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April/May 2017 » Volume 18/2 » $8.90

Global mobility Engineering’s international community

The steep part of the learning curve Introducing 2017 Pickering Lecturer Dr Catherine Mohr

The meaning of Brexit Employment opportunities in post-Brexit Britain

Taking on the world The University of Waikato takes the Formula SAE challenge T H E





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» contents

In this issue 30.




15. 16.






Exploring innovative design and international collaboration in Singapore.

Dr Bapon Fakhruddin MIPENZ discusses why global expertise is the key to climate resilience.

Our 2017 Pickering Lecturer Dr Catherine Mohr is an engineer, a surgeon and a curious opportunist.

Working overseas brings knowledge, skills and new experiences.

24. 26. 28. 30. LEAVING ON A JET PLANE... Your starter kit for that career move overseas.

OPINION: THE GLOBAL MOBILITY OF ENGINEERS Basil Wakelin DistFIPENZ on the benefits and challenges of a globally mobile profession.

A NEW PATHWAY FOR MEMBERSHIP What will the new IPENZ Membership Pathway mean for you?

TAKING ON THE WORLD From the garage to the global stage with the WESMO Formula SAE team.

35. 42. 48.





From the Chief Executive

What can Kiwi engineers expect from post-Brexit Britain?

Phil Wilkins MIPENZ talks about his childrens’ book, Christchurch – Our Underground Story.


From the President


News & Technology



5 MINUTES WITH... Our Manager – International Relations Charles Wilmot discusses his work with the International Engineering Alliance.

37. Ask the Experts 39. Connect: Member News

Process Civil

Natural Resources Electrical

Mechanical Environmental




» from the chief executive

Our global village GM – Marketing & Communications

Bridgit Sissons +64 4 474 8943


Rachel Berry


Angeli Hudson

Advertising Sales `

Howard Pauling +64 4 474 8947 +64 21 0264 4443

Subscriptions +64 4 474 8941

Contributors Erica Mather, Matt Philp, Jennie Clarke, Almaz Rabb, Basil Wakelin DistFIPENZ, Jonathan Gammon FIPENZ.

Circulation ABC audited net circulation for the year ended 30 September 2016: New Zealand 11,151 Overseas 1,145 Total 12,296 Printing Printing and fulfilment by Printlink. Engineering Insight is printed using vegetablebased inks made from renewable sources. The paper used is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) approved, and elemental chlorine free (ECF). The plastic wrap is recyclable. Engineering Insight is published bi-monthly by The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Inc. Level 3, 50 Customhouse Quay PO Box 12 241, Wellington 6144 New Zealand P +64 4 473 9444 F +64 4 474 8933 Print ISSN 2230-2549 Online ISSN 2230-2557 Advertising statements and editorial opinions expressed in Engineering Insight do not reflect the views of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, its Members, staff, or affiliated organisations unless expressly stated. ©2  017 The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand.


The opportunities we have to bring engineering to life so that your work contributes to better lives for our communities are being thought about across the globe. Over the past 18 months, I’ve had opportunities to meet with our counterparts overseas. They are all excited by issues and challenges of relevance, massive digital disruption and our increasingly global village. In the UK, I met with colleagues from a number of specialist engineering membership organisations as well as our own UK Branch. We are building a strong relationship with Australia and were privileged to host the INWES APNN meeting in Wellington last August, welcoming representatives of engineering groups from around the world. Plus, there have been opportunities during the year to meet with representatives of the International Engineering Alliance and FIDIC. We share information with each other, learn from each other and are increasingly finding opportunities to collaborate as the digital world makes it easier and easier to do so. Wherever we’re from, our goal is the same: to engineer a better world. We all have different areas of expertise, but we’re connected. We help each other out. In New Zealand, for example, we’re experts at seismic engineering – for obvious reasons. So when other countries suffer earthquakes – like we saw in Nepal a few years ago – our engineers are on the ground quickly as part of the emergency response. Global mobility also helps us share our knowledge and our expertise. It helps us to share resources when we need them – and there are many places, including New Zealand, that have a shortage of human resources in our industry. The UK’s a great example as they work through the politics and the practicalities of their exit from the European Union, and – relevant to us – what it will mean for the engineering and construction industries. I encourage you to read the update from our UK Branch in this issue to see what this could mean New Zealand’s engineers,

and the work the Branch have been doing to investigate opportunities for our profession (see page 35). One of our roles as your professional body is to promote global mobility, so we can share skills, knowledge and experience internationally. Being part of a globally mobile profession gives us opportunities to experience new cultures and environments. It isn’t only about the new and different work experiences we’ll have; it’s also about trying a different lifestyle and the enriching life experience travel brings. I lived many years overseas as a child, then as a young and a not so young adult. As I watch my adult children explore the world now, I can tell that nothing else has quite fed the soul and made them get a broader perspective on their place in the world than travel. (And it still does me good, too!) We are mindful of the value of extended travel with our younger professionals. Our new Membership Pathway will provide advanced professional standing within the profession and promote international mobility. Read about how we’re updating the Membership Pathway and what it means for you on page 28.

Susan Freeman-Greene Chief Executive

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

» from the president

What’s happening at IPENZ

Bold decisions At the start of my year as President, I said engineers are building a New Zealand to be proud of. Over the last 12 months, I have had countless opportunities to meet you and reaffirm how true that is. Engineers are rightly proud of the work they do, providing huge value to our communities. IPENZ is working hard to change society’s perceptions of what engineering’s all about and to help the public understand what engineering professionals do. During my presidency, the Board addressed some significant issues, taking an honest and objective look at ourselves and identifying where we can improve. Engineering has changed, so IPENZ is changing with it. We want to put more focus on the future and be responsive to our members’ ongoing needs, while acknowledging our past and being proud of our heritage. Some bold decisions needed to be made. As we put these decisions into action, you’ll see IPENZ become an increasingly confident industry leader with an outward focus; a proactive advocate for engineers and the profession. At times, what we say and do may draw criticism, but we won’t be afraid to speak up on your behalf and respond to your needs. Our new strategy underpins all our work. It’s based on four pillars: connection, credibility, influence and recognition. As we connect within our industry and across society and work hard to influence government and shape the national agenda, we’ll increase recognition of engineers’ fundamental contribution to society and grow public confidence and trust in the work our profession does. You’ll start to see the fruits of this new strategy in the coming months. We will soon unveil our new Membership Pathway. It provides a strong foundation for IPENZ with professionalism at its core, and will lead to a much more inclusive

April/May 2017

APRIL Global Day of the Engineer 5 April Celebrate how engineers dream big on Global Day of the Engineer. Find out more at

APRIL–MAY and diverse membership body. We will also launch IPENZ’s new brand, which we’ll leverage to increase recognition of the profession. It is very humbling to be elected by your peers to lead the body representing the engineering profession. I wish to acknowledge the 101 Presidents that have gone before me, and thank my governing Board colleagues for their contributions. I’m delighted that, with the support of an aligned board and leadership team, I have shifted the direction towards a new shore. Plans are well in place for an exciting period ahead as we implement even more initiatives to increase recognition, influence, connection and credibility. I am leaving the role of President in capable hands. Craig Price FIPENZ, who takes over the reins this month, will continue to move us forward as we bring engineering to life and support our members as they engineer a better life for New Zealanders. It’s been an honour to serve as your President. Thank you.

