Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts

how to write a structural engineering report

Writing Engineering Reports

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This powerpoint presentation provides information about how to write reports in Engineering.

This resource is enhanced by a PowerPoint file. If you have a Microsoft Account, you can view this file with   PowerPoint Online .

This PowerPoint slide presentation covers major aspects of writing reports in Engineering. Click on the link above in the Media box to download the slides.

The presentation includes information about:

Check out the Purdue YouTube Channel for vidcasts on writing engineering reports.

The Structural World

A Structural Engineering Blog

The Structural World

How to Prepare a Structural Design Report

The Structural World > Topics > Drawings, Documents & Submittals > How to Prepare a Structural Design Report

how to write a structural engineering report

thestructuralworld August 20, 2018 2 Comments

Drawings, Documents & Submittals

Structural Calculations , Structural Design Report , Structural Engineer Report , Structural Report

One of the tasks of a Structural Design Engineer is not only limited to analyzing and design of the structural model. The completion of the design part of the project we are designing is actually far for the project to be materialized. In fact, it is only one of the requirements to get the project to be approved by the building authorities or whoever is assigned to give a green light. Aside from the fact that all the design departments involve, e.g. Architectural and MEP should work together and do their part, likewise, the Structural Department should act as well.

Perhaps one of the most challenging tasks of a Structural Design Engineers, next to design and analysis is how to interpret our design in a structural report. In the preparation of structural design report, lengthy or short, it is our task to make the report as simple and as crystal clear as possible in order for the reviewer to interpret and understand clearly on what we are trying to emphasize. Preparation and submission of the structural design report is actually part of a structural design, without this we won’t be able to get the project standing. Because it is one of the requirements in structural design submission. In this article, we will talk about the standard or at least the customary way in the preparation of a structural design report. What are the different sections of the report in general that we need to consider and what are their corresponding descriptions? They are summarized as follows:

This is the very first page of our report. It contains all about the project information with the title description about the name of the project, the project number (optional), the location of the project, the client name, the name of the consultant or the contractor involved in the project, the one who prepared the report and the date. Keep the cover sheet as plain, simple and as neat as possible. No further required format is needed as long as the project information mentioned above have been provided.

Also referred to as the table of contents, this page contains the lists of sections in the report with the corresponding pages. This is an important part of the report since it gives the reader/reviewer a guide and to locate the sections or topics whenever he/she intended to.  As a designer, see to it that the pages that we provided really correspond to where it is intended to.

Summary of the report contains the entire overview or the general introduction of the design report and what is the report all about. Summary varies according to the project but overall it outlines the short description of the project considerations. It may help also to clearly understand the summary if you incorporate images related to the report.  In structural design report, the summary can be sub-divided in the following section:

Analysis and Design

This section is the body of the report in which the result of the analysis can be provided. This can be further subdivided into different sections, for example, if we are preparing a structural design report for the analysis and design of a 12-story building. The sections under the “analysis and design” are as follows:


This section provides the output result based on the design and analysis. The designer’s suggestion and proposal on the given project can be classified in this section. It is obvious that this section should conclude that the analysis and design based on the calculations considering the design criteria are safe and adequate. But for some instance, when you are assigned to provide a structural report on the existing building due to the addition of floors, that is a different story.  Of course, if the design calculation says otherwise, that is the time that you have to come up for a recommended solution or proposal to make the design safe and sound.

Appendix or Appendices

An appendix is the bottom part of the structural design report where our design attachments can be found. In this section, we should attach our references on the report that we made. This is a very important part of the report since we can always go back to our design assumptions in the event of some clarifications. Here we can also include the detailed calculations in support of the analysis and design section. The output result of the structural analysis model that is mostly consumed a number of pages can also be included in this section. The soft copies of the structural model can also be a part of the appendix though it can be submitted separately for design discussion purposes. Other attachments include the structural drawings and soil or geotechnical reports to name a few.

The checklists above can also be applied when we are preparing short calculations for temporary work projects. Regardless of how huge the project is, basically the above are the most common sections that we should consider in the preparation of the structural design report. The author gathers the above checklists in his previous experiences in the review, as well as preparation of structural design reports. Some companies had developed its own format and some standards are according to the authority having the jurisdiction and it is always up to you which one to use.

Tell us your thoughts. Don’t hesitate to leave your comment on the form below and you can share this article for the newbies and upcoming structural engineers to be aware of.

Visit Us On Facebook

 22,442 total views,  1 views today

Digiprove seal

← Previous post

Next post →

Related Posts

how to write a structural engineering report

Thanks for the post. Do you know if there is a regulation to present those documents? For example, an ASTM Standard guide to calculation report submittals?

I will be grateful for your response.

' src=

Mostly it’s a general format and not specific to a certain format, as long as it is clear and well presented, that will be fine.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Engineering Technical Reports

Technical reports include various types of "technical" information. For example, if you need to report why a design or piece of equipment failed, you'd write a forensic report. Or, you might have to write about a design you created. Then, you'd produce a design report or, you may need to combine these two. Many report types are classified as technical reports. You should always determine what information you need to convey and who your audience is before you start writing.

Technical reports present facts and conclusions about your designs and other projects. Typically, a technical report includes research about technical concepts as well as graphical depictions of designs and data. A technical report also follows a strict organization. This way, when other engineers read what you write, they can quickly locate the information that interests them the most.

As a student, you might assume that your technical report's audience is your instructor, however, this may not always be the case. Your instructor may ask you to produce a report for your peers or for other engineers. However, you shouldn't always assume that your audience has a strong engineering background or is familiar with the engineering terminology you use. Always check with your instructor to know who your audience is.

As an engineer in the field, the most likely audience for the technical reports you produce is other engineers with a background similar to yours. This audience is more likely to understand the terminology you use. However, you should always evaluate who your readers will be before assuming they will understand your jargon. Consider how your readers will use your report. For instance, you might submit a technical report to a publication or your technical report may present a specific design. The audiences in each situation have different needs. Audiences may read the publication for information and insight while audiences reading about your specific design may critique your design or make decisions based on its content.

General Format

Technical Reports have an organized format because a majority of your audience may not read the entire report in one reading. This specific format allows readers to quickly locate the information they need.

Most technical reports include the parts listed below. However, you may be required to include or exclude specific sections. Be sure to check with your instructor before using the format outlined here.

Transmittal Letter

Transmittal letters often accompany reports and inform readers of a report's context. Typically, the letter includes information not found in the report. For example, the letter contains information about the particular project and/or due dates. A Transmittal Letter is a business letter and should be formatted accordingly; that is, you should include the recipient's address, your address, a salutation and closing. Depending on the project, you may also need to include contact information. Always check with your instructor to determine whether or not you should attach a transmittal letter to your report.

A technical report should always include a title clearly identifying the report. A title should be descriptive and accurate, but not wordy, verbose or too terse.

The Abstract is extremely important because it helps readers decide what to read and what to pass over. The idea of the Abstract is to give readers an honest evaluation of the report's content, so they can quickly judge whether they should spend their valuable time reading the entire report. This section should give a true, brief description of the report's content. The most important purpose of the Abstract is to allow somebody to get a quick picture of the report's content and make a judgment.

Since an Abstract is a brief summary of your report, its length corresponds with the report's length. So, for example, if your report is eight pages long, you shouldn't use more than 150 words in the Abstract. Generally, Abstracts define the report's purpose and content.

Executive Summary

Typically, Executive Summaries are written for readers who do not have time to read the entire technical report. An executive summary is usually no longer than 10% of the report. It can be anywhere from 1-10 pages long, depending on the report's length. In the executive summary, you should summarize the key points and conclusions from your report. You might include anexecutive summary with your report, or the summary can be a separate document.

Some reports only include an abstract while others include an executive summary. Always check with your instructor to determine which to include or if you should include both.

Table of Contents

A Table of Contents includes all the headings and subheadings in your report and the page numbers where each of these begins. When you create a Table of Contents, one of the most important decisions you have to make involves design. A good Table of Contents distinguishes headings from subheadings and aligns these with the appropriate page numbers. This also means you should pay attention to capitalization, spacing, and indentation.

List of Figures & List of Tables

These two separate lists assist readers in locating your photos, drawings, tables, graphs and charts. Like the Table of Contents, you need to present both of these in an organized, appealing format. Typically, you can shorten a figure or table's title when you create these lists.

Report Body

In a technical report, the body typically presents an Introduction, various other sections, depending on your topic, and a Conclusion. Throughout the body, you should include text (both your own and research from other sources), graphics, and lists. Whenever you cite information or use graphics from another source, you must credit these sources within your text. Check with your instructor to know which reference style to use.

Whenever you cite information (this includes graphics) from another source, you must credit the source in your References. Always check with your instructor to determine which reference style to use.

Appendices include information that is too large to fit within your report, yet information necessary to your report. For example, large graphics, computer print-outs, maps, or sample codes are best placed in Appendices. When making decisions about what to place in an Appendix, consider whether or not the material interrupts the reading flow. For instance, six pages of calculations would obviously cause readers to loose their train of thought. Appendices always appear at the end of a report.

Example Technical Report

As you read the example, keep in mind that this technical report was a requirement for CE208 at Colorado State University. The course instructor, Dr. Tom Siller, commented on this document. Other instructors or job situations may have different opinions or require a different format.

December 12, 1996

Dr. Tom Siller Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80524

Dear Mr. Siller:

We are submitting to you the report, due December 13, 1996, that you requested. The report is entitled CSU Performing Arts Center. The purpose of the report is to inform you of our design decisions for the center. The content of this report concentrates on the structural and acoustical aspects of the CSU Performing Arts Center. This report also discusses cable-stayed technology. If you should have any questions concerning our project and paper please feel free to contact Mike Bridge at 491-5048.

Sincerely, Mike Bridge Lead Engineer

Instructor Comments

This is not a very good business letter. In a business letter, you typically present your own address in addition to the receiver's address. Also, my address is incomplete. They need to include "Department of Civil Engineering." And what about a logo? Letterhead? Typically, businesses have letterhead.

Another problem is that the contact phone number is buried in the text. This makes it easy to miss. A good idea is to list the contact phone number under your title at the bottom. This letter should also provide a context for the project, "This final project was completed for CE 208…" In other words, this project represents your last say; no more is coming.

Project Engineers: Mike Bridge

Alice Lake Simon Civil Karen Nuclear

The title page here is missing key information. There should be date and client name (That'd be me!). A client in this environment is the class. For instance, you might say, "submitted for" or "to," something of that nature.

The format looks good. I like the use of bold in spots. It highlights the text.

It's also good that they identified themselves with the group.

MASK Engineering has designed a performing arts center for the CSU campus in order to provide a complex that will better serve the campus and the community. This facility will not only improve the performing arts programs on campus, but will encourage students and community members to attend more cultural events in Fort Collins. The capacity of the new facility will exceed that of existing structures on campus, and the quality of sound and aesthetics will be improved. Some of the features included are a large performing hall, a coffee shop, a banquet hall, and a recording studio. The total area of the complex is 56,500 square feet split into three levels.

This abstract summarizes the accomplishments of the project and what it will do. It also summarizes some of the actual design and indicates that it's going to include a performing hall, coffee shop, banquet hall, and recording studio.

The writing, however, could be a little tighter in my opinion. The first sentence looks like it's around 20 words long. First of all, that whole expression "will better service the Campus and the Community" doesn't mean anything. What does "better serve" mean? And so, I look at something like that and say, "Mask Engineering has designed a new Performing Arts Center that will meet the needs of the theater community," or something more specific.

