Structural CAD drawings are essential for a Structural engineer

Structural CAD drawings are essential for a Structural engineer
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What is Structural Engineering?

It’s straightforward, the branch of civil engineering that relates to large modern buildings and similar structures. 

Let’s deep dive into what is the technical side of Structural engineering and what is the job of structural engineers.

The purest technical aspect of structural engineering design is to compare the demand with the basics capability. It is an area of ​​engineering dealing with structures analysis and design that supports or opposes the load.

Structural engineering theory is based on empirical knowledge of physical laws and structural performance of different materials and geometrics. Structural engineering design uses many simple structural elements to form complex structural systems.

As stated above, structural engineering is to calculate demand and capacity and compare the two. In terms of basic concepts to accomplish these tasks, you’ll need:


  • An understanding of mechanical physics resulted in the study of statistics (aka how to proceed through compositions to support resources).
  • Possibility of dynamics to analyze how kinetic forces affect structures (however, the building code simplifies this often into stable equivalent forces).
  • An understanding of material mechanics, especially the relationships between stress and strain, and how they translate into displacement and forces.


  • Understand the three major building materials (reinforced concrete, steel and wood) and what needs to be checked for each.

Here is an overview of the general process.

First of all, a structural engineer who is checking the specific building element will calculate the demand. This usually means to go to the American Society of Civil Engineers published handbook (i.e. ASCE-7) and follow the procedure that is kept to calculate the forces and where they have to apply to the structure. These handbooks are based on a long history of building construction experience as well as ongoing testing and research. A Structural Engineer will then trust his knowledge of studies and mechanics to determine how the forces fall from the level of the building, whatever they are investigating.

Structural engineers can do this for multiple load types (i.e. dead load, live load, wind load, earthquake load), and various combinations of load types as specified by the building code. They would use the “worst-case scenario” combination (i.e. the combination that produces the highest demand) and use that in their calculations.


Once they have calculated the demand, it is time to calculate the capacity. It is usually quite straightforward and basically finding more equations in proper engineering handbook, plugging in numbers and demanding for results (with a certain period of security).

If it works, congratulations! Now, it’s time to move on to the next step.

If every piece of the building from beams to columns, foundations to bolts, holding everything together, and check it meets all of the requirements? If it is big, Yes. Then they go with Structural CAD Draftsmen to design a building structure. And finally, moved to the last step that is the Construction phase.

Here are the 9 simple flow of the Structural Engineering process

  1. Identification and Intended use of the structure
  2. Development of Architectural Plans and Layouts
  3. Identification of a structural framework
  4. Estimation of structural loads depending on use and occupancy
  5. Structure analysis to determine member and connection design forces
  6. Drawing/Drafting of structural design and alliances
  7. Structure design verification
  8. Fabrication and erection by a steel fabricator
  9. Inspection and approval by the state building officer

What is Structural Drafting?

Structural drafting is a digital plan or drawing how buildings or other structures are constructed. Rather than focusing on the detailed drawings of the floor plan, the structural drafts focus on the building’s overall support system, which includes things like columns, beams, foundations, etc. Drafts used to make these pictures by hand, but with the more advanced technology, the CAD program now completes these plans.


How Are Structural CAD Drawings Important For Structural Engineers? It is essential for structural engineers as there is no other way to convey this information to the fabricator and the erector.

Drawing is the language of engineers. A simple sketch or diagram can provide faster and more accurate information than a thousand words, and all this technical information cannot be conveyed in words and sentences alone.

Here is the Sample of structural engineering drawing that is done by our Structural Draftsmen.

Alpha CAD’s Structural Drafting Services

From foundation plans to slab details, our computer-aided design team has completed a large number of drawings within the structural field for the past 9+ years. Our CAD team is capable to handle any structural job. Visit our Structural engineering services for more information.

If you have a need for structural drafting experts, contact us right now to talk about your next project.

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