Talk by David Friedman

March 9, 2020 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Room GB202, Galbraith Building
35 St. George Street

Presented by U of T Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (UT-EERI) Student Chapter



Talk by David Friedman

The Practice of Structural Engineering Today & 3 Unique Structural Engineering Projects


Monday, March 9, 2020
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Room GB202
Galbraith Building
35 St. George Street
University of Toronto



Abstract The practicing structural engineer today must not only have a broad understanding of not just structural engineering, but must be knowledgeable about architecture, M/E/P systems, construction delivery methodologies, and the construction process. The project’s budget, the
selected performance and design criteria, the architectural form, and the operating systems all affect the selection of the appropriate structural materials and lateral force resisting system. Then the analysis must get translated into a design, and the design must clearly and carefully be delineated into construction documents including plans, details, sections and technical specifications, with appropriate attention to sequencing, phasing and constructability. This all gives rise to the notion of today’s structural engineer as a “Master Builder,” one who can articulate their way through a complex labyrinth of form finding, criteria setting, risk evaluation, design and documentation, and construction (and hopefully not litigation).


Senior Principal & Chairman of the Board
David Friedman is a Senior Principal at Forell/Elsesser, and is licensed in California. He has been with the firm since 1980, has over 43 years of
structural engineering experience, and has served as Project Principal on a variety of new design and retrofit projects including community and civic facilities, university complexes, research laboratories and transportation facilities. David served as the firm’s President and CEO from 1995 to 2007 and chaired the Board of Directors from 2000 to 2017.
With a specialty in seismic engineering and retrofitting of existing structures, particularly those with historic designation, David has solved
numerous structural and earthquake engineering challenges during his career with Forell/Elsesser Engineers. His experience includes many of the firm’s signature projects including the base isolation retrofits of San Francisco City Hall and the Asian Art Museum, the adaptive reuse and
retrofit for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the seismic safety corrections and remodeling of UC Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium.
David is devoted to world-wide seismic risk reduction and is the current President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, dedicated to learning and disseminating the lessons learned from earthquakes around the world. He is also deeply involved in many civic, philanthropic and notfor-profit Boards including The San Francisco Foundation, SPUR, UC Berkeley Foundation and the Jewish Home of San Francisco.
Project List:
• UCB’s California Memorial Stadium
• UCB’s Student Athlete High Performance Center
• Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life
• San Francisco Jewish Community Center
• San Francisco Conservatory of Music
• Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
• San Francisco City Hall
• Jewish Home of San Francisco, Renovation & Expansion

Total Years Experience
43 years
UC Berkeley, M.S., Civil Engineering

California, Civil Engineer
California, Structural Engineer

Professional Affiliations
EERI Member of the Board of
Directors & President
Jewish Home of San Francisco,
Board of Directors, Former Chair
of Board of Trustees, JSLG Chair
SPUR Emeritus, Board of
Directors, & Chair

SEAONC’s 2012 H.J. Brunnier
Lifetime Achievement Award
UC Berkeley CEE Academy of
Distinguished Alumni