Structural integration in practice: Constructing a framework from the experiences of structural engineers

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This paper presents results from a qualitative analysis study conducted on the integration of structure in a building. If integration is to become more of a priority, what does this mean to structural engineers, and how do they add value? Eighty-five total participants - 38 architects, 46 structural engineers, and one practicing as both - were interviewed in four major U.S. cities to record their experiences. The practitioners identified structural integration as being multifaceted, and the scope of structural integration is bigger and broader than what has been presented previously. Due to the need to understand the perspectives for each of the fields individually and the large number of responses, the analysis presented here encapsulates the responses from only the structural engineering professionals. Engineering practitioners incorporate aspects of time, professional relationships, and a collaborative environment with structural integration. Integration also includes working toward goals such as technical innovation, constructability, architectural design, combining structures with other systems, and ensuring that the owner's needs are met. Both the process and the aims lead to the physical articulation of the structure through its expression, detailing, and construction. A proposed framework for structural integration has been constructed from the responses to expand the current definition. With the changing practice environment, structural engineers need to consider what integrated design means to their profession, and this paper is intended to aid this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4014010
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Architecture
  • Integration
  • Professional practice
  • Structural engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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