And then the second sentence is typical. It gives the particular vehicle for doing the programs. It implies the facility improves programs, and I'm not sure that's quite the right subject in a sentence like that. There's no point in a "but" here. It will do this and this; it's not a contrast. They're not contrasting anything. And so, there are some grammatical problems here. I think these kinds of grammatical problems come up because students don't read carefully. They write it. To avoid this construction, read it sentence by sentence and say, "What does this sentence accomplish for me?" And you can see that this sentence structure doesn't accomplish; it implies there's a contrast, well, there is no contrast.

Then the abstract gets stronger. "The capacity of the new facility will exceed that," so they get very specific. "The quality, sound and ascetics will be improved. Some of the features included are this." They're very good at being descriptive and saying this, this and this. The struggle I think engineering students have is the motivational lead-in to their material. They're more comfortable at the descriptive aspect of their material.


MASK Engineering would like to thank Dr. Michael Schaff of the CSU Music Department and Ms. Annie Cleveland from the CSU Theater Department for their expertise and input for the CSU Performing Arts Center. We would also like to thank Dr. Tom Siller for his aid in our research and use of his research materials.

Excecutive Summary


Our main goal was to design a Performing Arts Center for the CSU campus that would blend well with the rest of the campus. To achieve this goal, our group split into two smaller groups; Alice in one and Simon, Mike, and Karen in the other. Alice concentrated on acoustical aspects of the complex. Simon, Mike, and Karen concentrated on the structural plans.

In this section, we specify the exact location of the structure and why we believe it is a prime location.

Cable-stayed Technology

Here, we present our rationale for using cable-stayed technology. We base this technology on several other existing structures.

Main Hall Acoustics

One of the key characteristics of a concert hall that greatly influences sound quality, is its reverberation time (the time before the decay of the reflected sound ). In the construction of the main hall for the CSU Performing Arts Center a balance will be determined that will create a reverberation time of two seconds, as independent of audience size as possible.

In this section, we discuss the materials to be used. Retractable banners will be built into the ceiling, and can be lowered to create this effect. Cloth seats will be used as they best assimilate an occupied audience area ( Beranek 1962 ). This allows sound within the hall to be independent of audience size. The low sound absorbency of plaster also makes it ideal for the creation of the desired reverberation time of two seconds.

The intensity of the direct sound should not be too weak, but at the same time, it must not become uncomfortably loud. This problem will be dealt with by limiting the length of the room, and by designing the surfaces above and around the stage to project the sound evenly throughout the concert hall. Another problem arises with the seats placed under a balcony. To prevent a muddiness within the sound, the depth under the balcony should not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony.

The Colorado State University Performing Arts Center consists of three levels. The total area of the complex is 56,500 square feet. The basement and ground floors consist of 20,500 square feet apiece. The second floor has a square footage of 15,500.

During the duration of the project, we accomplished our goal of designing a Performing Arts Center for the CSU campus that would blend well with the rest of the campus. A cable-stayed support system for the roof will allow for a compact facility and an unobstructed view for patrons. In order to achieve the best acoustical results in the main performance hall, we have designed a rectangular hall made of plaster. We have also designed the hall so that the depth under the balcony does not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony. The total area of the complex will be 56,500 square feet split into three levels. The main hall will have a seating capacity of 1,200.

Introduction: You don't need to summarize the paper's introduction since the introduction is generally an overview to the whole report. In other words, don't summarize what you're going to summarize.

Executive Summary: This summary is too short compared to the report's length.

Location: This information doesn't tell me squat. They should have said something like, "This report presents the location at the northwest corner of the Oval as being the ideal location. The motivation for this decision is documented in this section." This is a summary. Summaries should inform me; they shouldn't tell me what I'm being told.

Main Hall Acoustics: This section is more informative. Here, they tell me the key characteristics influencing sound quality. As for the phrase "It will be determined," well, hasn't it already been determined? They should have written, "In the construction of the main hall for the CSU Performing Arts Center, a balance of x was defined. This creates a reverberation time of two seconds." You need to positively say what's been done. In other words, you did this, you designed it.

Conclusion: You should only summarize the conclusion if it's really a conclusion and not a summary. By this I mean have you come to a conclusion? Based on everything you've done, have you made conclusions or recommendations and not summarized what you've covered in the report?



Executive Summary.............................iii

List of Figures..................................iv

List of Tables....................................v



Cable-Stayed Technology.....................5


Floor Plans........................................12



First of all, I like the dots that make the visual connection. This report does not go into much in the way of subsections, and so from that standpoint, it is probably appropriate not to number the sections. This table of contents doesn't use subsections, which is adequate for the length of this project. I'm expecting a more detailed table of contents this year. I'd like to see further subsections on ideas. That helps writing be more organized.

Example of Table of Contents with Subsections:

1.0 Introduction..........

Here, the main topics are at one level, then indented to the next level. And they're just great visual clues. One of the purposes of the table of contents is to give readers a visual map of the document. They can look at this before they start reading and know where things fit. Writers need to think of a table of contents as providing a mental map for readers.

List of Figures

The captions on this list are weak, and this is obvious because of the phrases, "Map of Campus," "Bridge Diagram." There's no use of capitalization because they're just phrases. This is a balancing act. You don't want to write long sentences, but you don't want to write something that's so vague readers aren't certain what it means. For example, a reader might ask "What campus?" The students are obviously thinking in their own minds of one campus, CSU. They need to think beyond that. One of the things I try to impress on students in figures and tables too, is that sometimes these will be pulled out of your report. And so now, they're out of context. You've got to balance giving enough information, so someone can interpret it when it's out of the context of the existing report. Captions should not be so overly verbose that you've got a paragraph. I think a figure caption should be about one line at the most. At times captions may get a little longer, but I find those distracting.

The purpose of designing a performing arts center on the CSU campus is to provide adequate capacity and higher quality of sound and aesthetics as compared to the existing structures in the region. Factors that MASK Engineering considered included accessibility, cost effectiveness, location, and an efficient use of space. Our intent was to preserve the open space of the CSU campus and to design the complex in such a manner that it will blend well with its surrounding environment.

We at MASK Engineering believe that this project will greatly benefit both the CSU campus and the surrounding Fort Collins community. Such a facility will lead to the improvement of the performing arts programs on campus. It will directly affect the students and professors in the music, theater. and dance programs at the university, eventually increasing enrollment in these disciplines. There are approximately 230 students in the performing arts programs at CSU right now. The amount of space that is available to these students is inadequate for their performances. The construction of this complex will not only provide them with the space they need, but will also continue the growth of these programs, making CSU a leader in the education of the performing arts.

These changes at the university will result in a heightened cultural awareness in the community. Currently, community events are held at the Lincoln Center, while CSU sponsored events are held at the Lory Student Center theater. A new facility will bring community and university events together and will allow a greater variety of outside events to be brought to Fort Collins. The location of this complex on campus will bring a greater number of students to these events due to the elimination of transportation problems.

MASK Engineering has focused on the structural and acoustical aspects of the CSU Performing Arts Center, while hiring other firms to handle the parking, mechanical and electrical operation, and utilities. A cable-stayed support system has been chosen, and a floor plan has been drawn up that will produce the best acoustical results. A. L. handled the acoustical aspects of the complex, while S.C., K.N., and M.B. concentrated on the structural plans. We are planning for the construction of this complex to begin within the next few years.

The site chosen for the Colorado State University Performing Arts Center is the plot of land upon which Green Hall now stands (Figure 1). This area was chosen primarily for its location on the CSU campus and its proximity to the downtown area. Green Hall is a condemned building and is not currently used for anything beyond university storage. Some office space has been granted to the branch of the CSUPD dealing with parking violations, but this department could easily move back to its old location at Aylesworth Hall. Our firm believes that this space would be better used as a home for the performing arts than as the site of a crumbling warehouse.

We have considered possible disturbances that the construction of the performing arts center on this plot might cause. Due to the close proximity of Green Hall to Allison Hall and Parmelee Hall, we have decided to begin construction early in the summer, after classes have ended. Green Hall will be torn down first, and construction of the performing arts center will begin immediately. This will allow us a good start on the project while students are not living in the nearby residence halls. According to the front desk at Braiden Hall,, which is located near the Morgan Library construction site, residents do not have a problem with noise and there have been no complaints of disturbances. MASK Engineering believes that this will be the case for the residents in Allison and Parmelee when they return in the fall as the performing arts center is finished.

A cable-stayed support system was chosen for the design of the CSU Performing Arts Center. One reason for choosing this system was to allow for a more compact facility because the space available on campus was limited. Another reason was to give patrons an unobstructed view of events by eliminating the need for columns.

The original use of cable-stayed technology was seen in bridges. German engineers established the design of cable-stayed bridges in the 1950's and 1960's. This technology was eventually adapted to buildings, using cables to support the roof. Each tower is buttressed by two sets of cables, transferring the load into the ground. Without a roof load to support, columns are not needed in the complex and the space can be used in more ways.

The concept behind cable-stayed technology is to have the supporting reactions to the load directed in only vertical directions as opposed to vertical and horizontal. It also eliminates any tension and/or compression force (Figures 3.1 and 3.2) . For a building, the load of the roof is directed through the cables, to the towers, and down to the ground. The walls do not support the roof as they normally would; only the cables are used to hold up the roof. An example of a cable-stayed building is the Alamodome, a multipurpose stadium in San Antonio, Texas (Figure 3.3). Our model is based on this design.

Background One of the key characteristics of a concert hall that greatly influences sound quality, is its reverberation time (the time before the decay of the reflected sound ). For orchestral or band music, the ideal reverberation time is approximately two seconds. Any times approaching 1.6 seconds will lead toward a dry, dead sound ( Beranek 1962 ). The other extreme is a time that is too long. This causes the music to lose its clarity, an excessive loudness, and the blending of incompatible chords ( Beranek 1962 ). A hall's reverberation time can be affected by such things as the volume of the room or the number of people in the audience. In the construction of the main hall for the CSU Performing Arts Center a balance will be determined that will create a reverberation time of two seconds, as independent of audience size as possible.

Sound quality is also greatly determined by the warmth of the sound. Warmth is determined by the fullness of the bass tones. If the middle frequencies of a sound have longer reverberation times than the low tones, then the sound will become brittle (Beranek 1962 1).

Materials Table 4.1 gives the absorption coefficients of different frequencies for common surfaces. It shows that materials such as heavy curtains or thick carpet absorb are the ideal choice for decreasing the intensity of higher frequencies. This leads to the production of a more full, warm sound. Retractable banners will be built into the ceiling, and can be lowered to create this effect. Cloth seats will be used as they best assimilate an occupied audience area ( Beranek 1962 ). This allows sound within the hall to be independent of audience size. The low sound absorbance of plaster also makes it ideal for the creation of the desired reverberation time of two seconds.

Design considerations The intensity of the direct sound should not be too weak, but at the same time, it must not become uncomfortably loud. This problem will be dealt with by limiting the length of the room, and by designing the surfaces above and around the stage to project the sound evenly throughout the concert hall. Another problem arises with the seats placed under a balcony. To prevent a muddiness within the sound, the depth under the balcony should not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony, as shown in figure 4.1 ( Beranek 1962 ).

Table 4.1 Absorption coefficients of different frequencies for main hall surfaces

Table based on: Beranek, L. 1966. Music, Acoustics, & Architecture. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

Figure based on: Beranek, L. 1966. Music, Acoustics, & Architecture. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

Floor Plans

The basement level of this center (Figure 5.1 ) includes two main dressing rooms with shower facilities as well as four private dressing rooms with individual restrooms for guest performers. The mechanical room for the building will be in the basement, housing such devices as the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment as well as the mechanics for the elevator. A spacious performers' lounge has also been added in to the basement to provide a relaxing environment for the center's performers.

