IStructE Core Objective 2.1 – Conceptual Design
The next two core objectives are two of the most important, so you really want to focus your effort here. You are now going to be getting into some specifics about the projects you have worked on, so the examples given may be less relevant to you. You want to think about the work that you have done throughout your career so far, and select some that you think best demonstrate how meet the objectives.
For this objective you also need to get creative in your description, to really drive home to the panel how you have met the requirements. Your portfolio alone will not do all the work, so you need to make sure your final report form is as descriptive as possible.
If you have developed a scheme design on a project, then you can describe how you took the initial information you were given, from the client or the architect, and developed it into a viable structural scheme. Perhaps you had to change certain things about it, like introduce additional columns or stability systems. Perhaps there was a particular challenge in the scheme that you needed to achieve, such as a large cantilever, or how to cope with poor ground conditions, and you were able to develop a structural solution to the problem.
If you have ever produced some scheme design sketches, either hand drawn or marking up an architect's drawings, then you have undertaken conceptual design. You needed to resolve the stability system, determine the appropriate foundation solution, approximate beam depths so that the architect could work out how much headroom they have left. You can describe this process, and how it led to a viable scheme going through to detailed design and eventually construction.
Another element of conceptual design is choosing the most appropriate materials for the job. You might have developed two alternative schemes for a project, one in steel and one in concrete, then discussed the pros and cons with the design team.
- Structure systems – Engel, H.
- Building structures: understanding the basics – Millais, M.
- Conceptual structural design: bridging the gap between architects and engineers – Popovic Larsen, O.
- Structure and design – Schierle, G.G.
- Sketching for engineers and architects – Slade, R.
- Conceptual design. (Free to IStructE members, including students and graduates. See also our blog post related to this.) – Wilson, R.
What to put in your portfolio:
Scheme sketches that you have produced on the projects you are discussing. Any drawings or images that show the progression of the scheme from concept through to detailed design – these might not be your drawings so be sure to clearly state that if this applies.