Sjoerd gained his BE (Hons) and doctorate at Auckland University and joined Tonkin + Taylor in 2005. He is yet to turn 40 but has already achieved much as a geotechnical engineer with T+T. His skills are numerous and well-regarded, particularly in advanced numerical modelling including ground water, soil structure interaction, steady state and dynamic seismic, liquefaction and tunnel modelling.
Sjoerd led the geotechnical response to the damage caused by the 2010 – 2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence and his contribution was recognised with a Queen’s Service Order, QSO, Honorary Companion, for his services to geotechnical science.
The extent and value of his multiple roles cannot be overstated. He helped the New Zealand Earthquake Commission (EQC) understand its land liabilities, oversaw mapping of land damage, building damage and ground surface changes caused by the earthquakes. That entailed extensive use of remote sensing technologies including the LiDAR data sets.
Sjoerd was the architect of the online Canterbury Geotechnical Database (CGD) – a vital tool which managed, gathered and disseminated the land damage data and geotechnical investigation data to the engineering community.
Sjoerd led the research team which enhanced the understanding of prediction of liquefaction vulnerability and its consequences to the built environment. Consequently, Sjoerd has published many papers on the subject and was honoured for his work in the field by EERI (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute) in 2016 – receiving the international award for ‘Most Outstanding Paper’.
Sjoerd was also involved with the Christchurch Ground Improvement trials, including vibroscience, T-Rex shake testing and blast-induced liquefaction testing. This enabled EQC to evaluate the effectiveness of different ground improvement methods to reduce liquefaction vulnerability and enable the residential rebuild in Christchurch in the vulnerable areas to be rebuilt with greater resilience using affordable solutions.