Conceptual design series: Rapid calculations

Author: Rachel De'Ath, Richard Harpin & James Norman

Date published

1 October 2020

Members: £26.00 + VAT
Standard: £40.00 + VAT
Back to Previous

Conceptual design series: Rapid calculations

Conceptual design series: Rapid calculations

Rachel De'Ath, Richard Harpin & James Norman

Date published

1 October 2020


Rachel De'Ath, Richard Harpin & James Norman


Members: £26.00 + VAT
Standard: £40.00 + VAT

Learn how to design buildings quickly using pencil and paper.

This webinar recording is the last in a five part series designed to take you through the concept design process.

Presenters guide you through the process of designing a building rapidly using pencil, paper, a few books and key resources.

During the webinar recording we will:
  • Highlight some industry tips and tricks
  • Encourage you to create 'cheat sheets' based on your own experience
  • Help you to consider the types of question to ask and give you the confidence to answer them quickly

Learning outcomes

  • An understanding of the difference between rapid concept calculations and detailed design calculations
  • Useful frameworks for rapid calculations using typical structural design problems
  • Advice on using your own experience to inform your rapid design calculations
  • Learn why pencil and paper can be more useful than a computer for detailed calculations
  • Help and support in structuring your resources in preparation for the IStructE CM exam  

Intended for

Graduates who are keen to learn more about conceptual design. It will be particularly helpful for anyone preparing for the IStructE CM exam.


Rachel De'Ath
Rachael has more than 16 years’ design experience working for Arup and has recently joined the University of Bristol to teach design, alongside her work in industry. She prefers working on re-use projects, where the existing structure is creatively re-imagined into something new. She was named as one of the Women's Engineering Society ‘Top 50 female engineers’ in 2018.

Richard Harpin
Richard is a University Teacher in Structural Design at the University of Sheffield. He was previously a Lecturer in Structural Engineering and Architecture at Nottingham Trent University and, before this, spent 16 years working for Arup. Significant projects include Citibank European Headquarters at Canary Wharf, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and the School of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York.

James Norman
James has 12 years design experience working for Ramboll and Integral Engineering Design. He has nine years’ academic experience, including a PhD at the University of Bristol. He has designed buildings out of mud, timber, steel and lots and lots of concrete, and worked for a year on the facade of the extension to the Tate Modern. James authored Structural timber elements: a pre-scheme design guide and is Associate Professor of Sustainable Design.

Additional information



Training Calculation Conceptual Design Diagram Video IStructE London HQ Webinars

Related Resources & Events

Safety - silhouette of workers on building site

Structural safety in the digital engineering process (sponsored content)

This sponsored webinar by Graitec will focus on the importance of structural safety and highlight some case studies of previous UK construction projects where ineffective collaboration during the digital engineering process resulted in catastrophic errors.

Date ‐ 22 September 2022
Location ‐ Online
Price ‐ Free
<h4>Modern solutions for repairing, strengthening and waterproofing concrete (sponsored content)</h4>

Modern solutions for repairing, strengthening and waterproofing concrete (sponsored content)

This sponsored seminar by Mapei will focus on the principles and practices of Structural Below Ground Waterproofing, and it will cover many aspects of waterproofing, including best practices for good QA and monitoring of workmanship on site.

Date ‐ 6 September 2022
Location ‐ The Institution of Structural Engineers
Price ‐ Free
<h4>Structural use of fibre polymer composites</h4>

Structural use of fibre polymer composites

Date ‐ 1 November 2022
Author ‐ N Appleton, N Farmer, T Farrance, J Henderson, K Kansara, T Royle, G Smith & E Tromp
Price ‐ £32.50