We typically start our work with a design from you, your architect, or your designer. We then design the structure around your plans. If you do not have a plan from designer or architect, we can do some types of in-house design for you, or advise you of what we think is the best way for you to proceed. We can refer you to an outside professional, either a designer or architect, depending on your needs and preferences.

We can assess your situation and recommend what we think is the best course of action for you.


Design Services
Structural Engineering Design
The "structural design" is the part of the job where we take your plan and add the beams, foundations, shear walls, roof plywood and other structural elements, and then draw them on plan sheets, including all the details. This is what the builder requires to build the project, and is what the building department check for structural code compliance.

Structural design typically consist of both engineered structural elements and non-engineered structural elements. "Engineered" structural elements are those that only an engineer or architect is licensed to design. "Non-engineered" structural elements are those that a drafter or designer is able to design without help of an engineer.

On many jobs, the drafter, designer or architect will provide the structural drafting work (the structural plan sheets). In that case, the engineer typically review work from the designer, and provides notes indicating the required structural elements - a process referred to as providing "redlines". The engineer then provides calculations for the engineered parts of the design.

We can do the complete structural design and drafting or just provide redlines with calculations, depending on your requirements. In both cases we provide all the structural details in CAD (dwg.) or (PDF) format. Click button below to view samples.

Structural Engineering Drafting
The structural drafting is the part where the structural components for your project, such as beams, roof framing, wall framing, floor framing, foundation and walls, are put together on a plan separate from your architectural design plans, in order to show the builder what to do and to get your project approved by the building department. Other words referred to as the "structural plans".

The structural plans do not typically have features such as lighting, electrical, plumbing, roofing, cabinets - to name a few. Their purpose is specifically to show the builder how to put together the main structural elements for your project.

On many types of projects, particularly with residential projects, the structural plans do not contain drawings of things a builder would typically be required to know already - things referred to as "conventional construction" features. This helps reduce the engineering fees - money our client's would usually rather spend on finish features or other things, anything but the structural engineering work.

We can provide any level of structural drafting necessary to fit your project's requirements.
Structural Engineering Calculations
Calculations are the part of the job where individual structural elements are analyzed mathematically, and the result is compared with values allowed by the code. Calculations are either performed after the structural design is complete, and then the structural design is adjusted by the calculations, or the calculations and structural design proceed simultaneously, where members are designed directly from calculated values rather than being estimated first.

Structures can be divided in two main areas, typically referred to as the vertical and lateral design. As the names suggest, the vertical design is for vertical loading, such as for the weight of building materials, snow, people and storage. Lateral loads are basically sideways, or lateral, loads on the structure, typically from wind or earthquake forces. There are many other types of vertical and lateral loads, but these are the ones that typically affect your project the most.

Calculations can be performed by hand - with pencil on paper, or by computer. Most calculations are done by computer. For specialized or unusual types of analyses, hand methods may be employed depending on what is the most efficient on a case-by-case basis, but in general for routine calculations, computer methods are much more cost-effective.

Elements typically analyzed are beams, posts, roof framing members, connections, exterior walls for lateral forces and uplift forces caused by lateral forces, and foundations. Foundations are checked primarily for vertical loads, but are sometimes also checked for uplift and lateral forces where applicable.
Structural details
Structural design and drafting