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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:

  • Design Code and Standards
  • Material Properties
  • Design Load Considerations
  • Load Combinations

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:

  • Foundation Design
  • Design of Walls and Retaining Walls
  • Design of Slabs
  • Design of Columns and Beam
  • Seismic Analysis
  • Dynamic Analysis


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.

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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.

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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.

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how to write a structural engineering report

How to Write an Engineering Report

  • Adam Singfield
  • Last Updated August 18, 2016
  • Category Technical Writing

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:

  • 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. 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:

  • Executive Summary
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Conclusions and recommendations
  • References and appendices

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 copyrigh t  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.

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Home » BIM and structural calculation » Structural Engineers Report: a comprehensive guide to ensuring construction safety

Structural Engineers Report

Structural Engineers Report: a comprehensive guide to ensuring construction safety

The importance of the structural engineers report: a key document for construction safety. A comprehensive guide with definitions, objectives, and much more.

In this article, we delve into the structural engineers report , the fundamental document for effectively managing construction safety throughout its lifecycle. But what exactly is it, and why is it so important? Read on to discover what it is, how it’s done, and how to manage a structural report with the support of a structural health monitoring software .

Definition and objective of Structural Engineers Report

What is a structural engineers report.

A structural engineers report or an engineer’s structural report is an official technical document prepared by a structural engineer that provides a detailed analysis and technical assessment of the stability, safety, and structural integrity of a construction. This type of report is often required for various situations, including property sale or purchase, structural assessments, major renovations, or resolving structural issues. The main objective is to provide a professional assessment of the structure’s condition and recommend any necessary corrective actions or improvements.

A structural engineers report may include the following elements:

  • Structural Analysis : The approach used to evaluate the stability, strength, and safety of the structure, including loads, seismic forces, and materials used;
  • Current Condition : A detailed description of the current state of the structure, reporting any damages, cracks, or deterioration;
  • Conclusions : Summarizes the conclusions drawn from the structural analysis, determining safety and any necessary actions;
  • Recommendations : Specific suggestions provided by the structural engineer regarding corrective actions or necessary improvements;
  • Technical Details : Inclusion of calculations, load diagrams, detailed plans, and other relevant technical information;
  • Engineer’s Signature : Formal attestation of the engineer’s competence and responsibility in the document.

Who is it For, and Why is it Necessary?

The structural engineers report is useful in various situations and contexts where a detailed technical analysis of a construction’s stability, safety, and structural integrity is required. Some of the primary recipients and situations where this type of report is needed include:

  • Property Owners : They may request a structural engineers report to assess the structural condition of the building and make informed decisions for renovation, maintenance, or sale;
  • Potential Buyers : They require the report to verify the safety and structural integrity before purchasing a property, avoiding surprises after the purchase;
  • Financial Institutions and Insurance Companies : They request the report as part of the loan approval process or to assess insurance risks related to the property;
  • Designers : They use the report to guide the design process and ensure compliance with structural requirements;
  • Government Authorities : They require the report to verify compliance with building codes and ensure adequate safety standards;
  • Owners of Historic Buildings : They obtain the report to preserve the original structure and ensure modern safety and functionality;
  • Structural Issue Resolution : It requires the report to analyze causes and solutions for cracks, settlements, or other damages.

Structural assessment process and data collection

Initial stages.

First and foremost, the structural engineer conducts a series of site visits, field inspections, and data collection using various methods such as mathematical calculations, visual inspections, computer simulations, and material analysis.

Evaluation methodologies

After the initial data collection, a structural performance assessment is performed using advanced structural calculation software  that automatically compares the calculation data with the limits defined by current building codes.

Structural Health Monitoring

Key elements present in a Structural Engineers Report

Here are some details on how a structural engineers report might be structured:

