The People Behind the Product: Chatting with DonoBrace Expert John Lawson

John Lawson joined Donovan Group with a passion for enabling better efficiencies within the construction industry. As part of the DonoBrace development team, John worked extensively with customers to ensure that the product was not only a clever piece of engineering, but was also simpler to use, design and install.  


We sat down with John to chat about what Donovan Group means to him, and what he’s meant for DonoBrace. 


What was your involvement with the development of the DonoBrace? 

When I came into the fold, the engineering side of DonoBrace had already been developed. My focus was to help make the design more user-friendly. My role was really about asking questions: 

 Is the product user friendly?  

Does this actually make things easier for people? 

 So many companies struggle to match smart engineering with real life usability and efficiency.  For DonoBrace, I worked extensively with our customers and development team to ensure that it was as effective and easy to use as possible on construction sites.  


How do you make a product more user-friendly? 

A lot of that revision stage was going out and talking to people in the construction industry to gather feedback, figuring out what could speed up each step of the process for specifying, fabricating, and installing bracing.  

What we ended up with was a really different product to traditional systems. DonoBrace is a standardised product, which means the system comes with completed, code-compliant specifications that can suit a range of capacity requirements.  

Because it’s an off-the-shelf product, DonoBrace doesn’t require offsite fabrication or painting. It arrives on site ready to go. You can install it without plumb framing or extensive temporary bracing. All you have to do is cut the product to length, and put it into tension.  

And just like any innovation, it doesn’t stop. We have a product we’re really proud of, and we continue to collect feedback from the industry. We are always open to making further improvements in our product and our service. 


Why is it important to consider usability with bracing? 

We are all lazy and hungry. You laugh, but it’s true – for everyone! If we can finish a job in a quicker way whilst still maintaining our high standards, we will. If we can find an app to take care of something for us, we’ll use it.  

Essentially, that’s how the DonoBrace team goes about our business – we help our clients do things quicker, safer, and at a higher quality. 

At the end of the day, that’s what DonoBrace is –  a standardised system that makes it easier to brace a building. It streamlines the process for structural engineers, it doesn’t require off-site fabrication, and it’s easier to install. In a nutshell, that’s it. 


Why is customer service important? 

Life moves so quickly now. Companies want to do more for less, and I think we’ve forgotten how business, at its very basic level, actually works – it’s an exchange, a partnership between me and you. Every day, I focus on ensuring that all our customers are heard, that they have the necessary information to do their job well, and be successful.  

The construction industry has a lot of people and a lot of moving parts trying to work together. What I would experience in the past is something like this: 

I’d ring up a retailer to ask about some faulty widgets. He’d turn me over to the manufacturer. Then the manufacturer would send me to another guy who handled that order. Then maybe that guy would be on holiday – and when he got back, he’d pass me to someone else… 

Three weeks later, it’s not even worth it anymore. And you certainly don’t want to work with that company again. 

I think this is the fundamental way that people lose business.  

We have to take responsibility for the products we provide. And that’s the keystone to why we at Donovan Group are successful. Yes, it does what it says on the tin. Yes, we take your call. Yes, we’ll find you an answer. 


What makes great customer service?

It’s about finding better solutions, building strong relationships, and understanding the industry at every level. As a company with so much history and experience in construction, we know how important it is to be dependable, to work with people who follow through on their promises and find answers when you need them. That’s the backbone of great service – transparent, consistent, and effective communication every day.  


What is the DonoBrace team like to work with? 

I used to be in the military. In that world, there’s a very clear protocol for who’s responsible for what. You don’t have an engineer try to handle the books, and you don’t try to force an accountant to design a building. But you also need both people. You need different balances of personality and brains and thinking to make things the best that they can be. 

I think that’s where the DonoBrace team really works. We all come from different angles, we fill different kinds of buckets – and the result is a product that not only performs incredibly well, but is backed by a team who are prepared to help. 




DonoBrace is a high capacity tension-only rod system that offers construction professionals a more efficient and cost effective method for bracing.  

To learn more, or to have a chat with John about DonoBrace, get in touch through our website. 

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