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What is the difference between construction and structural engineering

By | Bethany Detwiler

Introduction

Unless you are working in the field of engineering or you are well-versed in this field, you might not know that the terms construction and structural engineering are different. The difference between those terms is so minor that only some specialized structural engineering firms in Maryland will be able to explain to you about the same.

What is construction engineering?

Construction engineering, commonly known as civil engineering, is one of the most popular and oldest styles of engineering. This is the field, in which engineers are responsible for constructing houses, roads, drainage systems and more. In almost all countries, students can take up specialization in a particular branch of civil engineering after completing their basic graduation course. These branches include structural engineering, transportation engineering, Geotechnical engineering and environmental engineering.

What is structural engineering?

As we discussed above, structural engineering is only a part of construction engineering. It deals with the pre-planning, planning, analysis, design, testing and building and maintenance of load-bearing structures such as bridges or dams. You might find many structural engineering firms in Maryland and elsewhere, focusing on some important projects of that particular locality.

What is the difference between the two?

Though construction and structural engineering terms are used interchangeably, they don’t mean the same. Here are some differences between the two disciplines:

  • With respect to education, civil engineering is a four-year graduation course, whereas structural engineering is a postgraduate course that determines your specialization.
  • A construction engineer is involved in the overall planning, design and implementation of the project. In contrast, a structural engineer is more focused on the quality of materials used for that particular project.
  • Construction engineering is the base around which structural engineering can be built. Engineering students are taught the basics of civil or construction engineering right in their first year of graduation. However, they get to know about structural engineering only in their 2nd or 3rd If they are interested in this field, they can pursue structural engineering as a specialization for their post-graduation.
  • A civil engineer can perform the role of a structural engineer; however, a structural engineer cannot perform the role of a civil engineer. This is because structural engineering is only a part of the ocean known as construction engineering.

Now that you have understood the differences between construction and structural engineering, you will be able to appreciate the roles & responsibilities of these engineers better than before.

 

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