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Concept design: the repurposing of cigarette packets

Event organised by ICE

06 February 2024

This event has now ended

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The use of high end numerical methods such as Finite Element, Finite Difference and Boundary Element analysis have become common place in many design offices. These methods are particularly useful for optimising and checking detailed designs. However, for the development and comparison of design solutions it is important to quickly develop concept designs without resorting to complex analysis.

This lecture concentrates on methods to quickly assess concept designs to allow comparative pricing. The use of design charts and simple analysis allows for the feasibility of design solutions to be determined.

The lecture considers the applicability of rules of thumb and presents design methods that euphemistically fit onto the back of envelopes or cigarette packages.

Despite its title, the lecture relies heavily on work done by Rankine and Glossop lecturers.



Geobrugg has been manufacturing protection solutions since 1951. With experience, a spirit of research, continuous internal training and close cooperation with research institutes, we drive innovation and industry standards.


Ian Webber

Ian Webber


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Ian Webber

Ian Webber is a consultant and former director of Coffey Geotechnics Limited based in Harrogate with more than 40 years of experience of geotechnical design. Since setting up his own consultancy in 1997, he has specialised on geotechnical design for contractors on a wide range of challenging infrastructure projects both nationally and internationally. Ian has also acted as the geotechnical expert witness on numerous claims around the world including UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, Middle East, Kazakhstan and New Zealand

Ian was a founder and former chairman of the Yorkshire Geotechnical Group more than 25 years ago as well as a committee member of the British Geotechnical Association. He has a collection of publications which cover a wide range of disciplines including earthworks, pile testing, soil nailing, value engineering and contracts.