The building's main floor (Figure 5.2 ) includes the main performance hall as well as a small rehearsal hall. The main hall is 5,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of 1,200. A coffee shop and art lounge have been included in this plan for the enjoyment and convenience of the patrons. A large classroom is provided for dance classes as well as rehearsals. Sufficient office space is included adjacent to the center's box office.

The top floor of the CSU Performing Arts Center (Figure 5.3 ) includes a walk- around balcony overlooking the main lobby as well as a balcony for the main performance hall. An elevator is provided for travel between the first and second floors. A recording studio is also located on this floor as an added bonus.

In conclusion, MASK Engineering has carefully planned out the details of the proposed CSU Performing Arts Center. This facility will be a benefit to the performing arts programs at CSU, the students and faculty of CSU, as well as the members of the community. It will allow for the improvement of programs in the area and growth of interest in cultural events. The site of Green Hall will be accessible to both students and the community, and will use the space on campus most efficiently, preserving the green areas. A cable-stayed support system for the roof will allow for a compact facility and an unobstructed view for patrons. In order to achieve the best acoustical results in the main performance hall, we have designed a rectangular hall made of plaster. We have also designed the hall so that the depth under the balcony does not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony. The total area of the complex will be 56,500 square feet split into three levels. The main hall will have a seating capacity of 1,200. The facility contains necessary rooms to accommodate the performers, and several rooms to make the visit of the patrons more enjoyable.

Introducton: The one thing lacking in this introduction is a good, brief description of their design. The discussion about the benefits, etc. are not clear to me without first hearing what their solution is.

They do a good job of discussing the motivation for their project.

I personally like the introduction to end with a brief description of what the remaining portions of the report contain.

A little more background and possibly a map would help this discussion. DO NOT assume your reader is as familiar with this as you are.

Figure 2.1: With this figure, I'm not certain whether or not this is the caption or part of the title of the figure. This says, "Map of Campus, circle area represents the site where Green Hall currently stands." That mixes what it is. A revised caption would read something like "Map of CSU Campus Indicating Proposed Site Location."

The map also borders on plagiarism. When you take a figure from someone else's work, you put in the caption "from" and you list the document and that document better be in the references. And it's not "based on," it's "from." And that's a subtlety you need to learn. There's a distinction between something that is "from." To get permission to use this map, the writers would have to get copyright approval from the source. If they based it on, if they've redrawn the figure and they've used this map as a source, then they should, even at that point say, "based on," or "the CSU Map is from such and such source, page such and such, dated such and such." It needs to be a complete reference.

Another problem is that by looking at this map, I can't read a darn thing from it. I know that's the Oval. And I know the Weber building because I live in it. But the scale is so off, and the reproduction is so bad that they should have made the decision to either find a better original or not used it at all.

They should also include an arrow to Green Hall. The circle's not quite sufficient. The Oval isn't that different from the circle. Part of the problem is that the scale is wrong. I shouldn't have to look at a figure and guess what writers want me to see. It should be blatant.

In terms of the placement of this figure, I have several thoughts. The writers put their figures on separate pages within the body of the text. That's an acceptable style. I have no problem with that. It comes after its first reference in the text, which is important. The inappropriate thing is referring to it in the text as "figure 1," and referring it on the paper as figure "2.1."

Figures 3.1 and 3.2: These figures are labeled "Figures 3.1 and 3.2." Which one's which? They should not be put together. What I mean by this is they can be on the same page, but Figure 3.1 needs to be where Figure 3.1 is and Figure 3.2 need to be where Figure 3.2 is. The figure numbers should not both be up at the top. The reader shouldn't have to guess "is there a dividing line between the figures or does it divide some where else?" If they had captions associated with those figures' numbers, that would not have occurred. I actually like figure numbers underneath the figure, not above the figure.

With these figures I again wonder if they were taken from some source not referenced. And so, I'm not sure these are originally hand drawn by the students. Now if they are, they could have done a better job because the legends don't fully tell me what it means. The dark square means compressive force, and I don't know what that means. I understand "load" and I understand "supporting reactions," but I don't understand "Building diagram?" That's a building?

I'm not convinced these were meant to be two figures. I think they should be one. They're talking "cable stay" technology which would of been nice to have in the title. I think they're trying to draw an analogy between "here's how a bridge is done, and here's how it's also now being done in buildings." But it's not coming through.

This figure is placed at the right location. The key thing with placement in text is to put the figure as close as possible after it is first referenced. Never put it before you reference it and don't bury it deeply in the text. This is one of the clues that leads you decide whether you do an appendix or not. If you find you're having so many figures that when you try to put them in text they're turning out to be five pages straight of figures, that's a clue that you have so many figures, they're probably better handled in the back.

Figure 3.3: I know the writers didn't take this photograph! And I want to know who did take the photograph because that person needs to be credited. This figure's location in the text is fine. I'm happy with their style of one figure per page.

The quality of this reproduction is not very good. But that's always hard with photographs. It does make their point, which is the tall columns with the cables coming off. However, the fine details have been wiped away, so it's a bad photograph for their purposes.

This visual also works off the previous two visuals since it represents another way of looking at the particular structure. Whenever you can, especially when you're dealing with new technology, you've got to give people good visual images. And anyway you can do that is useful. Schematics allow you to do certain things like add arrows and show load paths. So this had a different function. The other two depicted load paths. This one was trying to give the viewer a big picture of what this looks like. After all, a bridge is difficult to imagine.

Table 4.1: This table accurately sites its source, "Table based on such and such." However, it gives too much information. All that is needed is the author's name, so readers could then look it up in the references.

Some suggestions are to put "Based on Byronic L 1966." all within the caption. Then the table would physically separate the title if I felt there was a title too, separate from the caption. It would then be clear, spatially, that there's a caption up here. And below is the title on the table.

Another alternative would be to "footnote" the table. Not a real footnote, but a footnote within the table. This can be done by using an identifier like a "star." So I might say, "Table," if it's the whole table, and put, "Table 4.1*" showing that there's a clue to come, down at the bottom. If there were particular pieces of information in here, a particular column or something, such as just the surface frequency or heavy fabric, or it was two of these, I could then put stars on there and indicate, "This was based on this person's work, as opposed to my original work.

Figure 4.1: When a figure like this needs to be drawn, you should follow normal conventions for drafting, including dimension lines with arrowheads. I'm assuming the "D" and "H" represent "depth" and "height."

A figure is for clarification, and this one raises many questions. I don't know what the point of this figure is. I'm assuming there's a value here. If this was to be a conceptual diagram representing, "We now can do a sensitivity D over H," then you might do that. But I think they were trying to show us how big is was. It's not a very good figure because it leaves too much to my imagination. This is not worth a thousand words.

Figure 5.1: A scale should be included here. Also, these should be numbered. Students should indicate how each one works (e.g. doors, etc.).

Figure 5.2: A scale should be included here. Also, is that the Performance Hall in the middle?

Figures 5.1, 5.2, & 5.3: These were done with AutoCAD, so it's hard to criticize the quality of them because this is what AutoCAD produces.

"M" and "W" should be explained; I am assuming these stand for a Mens' Room and a Women's Room. There are better visual ways of doing that more explicitly, as with international symbols, etc. Also, "E" for "exit" is a little short.

These are meant to be schematic floor plans. And they are. It'd be nice to have a "north arrow" here. Students will always think of a "north arrow" on a map, but they won't necessarily think of it on a building. It's important because it helps readers tie back to the orientation of the building on the site.

These serve very well as schematics. They do not serve well as details. They don't show doors; they don't show windows. But this design is more at the conceptual level, so I understand why they did it. The detail fits the purpose. The problem is, when readers look at this example, they don't necessarily know that whole context.

It really would have been nice to have put these visuals in the front. A neat way to have done that would have used this as a figure on the title page to introduce the concept right up front.

The captions on these are all right. If you put to much lettering on a figure, it gets busy. This is actually a pretty good balance. They're descriptive enough. I understand just about what everything is. I'm not sure what the basketball-like part is since it's not labeled. But overall, these are pretty good, typical, schematic drawings.

Using a different font is a stylistic mistake. If you have an area that you want to label and the font you're using doesn't fit in there, don't just use a real small font because it fits. Move the label out and put an arrow to it.

This is a fairly low number of references. Three is minor. Sometimes, you might not have references because much of your text is original work on your part, but then you should include appendices on calculations and such.

Appendices: When deciding to place information in an appendix, ask yourself, "Are there reams and reams of figures that are best put in an appendix or will using a small number of figures integrate better throughout the text?" and "Do I have a source document that’s very critical to the report I want to attach to it, a data report or letter that is secondary to the actual writing, but not secondary to the major issue of the report?" Much of this depends upon your interpretation. A likely source for appendices is computational results. I like to think you’re doing work, so it’s logical to do screen dumps or spreadsheet dumps of tables and calculations. The best place for these is in appendices.

Perspectives on Technical Reports

Dave alciatore, mechanical engineering.

Writing Technical Design Reports as a Group

"Often, technical design reports require that multiple experts help write them. This is called "concurrent engineering." This way, everyone involved with a project contributes. More ground gets covered this way. The report is also a good way to document a design. Then, if problems arise later, everyone can refer to the document. This helps determine where changes were made, etc."

Report Content

"Every company has different means of documentation. Typically, in industry, you won't have to provide as much history in a technical report. This is because in academia, we want you to document your thought processes and project evolution. In industry, you will concentrate more on the initial problem, requirements, and solutions. "

Neil Grigg, Civil Engineering

Multiple Reports for a Project

"Suppose your engineering task is to build a retaining wall. As the main engineer, you've got to consider many aspects: the load, the height, the structural design. You'll write a report where you state the goals and how they will be accomplished. This includes input parameters, the conditions in which you have to work, alternatives, recommendations. Next, soil engineers may actually test the soils at the location. They would then produce a report about what they found. Every project generates multiple reports. "

"Many designs begin with identifying the problem, determining the goals, and creating a list of alternatives. The next part is the evaluation. This includes the technical, legal, economic, financial, environmental, and social evaluations. Then you make recommendations based on these evaluations. Most reports, especially design reports include this information. "

Tom Siller, Civil Engineering

An Example Technical Report

"I once helped produce a report about rock fracturing for a whip site. In that report, we stated the situation, how we would analyze the situation, (because we wanted to be hired as the engineers for the project), the analytical tools we would develop, and our results based on those analytical tools. We did not present a shaft design. Overall, the report presented our way of understanding the issues that would help design a shaft."

Your Report's Purpose

"If your report's purpose is to create an artifact, then you have to present all the technical aspects of the design. This way, someone can read the report and build your artifact. You have to be aware of very fine details whenever you write a report. For instance, will your designs receive public approval? Are you in compliance with regulatory agencies? And so why you are writing the report helps you determine what details to include and exclude."

Citation Information

Dawn Kowalski. (1994-2023). Engineering Technical Reports. The WAC Clearinghouse. Colorado State University. Available at https://wac.colostate.edu/repository/resources/writing/guides/.

Copyright Information

Copyright © 1994-2023 Colorado State University and/or this site's authors, developers, and contributors . Some material displayed on this site is used with permission.

What Is a Structural Engineer Report?

Are you looking to get your commercial building inspected? Whether you’re a developer or a property manager, the workplace should be safe.

Choosing the right structural engineer is essential. They need engineering qualifications, a building safety certificate, and insurance.

