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How to Read British Standards (BS)

posted May 10, 2022, 6:23 PM by jeffery jim   [ updated May 10, 2022, 6:27 PM ]
I spent the whole afternoon drilling my proteges about all parts of BS1377. It is hard to read BS continuously and during my varsity years, I can hardly read more than 2 to 3 pages in one seating. Most of the time, I will doze off and that made it almost impossible to understand things and pass design subjects.

2. The thing about BS is its nature which goes in point format and dull, unlike American codes which usually in paragraphs and narratives for clearer understanding. Eurocodes are much easier to read as they are in paragraphs with better narrative(s). Nevertheless, every engineer needs to understand the fundamental concepts and rely on these in order to perform their duties or to utilize exploits that are available in it.

 3. The right way of understanding the concept in BS or parts of BS is to understand the normative references and assigned parts. Second, read through the table of content and comprehend the coverage of the standard and core concept on each main item.

4. Mind mapping is essential unless you have a good photographic memory that links each part and concept to another. Understand the similarities, alternatives, and differences.

5. Start with a general concept or the primary standard before moving to other normative references. One have to read in the light of another documents in order to render the actual concept and approaches. Without normative references, one can be handicap and have their mind mapping links truncated. This is not a good process when working around BS.

6. Read one main item or one specific proceeding (can be a test or key concept) in each sitting. Do not push yourself to read more than what you can take. It is much easier to understand things within the above-mentioned limit nowadays. Finish each sitting by watching two to three Youtube videos that are related to your reading. This will reinforce the concept with audiovisual aid. At the same time, this will assist you in comprehension if English is not your first language.

7. Revisit your reading in a week or a month's time. Try to read and visualize what is/are mentioned in each passage. Reading buddy would be great where a pair can go for a spar by asking related questions based on videos or relevant BS. Jolt back everything you missed in your mind map(s). Now you have a comprehensive note on the subject(s) that matters.

 I hope you can benefit from this tip when you are trying to learn via BS independently. One day, you could duplicate what I am able to do, which is to make references to standards without stuttering and in a convincing manner