The Roles of an Architectural Engineer
The role of an architectural engineer is to know building materials, integrate required materials into a design, know the functionality and behavior of materials, and making a structure. In other words, it covers the technological aspects and multi-disciplinary approach to designing, planning, operating, and construction of buildings.
This discipline, though relatively new, is currently at the forefront of two significant historical opportunities that the world faces due to the 21st century’s rapid change;
1 – rapid technological advancement in computer technology,
2 – the demand for sustainability and popularity of green buildings.
Areas of Specialization of and Architectural Engineer
An Architectural Engineer has three areas where it can focus. These areas have their unique requirements for specific skill sets and expertise. To perform well, all of these areas need a solid line of communication, not just with each other but also with the Architects (design team) and the clients. Here are the three focus areas:
A Construction Engineer is responsible for constructing the project, ensuring everything proceeds without any issues or incidents. They also ensure the implementation of protocols needed for efficient and safe building a project, managing and scheduling the timelines, logistics of workforce and materials, heavy equipment, and excavations.
An example of this is when the Construction Engineer instructs to install stainless steel access doors and panels in the building. This installation will help increase the building’s LEED points and help in the efficiency and safety of the people working. It will also help in the future maintenance of the building as it makes these areas accessible to service personnel.
2- Structural Systems
A Structural Engineer is in charge of the stability and strength of the building by designing the foundations, trusses, columns, walls, roofs, floors, and beams. They also assess the amount of weight the structure can hold and understand its need to resist natural forces.
A Structural Engineer coordinates with the Architects to ensure that the structure’s solid foundation elements are present and blended well with the building plan.
3- Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Systems (MEP)
An MEP engineer oversees the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, as well as Fire Protection, Plumbing, Electrical, and Lighting systems. They ensure that the buildings are habitable for their intended use. They are also responsible for making the building energy-efficient, comfortable to be in, and adequately maintained.
Other Specialized Areas
Below describes some other Architectural Engineering jobs that one can pursue:
Draftsmen are in charge of translating architects’ and engineers’ plans into technical drawings to construct new structures. These professionals integrate new technologies to make the process easier. They use computer-aided design software or CAD to create products and build schematics imported into the building information modeling (BIM) systems for construction.
A manufacturing engineer is responsible for developing new tools, machinery, and equipment to help the production process. They plan, design, monitor, and coordinate the transformation of raw materials into viable products that make the manufacturing process economical and efficient.
A Production Supervisor is in charge of ensuring that workers are as productive as possible and monitor the output from beginning to end. They typically oversee the overall efficiency of work in the factory or industrial settings.
This branch of engineering is the oldest and dates back to the ancients. They create and build vital infrastructures that people use in their everyday life such as, roadways, seaports, bridges, and water and sewage systems. They design, erect and direct the construction of buildings and other infrastructure.
An Electrical Engineer is in charge of creating and designing electronic technology and equipment that works in various industries. They work to augment existing electronic products or focus on progressing new technology related to electrical systems. They can compose electrical models and direct the construction of prototypes using sketch schematics or computer technology.
Architectural Project Manager
An Architectural Project Manager directs all aspects of the design and production of building projects. Ensuring the management of the construction teams, guaranteeing that the project meets all requirements, and developing construction plans are just some of their tasks. They may apply their skill to industrial, residential, or commercial construction projects.
Also referred to as Mechanical drafters, these professionals design mechanical products and equipment. They work with engineers to develop plans to make the manufacturing processes and systems more productive. They often use the advancement in computer technology such as the Computer-Aided Design software to create 3D schematics of mechanical parts.
These professionals work with Industrial Engineers to increase work productivity through using the equipment. Their primary function is to create and implement designs to use equipment and materials throughout the project effectively. These experts spend time observing how employees conduct tasks and recommend improvements to standards or procedures to improve efficiency and quality of work.
Required Skills of an Architectural Engineer
These are the skills that are the requirements for becoming an Architectural Engineer:
- Communication Skills – This skill is vital to effectively translate your ideas clearly and concisely to the rest of the team. Misinterpretations can lead to issues, especially if there is a failure of communication for critical orders.
- Mathematical Skills – This skill is for accurate calculations of required numbers for constructing the project (i.e., cost, sizes, measurements, projections).
- Analytical Skills – This skill is vital for understanding plans, designs, and the various contexts, such as the electrical system and the way it influences the entire project.
- Technical Skills – Nowadays, you cannot build modern projects without the use of technology. Therefore, This skill is a necessity if you want to work in this field. For example, one needs to know computer literacy for this job.
- Organizational Skills – Due to the jobs’ broad spectrum, one needs to have the ability to multitask. Therefore, If one does not possess the ability to organize and prioritize tasks, it will not be easy to function.
- Creativity – The project also needs to reflect the Engineer’s capability to deliver a functioning and aesthetically pleasing product. So, this skill is a must-have for designers.
To achieve success in this field of work, an architectural engineer must perform various tasks. They include the managing and supervision of the mechanical, electrical, and structural operations of the project to guarantee efficiency.
- Analysis and evaluation of construction’s shop drawings to ensure a feasible plan.
- Identify and solve issues that might pose a problem to the construction process.
- Guarantee the safety and integrity of the structure in contrast to building styles and aesthetics.
- Optimize energy efficiency and conservation while designing and analyzing the project’s HVAC system.
- Confirm the structural and mechanical integrity of the structure while considering the building’s ability to resist extreme forces.
- Conduct audits and cost estimates to determine the cost of acquiring construction materials.
- Monitor and Direct construction efforts through the coordination of other professionals in the field like engineers and contractors.
- Offer advice or recommendations for necessary changes if required.
- Identify the latest trends and progress in architectural engineering through research.
- Confirm and update information regarding codes, guidelines, and regulations.
We owe a lot to architectural engineers that continually improve our way of life by constructing sustainable structures and finding better materials for our construction needs. In other words, modern buildings cannot rise or function without their expertise, and with the growing demand, there is an excellent prospect for people aspiring to enter this industry.