This article will discuss the importance of a structural engineer report. Keep reading to know more.

how to write a structural engineering report

The Purpose of a Structural Engineer Report

A structural engineer report assesses the safety and stability of a building or other structure.

It identifies any potential risks or hazards associated with the structure in question. This is also to make recommendations for remediation or improvement.

A structural engineering guide  evaluates the strength and stability of a structure. This is usually a building or bridge.

It outlines the key skills and knowledge needed by a structural engineer to be successful. It also provides an overview of the job market. As well as career paths that are available to a structural engineer. 

The report also assesses the ability of the structure to withstand external forces, such as wind or earthquakes. The report is used to determine if the structure is safe and stable, and to make recommendations for any necessary repairs or upgrades.

Duties of a Structural Engineer

As a structural engineer, you will be responsible for the design and analysis of structures.

Your work will involve assessing the loads that the structure will need to support and designing the members that will make up the structure.

In addition to your design work, you will also be responsible for ensuring that the structure is built to your specifications. It is also responsible for conducting inspections to ensure that it remains safe throughout its lifespan.

Key Skills for a Structural Engineer

There are many key skills that a structural engineer report must have in order to be effective. They must be able to read and interpret blueprints and other architectural drawings.

They must have a strong understanding of physics and mathematics. Structural engineers are integral to the structural analysis and design process. They must also  clearly communicate their findings and recommendations to clients, architects, and other engineers.

Finally, they must be able to use various computer-aided design (CAD) software programs to create detailed models and simulations of proposed structures.

A structural engineer must also include the ability of the following:

How to Write a Structural Engineer Report

A structural engineer report details a structural engineer’s findings and recommendations relating to the structural integrity of a building or other structure.

It is important to note that a structural engineer report is not a legally binding document but is instead meant to provide guidance to those involved in the construction or alteration of a structure.

When writing a structural engineer report, it is important to be clear and concise in order to ensure that your recommendations can be easily understood and implemented.

What to Include in a Structural Engineer Report

A structural engineer report is a document that includes the assessment of a structure’s ability to support itself and the loads that it experiences.

The report generally includes an analysis of the structure’s loads, supporting members, and the materials that make up the structure.

A structural engineer report also outlines the findings of an engineer’s investigation into the strength and stability of a structure.

The report should include an assessment of the structure’s ability to withstand the loads it is designed for, as well as any recommendations for improvements.

How Much Does a Structural Engineer Report Cost?

A structural engineering report is used to provide information to the client about the condition of the structure and to recommend any repairs or alterations that may be necessary.

The cost varies depending on the size and complexity of the project but typically starts around $500.

Tips for Writing a Structural Engineer Report

A structural engineer report is a document that provides an evaluation of a structure’s ability to support loads and resist forces. The report is based on the engineer’s analysis of the structure’s design, construction, and materials.

The engineer may also consider the environment in which the structure is located and the loads that it will be subjected to. The engineer will use this information to determine if the structure is safe and if it meets the design specifications.

When writing a structural engineer report, it is important to be clear and concise in your writing and to include all relevant information that will help the reader understand the engineer’s findings.

How to Use a Structural Engineer Report

When it comes to your home, a Structural Engineer Report can be extremely helpful. This report can give you information on the load-bearing capacity of your home, as well as the condition of your foundation.

If you are considering any type of home improvement or repair, a structural engineer report can help you determine if your home can handle the weight of the addition or if the repair will weaken your home’s structure.

Learn More About Structural Engineer Report Now

A structural engineer report is a document that outlines the findings of a structural engineer after evaluating a structure.

This report is important in determining the safety of a structure and whether or not it is up to code. If you are in need of a structural engineer report, be sure to contact a qualified engineer in your area.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out the rest of our blog for more!

Next post: Furnace Replacement: 3 Things You Should Know

Previous post: 4 Things to Consider Before Choosing Shipping Services for Your Small Business

Home Forms & Templates Business Articles

Vista Projects

Integrated Engineering Consulting

How to Write an Engineering Report

how to write a structural engineering report

No matter what kind of engineer you are, you will eventually need to write an engineering report. This type of technical writing means knowing how to share information about research and analysis and then present it clearly in writing.

Writing a report about engineering services, like those we provide at Vista Projects, means communicating ideas in addition to furthering innovation and improvements. This skill makes you an even more significant asset to your company and allows you to solve problems and create solutions.

What Is an Engineering Report?

An engineering report is a type of technical editing that presents a problem, analyzes it, and offers solutions. It involves collecting and compiling data and ideas, conducting testing, and organizing the information you gained into comprehensible results for the reader.

Students learn to write these reports when they go through their education program, but writing them well involves knowing why you’re writing the technical report. While your purpose for writing technical reports will vary based on your specific field, the structure of all engineering reports remains the same: a summary, the body, and your conclusions.

Writing a report involves communicating a process for fixing a problem to a customer, community, business, or investor. Some engineers copyright their processes. Above all, your report should convey information clearly, offer information backed by evidence, and show why your solution stands out from the competition.

Why Write an Engineering Report?

Engineering report-writing should always focus on helping your firm achieve an objective. That may mean convincing a client to take action based on your solution or showing them how a project will benefit the public.

It may also help persuade your client to choose your company’s design or solution, get funding from investors, or encourage another business to partner with your firm on a project.

Other times, you may only want to inform your audience. For example, you may give your government the information it needs to decide on implementing a policy, show other engineers how to work from your proposed plan, or illustrate project outcomes for stakeholders.

Many students make the mistake of writing reports to show their personal knowledge. You do not want to teach your reader but instead, to offer a summary in writing to help them choose between two companies or engineers.

The body of technical reports should show your reader how your process affects them, include evidence to support your conclusions, and make a case for why your reader should support your ideas.


Do You Write an Engineering Report?

Before you start writing your report, consider the information you want to convey. Are you writing a trend report, an analytical report, or a trip report? Knowing the best way to share your information will help your audience understand your objectives.

Engineering students typically learn to write technical reports in their program, but different types of reports have different approaches. When it comes to report writing, remember these factors:

The information and sources that you’ll need to compile your technical report will change based on the project. For example, a research report requires detailed information about your topic and the theory surrounding it. It involves citing textbooks, journals, and similar documents.

On the other hand, a site visit report should include the company history and operations, citing annual reports and the company prospectus. Fault reports also have different requirements, as they involve looking into a problem, determining the cause, and recommending an action to fix it.

Report writing means doing research, conducting tests, compiling evidence, and using that information to draw conclusions based on each previous section. Additionally, a strong introduction and summary will draw in your reader, and let them know what to expect.

Engineering reports should allow for selective reading and effective communication. Use headers, numbered lists, bullet points, and figures and tables to do more than explain your points in words. Readers will skim your writing, so make the important parts easy for them to find, such as in these technical report examples .


The Structure of Engineering Reports

Engineering reports follow the same structure. Your technical report should have these components:

The first few pages of your report are some of the most critical. They show your reader where they can find information throughout the document. Remember, some investors will not read past your executive summary .

Title pages should clearly state the purpose of your writing. Your executive summary should be no longer than two pages, and it acts as a condensed version of your research, conclusions, and recommendations. If your reader wants more information, the table of contents should allow them to find the correct section in seconds.

You have some freedom in structuring the body, but it must make sense and inform the reader while justifying your claims and ensuring that your reader understands the purpose of the writing. By sticking to this structure, you make writing reports simpler and focus on the following content.

Technical Report Overview

Technical reports always contain an introduction that states your report’s purpose and the leading question your research answers. Does it offer information about why your city needs a new bridge or highway? Are you showing an investor why they should put money into your project?

Your technical report overview should also hook your reader. Tell your audience what you investigate and why it’s important. Refer to your client’s request and scope of work in your writing, and relate the information back to the needs of your client, stakeholder, or executive.


Your methodology section is often the most involved piece of writing in your report. Here, you talk about how you performed your study and why you approached it the way you did.

This section should show that you have done thorough research and should present your research protocol clearly. Your writing should detail how you got your information and how your methods offer something new to your field. This section should convey confidence in your company’s work so that your reader will, too. 

If you used unique or original methods to gain your information and conclusions, you might  consider copyright  for your work. That way, you keep your methods your own, which may help you in future reports and persuade other professionals to work with you.

When writing up the findings and results of technical reports, make sure not to make this section your conclusion. At this point, you should only state the outcome of your research, analyses, and tests. Include graphics to illustrate your results,

Your writing and structure should offer results conducive to the type of report. For example, design reports may evaluate the design of a new building and why it proves more stable than others. Other types of engineering reports, like proposals, will not require you to write a results section, as you are only offering a potential solution at this point.

Your writing will show the reader how you arrived at your final solution to their problem. Technical reports often require you to communicate dense information, so you should use similar language to that which you used in the technical report overview. That allows readers to make connections in your writing and understand how they relate to your report. 

Recommendations and Conclusions

Your final section before writing your references and appendices includes your recommendations and conclusions . Here, you expand upon your results and tell the reader what they mean, how they affect the audience or community, and their benefits.

Align this section with your introduction, so your writing allows the reader to again make connections throughout your report. Let your reader know what you plan to do with the new information, and show them why they should care. Your writing may enlighten them to potential benefits like a greater profit, more convenience, higher productivity, or increased efficiency.

Above all, your writing sets out to answer a question. Your recommendations and conclusions are the final pieces in answering that question through research, allowing you to present how your client should respond to the situation.

Check out more  technical writing tips  in our resources section.

Related Posts

how to write a structural engineering report

Nov 19, 2020

How To Avoid Jargon in Technical Writing

how to write a structural engineering report

Aug 12, 2020

Why it’s Important to Consider Your Audience in Technical Writing

how to write a structural engineering report

Jun 27, 2020

The Five C’s of Effective Communication


Calgary Engineering Firm 330-4000 4 St SE Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 2W3

Houston Engineering Firm 15915 Katy Fwy #645 Houston, TX 77094 United States

how to write a structural engineering report

Sample Reports


We aim to use clear, jargon free language in our reports that is clear and easy to understand, and our friendly and knowledgeable staff are always available to talk through any queries you may have. We have included below a sample of some real reports that we have completed recently to give you an idea of what to expect from us*

*All customers details have been removed.

Find out more about Structural Engineers Reports

how to write a structural engineering report

Get in touch today to find out more:

Contact us now

Privacy Overview

Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.

IEEE Professional Communication Society

As a professional engineer, you have myriad experiences solving problems. Your reports, both formal and informal, help your client, supervisor, or other stakeholders make actionable decisions about those problems. Explore these resources to learn how to write more effective reports for greater project and career success:

How do I use Microsoft Word to my advantage?

Whether formal or informal, interim or final, your report is an essential part of the problem-solving process. Begin by analyzing your communication situation (note: link to Communication Situation) and reviewing communication basics?? (note: link to Communication Basics), then find out how to structure and format your report as effectively as possible:

What elements should my report contain?

What is the best way to present those elements.

Whether you’re writing for a client, your supervisor, or some other project stakeholder, your audience will likely want to know [adapted from P.V. Anderson’s Technical Communication (1)]:

An effective report will be structured to answer these questions clearly and specifically. Depending on its level of formality, your report structure will include all or some of these elements [adapted from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (2)]:

Front matter refers to the preliminary, supporting components of a report. It appears where you might expect: at the front of the report. You will typically attend to this element last and in conjunction with back matter, after you have written the body and executive summary and abstract.

Your report’s front matter includes [adapted from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (3)]:

Formal reports include every component listed above; an informal report may only include some of them. In some cases, your company may specify which of these components to use and how.

