January 3, 2022

Structural Analysis and Design is the method of investigating the stiffness, strength and stability of structures. The main aim of structural analysis and design is to come up with a structure that can successfully resist all the applied loads during its intended life. Structural design will commence upon coordinating with the architectural drawings and coming up with reinforcing members of building structures. Below are the steps to follow in a structural design process, which are useful for the structural engineer who is in-charge of the project.

Design Code, Criteria and Standards

It is essential to be aware of design codes that will be used in structural design. These are the guidelines and basis of coming up with a proposed project. The design code to be adopted is based on the project’s location. International standards and codes such as British Standards, American Codes and Euro Codes are commonly used by most countries. It is essential for designers to be aware of the codes and standards that are accepted according to the project location, as well as the Design Criteria that will define the design parameters.

Considerations and Calculations of Loads

Upon pinpointing the codes that are to be used in structural design, the following two areas to look at are the load considerations and calculations. Applicable load considerations depend on the occupancy and type of the project. Design codes will establish the minimum dead and live loads. A seismic load and wind load will also be considered depending on the height of the project. Calculations of stresses, shears, moments, deflections, etc, will depend on the considered loads for the project.

Framing System

The framing system is a essential part of structural design and it is where the structure’s safety is highly dependent on. A draft of the framing system should be highlighted in the architectural drawing to ensure that there are no architectural components being compromised. This is done prior to structural modeling. Typical factors to consider are the beams size and spacing, location of columns, bracing system, shear walls, etc. Afterwards, the proposed system is designed through structural software or using manual calculations.

Structural Modeling

Structural modeling may be done using available structural software found in the market. In the event that the software is unavailable, manual design is then done as an alternative but it can be quite time-consuming. For complex structures, the analysis phase should be done by modeling the structure in a software, to find the internal forces, deflections, and support reactions. According to today’s design phase, it is common to model the structure by using both structural software and some manual calculations for certain individual checks.

Designing the Structural Members

An advantage of structural modelling is that design forces required in the design are easily accessible. As such, the structural engineer should design and check the member reinforcement based on the input of loads. In addition to the fraction of time required to complete the design using a software, another benefit is that for complex calculations some errors may occur if done by hand. Nevertheless, some fundamental requirements of structural member design should be verified through manual calculations.

Coming Up with a Structural Drawing

Finally, a draft containing the sketches of structural framings or markups, structural and design schedule is given to the structural draftsman who will interpret it into a structural drawing. Supervision by the structural design engineer is needed to ensure the accountability of every single detail. Upon submission for building permit approval, a finalized review of the structural drawing should also be taken into consideration.

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