Elena Trout FIPENZ President

Speed Interviewing 12 April – 24 May Our speed interviewing nights help engineering students practise their skills for that all-important job interview. Volunteer as an interviewer and meet students in your area, gain some CPD hours and practise your own interviewing skills. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next employee. Go to

MAY Pickering Lecture series 16–19 May Reserve your place for ‘Doctor Robot – Writing the script for the next revolution in surgery’. This free lecture is given by Dr Catherine Mohr, a world-leading surgical robotics expert. Meet Catherine on page 11. Find out more at

MAY Take the Next Step 2–23 May In a fast moving and technical career, gaining professional recognition shows you meet industry competence standards. Our free information session for engineers of all disciplines explains how to become registered and what we can do to help you move forward in your career. Sign up at


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» news & technology

SUSTAINABILITY » EMPTY BEER BOTTLES COULD SAVE OUR BEACHES DB Export is using old beer bottles to make artificial sand. Bottles will be crushed in specially-made machines to create a pure sand substitute – DB Export Beer Bottle Sand – which can be used for consumer and industrial purposes. The innovation is in response to the environmental impact of sand dredging on New Zealand’s beaches. Sand is a major component in roading and construction projects. But two-thirds of the world’s beaches are retreating as a result of dredging. Sean O’Donnell, DB Breweries’ Marketing Director, says “Our ambition is to help drive more recycling whilst looking out for the beaches, which are an integral part of our Kiwi DNA”. DB Export aims to make one hundred tonnes of Beer Bottle Sand – the equivalent of more than half a million bottles. Find out more at

Photo: University of Auckland



Photo: Hawke’s Bay Opera House


Hastings District Council has announced an 18-month earthquake strengthening project for the Hawke’s Bay Opera House, starting in August. Local firm Gemco Construction successfully tendered to carry out the work and is preparing a detailed construction plan. The announcement follows public consultation last year. Eighty per cent of respondents were in favour of strengthening and re-opening the building, bringing it to 70–75 per cent of the current New Building Standard. Details of the construction work will be released in coming months. The Council says one piece of work will be adding temporary strengthening to the exterior of the neighbouring Municipal Buildings. The Hawke’s Bay Opera House has been closed since 2014, following the discovery that the theatre’s 12-metre side walls could collapse on an audience during an earthquake.

April/May 2017

The University of Auckland’s Deputy Dean of Engineering Margaret Hyland has been appointed Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). She took up the role on 1 February. The role involves providing leadership and advice on science systems, policy and investment, as well as building on the sector’s existing strategic direction. Paul Stocks, Deputy Chief Executive Labour, Science and Enterprise, says “This crucial leadership role … will contribute to the deepening relationships between the Ministry and the science community”. Margaret is Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineering and was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pickering Medal for excellence in technology by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2015.


» news & technology



Photo: Traffic Design Group

» AI TECHNOLOGY HELPS PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES Auckland-based company Soul Machines recently launched ‘Nadia’, an intelligent and lifelike virtual assistant voiced by Australian actress Cate Blanchett (pictured). Nadia uses the technology behind Baby X, created by Soul Machines CEO Mark Sagar and the engineering research team at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (“Bringing soul to machines”, Engineering Insight February/March 2017, p5). The company worked with Australian organisation NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) to create Nadia. The avatar is designed to help people living with disabilities have better accessibility to the services NDIS provides. People with disabilities were involved in each stage of Nadia’s development and testing. Using a computer’s webcam and microphone, service users will be able to have conversations with Nadia – and the more it is used, the more intelligent it gets. It’s emotionally intelligent, too, responding more empathetically if it senses the user is upset. Learn more about Nadia at



Traffic Design Group (TDG) has expanded into Australia, opening its New South Wales office in January. The specialist transportation engineering consultancy, with seven offices around New Zealand, has been consulting in Australia for some time. Growing business relationships prompted the company to set up a permanent base in Sydney. The Australian company’s Managing Director Mark Apeldoorn FIPENZ says “returning TDG alumni Mike Willson has been appointed Branch Manager, working in partnership with established local firm Fred Gennaoui Consulting”. Mike’s extensive experience in traffic and transport has allowed him to develop a detailed understanding of the commercial practicalities associated with developments, a sound appreciation of the public sector and key connections in the Australian market. TDG has been operating in New Zealand for 40 years and now employs more than 80 staff nationwide.

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

» news & technology


The University of Canterbury opened its new engineering facility, the Core, in February, marking a major milestone in the Canterbury Engineering the Future (CETF) project. The Core has transformed a little-used courtyard into a modern workspace. It connects drawing offices, CAD suites, lecture theatres and meeting rooms, and offers students an inviting place in which to learn and socialise. “The Core is a key component of the state-of-the-art, $144 million CETF project and the University would like to acknowledge the significant Government contribution of up to $260 million for this project and the Regional Science and Innovation Centre,” says UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr. Work on the CETF project, including five engineering wings dedicated to different specialties, is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.


Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith announced in February that building owners need to secure unreinforced masonry (URM) facades and parapets on 38 streets from Hurunui to Wellington. He announced the establishment of a $4.5 million fund to help cover the cost of work. New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) President Peter Smith FIPENZ says that during this period of increased earthquake risk in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Marlborough and Hurunui, it’s important to secure facades and speed up remedial work. “These facades need to be secured, particularly because many of them are in popular retail areas like Cuba Street, Riddiford Street and Jackson Street,” he says. IPENZ Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene says engineers have lobbied for this initiative because of their concern for public safety. “We welcome the Government’s announcement that it will establish a fund to support building owners,” she says. “If there is an aftershock centred closer to Wellington, securing facades could save lives.”

Photo: University of Canterbury


Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre is playing host to one of the world’s key road safety events when the triennial International SaferRoads Conference comes to New Zealand this May. Organising Committee Chair Mark Owen AIPENZ says a record number of papers and abstracts have been submitted from New Zealand and overseas for the fifth conference in the series. “The conference has grown to be a forum promoting the diverse range of activities associated with road surfaces and the role they play in safety,” says Mark. “In broadening the scope, our aim is to attract a wide range of road owners, practitioners and those associated with maintaining and operating road networks. We want to find better ways to improve the performance, sustainability, safety and reliability of the global road surface network.” Find out more and register at

April/May 2017

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» news & technology

ENERGY » SOLAR GLITTER A US-based energy startup has created a miniaturised solar panel. Each cell is the size of a piece of glitter and arranged with other cells in a dense network. The panels are made from the same type of silicon as traditional solar panels, but are more flexible because of their size and form. The company behind the new technology is mPower Technology, based in Alberquerque, New Mexico. CEO Murat Okandan says “by making our cells small and then interconnecting them, we’re able to make them almost unbreakable”. The cells are lightweight, durable and resilient. They’re expected to last longer than traditional panels, reducing energy costs. They’re versatile, equally as useful for space exploration as for charging a cellphone on a camping trip. Find out more at


The Governments of New Zealand and Australia have signed a bilateral international science agreement, which has been described as “groundbreaking”. A media release from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says “The Australia – New Zealand


Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement is a commitment to valuable collaboration across the innovation and science systems, and between researchers and innovative companies, on both sides of the Tasman”. The work programme laid out in the Agreement is designed to foster collaboration, contributing to both countries’ economic growth. Proposals include mapping collaborative research opportunities and exchanging experts, knowledge and expertise. The Agreement was signed at the annual Australia New Zealand Leaders’ meeting, held in Queenstown in February. Go to for more information on the Agreement.

Photo: McDonald’s Corporation



Global fast food company McDonald’s has collaborated with aerospace and robotic engineers at US-based JACE and NK Labs for an innovative purpose: re-engineering the straw. The limited-edition Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal (The STRAW) is designed to “deliver the ideal ratio” of the mint and chocolate flavours in seasonal beverage, the Chocolate Shamrock Shake. The STRAW is a long ‘J’ shape. It has three holes, positioned to mix together flavours from different sections of the drink. Seth Newburg is principal engineer and managing partner at NK Labs. “From a physics perspective, it’s actually quite difficult to deliver a proportional amount of both chocolate and mint flavours with each sip. But that’s exactly what we did,” he says. Only 2,000 STRAWs have been produced. They’re available at selected McDonald’s outlets in the USA.

