Dr David Brohn has been awarded the President’s Award by the Institution of Structural Engineers, in recognition of his visionary approach to the education of students and graduates in structural engineering. It is only the second President’s Award ever made by the Institution. David’s ‘Brohn Test’ is used by educators and employers across the UK to measure and embed an understanding of structural behaviour in students and employees, and his extraordinary efforts have underpinned the Institution’s own new Structural Behaviour Course.

“The concept of ensuring that our graduates have a profound understanding of structural behaviour has a long and interesting history within the Institution. But in the more modern era, there is one member who stands out as a visionary. Dr David Brohn pioneered the ‘Brohn Test’, as it is affectionately known, in the early 1970s, leading the way in evidence-based tracking of the level of understanding of structural behaviour amongst graduates, ensuring that structural behaviour is learned in universities in an appropriate manner.

“His passion for the importance of this issue across the industry was far ahead of its time, and now that the Institution has its own Structural Behaviour Course firmly in place, it seems fitting that David be recognised appropriately for his pioneering work. It is with the greatest of pleasure that I have decided that Dr David Brohn should receive the President’s Award for 2015. It is a rare honour, and richly deserved.” Tim Ibell said:

Dr Brohn said: “I have been a member of the Institution for over 50 years and it has been a major part of my professional life, so I am pleased and honoured to receive this Award.”

Dr Brohn received the award at the Institution’s Annual ‘People and Paper Awards’ Luncheon held in London during June 2016.

Here’s what people are saying about our courses

“I find this method extremely helpful. At Uni I felt like the theory was just skipped over and we jumped straight to memorising deflected shapes and bending moment diagrams; eventually you can’t memorise any more. This method means I can understand how to build up the shape and bending moments from first principles so has much higher utility. The videos are very clear and easy to follow as well.”

Sarah Golland

“Your work is a great help for learners of Structural Engineering.”

Priyan Wijeyeratne, WB Civil Structural Engineers

“We piloted the E-Training Systems product this year, to help bridge the gap between academic study and the world of work, for our Graduate Structural Engineers. We found that some of our junior staff, whilst very well-qualified academically, sometimes found it difficult to apply their academic knowledge in a practical setting, particularly with regard to how structures were likely to behave in practice. Our students were encouraged to work through the Understanding Structural Behaviour module, and some of the case studies. They very much enjoyed the self-paced nature of the modules, which enabled them to undertake the training at times to suit them, and to fit this around their work commitments. They also appreciated the fact that they were awarded a CPD certificate at the end of the programme, which provides useful evidence for their training portfolio. The exam at the end of each module helped to satisfy us that our investment in the training had been worthwhile, by confirming that our students had completed the module and extracted some learning from it.”

Carole O’Neil Partner, HR and Training, Cundall

“E training courses – Understanding Structural Behaviour and Understanding Structural Design – have encouraged me to look deeper into the structural design. Visual explanation of static principals, sketches with comments and real examples are making it interesting for the whole design community. I’ve already recommended it to my colleagues.”

Jozef Buday, Managing Director

During my early days at Arup I attended two of your brilliant short sessions and a course on qualitative analysis in 1986 and 1987 respectively. I also bought your book which still has pride of place on my bookshelf.

This is a note to say a huge, belated thank you for teaching me those essential skills which I have used every day since and taught to the countless engineers who have worked with me. Those skills have been so important and never more so now that 3D analysis is so prevalent.

By way of an update, after 15 years at Arup, I moved to a small unfashionable practice, Booth King. I ate jam and bread for tea for 4 years and bought out all three original partners. Here we are almost 20 year later, 4 times bigger (30 staff), 3 UK offices and doing fantastic projects. 

I wish I had sent you a thank you before to show my appreciation and gratitude.

Mark Moppett CEng FIStructE, Managing Director, Booth King

Amazon Reviews on ‘Understanding Structural Analysis’ textbook

Brohn makes no apologies for writing a book which shuns mathematical equations and instead focuses on a qualitative understanding of structural analysis (mostly in 2-dimensions). Furthermore he deals only briefly with statically determinate analysis. I think this is a sensible approach as the target audience for the book is those who already have some ability in theoretical mechanics and are moving on to using the ‘black-box’ tool of computerised structural analysis usually required for commercial engineering. In this situation the more important skill is an understanding of the graphical output rather than the mathematical details.

The format of the book is that of PowerPoint-style printouts. Unlike most textbooks which contain endless text with some scattered equations, each page of this book features 4 sketches and 4 associated paragraphs of text to explain the drawing. This method of presentation is more intuitive for engineers who typically communicate by drawing rather than writing.

The aforementioned features of this text make it a must-read for those beginning to use computer based stiffness matrix based structural analysis software with graphical outputs. The knowledge contained within this book will help combat the silly errors made by inexperienced graduates that plague the engineering professions.

It is also worth mentioning that experienced practitioners will instantly realise that the software alone is worth the £40 asking price of the book (although it might be difficult for the uninitiated to get to grips with).

Amazon Review – 5.0 out of 5 stars “A must-have for anyone using graphical computer structural analysis

Best book for learning the basics of structural engineering. Master the concepts in this book and you will be set for life

Amazon Review – 5.0 out of 5 stars “Amazing”

If Structural engineers would start with their detailed projects the way David Brohn describes in this book a lot of useless time from advanced modelling can be saved.

When you want to invest time in the advanced testing – then you should end up with analysing your result with the tool, David Brohn has described. If you can’t, then you really should consider to skip your advanced model and start to read “Understanding Structural Behaviour”

Amazon Review – 5.0 out of 5 stars “Start and ending Structural modelling”

Dr Brohn is a role model, an endless source of inspiration and his book a masterpiece! I bought the book during my Masters degree and still using it all the time in the design office. A must have for students, graduates and senior engineers. Totally recommend it

Amazon Review “Totally recommend

This is not your typical structures book that you read to be able design structural elements using a bunch of equations and formulas where you don’t even know where they have come from. This book instead gives you a deep understanding of structural analysis from basic principles using clear examples and diagrams, and in our time where the process of analysis and design of structures are done by computers more than ever, understanding structures and qualitative analysis is very important in order to ensure the validity of computer calculations. This book, along with Understanding Structures by Derek Seward were my bibles during my time in university while studying structural engineering, and are still the most useful of the bunch at work.

Amazon Review –  A must buy for structural engineers and students alike