Executive summary and abstract

Your engineering report may include both an executive summary and an abstract, or it may only include one or the other. These elements appear between the front matter and the report body. Write these after you have written and revised the report body.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is an overview of the key points in your report. It should summarize the purpose and scope of your work, the methods you used, and your key findings, conclusions, and recommendations [4].

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a short but specific summary of the details you cover in the report’s body. It should briefly mention the purpose and scope of your work, the methods you used, and your key findings, conclusions, and recommendations [5].

What’s the difference between the two?

The difference lies primarily in their purpose and length. The abstract provides a preview of the report’s content meant to entice readers to read the entire report. It is typically less than a page long. The executive summary, on the other hand, provides enough information to allow stakeholders to make a decision without reading the full report. It is typically as long as 10% of the full report [6].

The body of your report is where you provide the details of your work. It is the longest part of your report and falls after the front matter and executive summary and abstract. You will produce the body before any other element of your report, with the possible exception of graphics, like figures and tables.

Your report’s body includes [1] [7]:

Back matter

The back matter of a report is its succeeding, supporting components. As its name implies, it appears at the back of the report. You will typically attend to this element last and in conjunction with front matter , after you have written the body and executive summary and abstract .

Your report’s back matter includes [1]:

According to Paul Anderson in his book Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach , “Good [formatting] helps readers understand your information, locate information, and notice highly important content” [8]. A successful report is formatted well.

What components should I consider while formatting?

When formatting your report, pay attention to these common components [8]:

How do I format those components?

Consider these basic principles adapted from graphic design theory when formatting your report [9]. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a rough example of these principles applied to the above components:

Reference Report examples

Your company likely has numerous examples of reports that include some or all of these elements and their individual components. In addition, examples of formal reports abound in professional journals in your field.

Microsoft Word includes numerous tools and functions that will save you time and hassle, and allow you to consistently format your reports. Visit the links from Where can I find more information about writing effective reports? to learn how to use these time-saving tools and functions:

Where can I find more information about writing effective reports?

The IEEE Professional Communication Society’s site provides you with a basic understanding of writing effective reports. Explore other resources to gain more knowledge about this topic.

[1] P.V. Anderson, “Writing reader-centered reports,” in Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007, pp. 539-556.

[2] E. Cember, A. Heavilon, M. Seip, L. Shi, and A. Brizee. Sections of reports. Purdue Online Writing Lab. [Online]. Available: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/726/05

[3] E. Cember, A. Heavilon, M. Seip, L. Shi, and A. Brizee. Mechanical elements of reports.  Purdue Online Writing Lab.  [Online]. Available: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/726/0 8

[4] Processes for writing an executive summary.  Writing at Colorado State University.  [Online]. Available: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1508

[5] E. Cember, A. Heavilon, M. Seip, L. Shi, and A. Brizee. The report abstract and executive summary.  Purdue Online Writing Lab . [Online]. Available: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/726/07

[6] K. Khan. (2008, Sept. 19). Difference between executive summary, abstract and synopsis. University of Balochistan. [Online]. Available: http://www.scribd.com/doc/55954574/Difference-Between-Executive-Summary-Abstract-and-Synopsis

[7] E. Cember, A. Heavilon, M. Seip, L. Shi, and A. Brizee. The report body.  Purdue Online Writing Lab.  [Online]. Available: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/726/06

[8] P.V. Anderson, “Designing reader-centered pages and documents,” in  Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach.  Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007, pp. 372-398.

[9] R. Williams,  The Non-Designer’s Design Book.  Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 2004.

how to write a structural engineering report

What to Expect in a Structural Engineering Report

The difference between a structural engineering report and an unlicensed contractor’s evaluation is  expertise . Through years of study and licensure, a professional engineer can help identify, evaluate and provide recommendations to homeowners in need of structure or  foundation repair . So what should a homeowner expect from a structural engineer’s report?

What part of my home gets inspected?

When homeowners first have their home inspected, they may not expect the depth (or lack of depth) that a professional engineer would provide. A structural engineer is capable of checking the full structure of the home, as well as other parts of the property. If the home is simply in need of a  foundation inspection , then a structural engineer may simply evaluate that part of the home (the substructure ) . A roof inspection (which is sometimes called part of the  superstructure ) is likely not involved in that inspection—unless the structural engineer believes it may be part of your home’s structural integrity problem. Make sure you clarify any additional areas of your home that may be contributing to your home foundation problems.

What structural problems will be uncovered in the process?

Unfortunately, not all engineering reports leave homeowners feeling great about the state of their home. However, it’s a necessary first step in protecting your largest investment.  Some problems that may be uncovered in the foundation inspection include:

A structural engineer’s report will give you the most insight into these issues. As a licensed engineer, they will identify the cause of the damage as well as confirm whether the perceived damage is in need of repair or just a harmless crack.

What problems won’t be covered in the process?

Unless you specify the details of the inspection during your request for a foundation inspection, do not expect the engineer to inspect the rest of your home, especially if there do not appear to be issues. Additionally, a structural engineer’s inspection will not include information on unattached structures. Pergolas, sheds and decks are not all included when checking for structural deficiencies in your home. If you think those detached structures need a separate inspection, inform the engineer in advance and he or she will be able to assess those structures as well.

What possible outcomes are there from a Structural Engineering Report?

The most important result that you will get from an engineering report is a clean bill of health. In some cases, a crack that was found may simply be due to thermal damage and could still lead to a positive evaluation. With several kinds of potential structural problems, receiving good news in an engineering report is the perfect result. Most importantly for homeowners, structural engineering reports will identify the root cause of damage that is found, allowing the homeowner to pursue repairs. Also included in in-depth reports are the engineer’s recommendations for how to repair the foundation or how to fix drainage problems, if necessary. More than anything, homeowners can expect expertise in a structural engineering report that they will not find anywhere else.

Recent Posts


Award-winning experts & professionals.

With over 20,000 inspections and reports completed for homeowners in Texas, it is clear that we are passionate about our services. 

Our professionals have over 20 years of residential, commercial, and industrial inspection and engineering services.

We are the highest-rated and most reviewed company for the following services:

Contact us today to get started!

how to write a structural engineering report

how to write a structural engineering report

Guide to Technical Report Writing

School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

how to write a structural engineering report

Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 structure, 3 presentation, 4 planning the report, 5 writing the first draft, 6 revising the first draft, 7 diagrams, graphs, tables and mathematics, 8 the report layout, 10 references to diagrams, graphs, tables and equations, 11 originality and plagiarism, 12 finalising the report and proofreading, 13 the summary, 14 proofreading, 15 word processing / desktop publishing, 16 recommended reading.

A technical report is a formal report designed to convey technical information in a clear and easily accessible format. It is divided into sections which allow different readers to access different levels of information. This guide explains the commonly accepted format for a technical report; explains the purposes of the individual sections; and gives hints on how to go about drafting and refining a report in order to produce an accurate, professional document.

A technical report should contain the following sections;

For technical reports required as part of an assessment, the following presentation guidelines are recommended;

There are some excellent textbooks contain advice about the writing process and how to begin (see Section 16 ). Here is a checklist of the main stages;

N.B. the listing of recommended textbooks in Section 16 contains all this information in the correct format.

Who is going to read the report? For coursework assignments, the readers might be fellow students and/or faculty markers. In professional contexts, the readers might be managers, clients, project team members. The answer will affect the content and technical level, and is a major consideration in the level of detail required in the introduction.

Begin writing with the main text, not the introduction. Follow your outline in terms of headings and subheadings. Let the ideas flow; do not worry at this stage about style, spelling or word processing. If you get stuck, go back to your outline plan and make more detailed preparatory notes to get the writing flowing again.

Make rough sketches of diagrams or graphs. Keep a numbered list of references as they are included in your writing and put any quoted material inside quotation marks (see Section 11 ).

Write the Conclusion next, followed by the Introduction. Do not write the Summary at this stage.

This is the stage at which your report will start to take shape as a professional, technical document. In revising what you have drafted you must bear in mind the following, important principle;

During year 1, term 1 you will be learning how to write formal English for technical communication. This includes examples of the most common pitfalls in the use of English and how to avoid them. Use what you learn and the recommended books to guide you. Most importantly, when you read through what you have written, you must ask yourself these questions;

It is often the case that technical information is most concisely and clearly conveyed by means other than words. Imagine how you would describe an electrical circuit layout using words rather than a circuit diagram. Here are some simple guidelines;

The appearance of a report is no less important than its content. An attractive, clearly organised report stands a better chance of being read. Use a standard, 12pt, font, such as Times New Roman, for the main text. Use different font sizes, bold, italic and underline where appropriate but not to excess. Too many changes of type style can look very fussy.

Use heading and sub-headings to break up the text and to guide the reader. They should be based on the logical sequence which you identified at the planning stage but with enough sub-headings to break up the material into manageable chunks. The use of numbering and type size and style can clarify the structure as follows;

Whenever you make use of other people's facts or ideas, you must indicate this in the text with a number which refers to an item in the list of references. Any phrases, sentences or paragraphs which are copied unaltered must be enclosed in quotation marks and referenced by a number. Material which is not reproduced unaltered should not be in quotation marks but must still be referenced. It is not sufficient to list the sources of information at the end of the report; you must indicate the sources of information individually within the report using the reference numbering system.

Information that is not referenced is assumed to be either common knowledge or your own work or ideas; if it is not, then it is assumed to be plagiarised i.e. you have knowingly copied someone else's words, facts or ideas without reference, passing them off as your own. This is a serious offence . If the person copied from is a fellow student, then this offence is known as collusion and is equally serious. Examination boards can, and do, impose penalties for these offences ranging from loss of marks to disqualification from the award of a degree

This warning applies equally to information obtained from the Internet. It is very easy for markers to identify words and images that have been copied directly from web sites. If you do this without acknowledging the source of your information and putting the words in quotation marks then your report will be sent to the Investigating Officer and you may be called before a disciplinary panel.

Your report should now be nearly complete with an introduction, main text in sections, conclusions, properly formatted references and bibliography and any appendices. Now you must add the page numbers, contents and title pages and write the summary.

The summary, with the title, should indicate the scope of the report and give the main results and conclusions. It must be intelligible without the rest of the report. Many people may read, and refer to, a report summary but only a few may read the full report, as often happens in a professional organisation.

This refers to the checking of every aspect of a piece of written work from the content to the layout and is an absolutely necessary part of the writing process. You should acquire the habit of never sending or submitting any piece of written work, from email to course work, without at least one and preferably several processes of proofreading. In addition, it is not possible for you, as the author of a long piece of writing, to proofread accurately yourself; you are too familiar with what you have written and will not spot all the mistakes.

When you have finished your report, and before you staple it, you must check it very carefully yourself. You should then give it to someone else, e.g. one of your fellow students, to read carefully and check for any errors in content, style, structure and layout. You should record the name of this person in your acknowledgements.

Two useful tips;

Updated and revised by the Department of Engineering & Design, November 2022

School Office: School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Chichester 1 Room 002, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ [email protected] T 01273 (67) 8195 School Office opening hours: School Office open Monday – Friday 09:00-15:00, phone lines open Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00 School Office location [PDF 1.74MB]

Copyright © 2023, University of Sussex

Ohio University

Online Master of Science In Civil Engineering

Why Engineers Need Strong Writing Skills

October 6, 2020

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Online Master of Science In Civil Engineering

: In an office setting, an engineer sits at a desktop computer with CAD software on the screen and types on the keyboard.

Engineering firms understand the importance of writing skills for engineers and seek professionals who exhibit such skill. In every business, communication is key to organizational success, especially for those in senior positions.

