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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of work has made a significant transformation. Hybrid work arrangements, where employees split their time between working from the office and elsewhere, have become the new norm for many industries. While hybrid work has its merits, there are certain professions where being in the office full-time is essential. In Subteno’s opinion, structural engineering is one such field where the benefits of working in the office far outweigh the advantages of a hybrid work model.

In this blog post, we'll discuss the reasons why structural engineers are best when working in the traditional office environment.

Collaborative Environment: Structural engineering is often a team-oriented profession. Engineers work closely with architects, drafters, and other professionals to design and develop complex structures. Being physically present in the office fosters spontaneous collaboration, enabling team members to brainstorm, share ideas, and troubleshoot issues more effectively.

Efficient Communication: In the office, communication is more immediate and personal. Engineers can discuss ideas face-to-face, eliminating any delays and misunderstandings that can arise from email or virtual meetings. Quick access to mentors and senior engineers for guidance is invaluable for young engineers learning the ropes.

Mentorship and Learning: For young engineers and recent graduates, the office setting offers a wealth of learning opportunities. Senior engineers can provide mentorship, guidance, and hands-on training that is invaluable for skill development and career growth. This is often overlooked in the hybrid working model.

Focus and Concentration: While hybrid work may offer flexibility, it can also present numerous distractions at home, making it challenging to maintain the high level of concentration required for detailed engineering work. The office environment, on the other hand, is designed to optimise productivity and minimise disruptions to project delivery.

Career Advancement: In many engineering firms, visibility is key to career advancement. Being in the office allows engineers to build relationships, demonstrate their expertise, and contribute to their organisation's success, all of which can lead to professional growth and recognition.

Company Culture: Lastly, a strong ‘family’ culture is fostered through in-person interactions and shared experiences. Being in the office allows engineers to connect with their colleagues and develop a sense of belonging within the organisation.

In conclusion, while hybrid work arrangements have proven beneficial in many industries, structural engineering is an area where we at Subteno fully believe that full-time in-office work is not just advantageous, but necessary. The collaborative and specialised nature of this profession demands the advantages that can only be found in a traditional office setting. By working together in the same physical space, structural engineers can ensure the safety and integrity of the structures that underpin our modern world.

Rapid advancements in technology sees structural engineers continually adapting and embracing new tools and techniques to design and construct safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly buildings and infrastructure. In this blog post, we will explore the emerging technologies that are being brought into the future of structural engineering, including 3D printing, drones, and artificial intelligence (AI).

3D Printing: Revolutionising Construction

3D printing has been used in the wider engineering industry for years, and the field of structural engineering is no exception. This technology has the potential to revolutionise the construction processes by offering faster, cost-effective, and sustainable methods for building infrastructure. The benefits of 3D Printing are:

Speed and Efficiency: 3D printing enables the rapid construction of complex structures with precision. It can significantly reduce project timelines and labour costs.

Customisation: Architects and engineers can now create unique and intricate designs that were previously challenging to execute with traditional construction methods.

Material Innovation: Researchers are continually developing new materials for 3D printing, including concrete mixtures that are stronger and more durable than traditional counterparts.

Drones: Aerial Insights for Structural Engineers

Drones have become indispensable tools for structural engineers. They offer a unique perspective that was once unattainable without costly and time-consuming measures. The benefits of Drones in Structural Engineering are:

Site Surveys: Drones can quickly and accurately survey construction sites, providing engineers with up-to-date information on topography and progress.

Inspections: Routine inspections of bridges, towers, and other structures can be conducted more efficiently and safely with drones, reducing the risk to humans.

Data Collection: Drones equipped with various sensors can collect data on structural integrity, temperature, and environmental conditions, aiding in predictive maintenance.

Project Monitoring: Real-time monitoring of construction progress helps project managers stay on schedule and within budget.


The future of structural engineering is being shaped by a convergence of innovative technologies. 3D printing and drones, as examples, are revolutionising the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, constructed, and maintained. These advancements not only improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness but also contribute to more sustainable and safer practices in the field. As these technologies continue to evolve and mature, the possibilities for innovation in structural engineering is boundless, promising a brighter and more resilient future for our built environment.

The preservation and adaptation of older buildings has in recent years become an art form. Retrofitting, the process of strengthening and upgrading existing structures to meet current standards, is at the heart of this transformation. It allows us to breathe new life into our architectural heritage while ensuring that these structures can serve the needs of modern society.

The Necessity of Retrofitting

Older buildings, often admired for their historical and aesthetic value, have unique challenges when it comes to meeting requirements. As codes and regulations have evolved, many older structures may simply no longer comply with modern standards for safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, and functionality. By retrofitting instead of building new, the past and present can be brought together, making these buildings relevant and safe for today's needs.

Assessing the Building's Condition

Any process of retrofitting begins with a thorough assessment of the building's condition. Structural engineers evaluate the structure's integrity, identify issues, and undertake loading assessments. These assessments serve as the foundation for the retrofitting plan, helping the design team determine which upgrades are necessary to meet the project specification.

Developing a Retrofitting Plan

Once the structural assessment is complete, a retrofitting plan is developed. This plan outlines the specific measures needed to bring the building up to modern codes. It includes details on any structural alterations, strengthening, safety enhancements, accessibility improvements, and energy-efficient upgrades. Generally speaking, the plan must balance the preservation of historical elements with the integration of modern technologies and materials.

Strengthening the Structure

One of the primary goals of retrofitting is to enhance the structural integrity of the building. This may involve reinforcing existing foundations, walls, or roofs to withstand new loading. The introduction of new structural frames for example is often employed to strengthen older structures without compromising their architectural charm.

The Final Flourish

Once the retrofitting process is complete, the building is fit for it’s new intended purpose, amalgamating its contemporary features with new functionality.

In conclusion, retrofitting older buildings for modern needs is a complex but essential process that breathes new life into our existing architecturally rich heritage. It allows us to embrace the future while preserving the past, making these structures relevant, safe, and functional for generations to come.

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