I'm Colin Caprani, from Dublin, Ireland, and am a Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering at Monash University, Melbourne Australia, previously at Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. This site primarily represents my professional activities, and so I'll elaborate on my background:


  • BSc(Eng) - Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering (First Class Honours, placed first in class at Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton St.), University of Dublin, 1999;
  • DipEng - Diploma in Structural Engineering, Dublin Institute of Technology, 1999;
  • PhD - Doctor of Philosophy, University College Dublin, 2006.
Professional Memberships Professional Associations
  • ISWIM - International Society of Weigh-In-Motion - Member;
  • IABMAS - International Association for Bridge Maintenance and Safety, Member.

Professional Activities

Industrial Experience

  • Bridge engineer with Roughan O'Donovan, 1 year part-time;
  • Structural engineer on buildings with Carew Associates (now White Young Green, Dublin), 2 years;
  • Structural engineer on buildings with Walsh Goodfellow, 2 years;
  • Draughtsman, site engineer and student design engineer, about 1 year total.



  • Second Prize, Young Researchers' Conference, Institution of Structural Engineers, London, 2004;
  • Winner of the Institution of Structural Engineers, Republic of Ireland Branch Student Prize, 1999;
  • Winner of the Michael Carew Prize for Best Overall Student Performance in the 1999 class of Structural Engineering, DIT;
  • Winner of the Irish Precast Concrete Association, Structural Design Computer Program Project, DIT, 1999.
Since it's not all about work, on the personal side I love to whitewater kayak - especially the travelling that it can involve. Otherwise it's cycling: road or MTB, both are great fun!

33 comments on “About

  • Hi – I came across your site via your MultiFeedSnap plugin (which seems great, by the way), but I was interested to notice the topic of your blog, and particularly the picture of the suspended bridge in your header.

    I am from Jerusalem, and the city is in the middle of erecting a suspended bridge at the entrance to the city, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. I was wondering if you know about this bridge, and what you think about it. Apparently, suspended bridges cost 70% more than regular bridges, and I was wondering if there is any benefit to building a suspended bridge. Also, a few weeks ago a crack formed at the base, which they supposedly fixed but still is not a cause for comfort.

    I was also wondering what you think about the bridge’s design. It’s supposed to resemble a lyre, but I have to admit that to me it seems to be more of an eyesore than anything else.


    Miriam Schwab

  • Miriam,
    Firstly, thanks for your kind comment. Regarding the bridge though, as you might imagine it is difficult to overly criticize Calatrava because of the success he has had in bringing disparate parts of the design world together. His success comes from a unique blend of sculptor, architect (and most importantly!) structural engineer. Whilst his designs are sometimes impracticable and expensive, these are just relative concepts. A city does not employ Calatrava if it does not want a statement to be made about the place and its future. In doing so the costs of such pieces becomes much more than would have otherwise been. But I’m not sure this is a bad thing: if the world was full of solely economic designs our senses would feel the poverty of these constructions. And so, occasionally (and probably not often enough), we pay more for better.

    Statements such as suspended bridges are 70% more expensive are invariably false. Since every site is different, it is often not possible to compare even bridges of the same length. But for a given site there are alternatives considered at initial design stage. Usually one or two of these is most economic and a design is then made based on other factors, such as aesthetics. But in the case of a Calatrava design, there is probably a cheaper alternative. But one which neglects the extra benefit to our senses. Perhaps in the case of the Chord Bridge the alternative was 70% less, and was not a suspended span, but this is not to say that all suspended spans are 70% more expensive than all other forms of bridge. Sometimes a suspended span is the only real solution – think of the Golden Gate bridge, for example.

    On a technical point, the Chord bridge is a cable-stayed bridge since its cables originate from the pylon and do not connect to a catenery cable – a feature common to all suspension bridges. Also in any daring and new construction that pushes boundaries there are bound to be some problems. Cracks are a regular feature of any concrete construction, we just usually keep them small enough so the public doesn’t notice! I have no doubt that the Chord bridge has a team of excellent structural engineers working on it, and any problems during construction would be quickly remedied and further studied to ascertain their effect on the final construction.

