The Difference Between a Structural Engineer and an Architect

There are a couple of reasons why some individuals have a hard time differentiating between structural engineers and architects. For one, when you look at the job description for each, they can sound a bit similar and for two, you can often see them working side by side on a variety of projects. But alas, there is a thing or two that separates us from our friends in the architecture business.

The best way to separate the two is to remember that it is an architect’s job to focus more on what the structure will eventually look like once the project is complete. Everyone has heard of an interior decorator and all that that entails, so it shouldn’t be hard to understand why an architect can be considered the
exterior decorator. They have their hand in all areas of what
everything should look like, where things go and exactly what purpose they
will serve in the long run.

On the other hand, the
structural engineer
is more responsible for the skeleton of the structure. All aspects of what goes into making that piece a solid, well supported structure weighs heavily on the skills and calculations of the engineer. It’s extremely important for the structural engineer to deliver a final product that not only ensures that the project will be effective in the long run, but that can also be considered safe for the general public.

All in all, though structural engineers and architects both work towards making the final product live up to all expectations, each has their own area of focus. At the end of the day however, whether the structure stand the test of time relies heavily on the work of the structural engineer.

(Post by Tray Allen of
James Thomas Engineering)