Getting started in residential engineering
Current time: 10-23-2021, 05:22 AM
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Author: elbarto_87
Last Post: ykhackhack
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Getting started in residential engineering
Hi All,

I have worked as a structural engineer in the industrial sector since graduating (steel structures, concrete footings / slabs etc). I would like to start expanding my skill base so I can look at providing engineering services to the residential sector (in Australia).

I would like to hear from other members who service the residential sector (mainly new housing construction) to see what typical work consists of (note I am looking at rural areas, so pretty basic construction). What references is available familiarize myself with the process of designing timber / masonry structures to current best practices (Australian Standards give design requirements, however there are usually good rules of thumb to follow which are not included in such documents)? What type of work do engineers in this sector typically target? Verification? Certification? Where do engineers go to get experience working with new products such as those available for retaining wall construction etc.?

I would appreciate a constructive discussion on the points above. I am a competent engineer in my area of practice, however I need to know how feasible it is to break into the residential market since the location I am thinking of targeting has relatively few structural engineers in the region and hence I wont have a large support network available. Ideally I would work for a residential engineering company for first but that isn't really an option at the moment (no one is hiring + it's not very professional to work somewhere for 6 months soak up all their IP then take off and work for yourself).

Kindest regards, elbarto
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to elbarto_87 for this post:
  • uetian19, nexus
Dear elbarto_87:

If I were you , first I would obtain all of the current residential codes for the municipality

Second , drive around and browse thru the area for on-going residential construction

Third, get hold of some permitted drawings and study.

I dont think there is a shortcut for this process.
It will take time to discover local practice and needs.

Needless to say that residential market always pays less than commercial.
Expectations vary owner to owner. Most of them are not aware of complications of the building process.

Also, residential contractors are obviously less educated than commercial contractors

I would also read do-it-yourself books about residential structures.

Our forum here have good resources also.

Good luck
[-] The following 4 users say Thank You to ykhackhack for this post:
  • Dell_Brett, uetian19, elbarto_87, nexus

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