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

» feature photo

Photo: Peter Rees Photography



Visitors to this year’s Waiheke Island’s Sculpture on the Gulf exhibition were greeted by an extraordinary timber Gateway. The Gateway’s development relied on cooperation between professional engineers, architects, students and a construction company. The Gateway was designed by Nicholas Stevens and Gary Lawson of Stevens Lawson Architects, in collaboration with engineer Hamish Nevile MIPENZ of Holmes Consulting. The structure was built by Auckland-based Unitec Institute of Technology students in construction,

April/May 2017

architecture and engineering with supervision from Ebert Construction. The sculpture was made up of 255 pieces of glue laminated pine and designed to be experienced dynamically as visitors move around and through it – an immersive spatial experience of form, light and materiality. On a clear day, the view straight down the portal reveals a perfectly framed Rangitoto Island. Got a great engineering-inspired photo you’d like to share with our members? Send your high-resolution photo to


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The steep part of the learning curve Curious opportunism led Dr Catherine Mohr to mechanical engineering. Then medical school. Then to the world of surgical robotics. Catherine is returning to her native New Zealand to deliver this year’s IPENZ Pickering Lecture series, discussing how engineers are writing the script for the next revolution in surgery. She talks about what motivates her to keep learning. Writer Jennie Clarke

April/May 2017


Meet Dr Catherine Mohr: surgeon, bike mechanic, inventor, roboticist, mechanical engineer, hybrid car builder, sustainability champion and medical technology pioneer. This year’s Pickering lecturer is also a New Zealander. In fact, she’s a World Class New Zealander, awarded the title in 2014’s World Class New Zealand Awards. That same year, she also became a Flying Kiwi – a member of the country’s Hi-Tech Hall of Fame. All in all, apt recognition of her work in life sciences, her achievements in the emerging technologies industry and her contribution to surgical robotics and minimally invasive surgery.

With more than a dozen patents to her name, Catherine is currently Vice President of Strategy at Californiabased Intuitive Surgical, a world leader in surgical robotic design and manufacture. She’s a former Consulting Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Stanford School of Medicine and is on the Medicine and Robotics Faculty at Silicon Valley business think-tank, Singularity University. And by the way, she’s also learning to play the cello. So how has this Dunedin-born, American-raised self-confessed geek achieved so much?

“I’m a curious opportunist,” she says. “When I see something new and exciting, I seize the opportunity to go start building that new something.” And while she is an expert across many different areas, it’s not a label she’s entirely comfortable with. “I love being on the steep part of the learning curve,” she says. “Once I’ve reached a certain level of expertise I start looking for shakier ground where I don’t know quite as much; where I can solve problems by bringing thinking and knowledge from other places I’ve been.” But making those transitions is not always as easy as it sounds. “Throughout my career, with all its twists and turns, I’ve had to learn to trust my instincts and not be afraid to fail,” she says. “It took me a good long year of unhappiness and soul-searching, wondering why I wasn’t satisfied with being a senior engineering manager, why I felt this quixotic need to go do something completely different like medicine before realising I just had to go do it.”

Taking things apart… The Kiwi connection Catherine Mohr’s American accent belies her undeniable Kiwi-ness. She was two when her parents left Dunedin for the United States of America and her father’s post-doctoral studies. It was the early ’70s, and finding a suitable position to return home to proved harder than finding the proverbial hen’s teeth. “But my parents didn’t give up,” she says. “All the time I was growing up, we were New Zealanders and we were going home next year.” It was the same deal after Catherine’s mother finished her PhD, only now the search was on for two jobs in similar fields, in the same city, in a very small country. The search proved fruitless. Then came the ’80s and, apart from holidays to visit family and the bach in Glenorchy, her parents resigned themselves to staying put. Fast forward to the new millennium, and an invitation for Catherine to speak at a technology and innovation conference (Morgo) sparked a reconnection with her country of birth. “I started asking what was happening in the med-tech field in New Zealand, connecting with a range of professional organisations, getting involved in lecture series, that sort of thing,” she says. “I grew up with an American accent because there wasn’t a strong enough medical technology community for my parents to return to. I guess I’m driven by a desire to help build that community so the next generation doesn’t have to go away and not come back.”


Even Catherine’s original decision to study engineering meant a change in direction. With a biochemist father and a biostatistician mother, Catherine had always assumed she’d be a scientist; the plan was to major in chemistry. “But when I got to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), I discovered I was a real tinkerer at heart,” she remembers. “I loved building things, taking things apart, putting them back together, discovering how they worked.” At high school she’d had a job as a bike mechanic and at MIT was spending all her spare time on a solar car project, constructing and racing electric cars. The writing was on the wall. In 1990 she graduated Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, followed two years later by a Master’s degree. Her thesis, The Design of a Compact Actuator System for a Robotic Wrist/ Hand was, in some ways, a portent of things to come.

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

The da Vinci® Si™ Surgical System’s integrated fluorescence imaging is capable of providing real-time, image-guided identification of key anatomical features. Image: Intuitive Surgical.

The next sea change saw her abandon a long-held intention to study for a PhD and a life in academia. “It was a difficult decision but I took the opportunity to work at [Unmanned Aircraft Systems manufacturer] AeroVironment, building very exciting things – high altitude aircraft, electric cars, regenerative fuel cell systems,” she says. “We were making things that really didn’t have a lot of precedent. It was the early days of solar cars and everybody was learning together, there were no journal articles, no blueprint. It was a very ambitious and exciting time.” Over nine years with the company, Catherine moved steadily up the ranks. “Eventually it got to the point where I was managing people who were managing people who were doing what I had originally gotten into engineering for – that steep part of the learning curve,” she says. “I was really not very happy – it’s not that I minded the

April/May 2017

“I quickly realised that to solve problems in that arena I needed to understand the human body as a machine, the same way I understood a lot of machinery.” responsibility but I wanted to be part of the design process.” Change, again, was imminent. Catherine began looking to the medical engineering and technology world. She says “I quickly realised that to solve problems in that arena I needed to understand the human body as a machine, the same way I understood a lot of machinery. And I needed to communicate in a different way. The languages clinicians and engineers speak aren’t mutually intelligible – engineers use geek-speak, medical people speak their own jargon and people who speak English struggle to

understand either! To be effective, I would have to learn to bridge those gaps.”

… and putting them back together In 2001, Catherine enrolled at Stanford Medical School. “A lot of people were very supportive. Others told me I was absolutely nuts. There’s definitely a skill in learning not to be too undermined by the naysayers and having a certain amount of belief in your own judgement,” she says. Nevertheless, going back to studying in her thirties, in a completely different


field, was challenging. “Medicine requires a different way of thinking for someone who is very engineering oriented,” she says. “I had to learn how to learn in a new way, to think about how my mind worked versus the way my colleagues’ minds worked. But even as a medical student, my engineering notebook was always in my hand because I was designing things while I was learning about the body.” Catherine started a company to commercialise one of those medical device designs – the LapCap, used to prevent accidental puncture of abdominal organs during laparoscopy – while still a student: “You can take the engineer out of the engineering company but you can’t take the engineering out of the person – even when they’re in the middle of medical school!” she says. As luck would have it, Catherine had significant exposure to surgical robotics throughout her training; certainly more than any non-engineering medical student who didn’t have an engineerhusband working for the then-small start-up Intuitive Surgical and its da Vinci Surgical System. The da Vinci System is all about minimally invasive and safer surgery: fewer, smaller incisions and tiny wristed instruments – eight millimetres diameter – with a greater range of movement than the human hand going where hands and eyes can’t ordinarily go. Tip in the system’s 3D HD vision and surgeons are operating with enhanced vision, precision and control. Patients can expect faster recovery times and better outcomes. Catherine has played a pivotal role at Intuitive since graduating in 2006. “We’ve used the da Vinci robots to get to the point where you can do everything you’d do through open surgery,” she says. “We could be happy with that but I’ve always wanted to push us beyond the limitations of what the human eye can see and what the human hand can do. That might mean near infra-red fluorescence vision, using molecules to tag structures or cancer within the body and achieving


“Even as a medical student, my engineering notebook was always in my hand because I was designing things while I was learning about the body.”

good outcomes more easily by avoiding unnecessary cutting or leaving disease behind. It’s a bit like giving surgeons superpowers and I believe it’s the next big thing.” And as for job satisfaction, she says it’s about making a difference. “Some of the most exciting times are when your intervention changes the course of a patient’s life and you remain in their life-history as the person who gave them back functionality or a

future they thought they weren’t going to have. That’s such a profound interaction,” she says. Catherine is sure she’ll re-invent herself several more times before she’s done. For now though, there’s the cello – that weekly lesson, that struggle for daily practice – keeping her on the steep part of the learning curve. “It’s hard. It keeps me humble, keeps me from thinking that I pick things up too easily. But it’s worth doing. So I keep at it!”