  • Header and Basic Information : Begins with a header containing the structural engineer’s name, contact information, and the report’s issuance date. Also includes project details, such as the client’s name, the structure’s location, and a brief description of the type of structure covered by the report;
  • Executive Summary : This section provides a concise overview of the main conclusions and recommendations of the report. In a few sentences, highlights the main structural concerns addressed, analysis results, and recommended actions;
  • Project Context : Describes the type and context of the structure, such as whether it’s a residential building, a bridge, a tower, etc. Provides details on the structure’s purpose, intended use, and any relevant project history;
  • Structural Analysis : This section should detail the analysis approach used to evaluate the stability, strength, and safety of the structure. Include details about the considered loads, seismic forces, or other environmental factors, materials used, and analysis tools/software employed. Present analysis results in terms of stresses, deformations, and safety factors;
  • Design and Methodology : Explain how specific design standards have been applied and what design choices have been made. Discuss the types of structural elements (beams, columns, foundations, etc.) and how they are sized to withstand the anticipated loads. If there are variations from standard codes, explain the reasons behind such decisions;
  • Safety Verification : Demonstrate that the structure is safe and stable with respect to design loads and anticipated usage conditions. Present detailed calculations, diagrams, and charts illustrating how the structure meets the required safety criteria;
  • Recommendations and Corrective Actions : If concerns or areas for improvement emerge during the analysis, list the recommendations clearly to address these issues. They may include structural modifications, reinforcement additions, foundation upgrades, etc. Provide technical reasoning and calculations to support these recommendations;
  • Conclusions : Summarize the main conclusions drawn through structural analysis and design. Reiterate the safety and stability of the structure or, if necessary, indicate the actions required to ensure compliance with safety standards;
  • Attachments : Include additional documents such as floor plans, load diagrams, detailed analysis results, and, if applicable, three-dimensional models of the structure.

Remember that the content and organization of a structural engineering report may vary depending on the project, local regulations, and client preferences. A well-structured and documented report is crucial to ensure transparency, comprehensibility, and the safety of design decisions.

General structure description

A fundamental element of the report is a comprehensive and detailed description of the building or structure, including materials used, loading conditions, and any other relevant factors.

Structural performance assessment

A section dedicated to the analysis of structural performance is then presented. In this phase, the structural engineer examines the strength, stability, and durability of the structure, providing a comprehensive overview of any structural building issues. Here, the structural engineer may request and design a structural monitoring system to be followed using structural health monitoring software .

Importance of the report for construction safety

Risk prevention and mitigation.

The structural engineers report is a crucial document for the prevention and mitigation of construction and structural-related risks, directly contributing to construction safety.

For more in-depth information, read “ Structural Health Monitoring: Everything You Need to Know .”

Examples of common structural problems identified in reports

Common structural building issues.

Some typical examples of structural problems include concrete cracks, material corrosion, and design or execution defects. Let’s take a closer look at the most common structural issues identified in structural engineers’ reports.

Case Studies

Here are some examples of common structural problems that can be identified in structural engineers’ reports:

  • Wall Cracking : Signs of structural movement or unexpected settlements;
  • Foundation Settlements : Signs of foundation settlement or deformation;
  • Moisture Damage : Damage caused by water infiltration or moisture;
  • Beam or Roof Truss Deformation : Abnormal beam and roof truss deformations and tilting;
  • Connection Issues : Faulty or missing connections between structural elements;
  • Material Corrosion and Deterioration : Deterioration of steel reinforcements or other materials;
  • Foundation Problems : Issues related to inadequate foundations;
  • Seismic Vulnerability : Seismic risk assessment and necessary improvements;
  • Structural Inadequacy : The need for reinforcements following renovations;
  • Construction Defects : Errors or issues in the construction process.

Role of Structural Engineers in assessment and report preparation

Skills and responsibilities.

Structural engineers are highly qualified experts with the responsibility of ensuring construction safety. Their expertise is crucial in every phase of the assessment and report preparation process. To preserve the long-term integrity and safety of buildings and infrastructure—bridges, roads, and any other structures—a structural health monitoring software is helpful for gathering structure information, ensuring effective and accurate monitoring, and making timely data-driven decisions.

Structural Improvement Interventions

Types of interventions.

Once problems are identified, the report may suggest various types of structural improvement interventions, ranging from routine maintenance to more complex repairs. Here are some examples:

  • Beam and Column Strengthening : Addition of materials like steel plates or carbon fibers;
  • Concrete Injection : Injecting concrete or epoxy resins to repair cracks and fissures;
  • Foundation Reinforcements : Adding columns, micro-piles, or other foundations/sub-foundations to address settlement issues;
  • Increased Load Capacity : Addition of structural elements like beams or columns to increase load capacity;
  • Connection Reinforcement : Strengthening connections between structural elements to enhance strength;
  • Seismic Isolation : Installing seismic isolators to reduce the impact of seismic forces;
  • Wall Reinforcements : Adding structural walls to increase resistance and stability;
  • Stair and Opening Refurbishment : Modifications to openings (lintels, etc.) or stairs to improve load distribution;
  • Addition of Rigid Diaphragms : Installation of rigid diaphragms like steel or wooden ones to enhance seismic load distribution;
  • Bearing Wall Consolidation : Reinforcing load-bearing walls with additional materials or internal structures to increase stability;
  • Addition of Seismic Reinforcements : Installation of seismic reinforcement systems such as steel frames or carbon fibers;
  • Crack Repair and Sealing : Sealing existing cracks and repairing minor damages to prevent further deterioration;
  • Replacement of Deteriorated Materials : Replacing parts of the structure with new, durable materials;
  • Replacement of Structural Elements in Roofs or Facades : Updating roofs and facades to improve weather protection.

Timelines and Costs

Finally, an estimate of the timelines and costs associated with these interventions is provided, offering a comprehensive overview of the situation.

Now that you have a complete understanding of what a structural engineers report entails, it’s time to take action. If you’ve been tasked with assessing a building or structure, do not underestimate the importance of this document for construction safety and reliability.


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Writing engineering design reports

Learn the features of an engineering design report.

What is a design report?

Design reports are frequently written by engineers to document the process and outcomes of a design task.

They communicate to your reader how well you’ve understood the problem, how you’ve evolved the design throughout your study, and what the next steps are.

Sections of a design report

Find tips on what to include in each section of your design report below.

Title of the project, client (if relevant), date, project team details

Tell your reader what they need to know without reading the full report. You should:

  • set the problem in context
  • summarise what you have done
  • describe your design solution
  • report on its performance
  • provide key recommendations.

Tip: Your reader may be a busy senior engineer or executive, so keep it brief.

Table of contents

Outline each part of the report using numbered section headings and page numbers e.g.  4.2 Constraints to the design p20

Tip: For a consistent look, use your word processing software’s formatting tool.


Introduce and define the problem and your objectives (or technical specifications) in context. Include any constraints and discuss any previous work (if relevant).

Analysis section/s

This section is the largest of your report and should be adapted to suit the problem you’ve been set.

You’ll most likely need to include:

  • an overview of your design
  • your prototype sequence (if relevant)
  • your testing procedures and results (if relevant)
  • an assessment of your final design and its performance.

For each section, write a specific title to help your reader locate the information they need.

Tip: Only include  key information, charts or equations - keep any detail for your appendix.

Conclusion (and recommendations)

Summarise what you have done and any recommendations for the future (e.g. proposed improvements). Consider expressing these using modal verbs such as ‘should’ or ‘must’.

Include all sources that you’ve used in your design report and follow a consistent referencing style.

Tip: Refer to the University's referencing site - re:cite - for modals of how to reference particular types of material.

Include any detailed processes, standards, risk registers, raw data or detailed diagrams. Your reader can then choose to access the information that’s most relevant to them.

Tip: Begin each appendix on a separate page and give it a specific title e.g. Appendix D – Requirements.

Final tip(s)

Your design report is evidence of the extended work you’ve done to reach your final design and convince your reader of its merits. Don’t be tempted to overwhelm your reader with detail in the body of your design report– instead, focus on the most useful and relevant information for your audience.

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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.

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Guide to Technical Report Writing

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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;

  • Collect your information. Sources include laboratory handouts and lecture notes, the University Library, the reference books and journals in the Department office. Keep an accurate record of all the published references which you intend to use in your report, by noting down the following information; Journal article: author(s) title of article name of journal (italic or underlined) year of publication volume number (bold) issue number, if provided (in brackets) page numbers Book: author(s) title of book (italic or underlined) edition, if appropriate publisher year of publication N.B. the listing of recommended textbooks in section 2 contains all this information in the correct format.
  • Creative phase of planning. Write down topics and ideas from your researched material in random order. Next arrange them into logical groups. Keep note of topics that do not fit into groups in case they come in useful later. Put the groups into a logical sequence which covers the topic of your report.
  • Structuring the report. Using your logical sequence of grouped ideas, write out a rough outline of the report with headings and subheadings.

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;

  • the essence of a successful technical report lies in how accurately and concisely it conveys the intended information to the intended readership.