It is important that senior engineers develop the written skills to translate technical information into simpler, non-technical terms that can be easily understood by those without an engineering background.  Engineering professionals who are looking to pursue a leadership position in the field — and who are willing to hone their engineering writing competency — can consider an advanced degree in civil engineering .

The Importance of Engineering Writing Skills

Engineering writing is one of the most important “soft skills” for engineers. The ability to write in a clear and concise manner has a variety of benefits.

Audience analysis is an important aspect of engineering writing. It gives engineers perspective on whom they are writing for — executives, subject matter experts, or laypeople. For example, engineers who are seeking funding for their department may want to target their request toward a non-technical audience. In most cases, an executive in a non-technical role will determine the outcome.

If an engineer’s writing is difficult to follow, outcomes may suffer due to readers’ misunderstanding of the intended message. When a senior engineer writes a project manual for junior engineers, they understand that the audience — despite having junior status — is knowledgeable in the field.

Another fundamental aspect of engineering writing is simplicity. Regardless of the audience, compelling writing is concise and precise. Outlining a document’s major objectives is key, as is organizing critical information.

Another essential of engineering writing is modularity, or developing written text that can be re-used for different purposes. For example, an engineering firm can apply the concept of modularity when responding to a request for proposal (RFP). Modularity saves an organization time and money, allowing certain text and documents to be re-used as templates for responses to a variety of project proposals.

The fundamentals of engineering writing bring clarity to a project and minimize miscommunication that can potentially lead to mishaps and safety concerns.

Writing in Civil Engineering

Effective writing in the civil engineering field is essential for engineers who are producing technical documentation, project manuals, standard operating procedures, project proposals, and interdepartmental communications. Civil engineers need the technical expertise and written capability to convey detailed engineering concepts to non-technical personnel, as well as to produce documentation that conveys the technical aspects of a project or product.

Civil engineers are responsible for designing, implementing, and organizing infrastructure engineering projects. These may include producing roads, bridges, water supply systems, and buildings for the public and private sectors. They may also work in the fields of construction, geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineering. When civil engineers write, they must communicate technical information.

In certain cases, civil engineers in construction are responsible for writing reports during an engineering project. These reports detail the methods used in completing the project, as well as the scope of the work itself. Engineers must define the project timelines and construction procedures.

It is important that engineers home in on procedures that were effective and those that were not to improve future projects. For example, an engineer can note that using a software tool such as Solidworks or AutoCad can impact workflow by giving an accurate model of project timelines.

Geotechnical engineers are responsible for developing reports that analyze the safety of infrastructure at building sites. The field is a subsector of civil engineering that focuses on soil mechanics pertaining to the movement of “clay, silt, rock, and snow,” according to the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute. Their responsibilities include the following.

Structural engineers write technical reports on building safety. In particular, these reports document the engineering processes used to ensure a building’s structural integrity to withstand environmental stressors. These engineers take into account the impact a specific environmental region may have on a structure.

Moreover, transportation engineers take special precaution when preparing their technical documentation. It is important they address the federal, state, and local infrastructure requirements pertaining to materials, systems, and procedures. Transportation engineers have a variety of roles and responsibilities including the following.

Effective writing is required in all branches of civil engineering, including construction, geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineering. This requires technical writing skills that can convey a clear and concise message to a diversity of audiences — executives, shareholders, government entities, and the local community.

What Are the Types of Writing for Engineers?

Engineers are responsible for understanding the fundamentals of their field, yet it is important that they understand and perfect the various types of writing for engineers. These can include the following:


Engineers write proposals for funding or in response to RFQs (requests for quotation) drafted by government agencies or private sector organizations.

Engineers are responsible for responding to an RFQ by drafting a document that addresses specific questions and providing an argument as to why their firm is the best to accept the bid. Engineering writing is particularly important for responding to an RFQ and winning new business. An ideal RFQ response also includes a cover letter thanking the company for issuing the RFQ and for the opportunity to be considered.

Inspection Reports

An inspection report is produced to provide a client with information regarding the existing condition of a building, including any hidden deficiencies. This document enables engineers to present to clients the estimated cost for fixing structural and other damages.

Inspection reports can also provide a client an estimate for preventive work. Inspection reports are important in providing transparency between the engineering firm and the client.

Research Reports

An engineering research report provides all the technical information relating to a project, product, or process and defines the overall objective. The report details the results of the project, product, or process through various data (graphs, charts, models, etc.). The report also allows engineers and clients to draw conclusions and recommendations on how to move forward.

Engineers are responsible for understanding project specifications when accepting a bid. Specifications entail project timelines, milestones, and deadlines. Engineers ensure they are able to provide the engineering services and the prices specified in the contract bid.

Progress Reports

When an engineering firm accepts a bid, a senior engineer must provide the client with detailed progress reports. These reports document work completed, problems encountered project timelines, and the overall assessment of the project.

Tips for Writing an Effective Engineering Report

Engineering writing requires all engineers to understand how to write an engineering report. The first step is to pinpoint the report’s specific goal. The objective is usually to convey the aim of a project or to prove an engineer’s finding.

Honing the Tools for Effective Engineering Writing

Cultivating writing skills and understanding the writing process in the context of civil engineering goes a long way to help engineering professionals become leaders in the field. Professionals who are looking to further their careers should consider honing the tools for effective engineering writing.

Engineers who have developed their writing skills can usually position themselves more successfully to be promoted. The ability to write captivating cover letters and resumes certainly helps in this regard. In the simplest terms, hiring managers are looking for engineers who can express themselves succinctly.

Moreover, engineers who have developed exceptional writing skills can communicate with management more successfully. Effective writers also have the potential to land more contracts by responding to RFQs in a manner that grabs the attention of clients.

Furthermore, effective writing skills enable engineers to engage their superiors in understanding how they are contributing to the organization. Managers who can understand and quantify the work of their subordinates are more likely to consider these employees as valuable and promotable.

Effective engineering writing enables engineers to productively communicate with other departments, which increases workflow and project success. Engineering professionals who are looking to advance their careers and improve their engineering writing would do well to consider an advanced degree in civil engineering.

Discover a Rewarding Career with a Master’s in Civil Engineering

To meet the global demands of an ever-changing world, engineers may consider earning an online Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Ohio University. The Russ College of Engineering and Technology offers the curriculum to better position graduates to be leaders in the field.

Ohio University’s advanced degree in civil engineering prepares students to tackle the infrastructure demands of the 21st century. The program offers the unique option of specializing in environmental engineering, structural engineering, or transportation engineering.

All students in the program take the following courses — Construction Planning and Scheduling, Applied Civil Engineering Statistics, and Engineering Writing.

Ohio University’s MS in Civil Engineering is a unique program that encourages students to develop their engineering writing, which can prepare them to meet the unique demands of a global economy.

Discover how an o nline Master of Science in Civil Engineering can prepare students to become future thought leaders in the field of civil engineering.

Recommended Readings

Essential Soft Skills for Engineers in Leadership Roles Engineering Interview Questions and Career Opportunities for MEM Graduates A Comparison: Engineering Management Certificate vs. Engineering Management Degree

Bizfluent, How to Write an Engineering Proposal Career Trend, How to Write a Practical Report Civil Engineering Bible, What is Transportation Engineering? Engineering Management Institute, How Good Writing Skills Can Benefit Your Engineering Career | ExpertPages, What to Expect from an Engineering Inspection | Exploratorium, Damage Control Engineering NGI, What is Geotechnical Engineering Ohio University, An Introduction to Engineering Writing Ohio University, Online Master of Science in Civil Engineering Pen & the Pad, How to Write an Engineering Report Professional Engineers Ontario, Engineering Report Guide U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Civil Engineers Writing Assistance, Inc., Why Audience Analysis is Essential in Technical Writing

About Ohio University

Founded in 1804, Ohio University is the ninth oldest public university in the United States. Located in Athens, Ohio, the school serves more than 35,000 students on the 1,850-acre campus, and online. This esteemed institution is ranked by numerous publications, such as  The Princeton Review ,  U.S. News & World Report ,  Business Week , as one of the best education forces and academic values in the country. Ohio University offers a variety of programs across 10 different colleges, including 250 bachelor’s programs, 188 master’s programs and 58 doctoral programs. Ohio University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Ohio University has a long-standing reputation for excellence based on the quality of its programs, faculty and alumni. If you are a professional who strives to align with one of the best, you need look no further than the esteemed on-campus and online programs offered at Ohio University.

how to write a structural engineering report

Find a top agent in your area

Structural home inspectors on a roof.

How to Get Through a Structural Home Inspection and What to Expect

Image of post author

Katie Licavoli is a freelance content writer with experience writing about the outdoor industry, travel, lifestyle, and real estate. When not behind her writing desk, you can find her at work on her latest home improvement project, or enjoying the recreational offerings of her area.

Image of post author

Richard Haddad is the managing editor of HomeLight.com. He works with an experienced content team that oversees the company’s blog featuring in-depth articles about the home buying and selling process, homeownership news, home care and design tips, and related real estate trends. Previously, he served as an editor and content producer for World Company, Gannett, and Western News & Info, where he also served as news director and director of internet operations.

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict  editorial integrity in each of our posts.

Structural issues can wreak havoc on your home. They can cause cracked walls, sloping floors, sagging roofs , and leave your residence vulnerable to pests and water damage . Though the risk of finding structural problems increases in aging homes, in new and old homes alike sloppy construction can be another culprit.

While serious structural defects are rare , when red flags pop up, general home inspectors often refer buyers and sellers to professionals, like structural engineers, who can conduct further specialty inspections .

“A structural engineer is a licensed civil engineer in whatever state they’re working in,” explains Gregg Cantor, president and CEO of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel in San Diego, California, who has over 35 years of structural experience and whose company specializes in architectural aspects including structural engineering for new and existing homes.

“Structural engineers have a stamp — and when they provide a report, they stamp it, and that has a lot more ‘teeth’ than just a report by an inspector.”

If this is your first go-around with a structural home inspection, you probably have some questions, like, how much do they cost? When are they needed? And how do you prepare for one?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer all the hows, whens and whys of structural inspections. We’ll also share advice and insights from top-rated professionals with years of experience in both real estate and home construction. To get started, let’s kick things off with how structural inspections differ from home inspections.

A structural engineer meeting before inspecting a home.

Structural inspection vs. home inspection: What is the difference?

Structural inspections and home inspections may sound similar, but each plays a unique role in ensuring a home’s safety.

While it’s not uncommon for home inspectors to also be structural engineers, it is rare for structural engineers to also be home inspectors. Being that most structural engineers don’t perform routine home inspections, they are typically only brought in when their skills are required to further examine concerns with a home.

A general inspector can often provide a structural engineer referral. These professionals do need to be licensed (check with your state’s engineering licensing board ) to give a qualified opinion.

A home inspection

Home inspections are performed by a certified home inspector who visually assesses a home’s basic systems . They are not looking at cosmetic issues or anything that requires minor repair, but looking for issues that could affect the home’s safety. This includes things like the property’s plumbing, electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and roof.

Home inspectors are typically searching for signs of:

You can learn more about home inspections and the best ways to prepare for one, here .

A structural inspection

“A structural inspection is something that is done by a structural engineer, or someone who has a lot of experience looking at the different structural elements of the property,” says Collis Clovie , a top-selling real estate agent in Atlanta who works with over 65% more single family homes than the average agent in his area.

To break this down further — home inspectors look at the overall picture of the home, while structural engineers zero in on specific structural issues. They look at the building’s foundation, beams, or investigate further if anything’s signaling that the property’s structural integrity is at risk.