About the Pickering lecture series We’re excited to welcome Catherine back to New Zealand next month for the Pickering Lecture series. She’ll be in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, talking about how advances in technology can save lives. The public Pickering Lecture series is held with the aim of raising awareness of engineering and promoting the profession to the public. Previous speakers include nanotechnologist Dr Michelle Dickinson in 2015 and Dr Charles Elachi, former Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in 2014. This year’s free Pickering Lecture series will be held from 16–19 May. Find out more and reserve your spot at

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2


Why is global mobility good for engineering? Kiwi engineers and IPENZ members talks about the knowledge, skills, experiences and opportunities they’ve gained while living and working somewhere new.

“The scale of projects and opportunities in Asia is so much greater. We don’t have that luxury of space that you get in New Zealand and Australia, so we have to go higher, bigger and deeper.” Andre Soh, Structural Design Team Leader for the DUO project, Beca. Read more on page 16.

April/May 2017

“It gives opportunities to learn from other countries – what works, what doesn’t … Looking at good practices in other countries can help provide a better solution.” Dr Bapon Fakhruddin MIPENZ, Senior Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Resilience Specialist, Tonkin + Taylor. Read more on page 21.

“Working in a bigger pond providers opportunities to get involved in a variety of large-scale projects.” Rob Ettema FIPENZ, Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, USA. Read more on page 24.

“As engineers from different countries work alongside each other more frequently, our worldwide capability grows and we’re better able to meet basic needs to an appropriate standard.” Basil Wakelin FIPENZ, industrial consulting engineers and former Chair of the International Engineering Alliance. Read more on page 26.



Double up A global team of engineering gurus are bringing an innovative building design to life in Singapore. Kiwi engineers involved in DUO talk about the project’s challenges and opportunities, working overseas and why international collaboration is fundamental for the development of the engineering profession. Writer Matt Philp

DUO’s unique facade against the sky. Photo: Beca.

The construction phase of DUO. Photo: Beca.

The soon-to-be-completed high-rise DUO development in Singapore includes, among other engineering challenges, a 21-metre cantilever projecting from midway up its otherwise slim profile. Raised in Singapore and educated at the University of Canterbury, Andre Soh is one of a team of New Zealanders and New Zealand-trained engineers working on DUO. His employer, Beca, is providing building services, civil and structural engineering and environmental sustainable design consultancy for the project. If working internationally is about getting to sink your teeth into big, boundary-pushing engineering projects, then the Kiwis have more than satisfied that aim. Designed by Beijing-based German architect Ole Scheeren and set in the heart of Singapore’s CBD, adjacent to the historic Kampong Glam district, the DUO development incorporates two unique curved towers – one commercial, with a five-star hotel on


top, the other luxury residential – totalling 160,000 square metres of gross floor area. The sculpted concave form of the towers is emphasised by honeycomb-like banks of hexagonal windows, while the entire development is set in a green sea of tropical plantings and incorporates a raft of sustainability features. Andre, whose interest in base isolation seismic engineering led to him working for several years in Beca’s Wellington office, has been part of the DUO project since its inception, despite returning to Singapore ostensibly to work on the city’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) developments. At the beginning, he helped to evaluate the engineering aspects of the eight or so shortlisted entries in an international architectural competition for DUO. Later, he and other local engineers and a few of Beca’s technical gurus worked with Scheeren’s team to figure out how to realise the winning design.

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Render of the front view of DUO, showing drop-off point and the landscaped plaza courtyard. Image: M+S Pte Ltd.

Turning a vision into reality The cantilevering was easily the most difficult aspect. “It certainly got us thinking hard,” says Andre. The architect’s vision included two cantilevered masses; a 21-metre projection on the commercial tower, and a 10-metre cantilever on the residential building. To make things more complicated, the client requested that the trusses had to be installed in non-rentable utility floor space – the top two floors of the commercial building, and level 31 of the residential tower. The solution was essentially a hangar system, which on the commercial building involved three mega-trusses with nine floors hanging below. “It’s like putting a bridge on a building that has large eccentric loads wanting to pull the building forward,” Andre says. “What makes it challenging is having a rather slim and very tall (49 storeys) residential block, with approximately 10 metres of cantilever and 29 floors outside

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“What makes it challenging is having a rather slim and very tall residential block, with approximately 10 metres of cantilever and 29 floors outside the main centroid wanting to tilt the building forward.” the main centroid wanting to tilt the building forward.” That also posed hard questions for the contractors, Japanese construction giant Obayashi. The design required an exacting construction sequence and total understanding of the relationship between the core walls and the cantilevers. Andre says “The challenge for this building is really in how the contractor erects it, because a lot of the


Left: Steel mega truss supporting the commercial tower during construction. Photo: Beca.

Below: Aerial shot of DUO in the final stages of construction. Photo: Obayashi Singapore Pte Ltd.

movement and creep exhibits itself during the construction phase”. For Andre, the stimulation of the DUO project just underlines his decision to return to Singapore. “The scale of projects and opportunities in Asia is so much greater. We don’t have that luxury of space that you get in New Zealand and Australia, so we have to go higher, bigger and deeper,” he says. It’s a sentiment echoed by Steve Perkins, Beca’s Project Director for the mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineering on DUO. Steve spent eight years with Beca in New Zealand, followed by a decade working in Canada, before shifting to Singapore.

“The scale of projects and opportunities in Asia is so much greater. We don’t have that luxury of space that you get in New Zealand and Australia, so we have to go higher, bigger and deeper.” There have been some adjustments to make with this latest move. “In Singapore things get built at a much faster pace, and people are comfortable [working] with less detail. People accept that maybe in the field they will need to do a bit of tweaking … That was the hardest thing to adjust to; that things we might take a year to design in New Zealand, we might only get half the time [in Singapore].” But he thrives on the challenge. “You get these opportunities to work on projects of scale and complexity that are very rare in New Zealand, but commonplace elsewhere,” he says. “DUO is one of the largest projects I’ve worked on; one of the most complex from an engineering perspective, and also from an administrative perspective, because it’s a hotel, and an office, and a residential tower – all of them separate legal entities.” When it came to the air conditioning systems, lifts, fire protection and so on, the easiest thing would have been to keep everything separate. “But that’s not very efficient from an engineering perspective,” says Steve, “so we spent a lot of time saying ‘let’s be practical here:


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what is everyone going to share, what has to be separate, and how will that work over the life of the [building]’. “The other big challenge for us was that big cantilever. It doesn’t just make things complicated for civil and structural, but for things like lifts. We had to work out, ‘Well, if the building starts bending over a little, how do we adjust for that?’”

Green spaces DUO has been built to meet Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark Scheme, achieving Platinum and Gold Plus awards. Among various sustainability features, it includes naturally ventilated spaces and rainwater harvesting, as well as sheltered bike parking lots and direct access to the Bugis MRT Station. Particularly striking are the extensive plantings on both towers, which have helped DUO to meet the goal of having green planted areas equivalent to the entire area of the site. Steve says the green roofs were made possible by tucking away all the usual rooftop services kit on a lower floor. “If you look down from the sky, all you can see is green, because we built the green roof on top of our equipment and designed it so that basically all the air and so on goes out through the sides of the building, not the roof.” Another Kiwi, Karl Wilkinson MIPENZ, played an important part in the development achieving its green credentials. As Beca’s Job Manager, Karl implemented the sustainable design

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strategies for the buildings’ M&E engineering systems, including energy efficient chiller systems, variable air volume air conditioning and active ‘micro-climate’ systems to serve selected outdoor public areas. “As well, through the fitout design for the hotel, I’ve been closely monitoring and communicating with the fitout team to make sure the sustainable design principles are maintained,” he says. Like the others, Karl’s thriving away from New Zealand shores, and cites the opportunity to work with diverse cultures as a highlight of these big international projects. “Our project team has included people from Singapore, Britain, Germany, Malaysia, India, Myanmar, China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and more,” he says. “I really enjoyed discovering the different cultural perspectives and adjusting my approach – it’s been a journey of constant learning.” And that, he reckons, is the key benefit of global mobility – learning. “I believe international collaboration is fundamental for the development of the engineering profession. In my view, when we work, live and learn in an international arena, it changes the way we perceive a problem – and the way we conceive the solution.”

