NHRP / Hazard themes / Resilient Buildings and Infrastructure / Engineering Highlights 2014-15

Engineering Highlights 2014-15



Collectively, the engineering groups at GNS Science, University of Canterbury and University of Auckland have contributed to engineering advisories, updates to building codes, and development of standards.

One highlight of 2014-15 was the award to Graeme McVerry, GNS Science (left) of life membership in the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE). This is a very distinguished award and recognises Graeme's lifelong contributions and leadership at the forefront of engineering seismology. Congratulations, Graeme!

Christchurch Lessons Learned – Implementation of low damage design (SR Uma, GNS Science).  This project was reported in ‘Natural Hazards 2013’ and was well received by researchers, engineers and stakeholders. In further work, SR Uma is developing an interactive decision-making support tool within the context of choosing the best structural system to achieve the goals of performance-based design. The tool adopts criteria related to structural performance and the impacts that are recognised by ATC/FEMA P-58 approaches. The aim of the tool is to facilitate the dialogue between engineers and clients in their decisions to choose the best system that satisfies the client needs.

At the University of Canterbury (UC), Alessandro Palermo’s team have made significant progress on advanced bridge construction and design. Peer review of the first ABC rocking bridge was completed and international review encouraging. Palermo’s PhD student Mustafa Mashal represented UC at well-received presentations in Europe and the USA. Mustafa was a winner of 2014 New Zealand Concrete Society Travel Bursary for the Earthquake Engineering conference in Alaska. He was also awarded the conference registration prize for ASEC 2014. Following his presentation in Madrid, Mustafa was recommended as the youngest member in the Structural Performance, Safety, and Analysis Commission of IABSE for 2015.  

Rajesh Dhakal’s research team (UC) investigates non-structural elements. Dhakal participated in the SPONSE workshop (Seismic Performance of Non-Structural Elements) and will contribute three papers to a special issue on non-structural elements for the NZSEE.  Dhakal’s research team have completed shake table testing of perimeter fixed ceilings and low damage partition walls. Their findings will contribute to MBIE funded work on ‘Seismic design and construction of NSE in buildings” to which Dhakal will sit on the steering group. In 2014, Dhakal was nominated by the UC Students Association as supervisor of the year, and in 2013 was a recipient of the UC Teaching Award.  New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) sent Dhakal and others to Nepal to provide engineering advice and assistance following their magnitude 7.8 earthquake in April. Learn more from the team's observations on the NZSEE You Tube channel.

Platform engineers contributed to updating the NZSEE Seismic Assessment Guidelines, as presented at the 2015 NZSEE conference.  Stefano Pampanin (Univ Canterbury) and Charles Clifton (Univ Auckland) were team leaders for concrete and steel buildings, respectively.  Jason Ingham (UA) contributed to seismic assessment of unreinforced masonry (URM).  

Using 'Lessons learned from Christchurch' funding, Ingham has addressed the performance of URM in Canterbury.  The updated guidelines include his team’s findings on material properties, diaphragm assessment, and out-of-plane and in-plane wall assessment. Ingham has been asked to be a key participant in delivering the seminars to professional engineers. Ingham is also a member of the ASCE 41 code committee in the USA, revising the chapter on seismic assessment of URM buildings.  Ingham was a member of the NZ contingent sent by MFAT to Nepal (♦ Link).  Ingham also travelled to the USA following the Napa Valley earthquake via a separately funded NZSEE/MBIE/EQC programme on 'Learning from Earthquakes' (♦ Link)

You can read more highlights from the Resilient Engineering theme in Natural Hazards 2014 - 'Precast Concrete Floors: Seismic Behaviour of Connections and Wall-to-Floor Interactions.' (♦ Link).

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Last updated 15 Dec 2015