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Structural engineering is a field of engineering. It covers analyzing and designing structures that support or resist loads. It is usually considered a specialty within civil engineering. However, it is often considered a stand alone profession in its own right. Structural engineers commonly design buildings and large non-building structures. And, they also design machinery, medical equipment, vehicles, or any item where structural integrity affects the item’s function or safety. Structural engineers must ensure their designs satisfy given design criteria, predicated on safety (e.g. structures must not collapse without due warning) or serviceability and performance (e.g. building sway must not cause discomfort to the occupants). Structural engineering theory is based upon universal physical laws and empirical knowledge of the structural performance of different materials and geometries. A structural engineering design combines simple structural elements to create structural systems. These structural systems can be simple or complex. Structural engineers are responsible for making creative and efficient use of funds, structural elements and systems, and materials to achieve these goals.
Structural engineers are licensed or accredited by different regulatory bodies around the world. In Texas, engineers are governed by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE). The TPBE considers all engineers to be professional engineers, regardless of their declared specialty. A licensed engineer may practice in the area for which they are qualified by education , training, and experience. Optionally, a Texas professional engineer may register up to two specialty practice areas with the TBPE.