What do Structural Engineers do? Where do they work? How much money do they make?

What do structural engineers do? Structural engineers are civil engineers that specialise in the design, documentation, maintenance and repair of structures. They design, check and certify structures such as buildings, bridges and tunnels.

Residential structural engineers specialise in the design, documentation and maintenance of residential structures such as houses, units, granny flats, motels, hostels and hotels.


4 Secret Tips for Graduate Engineers Seeking Employment

I have employed and worked with some amazing young graduate engineers. When we look for graduate structural engineers to employ at Cornell Engineers we use the standard job search pages that you already know about, ie Seek and Indeed.


Training Session – Building Over or Near Public Infrastructure

Join Cornell Engineer’s structural engineer, Jed Maybury, for an introduction to MP1.4 Building Over or Near Relevant Infrastructure in Queensland. 

MP1.4 is the rule book for engineers for designing buildings over sewer pipes in Queensland.

MP1.4 specifies rules for how close footings can be to sewer pipes, stormwater pipes, gas pipes, Telstra pipes, NBN cables and other underground pipes.

For example when building near a council sewer pipe,  the footings have to be clear of the manholes, clear of the sewer connection point (the location your house connects to the sewer) and clear of the sewer pipe itself.

Here are the Powerpoint slides for you to click along with.

Connect with Jed Maybury on LinkedIn.

Grab your copy of MP1.4 from HPW

To find out more about why we have rules for building over sewers, check out this Youtube video about building over sewers.

Building over a Sewer Pipe in Brisbane

If you are planning a house extension, renovation or a new home in Brisbane and are building close to or over a sewer, get Cornell Engineers to help. Contact Us today.

Careers Cornell Engineers Office

The Super-Boring Mind-Dulling Braing-Eating Tour of a Structural Engineers Office

What does an engineer’s office look like? Maybe you’re studying engineering and wondering. Maybe you’re at high school and considering career options.

Take our 360 degree office view for a spin (literally):

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Follow the Load Path

Good morning to all the structural engineers in the world. Here’s a message for you: Don’t forget to Follow the Load Path!

What is a Load Path?

A load path is the chain of structural elements that a load follows to get to the foundations which is normally where the assessment of load path stops.

A Sample Load Path

For example, the load path of a person standing on the upstairs floor of a double-storey house is something like this:

  • A person stands on the floor
  • The flooring spans between joists
  • The flooring bears onto the joists at each joist. The load is the sum of the weight of the person and the weight of the flooring. If the person stands mid-span between the joists structural engineering can determine the bending moments in the flooring and the load into each joist.
  • The loaded joists span between bearers.
  • The loaded joists are connected to the bearers in a way that transfer their own self-weight and the weight of the person.
  • The bearers span between posts.
  • The bearers are connected to the posts to transfer the loads and their own weight.
  • The posts act as columns and are strong enough to resist buckling under the combined axial load and induced moment by the eccentricity of the load.
  • The posts sit onto the foundation slab or pad footing and the load is transferred through the base plate.
  • The pad footing spreads the load into the foundation material. The depth and dimensions of the pad footing are sized appropriately to not overload the soil.
  • The pad footing reinforcement is designed to transfer the load into the correct size of pad footing.

Each item of load takes a load and transfers it to the next structural element.

Why Follow the Load Path

This is the work of a structural engineer.

When the load path is determined for each structural element being loaded and each of the structural elements is designed to take the load and pass it on through the chain – that when the structure has been appropriately designed.

Why do Buildings Crack?

The structural engineer does not have to get it right – well they do but let me explain.

When a structural engineer gets the design of the load path wrong, to a certain extent the structure will still work – it just won’t work the way the structural engineer intended.

So the load will travel through a structural element, the element will deflect and move until the load is transferred and then the new load-path will be established.

That movement. That deflection. That’s the unintended consequence of the load path not being designed appropriately.

Of course, if the structural engineer gets it really wrong, that movement works towards collapse.

Advice to Structural Engineers

Follow the load path, Luke. Design the structure properly and check that it will act the way you intend. Design each element in the load path for the load in, the span and the load out.

Structures do not get designed by computers. They get designed by smart structural engineers who follow the load path.