    Lastly, on the subject of eyesores – we’d do well to remember that the Eiffel Tower was hated by Parisians when it was first built. Now it is seen as the national symbol of France. Give the Chord bridge time and it will find its place in Jerusalem and its people 🙂

  • Hi Colin,

    I am looking at your multifeedsnap plugin and will give it a go.

    I like your site design and particularly the menu system. I have been playing with a multi level css menu plug in for WP and wondered if you used something similar, or is yours hard coded…??

    thanks, and keep up the good work..


  • Hi Iain,
    Yes it is all hard-coded with a good bit of experimentation. You can look at the css file to see how it’s done, but it’s probably not very clear!

  • Colin,

    Your web site is very fascinating especially the study materials. Very simple and easy to read.
    I wonder if you can help with my query below?

    I am currently preparing for IstructE exams in 2009 and I am collecting information, shortcut analyses and tables for building structures steel and concrete.

    I have managed to collect a lot off materials for the analysis and design. I couldn’t find guides for the preliminary analysis and design /short cuts for portal frame buildings with cranes as well as highbay frame buildings such as aircrafts hangers. Please advise!

    Your Help is appreciated

    Many Thanks


  • Colin,

    Those scheme design notes are excellent! I’ve scoured the net and they’re the best I’ve found. Many senior engineers are reluctant to delegate, so many young engineers don’t get the experience, and subsequently fail the IStructE exam. Considering some of the questions aren’t typical of the real world anyway- very long spans, unusual site conditions etc, makes it even harder.

    Where would I get some sample solutions, without taking the preparation course? Just to use as a template for my own trial attempts.

    Many thanks


  • Dear Colin,

    I came to your website through a Google search and I am amazed by the quality of your

    lecture notes! I find your site very interesting, since I have recently myself

    started compiling useful information related to structural engineering. I already

    have a database of structural engineering software with 400+ programs and currently I

    am working on creating the initial hierarchy and a structure of topics for structural

    wiki, whose ultimate goal is to provide easily accessible information to students and

    practising engineers. The wiki currently has 5000+ entries and it was inspired by

    similar reference sites that exist for other topics, such as for MathWorld (

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com ) for mathematics. Both of my projects are located at


    I was wondering if I could link directly to you lecture notes from individual

    structural wiki pages dealing with the same topic as is the topic of the notes. If

    so, it would be nice if the location (URL) of your lecture notes remains permanent

    and will not change in the future, thus preventing dead links.

    Please feel free to contact me using the email address provided below.

    Thank you,


    info (at) bridgeart [dot] net

  • Just wanted to let you know, WP transforms ampersands found in my url string, so I added:

    $text = str_replace(‘&’,’&’,$text);

    in your multifeedsnap plugin to accomodate the issue. Thought you might consider this for the next version.

    Thanks for providing the plugin! It works like a charm!



  • Colin

    I came across your web site after a google search for a discussion forum for Structural Engineers.
    I would like to echo most of the other comments and congratulate you on your excellent web design and content.
    Can you advise me whether it is accpetable to continue to use CP3 for wind loading design or is one obliged to use the much later BS 6399 loadings for buildings : Code of practice for wind loads.
    on a general note what is the general parctice for cessation of use of BS codes when they have been updated or superceded by ISEN codes

  • hi i cam accross your web through google serch. i am a final year student of civil engineering in B.tech from india,pune. i have been applied project in final year of structure engineering. I would like to get your guidance about selection of my project that would help me in future also. Will you please help me related to this query?hoping to be favoured.

  • hi sir! i have tried to be in touch with u on skype but it seems that my messages donot deliver !!
    i am bhc student in iran sharif univercity of tech and i have used the mohr teoriom of u’r lectures!!:D
    u’r web site is great!!

  • hi sir!!
    i have a question and i wish u could help me!i need to find a book about slope deflection and other methods that is suitable for solving inditerminate structures !!can u help me plz?if there is a link to download the pdf or sth like that it would be so kind of u to say it to me!my own teachers does not said really anything special for the refrence!!
    thank u so much!!
    ps:i have read u’r lectures too!they were really helpfull!