Above left: Andre Soh, Structural Design Team Leader for the DUO project. Photo: Beca.

Above centre: Steve Perkins, Project Director for the mechanical and electrical engineering on DUO. Photo: Beca.

Above right: Karl Wilkinson MIPENZ, Job Manager for the DUO project. Photo: Karl Wilkinson.

Find out more Watch Andre talk in more detail about the cantilever solution used on DUO at



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Taking the broad view How do nations become more climate resilient? For hydrologist and international climate resilience expert Bapon Fakhruddin, the solution involves a combination of making use of probabilistic information and taking advantage of examples of best practice from around the world. Writer Matt Philp

Photo: Tonkin + Taylor

Scroll through Bapon Fakhruddin’s online postings and you start to experience something like vicarious jet leg. The Bangladesh-raised, Auckland-based hydrologist is the ultimate globally mobile engineer, his expertise in early warning systems for natural hazards routinely taking him to farflung corners of the planet. A random selection might include Tonga, where Bapon has been involved in climate risk management for the water sector; or Cambodia, where the focus is on building flood resilience for the roading network; or West Africa, a part of the world necessarily anxious about its vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Spend any time reading articles Bapon’s published online and a theme emerges: no matter the country or the nature of

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the natural hazard, far too little of what science can now tell us about risks ever makes its way into the decision-making domain. For all the advances in our capacity to have early warning of tsunamis, floods and other natural hazards, it’s still not being communicated to communities in a manner that makes them less vulnerable. For Bapon, employed by Tonkin + Taylor since 2015 as a senior strategist on disaster risk reduction and climate resilience, the disconnect is troubling. Growing up in floodprone Bangladesh, he was drawn to become a hydrologist because he wanted to help people. It remained his motivation as he completed a civil engineering degree at home and embarked on his graduate qualifications and peripatetic career. The devastating 2004


Photo: Tonkin + Taylor

PROFILE Dr Bapon Fakhruddin MIPENZ Based in: Auckland Role: Senior Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Resilience Specialist, Tonkin + Taylor Education: Bachelor of Science, Engineering in Civil Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh; Post-graduate diploma on Integrated Water Resources Management at United Nations University, Canada; Masters of Science in Engineering, Water Engineering and Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand; PhD Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Bapon is an expert in climate and hydrological assessment, early warning and emergency response and climate change adaptation and capacity building. He’s involved in several international organisations and research programmes – for example, as a science committee member for the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme, which is sponsored by the International Council for Science in partnership with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. He’s currently advising the Samoan government on potential adaption strategies to tackle Samoa’s vulnerability to climate change and to enhance its resilience to hydrological disaster. He says engineering solutions are becoming more needs- and demand-based. Future engineering will need to further develop its ability to clinch probabilistic methods, because of uncertainties in science, and to deal with complex risk scenarios. Read about Bapon’s work at


Boxing Day tsunami led to his first big international project. Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS) was motivated by a belief that the disaster could have been mitigated had there been effective warning. Bapon was engaged by USAID to help design the system and pilot it in 27 countries. That experience opened the door for a series of international projects after 2007, including for the UN. Among assignments in more than 25 countries, he worked to set up early warning systems for multiple hazards in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand. He was engaged by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), too, to develop coastal inundation forecasting systems in a number of territories.

Work to do From a Bangkok base, Bapon joined Tonkin + Taylor’s Auckland office in 2015. Why the move to New Zealand? Family was one factor – he has two small children and this country appealed as a safe place to raise them. But he also thought he could be useful here. “Compared to global advances on early warning systems, New Zealand is not that advanced at the moment,” he says. “It you look at the decision-making process, we don’t use much probabilistic assessment, even though it exists in the research domain.” This failure is not ours alone and it’s one of the key reasons why scientific advances in early warning aren’t translating into a safer world. “Policy makers don’t like probabilistic information,” says Bapon. “They always say ‘Just tell me, is it going to happen or not? Yes or no?’ But science has its uncertainties, and when we play with the models there is always some inbuilt uncertainty. You just have to accept that.” Below: Bapon at the 6th Meeting of the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project Steering Group in Miami, USA. Photo: Bapon Fakhruddin.

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There are more than “I can catalogue in my mind: ‘Okay, I saw a similar problem in Sri Lanka, or in Thailand, and the solution used there didn’t work because of these criteria.’ Conversely, looking at good practices in other countries can help provide a better solution.” Similarly, the public often fails to respond promptly to an early warning because they don’t understand and internalise the information. In an article on the Pakistan floods of 2014, Bapon laments a failure to learn lessons from previous destructive flooding, with his and others’ calls to improve community awareness of flood forecasting going unheeded. He says forecast science needs to be translated into a form that can be easily grasped and used. It’s exactly what he is trying to achieve in his ongoing work to build flood resilience for the Cambodian road network, by making the warning system more user-friendly and “needs-based” for different sectors. That said, disaster risk reduction is clearly a hugely challenging and complex task. “An end-to-end early warning system is not a linear, top-down system, but involves the interaction of many components at different levels. A gap or delay in the response of any of those components will result in the failure of early warning,” he says. “But there are a lot of benefits [to improving hazard warning systems]. It’s been well-published that if you spend one dollar on early warning it saves $40.” How does he think the engineering profession is doing at addressing climate change and natural hazards? Not badly, he says, noting that climate resilience is very much a buzz theme. “There has been so much research conducted in the last decade on how you ensure your engineering design or materials are more climate-resilient. Those innovations are already in place.” It’s a mission to which he remains dedicated, both in his work here and overseas. At Tonkin + Taylor his caseload is evenly split between domestic and international projects. Bapon believes global mobility is of real advantage to an engineer. “It gives opportunities to learn from other countries – what works, and what doesn’t,” he says. “I find I can catalogue in my mind: ‘Okay, I saw a similar problem in Sri Lanka, or in Thailand, and the solution used there didn’t work because of these criteria.’ Conversely, looking at good practices in other countries can help provide a better solution.”

April/May 2017


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Leaving on a jet plane… Living and working overseas is a Kiwi rite of passage. For engineers, it’s a great opportunity to learn new skills and techniques and to bring best practice examples back home. If you’re thinking about an international move, take a look at what these countries have to offer – and what you need to do to get there. Writer Erica Mather

Canada Many engineering occupations are expected to be in greater demand over the next five years.

KEY Skills shortages

Average salary (NZD)

Varies depending on province, industry and experience; $85k for civil, mechanical and electrical engineers. Living cost to salary ratio is similar to New Zealand.

Cost of living (based on Mercer’s 2016 cost of living survey) Immigration requirements

Kiwi engineers can immigrate as skilled workers by completing an Express Entry profile at A valid job offer will improve your chances of getting permanent residence. Despite the chilly winters, cities including Vancouver and Toronto consistently rank highly on the world’s most liveable cities list. To work as an engineer in Canada, you need to be licensed by the engineering regulator in the relevant province – see newcomers. “Now is a fantastic time to be working in Canada. Organisations of every size and type are beginning their asset management journey in a distinctly different context to the one most commonly used in New Zealand.” – Bernadette O’Connor TIPENZ, Senior Infrastructure Asset Management Consultant, Opus, British Columbia.

United States of America Software engineers and petroleum engineers are most in demand. $120k for civil, mechanical and electrical engineers; computer engineers can earn slightly more. High, particularly in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Engineers can apply for the non-immigrant visa US H-1B, allowing you to work if your employer sponsors you for up to six years. You can apply for a Green Card with a job offer – see If you’re prepared to become familiar with converting to imperial units and to see your annual leave allowance diminish, then set your sights on the land of the free, with its huge variety of things to see and do. Each State regulates the registration of engineers. Becoming a licensed engineer is not required for all jobs, although only licensed engineers can call themselves professional engineers. New engineers in the USA need to pass exams and gain several years of local work experience to meet licensure requirements. “Living in much of the USA is less expensive than in the larger cities of New Zealand, certainly Auckland. Working in a bigger pond provides opportunities to get involved in a variety of large-scale projects.” – Rob Ettema FIPENZ, Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University.


