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Architectural Engineering Information

Architectural engineering encompasses a lot of preparation for building design and construction. Get to know about subfields of the course as well as the education required to have license in the field.

Architectural Engineering: A Focus on its Subfields and Educational Requirements

Architectural engineering is otherwise known as Building Engineering and is defined as the application of technology together with engineering principles to construction and building design. The person who specializes in this field is often called an architectural engineer or an architect. The architect is then expected to work on structural, electrical and mechanical aspects of construction and building design.

This engineering field was developed into formal education in the 19th century and had, since then, followed the earlier disciplines in other engineering education courses. It became well-known in the US during the middle part of the 20th century.

Subfields of architectural engineering

The engineering field covers several aspects. One is called structural engineering, a study involving the design and analysis of certain physical objects including bridges, buildings, equipment supports, walls and towers. Specialists who focus more on buildings are tasked to see through the structural performance of the corresponding built environment. They are called either structural engineers or building engineers. These individuals are expected to have gained knowledge and expertise in terms of seismic design (that which covers earthquake engineering).

Another subfield is the MEP, otherwise known as Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing. People in this subfield are called MEPs once they take charge of mechanical, electrical and plumbing jobs linked to the building design field. In the UK, Australia and Canada, this is also called as Building services engineering.

The MEP can be divided further according to the scope of the job to be done. For instance, mechanical engineers are expected to oversee the building's rain gutter systems and heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC systems. Plumbing designers, on the other hand, are responsible for designing specifications related to active fire protection systems. Lastly, electrical engineers take charge of the building's electrical systems including power distribution, fire alarm, signalization, telecommunication, control systems, lighting systems and lightning protection.

Architectural engineering education

In the United States, an architectural engineer is also a licensed professional in his chosen field. Typically, before he obtains his license, he has to be a graduate of a university program in architectural engineering. During his university years, he gains knowledge on how to perform during whole-building design competitions with other architectural engineering teams. He also prepares for practice in the structural and MEP fields and should also have much appreciation for architectural requirements integrated with the curriculum.

In the 1990's some registration examinations were given to make one a licensed architectural engineer. This was called the NCEES Professional Engineering Exam. It was offered only in April 2003 and had made the engineering field one of the most recognized disciplines in the US. Architectural engineers are expected to pass this exam for them to have their license to practice.

As a field of study, architectural engineering is considered an integrated field of study and compared to all other disciplines, it is also multi-disciplined in terms of approach. With proper training, the overall building design will soon include building systems in the course. Some universities require students to focus in any of the current architectural systems offered while others encourage a generalist view of the Building Engineering degree.

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