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;

  • Does that sentence/paragraph/section say what I want and mean it to say? If not, write it in a different way.
  • Are there any words/sentences/paragraphs which could be removed without affecting the information which I am trying to convey? If so, remove them.

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;

  • In the main text you must always refer to any diagram, graph or table which you use.
  • Label diagrams and graphs as follows; Figure 1.2 Graph of energy output as a function of wave height. In this example, the second diagram in section 1 would be referred to by "...see figure 1.2..."
  • Label tables in a similar fashion; Table 3.1 Performance specifications of a range of commercially available GaAsFET devices In this example, the first table in section 3 might be referred to by "...with reference to the performance specifications provided in Table 3.1..."
  • Number equations as follows; F(dB) = 10*log 10 (F) (3.6) In this example, the sixth equation in section 3 might be referred to by "...noise figure in decibels as given by eqn (3.6)..."

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.

  • Purpose - a short version of the report and a guide to the report.
  • Length - short, typically not more than 100-300 words
  • Content - provide information, not just a description of the report.

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;

  • Do not bother with style and formatting of a document until the penultimate or final draft.
  • Do not try to get graphics finalised until the text content is complete.
  • Davies J.W. Communication Skills - A Guide for Engineering and Applied Science Students (2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 2001)
  • van Emden J. Effective communication for Science and Technology (Palgrave 2001)
  • van Emden J. 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)

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]

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Home | What to Expect From a Structural Engineering Report?

What to Expect From a Structural Engineering Report?

Are you thinking about requesting a structural engineering report? Whether it’s for your own home or one you’re about to purchase, a structural engineer’s report can help you understand the property’s structural flaws, the best way to repair them, and the potential costs.

This post will explain what you can expect to find in a structural engineering report if you request a structural inspection.

Evaluation of the Property’s Structural Soundness

First and foremost, a structural engineering report will detail the findings of the  structural inspection . During the inspection, the engineer you hire will assess a variety of the home’s structural elements and report on their condition and quality of construction.

Typically, a structural inspection will include the following components and establish whether they’re structurally sound or unsafe:

The Roofing Structure

The engineer will evaluate the structural members that carry loads of the roof. These include the beams, rafters, joists, and struts, but not the roofing membrane, flashings, shingles, or insulation. These load-bearing components of the roof are a vital piece of the home’s overall structure since they carry loads imposed by wind and snow. Since the roof is subjected to large amounts of moisture and possible leaks, its wooden members are vulnerable to water and moisture-related damage.

If the engineer finds evidence of defects to any of these members during the inspection or deems that the roofing structure may not be able to carry the design loads, they’ll note these in the report and recommend corrective action.

The Home’s Above-Grade Structure

A typical wood-frame single-family home is vulnerable to various types of damage, which can progress over time and create hazardous conditions. To find these defects, the inspecting engineer will evaluate and report on the condition of the home’s interior and exterior walls and floors. This investigation is typically non-invasive; instead, the engineer will assess parts of the exposed structure (crawl space, utility room, etc.) and look for obvious signs of flaws, such as:

  • Sagging floors
  • Warped walls
  • Signs of rot or termite infestations
  • Misaligned door and window frames
  • Cracks in walls
  • Moisture or dampness in bathroom walls

The engineer’s report will contain a detailed analysis of this part of the structure, including any defects or signs of approaching trouble, along with recommendations for repairs.

The Home Foundation

The foundation of any building is an essential part of the structure because it serves as an interface between the building and the soil on which it rests. This is why foundation issues can have  severe repercussions  on a home’s structural integrity or ability to carry loads as designed. In simple terms, a foundation that’s not adequately supporting the structure above will eventually damage the latter.

Unfortunately, signs of foundation trouble are usually obscure and difficult to point out. Dangerous cracks in the foundation or exterior walls can be dismissed as harmless (and vice versa), while sticking doors and windows are often attributed to heat and humidity rather than a misaligned foundation.

A structural inspection is a homeowner’s best chance to catch these problems early before they worsen. An engineer will meticulously examine the foundation, check for all known manifestations of trouble, and then present their findings in a report to the owner.

Soil and Erosion

Over time, a poorly graded site can lead to water accumulation around the building and possible erosion of the soil that supports the foundation. If the latter happens,  the home may settle unevenly  and become unlevel. This flaw may not be evident to the untrained eye, but a structural inspection should be able to flag it. If a home is found to be settling due to erosion, the engineer will note this in their structural report and suggest remediating measures.

