How to become a structural engineer in Africa

July 21, 2021 | by: David Kodjani

Highly trained structural engineers design and supervise the construction of large public works projects. Most of the work is in the private sector, but a good portion is from governments.

The structural engineer thus develops the framework of a construction and ensures its stability. Thanks to clever computer calculations, this specialist in materials (concrete, metal frames, wood, etc.) participates in the preliminary construction project. Based on the architect's plans, and before costing the site, he takes into account all the factors (soil quality, dimensions, technical performance of materials, earthquake risks or climatic conditions, etc.) to define the size of the different elements of the building structure and the amount of materials to be used.

He then performs on computer simulations of resistance, deformation and elasticity to test his hypotheses. He also creates the work plan, indicating the location of walls and reinforcement plan, which represents the load-bearing elements of the building. He works in a team with draftsmen. This professional, essential in construction, is sought after by employers.

These projects concern buildings, highways, airports, bridges and dams.

This creative and concrete job consists of:

  • Managing, designing, developing, creating and maintaining construction projects
  • Conducting on-site surveys and analyzing data (maps, reports, tests, drawings, etc.)
  • Evaluating potential risks, materials and costs
  • Go into the field and make sure that the projects are going as planned and answer all the manufacturers' questions
  • Make sure that the documented plans correspond to reality and communicate the progress
  • Exchange with various interlocutors: school boards, the public, government entities…
  • Write documents like project status updates and technical reports
  • Make creative advice and recommendations
  • Negotiate project details with their team, subcontractors and clients
  • Perform technical studies and feasibility and develop diagrams meeting technical specifications
  • Supervise and supervise staff and liaise with with a variety of stakeholders
  • Manage budget and purchase equipment / materials
  • Much of the work is done in an office or in board meetings, then structural engineers go to construction sites

Training required

To practice the profession, a Bac +5 level diploma is required.

The student begins with a scientific Baccalaureate then an Engineer diploma specializing in civil engineering in five years (a 4-year Bachelor in English-speaking countries)

Examples of training in Africa:

  • Engineer diploma, National Polytechnic Institute Félix HOUPHOUËT-BOIGNY Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast (INP-HB)
  • Professional License in Civil Engineering (day) + Master (in evening classes), BATISUP Dakar school, Senegal
  • Bachelor Civil & Environmental Engineering, Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria
  • For more establishments in Africa, checkout the Edukiya search engine

skills

  • Be multidisciplinary
  • Have a sense of responsibility
  • Manage projects and lead heterogeneous teams to bring plans to life
  • Organize time effectively to complete work on time, on budget and on expectations quality
  • Be critical and solve problems
  • Master advanced mathematics, be comfortable with geometry and calculus
  • Of course, comfortable with computer programs, design and visualization software
  • Innovative and creative
  • Mobile

The salary range for a civil engineer is 346,465 CFA to 916,447 CFA per month.

The civil engineer can specialize in sustainable development, transport engineering or geotechnical engineering. He / She can work as a freelance consultant or move towards the position of Teacher-researcher in a university or a large school.

Source: Edukiya

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