A structure built is only as good as its foundation is one of the core principles of structural engineering. The
In science, a mathematical model is needed to support every scientific assertion. This helps to justify the applicability of that assertion. In structural engineering, that model is in form of structural calculations. Although these calculations are sometimes overlooked in construction projects, they are very important. For instance, they give more confidence that the project will go on smoothly.
So, if you’re planning to undertake a new project, you’ll need structural calculations. You’re probably wondering, what do these calculations entail? Worry not! In this blog, we’ll tell you what structural calculations include and so much more!
But first, let’s see what a structural calculations report is!
What is a structural calculations report?
Structural calculations determine the resources needed to do the work. They determine the potential costs and highlight the risks associated with the project. In other words, they look at every construction aspect including walls and foundations. This is the fundamental of a structural calculation report, produced by structural engineers.
This report proves that any new building is fit for use. Also, structural calculations are building permit requirements. A structural calculation report also acts as a guide for the contractor. It allows them to identify and discuss any potential problems in the project.
For instance, let’s say a design proposes the elimination of a wall. In that case, the contractor can quickly check if it’s load-bearing. If it is, removing the wall will not be that simple. In that case, they have to come up with alternative solutions. So, the report will end up saving the construction team a lot of money, effort, and time in the long run.
What does a structural calculation report include?
Apart from meeting building permit requirements, a structural calculation report contains various components. This enables you to see how those components have been designed. Moreover, it shows why their sizes have been concluded as such.
Simply put, structural calculations put the science of engineering on your side. Thus allowing you to assess the impact of neglecting construction-related issues or design considerations.
A structural calculation report contains manual calculations. It also contains other calculations done using specialist software. To solve these calculations, one has to use specific formulas. For this reason, it’s good to hire a qualified structural engineer. Moreover, to make the report valid, a structural engineer must sign it!
You also need to note that these reports have different layouts, depending on who compiled them. Nonetheless, the document should contain the following;
- Structural element design, sizing, and analysis. This includes; walls, columns, slabs, trusses, footing, and beams.
- Structural load analysis contributed by different elements during its useful lifetime
- Reinforcement calculation and details (timber, steel, concrete)
- Environmental Impacts of construction the project
- How to improve the structural elements, considering natural disasters and severe weather conditions. Some of these natural disasters are; earthquakes, snowstorms, hurricanes, roof wind load, etc.
What a structural calculations report MUST include!
Only a few structural engineering firms provide accurate and comprehensive calculations. If you’re not cautious, you’ll be tricked during the process of creating the report. To avoid that, make sure the report includes the following;
1. Signature of a qualified structural engineer. This helps to remove the confusion of understanding the contents of the document. It’s a good way for engineers to declare accountability in case of design-related issues later on.
2. Formulas and their references. The document contains some formulas that are hard to understand or handle. To settle this, require the inclusion of the formulas used to form the calculations. Also, required for the inclusion of recognized references where you can easily see them.
Advantages of structural calculations
Some homeowners try to neglect the need for structural calculations. Unfortunately, a structural calculation document is a legal requirement. It’s one of the documents needed for the issuance of a construction permit. If you don’t comply, you may be forced to stop or demolish your project.
Meeting legal requirements is not the only benefit of this document though! For instance, it gives you confidence that the structural design will be practical. On top of that, it will help you to prevent delays or cost overruns. That is because it ensures you order the right materials as well as correct quantities on time!
Lastly, this document protects everyone involved in the project. It enables the homeowner to handle any claim for negligence or shoddy work.
Where to get structural calculations?
Homeowners can request the contractor or architect to hire an engineer for them. Alternatively, they can look for one themselves to complete the structural calculations.
If your project is in California, reach out to Innodez Design and Engineering. Our dedicated, experienced and qualified structural engineers will do structural calculations for you!