Structural engineering is crucial for buildings and other structures such as bridges and railway lines. It involves taking into consideration materials, structural elements and intended functions to produce designs that prioritise stability, strength and rigidity. Well-informed, detailed and accurate structural engineering ensures structures are durable, suitable for their purpose and make efficient use of materials.
RSK’s land, development and engineering (LDE) team and RSK subsidiary companies Acies, CWA , KMG Partnership, RoC Consulting and CR Civil Engineering offer comprehensive structural engineering services to a wide range of projects. We provide input to our clients throughout the life cycle of their schemes, from land acquisition and feasibility stages, through planning support and the procurement process, to the production of full working drawings for construction. By applying the expertise of our skilled team, we consistently provide bespoke, cost-effective solutions to complex challenges.
We undertake structural engineering design for a variety of clients including residential and commercial developers, local authorities, property owners and architects, and take a proactive approach to challenges. Our in-depth understanding of development processes, and broad range of experience, enables us to fully understand our clients’ needs and design solutions tailored to their project.
Development projects often require clients to manage a wide scope of risks and challenges, including budget restrictions, planning and building regulations and unforeseen ground issues. Our experienced team has a deep understanding of these issues and produces flexible designs to allow for obstacles. We identify potential risks at the earliest possible stage and work closely with clients to mitigate them.
Experienced and reliable
We have the skillset to undertake work on development sites ranging from greenfield to urban regeneration schemes in the heart of inner cities and are fully conversant with other forms of construction, including modern methods of construction such as hybrid precast frames, and panelised and modular construction. Our team is experienced in a variety of site surveys, from aging buildings being considered for refurbishment and conversion to river walls that require assessment of stability and future life expectancy. We apply our expertise to aid clients in achieving regulatory approvals, including building regulations approval and asset protection agreements. RSK offers structural engineering services as part of a wider range of services, which includes civil engineering, architecture and town planning, and building information and modelling.
Our clients trust us to provide thorough services based on a deep understanding of project and developer needs and extensive experience in a wide range of construction sub-sectors. RSK understands the individuality of each project and produces solutions tailored to the specific requirements.
We advise clients who are seeking to understand any engineering-related constraints before a land bid submission. This will usually include an assessment of foundation strategy for the proposed development. It is unlikely that a full ground investigation will be available at this stage and so our ability to collaborate with the RSK geosciences team is a key benefit to our clients. We are able to tap into their expertise to make informed and commercially reliable decisions on likely foundation solutions. It is essential that planning decisions are made at this stage, at the right cost. Unbudgeted costs after land acquisition can render a scheme commercially unviable.
We typically carry out scheme designs for our clients at this stage, working in conjunction with architects, mechanical, electrical, public health and cost consultants to ensure that, from a structural perspective, the building layouts developed are as efficient as possible. This includes minimising unnecessary load transfer, establishing the structural frame as early as possible and exploring alternative forms of construction to inform the client’s cost plan.
We work with clients, architects and the wider design team to develop the feasibility and planning schemes to a level of detail, usually RIBA Stage 3, suitable for a contractor to tender. As well as producing a package of drawings, specifications and details, we also assist clients with the procurement process by attending technical interviews with contractors bidding for construction work and technically vetting their submissions.
Working drawings and Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Once planning approval has been achieved and the scheme has been tendered, we can provide full working drawings for construction either for the client for traditional forms of contract or the contractor when procurement follows the design-and-build route. This includes both superstructure and foundations detailed design, which will often include the provision of full reinforced-concrete details and bar bending schedules. We regularly design using BIM collaborative working practices, effectively creating a complete 3D model of buildings in conjunction with the other design consultants. This brings multiple benefits to our clients in terms of improved design coordination and quantity measurement for cost analysis. During this stage of work, we also collaborate with specialist suppliers of structural members to ensure their design and details comply with the overall structure, for which we are responsible.
Basement and retaining walls
Often, the schemes we design will include basements and retaining walls. These structures are particularly prevalent on more challenging sites, such as inner-city urban regeneration schemes, where space is at a premium and sites are very constrained, or steeply sloping sites. We have extensive experience designing these structures and work closely with RSK’s specialist geotechnical teams to ensure the most cost-effective and technically viable solution is delivered.
Structural surveys and site inspections
We carry out visual inspections of a variety of existing structures and report on likely defects and remedial solutions, including buildings considered for conversion works, boundary structures, retaining walls, and river and canal walls. We often work in conjunction with the RSK materials and structures teams when carrying out intrusive investigation works to understand the condition of the existing structural materials. The results of such investigations will augment our report to the client. We also carry out site inspections of the construction works as they progress. This service provides our clients with the knowledge that works are progressing in accordance with the structural design details.
We are experienced in the design of temporary works that allow a project to be constructed safely and efficiently. This can include providing temporary support to site boundaries, adjacent structures and earthworks, façade retention, piling platform design, site hoarding design and crane base design. We draw on the expertise that exists within the wider group to supplement our extensive experience in this field and provide clients with efficient and innovative solutions.