Structural Engineer vs Architect – What’s the Difference?

At Russell Rowland, our clients frequently ask about the difference between an Architect and a Structural Engineer and how to know which to hire for their project. If you find the distinction unclear and need help clarifying the roles between each professional, we’re here to help.

We understand the confusion as both Architects and Structural Engineers work on the design portion of the project. Structural Engineers and Architects work together to meet the client’s design needs for aesthetics, structural integrity, and constructability. However, they each have specific responsibilities and expertise to align with project and code requirements.

The Role of an Architect

Architects help the client imagine the design for the property. Their job is to bring the client’s vision to life. For example, the Architect determines the location of the rooms, stairs, windows, doors, and other design elements. They are responsible for the look and feel of the building. In other words, they help put the client’s imagination into a buildable blueprint.

Clients should go to the Architect first for a new construction project, like a custom home or office building. Clients hire the Architect to create the design of the structure. Architects are responsible for the design of the floor plan, exterior elevations, architectural details, features, and specifications for the home or building.

The Role of a Structural Engineer

Structural Engineers evaluate the structural components and use calculations to determine how the design will hold up to expected loads. In other words, the Structural Engineer strips down the Architect’s design to focus only on the components that are part of the building’s skeleton. Structural Engineers aren’t concerned with the interior finishes or furniture. Instead, we care about the structure itself and determine the placement of loadbearing elements within the Architect’s design.

Structural Engineers create the foundation design, calculate the impact of high wind speeds, conclude how gravity will affect the building, and ensure the structure meets the loading requirements per Code. These details are vital for the longevity and reliability of the home or building.

Simple Residential Projects and Remodels

For simple projects, such as removing a load bearing wall, you can go directly to the Engineer.

A Structural Engineer has the knowledge and training to guide you through a remodel, including code compliance. We have the capability to help you with the design and the ability to assess structural impacts and ensure structural integrity for the project. This streamlines the process without compromising on the support you need for a successful project.

Russell Rowland – The Right Construction Experts for Your Project

At Russell Rowland, we understand the importance of your project budget and timeline. Therefore, we work with you and your Architect from the beginning to help you avoid wasting time and money on a design that’s not structurally sound.

We want to help you build your dream home, but we also want your home to last and keep you and your family safe. That’s our job! Our goal is to create a plan that builds structural soundness while achieving your aesthetic objectives.

We want you to have an overall positive experience building your home. We prioritize exceptional customer service and efficient communication with quick response times.

Russell Rowland provides structural engineering services to clients throughout the Southeast. Contact us to discuss how we can help with your construction project.