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United Kingdom Between 2012 and 2022, there’ll be more than 250,000 new vacancies, especially within the construction and information and communication sectors. Civil, mechanical and electrical engineering graduates – $37k; senior design engineer/project manager – $68k. High Kiwi engineers need a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer. A number of engineering specialisations appear on the Shortage Occupation List, so engineers can move to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) – shortage occupation visa. A move to the UK will broaden your work experience and put Europe at your doorstep, ready to explore. A Mutual Recognition Agreement between IPENZ and the Engineering Council is in place. The Engineering Council recommends contacting the relevant institution for specific details – find out more at “Chartership is more of a focus for employers here. The higher cost of living in London is not necessarily reflected in salary packages. I would recommend Kiwis look at moving to cities that are more affordable.” – Darren Hewett GIPENZ, Senior Mechanical Engineer, WSP, London.

Hong Kong Recruiters look offshore for specialist technical positions. Civil engineers: $65–97k. Senior engineers in design consultancies: $80–125k. Senior structural engineers: $97–118k. High – Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates. Kiwi engineers need a job offer for a position that cannot be filled by the local workforce before applying for the General Employment Policy (GEP) visa. New Zealanders could face tough competition from locals so being chartered before arriving in Hong Kong is definitely an advantage. This year could see a spike in employment as Hong Kong Airport plans a massive third runway project, which will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world. “Hong Kong is a good place to live with a relatively low tax rate and many outdoor activities. The cost of living, particularly accommodation, can be high. It’s a lot busier than New Zealand – a population of 7.3 million people are squeezed into an area 1/250th the size.” – Sean Purdie MIPENZ, Power Sector Lead – Asia Pacific, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Hong Kong.

Australia Engineers Australia reports a shortage in emerging areas of engineering like mechatronics, robotics and nanotechnology. Public sector – $90–128k; private sector – $81–139k. High, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. Kiwi engineers can work in Australia indefinitely with a Special Category Visa (subclass 444), granted on arrival – see If you’d like to jump the ditch for the Aussie experience, you won’t be the only one lured by the promise of sunshine and better pay. Australia’s engineering labour market relies heavily on skilled migration globally; in 2015 twice as many migrant engineers joined the workforce as locallytrained engineers. “Australia provides more exposure and greater challenges than New Zealand. My skills are highly valued here. But although the pay is higher, the cost of living is also higher.” – Mathy Jegan TIPENZ, Network Modelling Engineer, Unitywater, Queensland.

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The global mobility of engineers Basil Wakelin DistFIPENZ discusses the benefits and challenges of global mobility for the engineering profession. Writer Basil Wakelin DistFIPENZ

It’s often taken for granted that we can travel freely, visit foreign countries and perhaps practice our profession overseas. But professional mobility faces many challenges, beyond visa and language issues. Engineering covers a large range of theoretical and practical activity by labourers, tradespeople, technicians, technologists and professional engineers. Its remit is enormous; from essential civil infrastructure to biomedical engineering, software engineering and beyond. And while the fundamental principles are universal, specific skills may be required locally – like seismic engineering in New Zealand, for example. Engineering can be a humbling profession and there can be a considerable price for mistakes. We need to balance efficient use of materials and resources with the delivery of good quality engineering. We need high standards. So it’s for good reason that most countries work within stringent constraints of education, competence and ethics when licensing engineers. But consider the importance of global mobility in engineering. With it, we can maximise the availability of engineers where they are most needed. We can spread knowledge, share research, and


improve quality through peer review. As engineers from different countries work alongside each other more frequently, our worldwide capability grows and we’re better able to meet basic needs to an appropriate standard. We can do more to make sure imported products are safe and of adequate quality. It’s been argued that by providing sufficient clean drinking water and waste treatment, engineers have done at least as much for human health as the medical profession. In the same way, politics aside, engineers will have the greatest influence on the future health of the planet. With this enormous power comes the responsibility to make sure competent engineers are available in sufficient quantity wherever they are needed. This makes global mobility essential.

The challenges to mobility For global mobility to work, there’s the challenge of defining and assessing the proper education and competence of engineers, and minimum ethical standards. First world countries’ fears of an influx of engineers from overpopulated developing areas with marginal standards need managing. Conversely, we need to maximise the proper training and use of engineers in and from developing countries. We need to develop and maintain high quality engineering education, which demands high quality staff with international experience. We must demand consistently high ethical standards globally so we can maintain the almost-universal trust in engineers and avoid the over-regulation that can stifle

“Despite the challenges, global mobility and international recognition of common qualifications and competence in engineering are at the core of mobility and sustainable national and international development. I wonder if President Trump would acknowledge that.”

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innovation. And we need to do all this knowing we’re operating at a deficit of qualified professionals. The leading international organisation designed specifically to enhance mobility is the International Engineering Alliance (IEA), in which IPENZ plays a significant role. It has become the de facto chief setter of exemplar international standards for the education and competence of professional engineers, technologists and technicians. The IEA has three education Accords, three international competence agreements and one regional competence agreement. There are 26 full and provisional members who provide internationally recognised qualifications. Members include countries as diverse as the USA, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, India and China. Engineers with an Accord-recognised degree and/ or IEA competence recognition generally have streamlined recognition processes in other countries. The number of countries seeking to join the Accords is expanding rapidly, but the entry standards and criteria remain necessarily rigorous. While it is uncertain how many have benefited from IEA mutual recognition, the expanding number of countries wanting to join demonstrates the value of the IEA. It also demonstrates that the future of the IEA is assured, even though expansion will have its challenges. In international forums it is interesting to note how frequently New Zealand

has led the way. For example, New Zealand’s competency criteria preceded the development of the IEA criteria and had considerable influence in the drafting of these. Because of the relatively small population and professional cohort, New Zealand can experiment with organisational and regulatory change to our developmental advantage. We can be light on our feet. This privilege is not available in many largely federal countries, where change is generally much more difficult. New Zealand’s engineers are, in general, well-educated and trained with a can-do attitude and can offer a lot. Because of our country’s size, we get to participate in different industries and develop a wide range of experience, rather than becoming narrowly focused. Conversely we should recognise the need to import expertise in manufacturing and other sectors if we are not to remain too dependent on agriculture. We have a lot to offer – and a lot still to learn. Despite the challenges, global mobility and international recognition of common qualifications and competence in engineering are at the core of mobility and sustainable national and international development. I wonder if President Trump would acknowledge that.

Basil Wakelin DistFIPENZ is an industrial consulting engineer. He has been involved in education and competence setting and assessment for IPENZ since 1976, including as Chair of the Standards and Accreditation Board and as a member of the Competency Assessment Board. In 2003 he became involved in work with the International Engineering Alliance. He has mentored and reviewed several countries’ professional organisations for the Washington Accord, including Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. He was Chair of the International Professional Engineers Agreement and the IEA for some years.

Opinions submitted to Engineering Insight represent a writer’s perspective on issues of interest to the engineering profession. They do not reflect the views of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, its members, staff or affiliated organisations unless expressly stated. Writers must state their personal and/or professional involvement in the topic they are discussing.

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April/May 2017


A new pathway for membership The modern engineering profession encompasses more knowledge and skills from more sources than ever before. IPENZ’s new Membership Pathway is designed with that diversity of thought and experience in mind. But what does it mean for you? While the engineering profession has grown and diversified, incorporating more knowledge and technical expertise from different sectors than ever before, our classes of membership have not. We’re missing vital people from our ranks and we aren’t using membership as a fully successful benchmark for professional competence. We need a new pathway for membership. To help determine the best solution, we established an industry working group made up of a broad range of engineers from a variety of disciplines, career stages, qualifications and regions. Professor Rosalind Archer GIPENZ is Head of the Department of Engineering Science and the Mercury Chair in Geothermal Reservoir Engineering at the University of Auckland. She joined IPENZ as a Graduate Member when she returned to New Zealand from the United States of America in 2002, and has helped us develop our new Membership Pathway as a member of the working group. “IPENZ, like many similar membership-based organisations, is in a state of transition in how they interact with and deliver value to their members,” she says. “I come from a non-traditional engineering discipline – Engineering Science. It’s not a new programme and has a heritage of around 50 years, but many of our graduates don’t seek professional membership of IPENZ. I’d always wanted to try to unpick why, since accreditation by IPENZ is an important part of the undergraduate education we offer.” Our new Membership Pathway will help solve this paradox of why IPENZ-accredited graduates don’t choose to become members once they join the workforce. Maintaining relevance is one problem; appealing to the full range of engineering professionals is another. “At its heart, IPENZ needs a membership model that tests and recognises professionalism, engineering competence and problem-solving in the technical domain at the appropriate level,” says IPENZ Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene. “Our goal with this project is to create a simpler, more compelling Membership Pathway for a broader range of engineers and disciplines – one that is more attractive and inclusive and would accommodate the future introduction of a Government licensing scheme.”