Recommendations to Rectify Uncovered Defects

Another crucial part of a structural engineering report is the engineer’s advice on addressing the defects discovered during the initial structural inspection.

If an element is found to be unsafe, the engineer may recommend a total replacement and corrective measures to protect it from further damage.

For example, if structural members are found to be rotten inside the crawlspace, the engineer’s advice will include not only their replacement but strategies for keeping moisture or water out of the crawl space. The same goes for structures damaged by termites — a replacement alone will not suffice if the termite infestation is ongoing or if termites are likely to return in the future.

Likewise, if the home’s foundation has settled unevenly, the engineer may recommend adjustments to the grade of the ground level to steer rainwater away from the property.

If the initial structural inspection turns up flaws that warrant further investigation, the engineer may recommend performing further, more invasive inspections to get to the root of the problem.

Estimated Repair Costs

As a homeowner requesting the structural inspection, you can request the engineer to estimate the repair costs in the structural engineering report. If you do, you should understand that these estimates will be just that — estimated project costs based on historical data. Only a contractor will be able to quote you with any degree of accuracy based on the actual material and labor cost.

That said, getting an engineer’s estimate is still quite handy since you’ll be able to use these figures as a benchmark when you solicit bids from contractors.

Do I Need a Structural Inspection?

There are several reasons you may need a structural engineer to report on your home’s structure condition.

An apparent reason is that you suspect damage. For example, if you’ve come across evidence of termites or rot, it’s undoubtedly a good idea to get an engineer to assess your home and establish how severe the damage is. Likewise, if there’s been a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or flood, it only makes sense to verify that the home is structurally sound.

Another reason to commission a structural engineer’s inspection is if you’re about to buy a home and have doubts about the soundness of the structure. The structural engineer report costs you’ll end up paying may well be worth it if you uncover a major structural issue just in time to walk away from the purchase or at least renegotiate the price.

How Design Everest Can Help

Whether you suspect structural damage in your home or would like to assess a property before committing to a purchase, Design Everest can help you out with a structural engineering report. Our licensed engineers can evaluate your home’s structural soundness and prepare a report complete with their findings along with the most cost-effective remediation strategies. To get a FREE consultation, contact us today.

Structural Inspection vs. Home Inspection: What’s the Difference? 

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Structural Engineer Foundation Inspection

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  • When to Consult
  • Foundation vs. Home Inspection
  • Structural Engineers vs. Foundation Repair
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Choosing a Structural Engineer

Our recommendation.

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Keeping your home’s foundation secure is a critical part of your safety. If you’ve noticed signs of a bad foundation , such as wall or floor cracks, sloping floors, or basement moisture problems, it’s time to call a structural engineer for an inspection. Learn how to decipher a report about your home’s structural integrity and what you can expect from a structural engineer’s visit in the guide below.

When to Consult a Structural Engineer

Structural engineers are vital in the face of emergencies, such as catastrophic events or severe neglect of foundation issues. If you notice any of the structural issues included in the list below, your house may be in danger of collapse. You should schedule a foundation inspection as soon as possible. Consider vacating the premises in the meantime.

  • Bulging or bowing walls
  • House damaged by a car or other vehicle
  • Increasing separation in foundation expansion joints
  • Severe earthquake or sinkhole
  • Severe flooding or mudslides
  • Severe ice damage
  • Walls separating from each other

Nonemergencies also warrant a structural engineer’s foundation inspection. The house may not be in immediate danger of structural failure in the following cases, but you still need more information to determine whether the foundation is stable.

  • Basement or crawl space moisture problems
  • Buying or selling a home
  • Cracks in walls, ceilings, windows, or floor tiles
  • Large or horizontal foundation cracks
  • Renovating your home
  • Uneven or sloping floors
  • Windows and doors that don’t open or close easily

What Happens During the Inspection

A typical foundation inspection takes between 90 minutes and two hours and involves thoroughly surveying the home’s foundation walls. An engineer will identify and record any anomalies, such as discoloration, bowing, and sinking, and will document and measure any cracks. Once the engineer has inspected the foundation, they will look inside the home for signs of structural damage. The engineer will examine the integrity of the walls, floors, and ceilings in search of gaps, cracks, bowing, and sinking.

