Afaq Ahmad

I would say not as good as the Understanding Structural Behaviour Course. But also, the structural behaviour course sets a very high standard as it is one of the best courses I’ve ever taken (probably my most favourite one of any course I’ve completed and also helped me pass the Certificate of Structural Behaviour Exam by IStructE).


Brilliant. Chapters are walk through lectures.

Brilliant book. I’ve attached the contents page and and example page of the book. The format is excellent; every page has 4 windows with diagrams and is accompanied with text to explain it. All ideas are walked through in a number of windows; for instance, statical indeterminacy is explained through 55 diagram windows and their accompanying text. Astonished by how easy the content is digested in this manner. Pages have an abundance of space too, which is great for jotting thoughts down in pencil. Must buy.


Ivar Björnsson: Lund University

On a personal note, I wanted to say that I agree with you completely concerning the need for improving students and graduates understanding for the calculations they (or the software they use) produce. This is something that is perhaps even more necessary now than when your book was first published and is something I try to support in my own teaching.


Bent Feddersen, M.Sc. (Civ. Eng.), Ph.D. Senior Technical Manager – Ramboll, Copenhagen Head Office

Computers have changed the way structures are designed. Before computers, engineers were forced to think through the static systems, including simplifying them, so that calculations could be carried out. The engineer had so to follow the forces all the way through the structure, and with it having a detailed knowledge of the course of the forces. The use of computers has made it possible to model entire structures, have them calculated and get a lot of results that is difficult to overview and see through.

So, even if many young engineers are even extremely skilled at using calculation software, it becomes easy to put numbers in and take numbers out, whereby the static understanding of the structures actual behaviour easily disappears. Understanding how structures works is very important, not only to ensure reasonable behaviour, but also that the structures have the necessary safety. Therefore, it is important that the young engineers are provided with knowledge and intuition of the behaviour of structures, so that, for example, simply by looking at a structure, they can determine whether it is a sound structural principle. That is why courses in understanding structural behaviour are very important.

Engineers working on the structure

Times Higher Education Supplement

Brohn’s magnificent text presents a radical departure…Such an approach has much to recommend it

Engineers working on the structure

Amazon Review

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.

Engineers working on the structure

Amazon Review

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

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

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

Engineers working on the structure

Amazon Review

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).

“The President’s Award is to be presented to Dr David Brohn for his visionary approach to the education of students and graduates in structural engineering. For several decades, David’s ‘Brohn Test’ has been used by educators and employers to measure and embed an understanding of structural behaviour. David’s extraordinary efforts over a prolonged period of time have underpinned the Institution’s educational initiative in developing the Structural Behaviour Course. It is for this leadership and vision that David is to receive the President’s Award.”

– Professor Tim Ibell, President of the Institution of Structural Engineers 2015

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.

David Brohn