“If the homeowner or buyer suspects there could be some existing structural issues or conditions, the structural engineer comes in and does a deeper assessment of those conditions,” explains Cantor.

The goal of this inspection is to make sure that:

Upon completing the inspection, the structural engineer will offer their findings and expert opinion in the form of a post-inspection report (more on that below).

As a seller, it’s important to note that most states require sellers to disclose any material defects with the property to the buyer upfront in writing on a property disclosure document . The National Association for Home Inspectors defines material defects as any large home issue that puts residents at risk, or could significantly lower the home’s value. This does not include aspects of the home that are outdated or running beyond their life expectancy.

Even before hearing from the inspector, I encourage the buyers to hire a structural engineer if the house has a distinct slope as you walk it, diagonal cracks above the doorways or multiple doors that are out of alignment. Paul Holub Real Estate Agent Close Paul Holub Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Realty 5.0 Currently accepting new clients Years of Experience 11 Transactions 202 Average Price Point $257k Single Family Homes 183

When do I need a structural inspection?

“Even before hearing from the inspector, I encourage the buyers to hire a structural engineer if the house has a distinct slope as you walk it, diagonal cracks above the doorways or multiple doors that are out of alignment,” says Paul Holub , a top-selling agent in Houston who specializes in relocations.

Both homebuyers and sellers can request to have a structural inspection done. From a buyer’s perspective, they may ask for a structural inspection to address any concerns about the “bones” of a residence. Or, more typically, if a structural inspection is recommended following a general home inspection.

As for sellers, they may hire a structural engineer before putting their home on the market if they’re spotting possible structural concerns that signal failure of a primary component of the building, or careless craftsmanship. But even if your home is in tip-top shape, earning the seal of approval from a trusted structural engineer can give potential buyers peace of mind, which might just lead to a quicker closing process.

Wondering if your home needs a structural home inspection? Keep an eye out for these eight common signs:

Cracks in the foundation, walls, and windows  

“The easiest problem to spot is excessive cracking on the inside drywall, or if it’s an older house, it can be plaster — those would be vertical or horizontal cracks on wall surfaces, at door openings, and at window openings,” explains Cantor.

Though a lone crack may not signal a foundation issue, if you’re seeing several cracks along the floors and walls, or are seeing cracked windowpanes, this could signal a shifting foundation — which can be a big, expensive problem for a homeowner.

“There are hairline cracks and there are wider cracks than hairline. If it’s a crack that’s the size of a dime or nickel in thickness, that would be concerning,” adds Cantor. “The same thing goes for exterior, like stucco.”

Rotted timber

The timber used in homes has to be treated and protected from the elements and moisture to keep it from growing mold and rotting . Keep an eye out for areas in or around the house like attics, basements, and bathrooms where timber is exposed to moisture. Busted pipes, leaking roofs, or poor drainage around the house can also cause wood rot.

Warped, sloped, cracked, or uneven floors

Foundation problems can be costly to fix, but a healthy foundation is essential to make sure the structure of your home is stable. Though some settling of the house is expected over time, too much can cause structural weakness.

“The other sign of structural issues is that you can feel it on the floor,” explains Cantor. “Some homes are built on a slab, and some are built on a raised foundation where there’s wood floor joist . If the wood floor is spongy, that’s a sign of a structural condition.”

Cantor says to also monitor tile that’s laid over slab as cracking can be a sign of ground movement. And if the house is carpeted, it can be worth rolling back the carpet to take a look at what’s beneath.

“There are ways even without a structural engineer to access the floor area of a home,” advises Cantor. “You can shoot it with a laser to see the differential in the floor’s surface area to see if it’s settled, and there’s also what’s called a monometer report where they go in and do a full survey of the slab or floor area to make sure it’s level.”

Cantor explains that if there’s concern about the floor, doing a laser or monometer report would be a less expensive first step. From there, if findings conclude the floor isn’t level, then it may be time to bring in the expertise of a structural engineer.

Gaps between walls and floors

Gaps can form around a sagging floor or moving wall supports due to a shifting foundation. These telltale gaps can be found on both internal and external walls.

Cracked or leaning roof/chimney

Roofing issues are notoriously expensive and labor intensive to repair. A roof that sags either on the ends or in the center can indicate shifting or settling that may compromise the integrity of the structure.

Standing water and drainage issues on the property

Water damage in brickwork or masonry can cause serious damage to any structure, especially in colder climates . A structural home inspection will let you know whether your home’s chimney or walls have been compromised by water, age, or the elements, and will give you an idea of what to do next.

Doors and windows that won’t open/close

One of the earliest signs of a shifting foundation is when doors and windows throughout the house stick, signaling that they are moving out of alignment. Homes built on clay or on concrete slabs are at heightened risk of a problem known as foundation heave , where the ground beneath the concrete expands and puts stress on the home’s structure.

Wood inside/outside of the house has small holes

A structural engineer can assess how much damage has been caused by a termite infestation and identify what steps you’ll need to take to get your home back on track.

A person using a computer to review a structural home inspection report.

What if I can’t afford to fix major structural defects?

Major foundation repairs can run a homeowner upward of $20,000-$30,000 in extreme cases , and not all homeowners have the upfront funds to fix the issues and get their house in marketable condition.

If you’re not confident your home would attract a conventional buyer in its current condition, there is another option on the table: to sell your house to a cash buyer “as is.” If you work with a cash-for-homes company, you can generally skip showings, agent commissions, and the back-and-forth negotiations which can prolong the selling process.

All you’ll have to worry about is making the cut-and-dried choice: take the cash offer, or leave it (though depending on the company you work with, you may still need to adjust the price for repairs).

Curious how much you could get for your home? HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform makes selling your home an easy, low-stress experience. HomeLight provides a cash offer to buy your home so you can complete the sale in a matter of days, not months. Just fill out some information about your home and location and we’ll present you with a purchase offer.

how to write a structural engineering report

Overwhelmed with Structural Home Repairs?

Homes with structural or foundation issues can be difficult to sell on the open market. Avoid the expense and time required to address repairs by requesting a cash offer for your home from HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform.

How much does a structural engineering inspection cost?

Typical costs for a basic residential structural engineering inspection can range anywhere from $350-$700 based on the home’s location, size, and age.

The following determinants are included in pricing:

Unless you decide to hire a structural engineer on your own accord, the buyer will be on the hook to cover the costs of the structural home inspection.

If you’re hoping to have the engineer draw up new plans for additions, an extensive remodel or new construction, be prepared to pay anywhere upwards of $1,500. On average, design work accounts for 45% of a project’s cost .

To help cut down on this cost, give the structural engineer any already drawn-up plans for your home or existing blueprints.

What is included in a structural inspection report?

Similar to a standard home inspection report, a structural inspection report reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly.

“Good news is, things can be repaired,” says Cantor. “A structural engineer provides a report and defines how to make the repair, and that’s not going to impact a sale as bad as if you just ignore it.”

Each report provides:

The official report can then be used for refinancing, to address any concerns regarding the property’s structural condition, and can be included in purchasing agreements .

In some situations, sellers may want to obtain a report from a structural engineer after an initial inspection, even without a referral. In these cases, the inspector might penalize the home for a flaw that isn’t actually as problematic as it looks — like hairline cracks in the foundation, for example. A structural home inspection can give you a leg to stand on when refuting these issues and can help to assure buyers that the home is indeed in good condition.

In addition, if you’re selling a home in an area that’s recently experienced a natural disaster, don’t be surprised if your prospective buyer wants to bring in a pro to make sure the building’s structure remains in good shape and free of water damage.

How can I prepare for a structural home inspection?

Once an inspection is scheduled, as a seller, you can take steps to prepare your property ahead of time. To help ready your residence for the inspection, use the following checklist prior to the inspector’s arrival:

By completing these steps, you’re ensuring the engineer can easily access all areas of your home, and showing your property is well maintained.

A brick wall inspected during a structural home inspection.

What can I expect after the structural inspection?

If the engineer’s report flagged some structural issues in your home, as the homeowner, there are a few things you can do. A lot of this will depend on the severity of the issues and what the buyer requests to have fixed.

With any type of inspection negotiation, you can choose to hire a professional to remedy the issue, offer a credit to the buyer at closing, or reject the buyer’s request (and risk that they’ll walk away from the deal).

Most buyers won’t purchase a house with serious structural defects, so if the issues are major, there’s a good chance you’ll need to pay to have it repaired, get a clear inspection, and provide proof of repair to the buyer.

With smaller requests, you may be able to negotiate a credit — this can be beneficial if you’re on a tight timeline to close, but it all depends on what the buyers demand and how much leverage you have.

How do I hire a structural engineer for an inspection?

“Make sure after an inspection is completed — if it’s not a structural inspection — you have the inspector explain what they saw,” advises Cantor, adding to pay close attention to any photos.

“Typically, a good report has photos in it, and if the inspector has concerns, then you need to bring in experts to investigate.”

If you’re ready to hire a structural engineer, then the next thing you need to do is find one. Luckily, it’s easier than it sounds. There are plenty of ways to get in touch with a trusted, experienced structural engineer in your area.

Here are five ways to track down one of these experts:

Now you’re ready to face a structural inspection

It’s natural to worry that your house might have structural flaws. But a structural home inspection isn’t the kiss of death for a seller. Foundation issues don’t mean your house is going to collapse, and even the most expensive problems aren’t the norm.

If an inspection turns up a few surprises, just remember to take them one step at a time; review the results, decide what you’d like to do, and then determine the best course of action with the help of your real estate agent. A good agent brings forth market knowledge, problem-solving skills, and professional connections so they’re ready — and equipped — to tackle any surprises when selling your home.

Still searching for the perfect agent to help you with your home sale? Find trusted, top-rated real estate agents that sell homes faster and for more money with our free Agent Match tool. Agent Match analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.

For additional information and expert advice on this topic, check out HomeLight’s guides on selling a house with foundation issues and how to tackle structural repairs .

Header Image Source: (LesPalenik/ Shutterstock)

What is a structural survey?

Author: IStructE/ Michael Aubrey Partnership

Date published

30 July 2018

how to write a structural engineering report

IStructE/ Michael Aubrey Partnership

The term structural survey is a little confusing and outdated.

House surveys tend to be undertaken by chartered surveyors as part of a valuation, a homebuyer’s report, or a building survey. Such reports often highlight the need for a structural engineer to assess a specific structural defect, this would be more usually termed a structural inspection.  

Who do I talk to first?

A structural engineer. If you are buying a home you might employ a structural engineer to investigate a problem, but you will need permission of the owner to make intrusive investigations.

Alternatively, if you find a structural defect in your home and contact your insurer to make a claim, they may ask you to hire a structural engineer to assess the problem.

What is involved in a structural inspection?

A structural inspection will normally involve an initial visual inspection and assessment of the problem’s structural aspects.

Sometimes, if a survey provides enough detail, it may be possible to move straight to intrusive investigations - which could include making trial holes to expose foundations; lifting floorboards to establish the size of joists; or cutting holes in the ceiling to establish how walls above are supported.

Why is a structural engineer necessary in a structural inspection?

A suitably experienced structural engineer will identify the probable causes of the defect through their understanding of how structures and materials behave.

This specialist knowledge goes beyond the general knowledge of a building surveyor.

What can I expect the structural engineer to provide and/or guarantee as part of the survey?

The structural engineer should provide you with a written report, outlining observations and conclusions and making recommendations for the next steps – whether intrusive investigations, a plan to monitor the problem for a fixed period, or a solution to the issue.