Foundation inspections may also include examination of a household’s plumbing, which often sustains damage if the foundation is cracked. The engineer may shut off the water and check the water meter to see if there are any leaks. They will inspect basements and crawl spaces for signs of moisture problems, such as leaks, standing water, condensation, and mold or mildew. The engineer will also take measurements, make notes, or take pictures.

After the inspection, the structural engineer will write up a comprehensive engineering report documenting the state of the foundation and the causes of any problems. If the engineer has found damage, the report will include recommendations for repairing foundation cracks and other problems.

The cost of a structural engineer foundation inspection and the report it generates will vary based on your home’s size and the complexity of any damage. Structural engineers charge between $200 and $350 per hour. If your home is especially large, difficult to inspect, or faces severe or unusual problems, you may pay up to $3,000.

Homeowners typically pay for their own foundation inspections, but there are exceptions in the wake of catastrophic events that may be covered by insurance. For example, if your house is damaged by an earthquake and your homeowner’s insurance covers earthquakes, then your provider may schedule and pay for a foundation inspection.

If you’re a home buyer and you want an inspection for your new home, you’ll need to pay for it. The current homeowner isn’t legally required to have the foundation inspected.

Cost data in this article was sourced from Angi.

Foundation Inspection vs. Home Inspection

Structural engineers focus on the structural integrity of the home as part of a foundation inspection. They examine the foundation as well as load-bearing walls and joists. They may also inspect the structural stability of the roof.

Licensed home inspectors perform home inspections, during which they take a noninvasive look at a home’s major systems and basic structure. If a home inspector spots a problem, they will document it and may recommend another inspection by a specialist. Home inspections typically cost a little less than foundation inspections—typically between $200 and $500—but don’t produce as much detailed information about a home’s structure.

Home inspectors examine a house’s foundation but not at the level of detail a structural engineer would. If a home inspector spots foundation damage, they are likely to recommend having it checked out by an engineer.

Structural Engineers vs. Foundation Repair Companies

Some foundation repair companies offer free or low-cost foundation inspections. The inspectors who perform these jobs aren’t typically professional engineers. The inspectors will typically recommend that their company completes suggested repairs. Keep in mind that these repair contractors may not have the same credentials as licensed engineers.

Licensed engineers typically work for engineering firms or agencies rather than repair companies. Hiring an independent structural engineer and paying for their engineering services is the best way to get an unbiased report and recommendations. If the engineer recommends repairs, you can hire a separate foundation repair company to complete the suggested tasks.

DIY Foundation Inspection

As soon as you suspect foundation damage, you should hire a licensed structural engineer to perform a thorough inspection. In the meantime, we recommend performing your own visual inspections. Examine your foundation walls, both inside and out, and check for cracks, leaks, and water damage. Inspect your basement or crawl space for excess moisture.

You’re more likely to catch problems when they’re still relatively minor if you perform regular inspections. The cost of foundation repair is typically lower when the damage is less severe.

Structural engineers work closely with architectural and construction professionals to ensure the safety of buildings. Most real estate agents, home builders, design firms, home inspectors, and other contractors can recommend a local structural engineer to hire for an inspection. Your insurance company can also make suggestions.

Licensing requirements vary by state, but many structural engineers are licensed as civil engineers. You can check your state’s licensing board or search for your local chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers for more options.

Here’s how to narrow down your list of candidates:

  • Ask about the engineer’s experience performing foundation inspections. Make sure the engineer has experience with your particular type of foundation or style of home.
  • Check customer reviews on sites such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews.
  • Get cost estimates from at least three structural engineers before making your choice, but be wary of anyone who charges substantially more or less than others.
  • Learn the licensing requirements in your state and ask for proof of current licensure. Ask about any additional certifications the engineer has.
  • Look up the engineer’s company or firm on the Better Business Bureau. This organization rates businesses based on the transparency of their business practices and how they handle customer complaints.
  • Request a sample inspection report and ensure you have a basic understanding of what it contains.

We recommend scheduling a foundation inspection with a professional engineer as soon as you suspect your home’s foundation has suffered damage. Even if the matter doesn’t seem like an emergency, your home’s structural integrity may be at risk. Find a licensed structural engineer rather than a general home inspector, and take any repair recommendations seriously. Your home’s value may depend on it.

Structural Engineer Foundation Inspection FAQ

Is a structural engineer the same as a foundation engineer.

