model is constructed based on the building's initial measurements. The model must include all loads acting on the structure, such as dead loads, live loads, wind loads, and earthquake loads.

3. Designing algorithms: You can easily build according to the applicable code now that you know how the elements strain based on their initial sizing. It has become so much easier to design with spreadsheets or any other program that helps.

Using the new dimensions obtained from the previous design, the research model should be updated, and the analysis should be repeated. It is determined what forces are internal, and the design is updated accordingly. During subsequent iterations, the element design must be the same as in the previous iteration.

4. Designing the foundation: Considering the soil's bearing capacity and the structure's loading, the foundation system form can be selected after determining the final dimensions of the members.

Deciding on the depth of the foundation - Temperature, moisture content variation, and erosion do not affect the depth below ground level and it may be as low as 450 millimetres deep in granular soils, or it may reach 1 m deep depending on the site. The inverted level underside of the foundation is determined by the depth of the basement, boiler house, service ducts, or similar structures.

Calculating the foundation area - Based on the typical (working) loads and the estimated allowable pressure, the required foundation area is calculated. The preliminary design can be determined by determining the type or combination of types of foundations. In general, structural design, cost, and speed are taken into account when making the decision.

Calculate the vertical stress variation -  This measure is used to identify any underlying weak strata that may have been overstressed.

Settlement calculation - The settlement calculations should be performed in order to ensure an appropriate total and differential settlement. To increase the foundation area or to lower the foundation to a deeper and stronger stratum, a new permissible bearing pressure should be calculated, and a new foundation design should be amended accordingly.

Video Source: Technical Civil

5. Drafting the Design: This procedure results in the structural blueprints being created. These plans must be entirely detailed to prevent delays caused by incomplete information in the drawings from slowing down the building process on the project site.

Significance of structural design

Structural design plays many important roles which are:

Provides safety and compliance - By conducting a structural design analysis, you can ensure that your new structure meets all necessary safety requirements and design codes. It is possible to determine whether the structure can withstand the maximum load, wind speed, and overall utility and functionality in various environmental conditions based on an in-depth analysis of the structure.

Helps in proper management of material - Structural design ensures that resources and materials are utilized efficiently. For structures to be operationally usable and safe, civil engineers must choose the best material grade.

Improving the Design and Build - A structural designer ensures that the structures are built with all the necessary information regarding foundations, walls, floors, roof types, steep beams, and material quality. Civil engineers must work with aesthetic design principles when building structures that are capable of withstanding loads and pressures. Structures that are built without considering their structural layout are always at risk of collapsing under their own weight or due to external forces. Structures' stability and longevity are directly affected by structural design, so it is fundamental to construction.

Civil Engineering's Structure Design: Processes and Importance