Item Added to basket

JHA Australia

One of the key responsibilities held by engineers is predicting structural loads and preventing structural failure. Often, a structural engineer will write a report providing additional information on the design of a building or analyse if a  building is structurally sound,  recommending changes to improve the structural integrity of the building.

Imagine you plan to make changes to your home, such as an addition or renovation. In this case, engaging a structural engineer to review the proposed changes may prevent  adverse effects of the proposed work on the structural integrity of your home. Having a structural engineering report undertaken can help you understand the structural condition of your home and make informed decisions about the changes or repairs needed.

What to Expect in a Structural Engineering Report?

A structural engineering report may include:

Structural Engineer Reporting

Some of the problems uncovered by an engineering report include:

How much does an engineering report cost?

The cost of an engineer’s report varies depending on the size and complexity of the structure.  Due to the specialised nature of the work, structural engineering reports are typically more expensive than other types of home inspection reports. If you need a structural report undertaken and are looking for a quote, contact JHA Engineers today.

How do I go about getting an engineer's report?

You will need to contact a structural engineer to have them inspect your property and prepare a report. The engineer will visit your site, assess the structure’s condition, and take measurements. They will then prepare a report that includes their findings and recommendations.

A structural engineer report is a valuable tool that can help you understand your home’s structural condition and make informed decisions about any changes or repairs needed. Our structural engineers here at JHA can analyse the structure and make recommendations at an affordable rate. Contact us today to arrange a quote .  

Structural Engineer Report

Should you repair or replace your deck?

Tree Roots Damage Foundation

Can Tree Roots Damage The Foundation Of Your Home?

Awning Inspection

Why regular awning inspections are a must for business owners in Australia

Water Ingression

How to mitigate water ingress

new home defect inspection

What Is a Building Defects Inspection?

Causes Of Retaining Wall Failure

Signs of retaining wall failure

Ui Logo Tn New


Qpi Img

Select your desired option below to share a direct link to this page. Your friends or family will thank you later.

Want to schedule a FREE inspection?

Send us your contact info and we'll get back to you shortly.

Importance of a Structural Engineer’s Report in Foundation Repair

October 2, 2018


Many cities require you to see a Registered Professional Engineer before you can embark on repairing your foundation. A structural engineering report is a crucial requirement that provides you with an unbiased opinion from a state certified engineering professional. With this report, you have an assurance of the entire process. Before doing a foundation repair project in Dallas, Texas or anywhere else, this report should be prepared.

What is Included in the Structural Engineering Report for Foundation Repair?

A structural engineer’s report should address a number of issues. Generally, it should include a recommendation from the engineer on how many foundation piers should be installed, as well as the type of piers to be used for the project. An illustration of the floor plan of the home with foundation elevations, plus where the piers should be positioned should be part of the engineer’s report. It’s worth noting that a structural engineer’s report is based on visual observations and an elevation survey. An engineer’s report will not normally include a soil test or review of house construction plans.

When preparing the report, an engineer will spell out their observations. These include issues such as the foundation and bricks having cracks, fascia separations, window separations and other pointers that might compel you to undertake house leveling . A structural engineer will also carry out slab elevation evaluation to check whether a house has undergone any differential movement.

A structural engineer’s report will define all the recommendations that should be included during the foundation repair and any processes associated with the exercise. Recommendations may include installation of piers to reduce deflection of slabs, carrying out plumbing tests , sloping the soil away from the foundation and installing root barriers to safeguard the foundation from tree roots among other issues.

When you contact a foundation repair company, the first question you’re likely to be asked is whether you have an engineer’s report. At this point, many people realize how important an engineer’s report is and how it can boost confidence in your project.

Advantages of a Structural Engineer Report for Foundation Inspections

With an independent engineer, you are assured to have a genuine deal as the engineer is least concerned about making a profit from you. As opposed to trying to sell you as many piers as possible, they will instead focus on how many piers are truly required to fix your foundation problems. Some foundation repair companies at times can try to convince you to skip this vital step but at Granite Foundation Repair we often recommend getting an engineer’s report.

An engineer’s report provides a clear road-map of what is required for a successful foundation repair. When embarking on such an important project, it’s always good to be prepared and have information including a navigational guide on how to go about repairs. So long as you have an engineer’s report, you have all you need to embark on foundation repairs.

When you have a structural engineer’s report, it will give you the assurance the foundation repairs will be performed correctly. With a report from an engineer, you will have a better understanding of how severe the problem is, as well as the best available remedies to fix your foundation. Using this data, you’re better prepared to search for the right foundation repair company to handle the repairs.

How Much Does a Structural Engineer Report Cost?

Generally, an engineer’s report varies in cost, but you can expect to spend around $750 in Dallas, Texas. However, it can cost higher if you want an engineer to provide you with a more in-depth evaluation. In this case, you can expect to spend between $900-$1500.


How to Get a Structural Engineer’s Report for Your House’s Foundation?

In order to get a structural engineer’s report, you need to get in touch with a good foundation repair expert or structural engineer to guide you on the process. When you deal with an established foundation contractor, they can make the necessary arrangements and order a report on your behalf from a certified and reputable structural engineer. Alternatively, you can search and choose a structural engineer of your choice. Whichever decision you make, you need to get your hands on an engineer’s report before foundation repairs can begin on your house.

If you suspect your house has a foundation problem, it’s advisable to have your foundation inspected. Fortunately, a reputable foundation contractor should be willing to provide you with a free estimate.

Feel free to contact us at Granite Foundation Repair. We provide free foundation inspections for all residential properties in the DFW metroplex.

Reader Interactions

Our Locations

how to write a structural engineering report

7 Warning Signs You Have A Foundation Problem Get Our Free E-Book

how to write a structural engineering report


  1. BendPak Structural Engineering Report

    how to write a structural engineering report

  2. Civil Engineering Building Project Report

    how to write a structural engineering report

  3. 16+ Sample Engineering Reports

    how to write a structural engineering report

  4. BendPak Structural Engineering Report

    how to write a structural engineering report

  5. BendPak Structural Engineering Report

    how to write a structural engineering report

  6. FREE 17+ Sample Engineering Reports in PDF

    how to write a structural engineering report


  1. Engineering Report

  2. NET Engineering


  4. A Guide To Be A Structural Engineer 2/4

  5. A Guide To Be A Structural Engineer 1/4

  6. Candidate Fast Track Coaching Program


  1. Writing Engineering Reports

    This PowerPoint slide presentation covers major aspects of writing reports in Engineering. Click on the link above in the Media box to download the slides. The presentation includes information about: Report purpose and planning Report format and organization Headings and language Visual design Source documentation Finishing touches

  2. PDF A guide to technical report writing

    the report writing laws, which are as follows: 1. The reader is the most important person. 2. Keep the report as short as possible. 3. Organise for the convenience of the report user. 4. All references should be correct in all details. 5. The writing should be accurate, concise and unobtrusive. 6.

  3. How to Prepare a Structural Report

    In structural design report, the summary can be sub-divided in the following section: Design Criteria. Design Criteria is actually a broad section depending on how big the project is, but for the sake of discussion, it can be further subdivided into following subsections: Design Code and Standards Material Properties Design Load Considerations

  4. Engineering Technical Reports

    A technical report also follows a strict organization. This way, when other engineers read what you write, they can quickly locate the information that interests them the most. Audience. As a student, you might assume that your technical report's audience is your instructor, however, this may not always be the case. Your instructor may ask you ...


    major findings and conclusions of the report, and then easily find further details as required. In writing a full-length engineering report, you should start with a report outline, then proceed to a rough draft. The outline defines the organization of the report, and the rough draft serves to avoid omissions.

  6. How to Prepare a Structural Design Report

    How to Prepare a Structural Design Report This video outlines the recommended content of a Structural Design Report. Please Subscribe to our Channel: http://bit.ly/TheStructuralWorld Visit...

  7. What Is a Structural Engineer Report?

    A structural engineer report is a document that provides an evaluation of a structure's ability to support loads and resist forces. The report is based on the engineer's analysis of the structure's design, construction, and materials.

  8. How to Write an Engineering Report

    When it comes to report writing, remember these factors: Consider your audience Keep the proper structure and organization Make your writing easy to skim Only include pertinent information The information and sources that you'll need to compile your technical report will change based on the project.

  9. PDF Specific Structural Report- Sample

    2 The report will not include a cost estimate for works to be undertaken unless specifically agreed between the engineer and Client at extra cost. 3 Save as hereinafter provided the engineer will use all reasonable skill, care and diligence expected of a reasonably competent engineer in carrying out the survey and preparing the report.

  10. Sample Reports

    Structural Engineers Reports is a trading name of Howard Ward Associates Ltd registered in England No. 11146067. Contact us: [email protected] | 0333 772 0292. designed and built by Born agency. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish.

  11. Write Effective Reports

    Put the appendices in order by their mention in the body of the report. Attachments. Attach materials appropriate for the appendices that are too large in size to fit the report format. For instance, you may have oversize blueprints that would be unreadable if reduced to the typical 8.5×11 size of a report.

  12. What To Expect In A Structural Engineering Report

    A structural engineer is capable of checking the full structure of the home, as well as other parts of the property. If the home is simply in need of a foundation inspection, then a structural engineer may simply evaluate that part of the home (the substructure).

  13. Guide to Technical Report Writing : Study guides : ... : School of

    A Handbook of Writing for Engineers 2nd ed. (Macmillan 1998) van Emden J. and Easteal J. Technical Writing and Speaking, an Introduction (McGraw-Hill 1996) Pfeiffer W.S. Pocket Guide to Technical Writing (Prentice Hall 1998) Eisenberg A. Effective Technical Communication (McGraw-Hill 1992)

  14. PDF Structural Assessment Report Guidelines

    Considerations in Commissioning a Structural Assessment Report A Structural Assessment Report should an unbiased evaluation of existing conditions. It should include analysis of all structural systems in order to determine the condition of the entire building or structure, not just selective analysis of areas with obvious structural deficiencies.

  15. Why Engineering Writing Skills Are Important

    Structural engineers write technical reports that can be easily understood by clients, government officials, and other contractors. ... Engineering writing requires all engineers to understand how to write an engineering report. The first step is to pinpoint the report's specific goal. The objective is usually to convey the aim of a project ...

  16. How to Get Through a Structural Home Inspection and What to Expect

    Typical costs for a basic residential structural engineering inspection can range anywhere from $350-$700 based on the home's location, size, and age. The following determinants are included in pricing: Inspection costs and report. Structural engineer's rate per hour. Cost per square foot.

  17. What is a structural survey?

    The term structural survey is a little confusing and outdated. House surveys tend to be undertaken by chartered surveyors as part of a valuation, a homebuyer's report, or a building survey. Such reports often highlight the need for a structural engineer to assess a specific structural defect, this would be more usually termed a structural ...

  18. Structural Engineer Report

    You will need to contact a structural engineer to have them inspect your property and prepare a report. The engineer will visit your site, assess the structure's condition, and take measurements. They will then prepare a report that includes their findings and recommendations.

  19. Importance of a Structural Engineer's Report in Foundation Repair

    A structural engineering report is a crucial requirement that provides you with an unbiased opinion from a state certified engineering professional. With this report, you have an assurance of the entire process. Before doing a foundation repair project in Dallas, Texas or anywhere else, this report should be prepared.

  20. How To Write a Structural Engineer Resume (With Example)

    Place your name in bold font as the header with the rest of your contact information on the line directly below it. 3. List your skills. As a structural engineer, you use a combination of hard and soft skills to accomplish your role responsibilities. List three to six relevant skills.