A-1 ENGINEERING, LLC                      

Structural + Civil Engineering Consultants                    Serving San Antonio and Austin

Welcome to A-1 Engineering, Building Engineers

We are Building Structural Engineers providing a vast array of Building Structural Engineering Services. Please visit our Structural Engineer San Antonio homepage or Structural Engineer Austin page for a list of some additional common engineering services that we provide. Our minimum fee for Building Structural Inspections varies.

Our Building structural Engineering services most commonly include:

  • Structural Building Retaining Walls design and inspections
  • Building Engineer Structural reports and letters
  • Building Engineer Structural Inspections for owners, Banks, Property Managers, etc
  • Structural Building Construction Inspections
  • City of San Antonio Building Structural Engineer's letter statement of acceptable structure
  • City of San Antonio Building Engineer Structural demolition letter
  • Building Structural Engineering design and inspections

Below is in article written by our staff to better explain What is Building Engineering. Enjoy! And please, ask us questions if you have any. Contact us.

Building Engineering

Building Engineering is somewhat of a vague term. The reason is that you cannot go to school and become a building engineer, there is no major called “building engineering”, there’s also no Professional License call “Professional Building Engineer”, and to further complicate matters, there are some societies and individuals who illegally use the term Building Engineer or Certified Building Engineer (illegally because the Term Engineer can only be used by someone who’s is considered an Engineer by the State board of Professional Engineers, such as The Texas Board of Professional Engineers.)

Table of Contents
What the term "Building Engineer" Mostly refers to

While in terms of education, a Building Engineer is more closely associated with an Architectural Engineer (not the same as an Architect), most commonly people really mean Structural Engineers when they say Building Engineers. A small percentage of the population interchangeably uses the term Building Engineer with Maintenance Engineer, which in a sense it’s correct, a “certified building engineer” is one who in knowledgeable in the maintenance of building Air conditioning, Electrical systems, plumbing, etc; However, these are not legally Engineers because they are not licensed by the State Board of Professional Engineers.

Structural Engineers design the structure of a building. Though one could argue that everything that receives a load is a structural component, generally the structural engineer designs the primary components of a building, such as the foundation, columns, beams, floors, exterior walls, load bearing walls.

How Structural Engineering affects the building

The structural design of the building primary structural elements has a potential impact on the well being of the secondary and non-structural members, such as ceilings, non-load bearing walls, wall veneers, windows, etc. For example, if a beam across an opening is supporting brick, then the beam needs to be strong enough to sag very little, otherwise the brick (which is a non structural component) could crack. Another example is a building that is not structurally rigid when the wind pushes against it; in such a case, the building moves enough to create cracks in the walls and sometimes, such as in the Coast of Texas, the building could drift enough to separate the windows from the walls and allow for water infiltration.

Structural Engineers design any and every building structure, such as Office Building, Hospitals, School Buildings, Warehouse buildings, retail buildings, etc. utilizing all sorts of building materials and structural systems.

Typical Types of Building Construction

Typical structural systems often include the combination of several building materials depending on the type of building as well as the expected serviceability of the structure. Following are some examples on the type of construction to expect for most typical buildings:

Warehouses: These buildings usually consist of a concrete slab on grade, where the columns are steel and are being supported by independent concrete footings or piers and the concrete slab is used as a wearing surface (so it’s only engineered to support wheel loads from forklifts or concentrated loads from racks). The walls are either R-panel steel type with pre-engineered columns and frames, or in the case of Most warehouses in San Antonio and in Texas, concrete Tilt-up wall panels. Tilt-up wall panels are very convenient in warehouses because they provide good resistance to the industrial environment and openings in the walls for overhead type doors are relatively easy to put and even modify. The roof is typically either pre-engineered metal building joists or steel joists (such as by Vulcraft).

Office buildings: You generally have a potpourri of options, depending on the size of the building, its height, width, whether is fancy or “poor”, etc. So, you can have office buildings that are 5000 square feet that are made almost like a house, where everything is wood, and the foundation is a slab on grade (pier and beam usually not used in commercial buildings). You also have mid size office buildings (15,000 sf) that could be made out of structural steel roof and columns with tilt-up concrete wall panels (especially in San Antonio and across Texas). And of course, you have the big 50,000 sf, several stories tall buildings that could be made entirely our of concrete or structural steel.

Retail buildings: Usually follow the same general engineering rules and construction principles as office buildings.

Schools: Most schools in San Antonio and as well as most of Texas, are commonly “heavy”, structurally speaking. Schools are Engineered as heavy buildings, capable of withstanding heavy loads (for example, the wind forces of a school building are taken to be 15% higher than in a regular building). So, schools usually have piers that support a suspended concrete slab, composed of concrete beams and joists. If the school is a one story, then the rood would be structural steel beams with SJI joists (e.g. such as by Vulcraft). If the building is more than one story, then the additional floors are also made out of concrete beams and joists.

Special Type of Building: Pre-Engineered Metal Building

Pre-Engineered Metal buildings are very popular both in the commercial and residential industries. A Pre-engineered Metal building is simply a building made out of steel who’s been designed by a structural engineer working the pre-engineer metal building company, and the pieces of this building come “pre-cut” so that when they get to the building site all the contractor needs to do is bolt the pieces together an assemble the building.

Pre-Engineered Metal buildings are very economical if used the right way. In commercial applications, the desired building needs to match the standard requirements of the pre-engineered metal buildings, instead of the pre-engineered metal building being custom made for the building. In residential applications, there’s isn’t much choice to mess up because the pre-engineered metal building provided for residential purposes are strictly standardized (meaning, they’ll sell you standard sizes buildings such as sheds, carports, etc.)

Building Engineering in San Antonio Texas

Building Engineers in San Antonio are structurally very efficient. San Antonio is neither a small town nor a huge town, so many buildings are designed and built with economy in mind. However, San Antonio seems to be growing into the trend of Architecturally over-the-top buildings so many buildings as of late have started to be more complicated, thus making these buildings more expensive.

Since San Antonio is still expanding you will not see many tall buildings, instead, you’ll have many one or two story buildings, with a very large foot print. The reason is that building higher rather wider is more expensive. San Antonio is also unique in the sense that many buildings in town are warehouses or large industrial buildings. These Buildings are usually tilt-up concrete wall panes with a steel roof.

In San Antonio you will also find many multi-story buildings, many of them also built from Tilt-up concrete wall panels. In fact, the first 4 story tall tilt-up wall panel building in San Antonio was built in 2007 in the medical center.


We hope this article was very helpful to you, and if you have any more questions or need help on your next project, please do not hesitate to contact us.