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Structural Engineer vs Architect

Jun 13, 2022 | Our Blog

Embarking upon the journey of launching a new construction project requires excellent attention to detail. Deciding which professionals are suitable for the job can be a difficult selection. 

For those who are new to the industry, one would think that a structural engineer and architect fulfill the same roles. However, in reality, their specializations and skills can be very different.

Whatever you’re building, there are aspects to remember when deciding to hire a structural engineer vs architect for your future projects.


As trained, accredited, and registered professionals, architects are tasked with making their client’s vision come to reality. Albeit focusing on the more aesthetic details of a construction project, they bring expansive knowledge regarding building layouts, materials, and project management to the table. Their day-to-day assignments usually include making sketches, layouts, plans, and technical drawings by hand or with computer-aided design software. 

Putting everything together, an architect’s primary role in any project is to elaborate project designs – keeping sustainability, functionality, and safety in mind – employing high-level drawing skills and specialized construction knowledge. 

Structural Engineers

While an architect focuses on the more aesthetic details of a construction project, structural engineers knuckle down on the safety and health elements of building plans. They get involved in producing plans and drawings just like architects. However, their job also consists of choosing adequate materials and making corresponding calculations to ensure structures don’t buckle or bend. They are required to be knowledgeable about the area’s regulations and codes when submitting applications for building permits.

Overall, structural engineers don’t dabble with the building’s final appearance; most of their expertise ensures the structure is safe and practically designed. 

Key Differences of Structural Engineer vs Architect

While there is a substantial amount of overlap between a structural engineer vs architect, the critical distinctions of a structural engineer vs. architect come down to one overarching theme: architects have total control over the aesthetics and design, and engineers focus on the project’s overall safety and ensure its compliance with the area’s safety and building regulations. Additionally, a structural engineer’s knowledge of math and physics needs to be highly advanced; architects don’t need such a strong grasp on these subjects.

Furthermore, structural engineers can also commonly work on complex, multi-faceted developments such as dams, bridges, and amusement parks. On the other hand, architects mainly design corporate buildings, homes, and other similar projects. 

Structural Engineer vs Architect: Which to Choose?

When deciding whether to hire a structural engineer vs architect for your next construction project, we hope these pointers can assist you in your decision. Having the right personnel is essential for any project to go smoothly, and while these two professions seem similar at first glance, there are various divergences within their skill sets.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

T.R. Arnold’s engineering services help to streamline building design, enhance safety and optimize operational productivity. If you’re ready to take the next step or have additional questions for our team, reach out today and we’d be glad to help you determine if our services are a fit for your company’s goals.
About T.R. Arnold & Associates, Inc.

TRA provides services to the Manufactured Shelter/Housing Industry since 1967. Our services comprise of engineering approval, drafting, DAPIA, IPIA, third party modular plan review and inspection services.

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