www.hpl-structural.de > English FAQ 

Frequently asked questions:   What can I expect from hpl-structural ? 


hpl structural  is an Consulting office for Structural Engineering. The main objective of the office is to do advanced structural analysis and also to draw construction drawings for buildings, bridges, steel constructions in the water, sculptures and other artwork (if a structure), membranes, fairground stands, structural glass constructions,  or towers.  The office is based in Berlin, Germany, and run by Dipl.-Ing. Frank Heyder, M.Sc.. Most of the projects are located in Germany too, but quite a few projects has been done also for projects in overseas. We use sophisticated FEA software to assess the stress, force and deflections in the structures.

Whatīs the professional role of a Consulting Engineer ?

Consulting Engineers in the field of static or dynamic analysis are Civil or Stuctural Engineers.  They produce knowledge which enables the client to build houses, bridges, towers, roads, waterways and so on.  Whilst  the architects designs the funcion and shape of a bulding, the engineer designs the structure and calculates the forces inside. Then, a contractor erects the structure. 

Whats the difference between Architect and Engineer ? 

The architect designs the size and shape of the building for the function given by the client. In a rough matter, the architects know about the structure - just enough to make the choice of required wall, columns, floor slabs and beams. But in detail, he does not know the forces inside the structure, and so he does not know exactly the required thickness of the walls, the required reinforcement of the floor slabs, the number of bolts in a steel girder and so on. Itīs the task of the structural engineer to find out and detail those structural members exactly. The general process and the set of documents of the required calculations  are called "Structural Analysis"

Can I get a house built by a  Consulting Engineer ?

Consulting Engineers do not built, and neither sell houses. They just prepare the calculations and the drawings, help preparing the tender, and check the quality of the building on site. The engineers must study at universities about 5 years before they can start its career. A further lifetime learning process assures the highest level of knowledge. 

Whats the difference between statics and statistics ? 

The structural (static or dynamic) analysis is the science of forces, stresses, and deflections. It assures that the building will resist all wind loads, self-weight loads, live loads, or seismic forces. It makes sure that all girders are strong enough, all columns and walls  are thick enough, to carry all loads. Static (or dynamic) analysis is different to statistics, but both sciences need matmatics. Statistics is the science of probabilty.  Some techniques of statistics are used in static analysis too, e.g. the determination of wind loads and the choice of safety factors in general.

Is there a difference between Consulting Engineers in different countries ? 

In Germany, a  traditionally grown framework of professionalism has been established and has set some national rules and habits, which differ from other European countries and from the anglophone world.  Consulting Engineers in Germany do all phases of structural design from  feasability study over structural analysis and design up to the preparation of construction drawings and site supervision.  The contractors get the very detailed construction drawings mostly at a relatively late state of tender and builts exactly folowing this drawings. In other cases, the contractor  shows a lack of engineering capacity and needs external consulting engineers for preparing the final construction drawings.  So, the German structural engineers must be able to solve the problems of all phases of structural design. In this process, a sophisticated and comprehensive set of codes of practise ensures the constantly  high quality and permament safety level of the structures.  Additionally, the local building authorities usually entrust consulting engineers for peer rewiew and site supervision (proof engineers). Due to this state-enforced peer rewiew and control, the overall quality of German consulting structural engineers is very high.  Currently the German codes of practice are changing towards the concept of EC (Eurocodes), enclosing the most current state of science and  engineering. 

In other countries, the contractor arises at a very early state of design process, and encloses a large part of construction and structural design in its part. In those countries, the contractors tend to be very large companies and have large engineering offices for itselves. So, consultants in other countries may be more specialized  for the early phases of  structural design and decision and make more feasabilty studies or so called "tender designs".  On the other hand, there are specialists in some countries  which do not exist in Germany in this way, e.g, the Quantity Surveyors (their job is mostly done by architecs in Germany).  So, before talking about an project, please make sure to talk first about the required phases of structural design and the expected overall amount of design work.

Is there a spezial interest  of  hpl structural

The engineering office hpl structural is rather small, but highly specialized and capable to analyze even the most challenging structures.  All types of structures will be coped with. From the wide choice of materials which are known and applied, like masonry, timber, reinforced concrete, prestressed concrete, steel , and glass, we have specialized in steel and glass structures. But, if the kind of structure requires any other material, we can analyze, design and recommend also concrete, masonry, timber or something else.In combination with modern computer-based analysis  (like Finite Element Analysis), we are able to analyze the forces and deflections of virtually every structure. So we can advise the architects already very early the optimum shape and material of a structure. 

Whatīs the output of hpl structural ?

Literally, the output of our work is written paper (with the structural calculations) and 2D-drawings. Depending from client, project and requiered task, the paper may be called "Feasability Study", "Structural Assessment", or "Structural Analysis". The drawing (plan) is the very sophisticated way of showing how a structure can be made, scaled in 1/100 ... 1/10 in sheets DIN A4 ... DIN A0 (US size A..E).
In time of e-mail and internet, this written paper and drawings will be provided either in paper or in PDF data format. If agreed by the client, all the project data can be published at this website, using password-safed PDF documents, accessible worldwide 24 hours a day.

Actually, the client gets all the structural and engineering "Know-how" what he or the architect needs to make a tender, find a contractor, to get built a house, bridge, tower etc. The "Know-how" ensures that the structure will work, will resist all forces imposed, and will stay rigid and safe during all of the buildingsīs lifetime.

What about languages and national codes of practise ?

The preferred languages are German and English. Documents can be prepared also for other languages, but must be translated at the expense of the client. The standard codes of practice are the German DIN, the European DIN-EN and Eurocodes, and additional valid German codes. Other national codes of practice can be used if available in German or in English and provided by the client.  

Whatīs the fee for this work ?

For projects in Germany, the "HOAI" (a compulsary German fee regulation paper) gives the framework for the salary. Outside Germany, the fee for the consulting work is subject of negotiation for each particular project. Overseas projects are usually priced in Euro, and a relevant part of the fee must be paid in advance. 


What we donīt do

Well , it must be stated very shortly, because there were misunderstandings in the past: We do not build.  We do not trade with building materials. We do not sell software. We do not organize workforce for somebody else (unless our own staff). We do not work for free. There is no "free aquisition consulting" beeing enticed with some hope for the next paid job. 



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