  • Your web site is a blast! No pun intended.

    I have a question on your excel spreadsheet “SDOF Forced Damped Vibration – Newark”.

    It seems the formulas do not support the condition where ultimate is achieved and beyond. In my practice, members subject to Blast load reach and most often pass ultimate resistance Ru. Could you please elaborate as to how the formulas would change once Ultimate resistance is achieved and beyond.

    Thank you.

  • Hi there, i think i found this website quite late. I am preparing for istructe exam which is on thrusday april 28. as you had appeared in 2009, i am presuming you tried bridge question in there which was a footbridge. Not sure if its appropriate to ask you about 2010 bridge question. Please if u reply to this post , we can discuss further as there is only one day between.

  • Dear Colin,
    I am a third year engineering student. During my second year along with a third of my class I failed my Structural Analysis module. Unfortunately my lecture notes left a lot to be desired. I stumbled across your site about 4 weeks before my resit exam this summer, it was a god send! Your notes on Structural Analysis are great and they really really helped me to understand the topic. Without your notes I would have been well and truly stuck. I just wanted to say thank you very much for making all your notes available online and free of charge, they really helped me in passing my exam. I passed with 78% and would not have been able to do it without your help.
    Thank you.


  • Lindsay,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know how you got on. Positive feedback like yours encourages people to continue to share their work. Best of luck with your future studies.


  • Respected Sir,

    Initially I am taking privelledge to congratulate for all your achievements so far and for sure I will take lot of inspiration form you.While reading your document on punching shear,I came to know about you through your personal website.I will see all your technical notes and revert back to you if have any technical problem in my work in the company.
    Thanking You,

  • Dear Colin
    I thank you for sharing your knowledge over net. The explanations and solutions are simple and lucid. They are very helpful.

  • Dr Colin thanks a lot for your spring of knowledge.I just have one request for you that if you can.Am a Diploma graduate in Civil Engineering in The Mombasa Polytechnic university college in East Africa Kenya.Would you be kind enough to to help me understand the whole of structural analysis and design to BS 8110-1997.If you would charge, how much can you take from. Tim

  • Hello, I am a junior at SPSU in Marietta, GA (U.S.) and I’d like to thank you for your notes on Moment distribution. I was completely lost in the course and your notes helped me have a clearer view of the many concepts involved. It is such a relief to finally understand how it all adds up together.

    Thank you very much!


  • I need to know, how you have derived the take down load for the punching shear design example. It says refer to page 43 of quantitative design notes. I have been trying to find quantitative design notes to relate to the punching shear example. Please if you may post the link, or explain how take down load may be assumed, when not given in the question. I need it desperately for my upcoming exam.


  • Dear Sir,
    I am presently wishing to recruit Civil/Structural and Quantity Surveyors for a client in Qatar. I was wondering if you may know of anyody who may be interested. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
    With best wishes,
    Barry Rush
    TARA Eng
    Nr Ireland
    Tel: 028 777 22257 or mobile: 07813 130665

  • Dear Colin, Your site is so interesting and gives so much knowledge. You are so generous and smart person. All the best wishes for you.

  • Dear, Your contribution for spreading knowledge is wonderful. I liked it. Please Continue it.
    Best Regards

  • Colin,

    I was wondering if you would offer or sell your Mistructe Prep Course notes. I’m located in Canada and I’m looking for prep course material. I have already started the MIstrute course material direct from IStructe’s website. Feel free to privately email me.

    The material on your website is fantastic.

  • Very useful website with a lot of valuable information on structural engineering. I am a practicing engineer and visiting lecturer in structural engineering at the University of Edinburgh and find Colin’s website one of the best sources of information.

    Many thanks Dr. Caprani for sharing your valuable knowledge with us.

  • The material that you have shared on your site is great! I am a graduate member of IStructE looking towards the CM exam and finding it hard to find advice for the structural scheme part of the exam. I noticed that your website has a link towards an CM Prep course and wondered if this course was virtual and if engineers from Canada could join your course? Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas! It is very much appreciated!

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