Engineers who work on foundations are structural engineers, so they may also be called foundation engineers. However, structural engineers and foundation repair contractors are two different types of professionals. Foundation repair contractors aren’t usually credentialed engineers.

How do I know if my house has foundation problems?

Here are some signs that your home may have foundation issues: • Bowing or bulging walls • Cracks in walls, floors, ceilings, or windows • Gaps between walls and windows • Large or horizontal foundation cracks • Sloped floors • Water in the basement or crawl space

What are the common foundation problems?

The most common foundation problems are horizontal cracks in the concrete. Also, foundations may sink or drift if the ground beneath them becomes unstable. Water damage may cause basement and crawl space foundation walls to bow or bulge.

What is the difference between a structural engineer and a foundation repair specialist?

Structural engineers are independent, credentialed engineers who perform foundation inspections and offer recommendations. Foundation repair specialists perform repair work on foundations. They’re experts but not engineers, and their inspections don’t produce detailed, independent reports.

Concrete foundation with reinforcement and metal slab construction site, process of house being built.

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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:

  • Your home’s foundation is poorly designed or constructed
  • If wood is present, it may be rotting (a sign of future problems)
  • Soil erosion has occurred, causing your home to settle incorrectly

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.

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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:

  • Identify and assess load bearing capacity of materials
  • Ability to design and oversee the construction 
  • Ability to develop and implement plans 

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!

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how to write a structural engineering report

Tips for Writing an Engineering Project Report

July 17, 2013 by Bernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP 1 Comment

Engineering project report

All of us have written technical reports for clients or other stakeholders.  It is one of the tasks that are central to an engineer’s job.  In this edition of the technical brief, I will provide a checklist that should be relatively comprehensive.  This has been taken from several of my old reports, and each of these were their own section (1.0, 2.0, etc.)


This is a good place to state the basic premise of the project.  Who is the owner?  Why is the project being undertaken?  What are the parameters of the project?

Existing Condition

What is the existing structure and what is its condition?  Are the any residual effects because of this condition?  What inventory information exists from the owner?  This is also a good place to put survey or similar information.

Design Considerations

This is where you itemize the parameters that the design must conform to.  In the case of a bridge project, you could have sections called roadway alignment, cross-section, stream alignment, environmental permitting, debris, and any other items of significance affecting the design.  We don’t necessarily need to provide all of the mitigative solutions at this point, but it’s good to include this section because of the opportunity to analyze all of the issues.  There’s nothing worse than having a discussion after the report is submitted about an issue that was not mentioned or thoroughly analyzed.

Design Sections

Obviously each project is technically different but for a bridge project you might have sections entitled Hydrology, Substructure Design, or Superstructure Design.  Here you would detail the design methodology.  It’s time to state what the design was and why that design was chosen.


Most engineering reports are initiated because there are multiple alternatives available and the owner must decide on a course of action.  The alternatives section should itemize each alternative with the primary design features (for example, abutment type, bridge length) and an associated cost.  This is usually best in a table format.  A net present value analysis is often important to compare life cycle costs between options that have different life spans.

Regulatory and other Secondary Stakeholder Issues

Most engineering projects have some sort of secondary stakeholder issues like government regulators, adjacent landowners and so forth.  What is required to keep the project on track with these stakeholders?  State each one and make sure you are comprehensive in addressing their concerns, or the client might wonder if you’ve done enough to ensure a smooth project.


Of course, we have to provide a recommendation to make it worth the money.  The option with the lowest net present value is the cheapest and should be chosen unless there are compelling reasons to choose another option.  Sometimes when the recommendation is complicated I have found it helpful to contact the client and have some discussions before submitting a recommendation.  This ensures a speedy resolution and makes you look better because your recommendation was adopted.

Good luck with your projects!

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About Bernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP

Bernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP, is the president of Roseke Engineering . As a bridge engineer and project manager, he manages projects ranging from small, local bridges to multi-million dollar projects. He is also the technical brains behind ProjectEngineer , the online project management system for engineers. He is a licensed professional engineer, certified project manager, and six sigma black belt. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with his wife and two kids.

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I appreciate your tip to take into account design considerations and the existing condition of a structure when doing a report on the foundation. I also like what you said about considering all the alternatives when looking into engineering reports. I’ve heard that engineering reports can also lead to better insurance rates to insure a structure, but I’ll have to do more research. Thanks for the tips!

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