“Feel the structure” MSA

Note: This Blog is for those civil engineers who want to make career in Structural Designing of buildings

This is a high time to share with you a very vital information for a beautiful career in structural engineering. Essentially you need to be civil engineer. If you are M.Tech in structural engineering, then it is more preferable. However, it’s not a strict criteria to enter in the field of structural engineering and designing. You can Enter in this field with bachelor degree as well.

If you are very keen to work in this challenging field, then you need to know the inside story of structural engineer working in this field. Here i am going to tell you the entire procedure involved in the analysis, designing , co-ordination and issuing drawing to sites. If you know all these steps in advance, the it will be very easy for you to establish in this field.

Before writing steps involved from conceptual level to construction stage, you need to understand the team involved for the finalization good for construction drawings.

Following teams involved in the finalization of drawings at office & issuing it to site:

  1. Architects
  2. Structural Engineers
  3. Structural draughtsman
  4. MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Engineers)


STEP: 1Surveying

After receiving work order from a client, architect co-ordinate with a surveying agency to make contour plan for deciding buildings plinth level and site development and this contour plan is very essential to know the site condition whether it is above the existing road level or below the road level. Structural engineers substantially use reduced level mentioned in the contour plan to filling load if filling is required to achieve desired plinth level. Also, ramp and road are made based on this contour plan.

STEP: 2Geo technical Investigation

Architect after receiving contour plan,they start planning building on it. They show road development and fit all building on this survey with orientation & based on this, master plan is made.

After putting all building desired by client, architect pass on this site plan having all blocks to the structural team to locate bore hole for soil investigation for foundation design. Structural engineer mar bore hole as BH-1, BH-2, Bh-3 & so on the site plan and issue it the Geo- technical investigation agency with certain specification to find out safe bearing capacity(for open foundation),pile load capacity if there is recommendation of pile & modulous of sub grade reaction if there is a recommendation of raft.

Note: No Geo technical report is assumed to be final until & unless it is approved by a structural engineer. A structural engineer thoroughly review the soil report. Structural engineer guides Geo technical engineer to provided additional data if needed giving a concrete reason. For example, if there is recommendation for pile foundation of 600 mm diameter, then it is our responsibility to ask Geo technical engineer to provide recommendation for 450 mm & 300 mm diameter pile as well for the small buildings. Also, in report, Geo technical engineer shall be reminded to provide recommendation sheet for isolated footing because for extremely small structures like guard room, porta cabins & boundary walls,this data will be useful. Also,in some Geo technical report,there may be only one recommendation of isolated footing but we should ask for the recommendation for sub grade reaction as in the same site , there may a provision of under ground tank or in some places most of individual footings for separate column may over lap each others, hence recommendation for sub grade modulus is essential for designing raft.

STEP: 3Preliminary Framing & Column Placement

Once site plan is finalized, column is placed with different orientation in each building blocks and based on column placement, tentative framing is made. This framing with column is shared to the architectural team to get their approval as per the functionality of building. Also, tentative beam depth is shown in the drawing. Based on this, architect may change floor to floor height of the building if excessive depth of beam is required for the desired span. Apart from this,Architect coordinate with MEP team for the cut outs for plumbing & fire fighting work. Also, there may AC duct running inside the false ceiling. Based on these criteria, Architect finalize the floor to floor height.Once tentative framing is approved, architect again issue separate drawings to structural engineer of each building blocks with column matching with structural framing and all sections and elevation & after that preparation of tender or DPR(Detail Project Report) starts.


After approval of preliminary /conceptual drawings, tender drawings are made. For that,a structural engineer needs to start modeling & analyzing building in softwares like STAAD Pro, Etabs etc. Once analysis & designing is over,structural engineer gives final column sizes & beams to the structural draughtsman.Also,whatever type of foundation is mentioned in the approved soil report, structural engineer provide foundation and that is drafted by draughtsman.

Complete set of drawings having column marking plan, column schedule, foundation plans & sections,floor wise all framing plans having beams sizes and slab thickness, desired section in sunken,cantilever in framing along with staircase sections having waist slab thickness, landing beam sizes and if there is over & under ground tank , its detail shall be provided with section sizes.

Ins short, section sizes of all structural elements are required for quantity take off in making BOQ.

Also, specification for grade of concrete(Like M20,M25,M30…etc), grade of reinforcement(Like Fe500, Fe550 …etc.),grade of cement,type of cement(Like OPC, PPC or sulphate resisting cement) , type of sand, type water proofing materials & type of bricks /blocks shall be provided by structural engineer to the estimator to consider these specs in bill of quantity(BOQ).


After getting approval of tender drawings from department/client, department/client call contractor for bidding & this process take considerable time. Meanwhile, as a structural engineer, our main focus is to work on good for construction drawings. If there are some minor correction like missing dimensions, missing sections then these shall be resolved in the GFC drawings. Also, detailed reinforcement in beam as beam elevations and slab as reinforcement layout is made for construction. Also, if there is any instructions from department/client for drawing to be vetted from government institute or individual consultancy firm, then detail calculation report termed as DBR(design basis report) shall be made along with STAAD/ETABS file. These consolidated DBR & STAAD/ETABS file shall be submitted to vetting authority and time to time they shall be chase to get all submitted drawings approved so that there will not be any delay in construction.


Mohammad Sohel Akhtar(MSA)

(Structural Engineer)


  1. Hello sir,
    My self Darshan. I’m from Vadodara, Gujarat.
    Your blog is so much helpfull and well written.
    I Completed my M.E. Structure in July, 2019.

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