Architectural engineering is also commonly referred to as building engineering. This is the application of various engineering principles and the latest technology to the design and construction of buildings.
What is architectural engineering?
Many people use the terms architectural engineering and architect interchangeably; but the fact is that these are two different fields that overlap in some areas. In most instances, an architect is responsible for building aesthetics, its forms and structure. The architectural design process is very creative and the focus is on the actual design and the practicality of the design.
Architectural engineering on the other hand is centred on the mechanical and structural systems of a building; For example, the building process and the manner in which the project is tracking. It also involves the design, planning and construction or installation of various essential services such as ventilation, heating and air conditioning. Commercial buildings have specific requirements that can vary significantly from residential buildings.
Architectural engineering is largely focused on scientific and mathematical applications and the manner in which they will affect the construction and design of a building and its needed services. In short, architectural engineering is an integrated field of study that adopts a multidisciplinary approach.
While it involves appreciation of and training in architectural concepts, it primarily seeks the integration of various building systems within the broader building design and their planning and construction. The different aspects this field takes into consideration include:
• Building environmental control
• Heat and mass transfer
• Airflow modelling within the built environment
• Fire & fire safety prevention
• Noise and acoustics
• Structural systems
• Services such as:
• Life systems
• Air conditioning
• Water supply
• Project management
Building construction or structural integrity (taking into account various natural disasters including earthquakes)
What is an architectural engineer?
An architectural engineer is a professional who helps create efficient and stable buildings and building structures. They often work on projects with professionals such as architects, construction engineers and construction workers. An architectural engineer may work with governmental organisations or with private corporations. Some choose to act as consultants and work with firms that specialise in specific aspects of construction.
An architectural engineer applies scientific and mathematical principles to designing buildings, focusing on aspects such as functionality and structural demands while taking into account safety and economic factors. They may also be involved in designing various systems within buildings, related to installations such as plumbing, lighting and air-conditioning.
Specializations in architectural engineering
An architectural engineer diagrams designs manually as well as with the use of CAD programs. The different specialisations in the architectural engineering field include:
• Architectural electrical engineering
• Structural engineering
• Architectural mechanical engineering
Most architectural engineers seek employment in the areas they have specialised in; however, their knowledge base qualifies them for various other engineering positions too and they may work as structural design consultants, electrical system design engineers or construction project managers.
Duties that an architectural engineer performs
An architectural engineer might start a project by meeting with the architects involved in that construction, to discuss structural designs. In this stage the engineers perform a number of different tasks- they may ascertain structural, power and load requirements. They will also analyse blueprints and sketches and various models for safety, acoustic and environmental issues.
For instance, an engineer may access an aspect like HVAC system noise to decide whether the installation is suitable for the respective facility.While conducting their surveys and assessments, if the architectural engineer finds a potential structural issue, they may hold meetings and consult with civil engineers and architects to find the best solution.
Duties that an architectural engineer performs
An architectural engineer performs a range of duties depending on the nature of the project such as:
• Analysing The building/system prototypes submitted by project architects
• Studying and evaluating construction plans and blueprints to ensure feasible design
• Providing solutions to increase efficiency
• Providing solutions to decrease costs
• Enforcing adherence of the building codes and related compliance issues
• Evaluating The proposed electrical systems to assess window costs
• Evaluating the structure to ensure occupational safety
• Carrying out the cost estimates of different construction materials to determine the project
• Overseeing the mechanical & structural electrical operations in a construction project to ensure
• Supervising and directing construction operations
• Designing solutions to problems and difficulties with a building’s construction
• Providing solutions that improve the safety and structural integrity of a proposed structure
• Conducting estimates to determine cost requirements of sourcing construction materials.
• Selecting or recommending appropriate components and raw materials required for construction
• Ensuring compliance with all local and federal laws on construction and housing
• Modification of a building design mid-construction to effectively accommodate additional
components needed by the client
• Conducting tests to determine the building’s structural integrity against seismic vibrations
• Evaluating efficiency of lightning protection, fire alarms & other safety add-ons to make sure
they are operational
Systems and tools that architectural engineers use
Architectural engineers typically useCAD–based software in their work. They also use BIM platforms, drawing management tools and simulation technologies, building simulators, fly-throughs, animations and full-scale 3D visualisations.
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