The fundamentals concepts of roof support are similar between coal mining, metal mining and tunnelling and yet there are different design approaches, different hardware, and different levels of site investigation. This should not be the case and this paper discusses the key geotechnical issues that should underlie all roof support design -the need to reinforce defects. A design method to build a beam in laminated rock under high horizontal stresses is presented. The method allows for changing rock strengths, defect properties and varying horizontal stresses. At one level the design can be implemented with design charts and tables. Lessons learnt during the implementation of the designs at 5 different mine sites are discussed.