Well Grounded – the importance of collaboration between geotechnical and structural engineers

Well Grounded – the importance of collaboration between geotechnical and structural engineers

While we are acutely aware of the earthquake hazard that living in New Zealand brings – this year’s Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering (PCEE) is focusing on turning that awareness into risk mitigation.

Tonkin + Taylor’s technical director for earthquake foundation engineering, Stuart Palmer, is one of seven geotechnical engineers presenting a portfolio of papers developed to assist structural and geotechnical engineering colleagues design resilient built environments that sit on top of, and around, complex seismicity.

“We work closely with many structural engineers across town. We know developing good foundation solutions needs collaborative input from both structural and geotech”, says Stuart.

“In the assessment of existing buildings and design of new, some curly foundation problems just keep reappearing. Each time we grapple with these problems with structural engineers we learn a bit more.

“Problems like shallow foundations sitting over potentially liquefiable soils, load displacement behaviour of pile foundations and designing micropiles for building strengthening.

With the PCEE conference coming up Stuart saw it as the perfect opportunity to document and share some of what his team has been working on and learning.

He and his team has put together six papers – each one addresses a specific “curly problem”.  Not only does each one provide suggestions for geotechnical analysis but it also discusses how structural and geotech engineers can work together to solve these problems.

“I’ve enjoyed working with our up-and-coming geotechnical engineers putting these papers together. It’s been a great opportunity for them to write and present papers on stuff we have developed together. It’s also an opportunity they have grabbed with enthusiasm. This working and learning together is an important part of what we do at T+T and who we are as professionals”, says Stuart Palmer.

  1. The papers the T+T team have put together and will be presenting on are:
  2. Lateral design of screw piles using a displacement-based design approach – E. Wright, A. Riman + S. Palmer
  3. Micropiles; an effective foundation for seismic strengthening. Design recommendations – C. Sandoval, J. Webb + S. Palmer
  4. Load displacement behaviour of piled foundations for assessment and design – J. Munro + S. Palmer
  5. Shallow foundations on liquefiable soils with a non-liquefiable crust: Overview of assessment methods – E. Stocks + S. Palmer
  6. Lateral loading of shallow foundations under seismic loads – N. Kunhimon, J. Munro + S. Palmer 
  7. Planning of geotechnical investigations for existing buildings – S. Wang, A. Riman + S. Palmer

For more information please email Earthquake Foundation Engineering Technical Director, Stuart Palmer or call him on +64 4 806 4974