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Andrew Beeby

Emeritus Professor Andrew Beeby, BSc, PhD, FREng, CEng, MICE, FIStructE, FFB, FACI

Emeritus Professor Andrew Beeby died on 28 October 2011.  Professor of Structural Design from 1991 until 2004, his work has significantly influenced the way in which reinforced concrete design is carried out in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.

Born in 1939, Andrew Beeby was a pupil at Bootham School, York, from where he went on to read Civil Engineering at Northampton Engineering College (then a college of London University, now City University).  Graduating in 1960, he joined John Laing & Sons and for the next four years worked both on site and in the design office on motorways and multi-storey structures.  In 1964 he took up a position as Research Engineer with the Cement and Concrete Association and contributed to an extensive research programme on the prediction and control of cracking in reinforced and pre-stressed concrete.  He also participated in the drafting of the first UK Code of Practice (CP 110) for structural concrete using limit-state principles; he was to retain a keen interest in, and close involvement with, the formulation of national and international codes for the rest of his career.  In 1971, Andrew was awarded a PhD by London University for his thesis ‘The prediction of cracking in reinforced concrete members’.  Promoted within the Cement and Concrete Association in 1978, he held a number of increasingly senior posts, culminating in his appointment in 1988 as the Director of Design and Construction.  During this period his research covered a wide range of topics, such as impact resistance of concrete beams, cracking and corrosion, alkali-silica reaction, shear and bond.

In 1991, Andrew Beeby came to Leeds to take up the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Chair of Structural Design within the School of Civil Engineering.  Here, in addition to his teaching, he continued to be extensively involved in research and the drafting of codes of practice.  His research included the influence of ductility on the performance of reinforced concrete members, behaviour of slab systems during construction, the long term inter-action of steel and concrete in tension (tension stiffening), membrane effects in frames and safety of structures.

A key participant in the development of Eurocodes on concrete, Andrew was the convenor of the Eurocode on ‘Liquid retaining and containment structures’.  He was active in CEB (Comité Euro-International du Beton) (now known as fib, the International Federation for Structural Concrete).  He served on a number of its commissions, chairing one of them, and was also the Editor of the fib journalon concrete.  Derived in part from his own research, his technical contribution to the development of design codes for structural concrete was of the highest order.  His dedication and prodigious achievements in this area were recognised by the Institution of Structural Engineers which, in 2000, bestowed upon him its prestigious Lewis Kent Award.  In 2004, fib conferred honorary life membership upon him, in recognition of the part he had played in the work of the organisation.

The considerable influence exerted by Andrew Beeby’s research was due in no small measure to the attention he gave to translating his findings into practical industrial application.  His work on cracking in the 1960s has stood the test of time and remains the basis for the design of crack control in concrete structures, whilst his studies in the 1970s on corrosion and cracking continue to form the basis of views on the subject more or less world-wide.  In all, he produced an impressive corpus of over 120 papers, for one of which, on ductility in reinforced concrete, he was awarded the Henry Adams medal of the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Within both the academic and industrial communities, Andrew was internationally respected.  A Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers, he served for a period as a member of its Council.  He was awarded the Fellowship of the American Concrete Institute in 1991 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2003.

As a teacher, Andrew Beeby had the capacity to inspire his students, particularly at MSc and PhD level.  Many successful careers have been shaped by his research philosophy and nurtured by his enduring encouragement and support.  The prospect of working alongside Andrew was also a factor in attracting staff to the School.  He had a particular talent for rapidly identifying, analysing and devising successful solutions to problems; and a considerable facility for communicating his insights to others, very often in the form of a quick but illuminating sketch.  Mild-mannered and unfailingly courteous, he enjoyed excellent working relationships with all his colleagues.

Andrew retired from his Chair in September 2004 and the title of Emeritus Professor was conferred upon him later that year.  It was a testament to his strength of character that, despite ill-health, he continued to be active within the profession, retaining an association with the activities of fib and acting as an expert witness both in this country and abroad.  He was also instrumental in the success of an ESPRC-funded project at Leeds to investigate shrinkage curvature of cracked reinforced concrete elements.

Andrew is survived by Greta, his wife for forty-six years, their sons, Duncan and Christopher, and daughter, Vicky.