Edward R. Bajer
"We call their work 'the strength behind the beauty,' " says Edward Bajer, executive director of the Washington-based Council of American Structural Engineers, a subgroup of the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Structural engineers often are involved in the construction of houses and are employed directly by owners, architects or contractors.
"In some cases, an engineer will be hired by someone buying an old house with the intention of restoring it and wanting to know it is structurally sound," Mr. Bajer
They also are a critical part of any large-scale commercial or residential project, although most don't work in the private sector.
Their main business is with bridges, dams, parking garages and such ambitious construction projects as the new WashingtonConvention Center
and the restoration of the WashingtonMonument.
Structural engineering is a branch of civil engineering, but a civil engineer has a broader range, working on water-treatment plants and other utility projects, Mr. Bajer