What’s new? A new class of membership will pave the way for graduate engineers entering the profession. Designed to support new engineers as they transition into the workforce, the Emerging Professional membership class will help them develop into contributing members of the profession. “At times there were some spirited discussions about whether it was appropriate to hold long-term membership at graduate level,” says Rosalind. “We wanted to explore how that could be better managed – and the Emerging Professional class was the solution.” Over time, we’ll be building a programme that helps those new to the workforce – Emerging Professionals – to build their skills, and help fast-track them to the Member class. After a maximum of five years, Emerging Professionals become Members. The new Member class is not assessed. It creates a home for those who feel assessment is not relevant to them. The title, Member, is suitable for their whole career. Most of our current Graduate Members will become full Members. The next step will be Chartered Member, which is assessed to an internationally-benchmarked standard. Brett Williams, General Manager – Professional Standards at IPENZ, says “If you’re CPEng, you’ll automatically be eligible to become a Chartered Member. Once you become a Chartered Member, you’ll be eligible for CPEng if you pass a technical assessment. We’re also establishing categories of Chartered Membership for engineering technologists, engineering technicians and engineering geologists, opening up membership to a greater range of engineering professionals.” Why ‘Chartered’? Many professions use the term ‘Chartered’ to convey prestige and professional competency. Someone who’s a Chartered Professional is universally understood to have gained a certain level of skill in their field. By recognising our members as ‘Chartered’ under the new Membership Pathway, we’ll be able to offer that level of recognition and embed professionalism in the foundations of IPENZ membership. We’re also anticipating the introduction of a new licensing scheme and have had positive discussions with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

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Membership Pathway

(aligned to current CPEng Act 2002 and future licensing model)



Distinguished Fellow Fellow

Honorary Fellow

Chartered Member*

Chartered Professional Engineer Safety critical areas of engineering

Commitment to ethics and lifelong learning Member Non member

Emerging Professional

Affiliate Member

Student Specific technical competence

General engineering competence

* Sub-groups to be determined

The new Pathway caters for all career stages and has clear progression.

(MBIE) and the Chartered Professional Engineers Council (CPEC) about our plans. Brett says “We’ve worked with MBIE to develop the Membership Pathway proposal. We’ve focused on aligning it with future registration/licensing requirements. While the latest consultation document on occupational regulation is still under consideration by the Minister, we understand that our model is well aligned with proposed directions and that any conflict between CPEng and Chartered Member terminology will only be transitional”.

What’s next? With the new Pathway, we’ll ask members to make an annual commitment to the IPENZ Code of Ethical Conduct and to ongoing professional development. Under the Code, members are expected to maintain their skills and knowledge – and continual learning is the most effective way to do this. We’re using the opportunity the new Pathway provides to build a proactive approach to continuing professional development (CPD) into our membership requirements, which will help our members to improve their career prospects and raise the bar for the whole profession. So, under the new Pathway you’ll make an annual declaration to complete CPD activities each year, and you’ll record those activities in My IPENZ. We’ll be phasing this in over a two-year transition period and will focus on support

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and education during that time. If you’re retired, or on a career break, you won’t be expected to complete the full CPD requirement. If you’re on a career break, though, you’ll need to do enough to keep up to date with the profession – which will help you when you get back to work. Current members will transition to their new class in September, with the launch of the new Pathway and requirements in October. Over the first two years our focus will be on supporting you to meet your new obligations. It’ll be a bit of a shift, but we’re confident you’ll receive more benefit from this than the current system – and that the benefits of membership will help you in your career. We’re delighted to be able to invite more people into the IPENZ family, too. “The Membership Pathway project needed to reconcile the experience and opinions of engineers who had a diverse range of experience and membership status,” says Rosalind. “With the new Pathway, we have a clearer membership journey, more readily acceptable to engineers working in a range of organisations – from small companies through to those in academia.”

Find out more For more information about the new Membership Pathway, go to


Taking on the world It has a top speed of 160kmh and goes from zero to 100 in four seconds. A bullet on the race track, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the student-manufactured race car for a professional job. The University of Waikato Formula SAE team, WESMO, is taking on the world of race car manufacturing and proving that local student engineers have what it takes to compete on the world stage. Writer Almaz Rabb

2017 WESMO team member Oakley Drewet in the completed 2016 car.


Engineering Insight Âť Volume 18/2

The name of the game is Formula SAE and every year since 2006, a team of talented young student engineers from the University of Waikato form WESMO. Combining their passion for race cars with their practical knowledge of mechanical engineering, the team produce a single-seat, open-wheel race car to compete in the Australasian division of Formula SAE every December in Melbourne, Australia. Each year WESMO is led by a group of fourth-year engineering students who compete in Formula SAE as their honours research and design project. Alongside the final-year students, a handful of second and third-year engineering students lend a hand to the process, before leading the project themselves when they reach their final year of study. It’s a rare opportunity to make a real mark on the engineering world while still studying. WESMO sponsorship coordinator and suspension engineer, mechanical engineering student and IPENZ student member Nathan Senior says being part of WESMO is an amazing opportunity for young engineers. “I think WESMO gives students a chance to explore what is often a hobby in motorsport and apply a theoretical and practical engineering approach to solve problems and compete against other students from around the world,” says Nathan. “It’s an immense amount of work and it’s not for everyone. The few who do take on the challenge, though, are always well prepared for the work force. Formula SAE often gives you every aspect of project experience – both good and bad – in a high stress environment.”

A major drawcard With a history that dates back almost 40 years, Formula SAE asks students to design and build their car in accordance with a range of regulations set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) – all while studying full time. The nowinternational competition was first developed by the SAE student branch at the University of Texas, Austin in 1980 and has since grown to be one of the most exciting and wellrespected student competitions in the world. Competitive dynamic and static events include autocross, endurance and acceleration racing, which tests the cars’ abilities. Design judging and business presentations test the professionalism and industry understanding of the student teams. With an impressive track record that has seen WESMO place 12th in Australasia in 2014, 11th in 2015 and most recently ninth in 2016, WESMO has become a major drawcard, attracting many budding mechanical engineers to study at the University of Waikato.

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2016 WESMO Team Pictured from left: Angela Engelsman – Aerodynamics Engineer Joshua Sun – Suspension Engineer Josh Parkin – Chief Engineer/Data Acquisition and Controls Engineer Sean Craig – Brake System and Suspension Engineer Elliot Watson – Ergonomics Design Engineer Adam Wollin – Aerodynamics Engineer Seth Aandewiel – Deputy Team Leader/Chassis Engineer Nathan Senior – Sponsorship Coordinator/Suspension Engineer Brad Webb (in driver’s seat) – Project Manager/Drivetrain Engineer

Below: Rear subframe, shocks and drive train of the 2016 WESMO car.

Below right: The car’s cockpit.

Right: Sean Craig driving back from completing a run in an acceleration event. Photo: WESMO.

Opposite: Rear view of the completed 2016 car.


Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

Every year, the project begins with a handover from the previous year’s team and an assessment that informs the nature of the new project. “This is where competition performance and team dynamics are assessed and recommendations are given for potential developments,” says Nathan. The new team then moves onto a testing stage where they test the old car to get a sense of the main areas that need improvement. “Goals are quickly formed after a certain amount of testing and design is started,” says Nathan. “The team assigns areas of the car to an individual. Throughout the design phase individual’s work is peer reviewed and the overall car design comes together.” Once the design process is complete the students swap CAD for tools and manufacture begins. Due to budget constraints, the team recycles components from the old car, such as the engine and major electronic components. As the new car is manufactured, the old car is slowly disassembled. While the car the 2016 WESMO team created was very similar to the car that competed in 2015, small adjustments have contributed to its ongoing improvement. “This particular car looks almost identical to the 2015 entry having used the same wheels, body shell and powertrain. However, underneath it’s completely redesigned with a new chassis, suspension, driveline and controls,” Nathan says.

“This particular car looks almost identical to the 2015 entry having used the same wheels, body shell and powertrain. However, underneath it’s completely redesigned with a new chassis, suspension, driveline and controls.”

PROFILE Nathan Senior Based in: Hamilton Role: Engineering graduate and part of the WESMO racing team 2016 Education: Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) – Mechanical, University of Waikato, 2016 Nathan has always been interested in how things work and how different technology can be applied in new ways. “With a mechanic and engineering-orientated father, and multiple engineers in my wider family, I have always been drawn towards design,” he says. “Originally I intended to do architecture, but after attending engineering open days in the Bay of Plenty, I realised mechanical engineering was exactly what I wanted to do.” Nathan sees tomorrow’s engineers continuing the profession’s work of improving people’s lives. “From the projects I have seen at the University of Waikato, like automated fruit and vegetable harvesting, and the move towards electric cars in Formula SAE, I think that adapting newly developed technology to ‘old’ problems will be a way to improve quality of life and efficiency in many industries. I personally have an interest in heavy and agricultural industries and would like to be involved in the development of these industries with new technology”. Nathan recently joined Patchell Industries Ltd in Rotorua as a Design Engineer.

What makes the project unique is that students lead the process the whole way and are given the opportunity to take real ownership of the project. Mark Lay, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Waikato and academic supervisor for the WESMO team over the last seven years, says the skills and knowledge they pick up along the way benefit the students’ learning and development. “They learn project and time management,” he says. “They have to work around sponsors, suppliers, technicians and each other’s timetables. They have to learn things take three times as long as they expect. They have to design and build to standards set by Formula SAE and it has to work and be robust. The consequences of failure come with a cost – they might not pass safety inspections or

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Left: Solidworks render of the chassis. Image: Seth Aandewiel.

Right: Solidworks render of the jig used for assembling the chassis. Image: Seth Aandewiel.

brake and noise tests. The car might break down during the competition and then they would have to explain to their sponsors what happened. Plus, we don’t have automotive engineering at Waikato, so they have to learn a lot of things about cars, suspension, engines etc on the fly. It’s a huge challenge.”

High score At the end of each year, WESMO goes to Melbourne to compete, joined by a number of Australian universities as well as fellow Kiwis from the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury. “The competition is over four days. We have one day for setup, one for static events and two for racing,” says Nathan. “Static events are worth around 30 per cent of the final score”. Once the static events are over, the more exciting part of the competition begins as the races get underway. The changes the 2016 team made proved to be successful, with WESMO gaining their highest ever score (727.2/1000) and beating some of the best teams in the world to come first in the endurance competition. While the project was a great success, Nathan says that like in any long-term project, the team faced a few challenges along the way. “Throughout the year small setbacks meant we were very behind in the build process. This resulted in little testing and setup time, but because we’d made attention to detail and reliable part design our focus, the team had no major issues.”


“This year’s car was robust and well designed”, says Mark. “Everything from previous years had been taken on board and car performance and handling was good, meaning our drivers posted consistently good times around the track.” Now finished at university and moving into full-time employment, the team leave WESMO with some world class accomplishments and skills already under their belts. As Nathan explains, being involved in WESMO has given him the confidence to succeed in the engineering industry. “I have always been practically minded but I think that the WESMO project has helped me develop that even more. I am much better prepared to get to work in industry and start my engineering career.” The future looks bright for WESMO with a 2017 team already hard at work manufacturing a new car to compete again at the end of this year. They’ve got a new and even more ambitious target: to crack their long-term goal of placing within Australasia’s top five. It’s not just about race day, though – Mark says competitions like Formula SAE help young Kiwi engineers get ready for their careers: “They get to see how their car performs against other universities, they get to interact with other teams from around the world, there are consequences for failure. They carry what they’ve learnt for the rest of their lives. Plus, employers love that students have been involved in something so challenging as Formula SAE. It’s real engineering”.

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Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2


The meaning of Brexit Jonathan Gammon FIPENZ, Immediate-Past Chairman of the IPENZ UK Branch, presented evidence to an All Party Parliamentary Group at the Houses of Parliament in London on employment opportunities in post-Brexit Britain. In this guest article, he discusses the UK’s engineering skills shortage and what Brexit means for Kiwi engineers.

The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum in June 2016 had a record-breaking nationwide turnout of 72 per cent. The non-binding referendum resulted in 51.9 per cent of voters casting their ballots in favour of leaving the European Union (EU). The UK Government has announced plans to start the formal process of leaving the EU by March 2017, which would put the country on course to complete the withdrawal process two years later (Ed. Correct at press time). Membership of the EU had long been a topic of debate. The UK had

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joined what was then principally the European Economic Community (EEC or “Common Market”) in 1973 and that had an immediate and severe impact on New Zealand and other countries within the Commonwealth. Brexit provides the opportunity to re-establish the strong and mutually beneficial relationship between the UK and New Zealand, other Commonwealth countries and beyond. IPENZ is not alone in recognising that the UK has a considerable engineering skills shortage. But the UK Government has made it increasingly difficult and less attractive for New Zealand engineers to

come to the UK and, once here, to sustain their presence. Balfour Beatty, one of the UK’s leading construction companies, stated “Only 0.2 per cent of our 2016 recruits come from outside the EU due to the complexity, cost, administrative burden and time delays required in managing the current points-based sponsor licence system.” This is a situation which, in a PostBrexit World, has to be prevented from continuing. Current minimum salary requirements to be eligible for employment have to be reconsidered in order to provide the UK with a truly global


“We had a wholly unexpected and very welcome solution to the skills shortage, with Brexit potentially creating the same work opportunities in the UK for engineers from New Zealand as had previously been enjoyed only by those from the EU.”

catchment of engineers of all ages. Of all the non-EU labour available, New Zealanders fit in well in the UK due to the common language and culture, similar academic and professional training and similarities in engineering design and construction practice.

Employment prospects Over several years, the IPENZ UK Branch has been attempting to improve the employment prospects for New Zealand engineers in the UK. In September 2015, we responded to a request from the UK Government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) for a Submission addressing the employment of New Zealand engineers in the UK. The Submission noted that “Solutions [to the engineering skill shortage in the UK] are important for the growth of the economy generally, and for implementing, in particular, the UK Plan for Growth in the science and innovation economies.” Attempts in early 2016 to secure a response from MAC to that Submission were initially unsuccessful. But MAC guided IPENZ to approach them via a UK Government-recognised authority. Through my past Chairmanship of the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS), the UK Branch Committee was aware of the success of the Construction Industry Council’s (CIC’s) Ground Forum in placing ground engineering-related job titles on MAC’s Occupation Shortage List, thereby providing employment opportunities for those not resident in the European Union, including appropriately qualified and experienced engineers from New Zealand. We’d already planned to approach CIC to see if it could support our wider endeavours.


Then Brexit happened. We had a wholly unexpected and very welcome solution to the skills shortage, with Brexit potentially creating the same work opportunities in the UK for engineers from New Zealand as had previously been enjoyed only by those from the EU. We made contact with the CIC towards the end of 2016. Thanks to the CIC’s efforts and encouragement, I gave evidence at the Houses of Parliament on 24 January 2017 to an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Excellence in the Built Environment. The APPG has been charged with understanding and reporting on the consequences of Brexit for the construction industry, including the potential impact on the skills pool, what government could do to mitigate this impact and what the industry could be doing itself to increase the talent pool. The UK construction industry relies on workers from the EU, at a trades and professional level. In September a coalition of professional bodies warned the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis MP, that the UK’s construction skills crisis could severely worsen if the government does not take steps to ensure access to a skilled workforce during its postreferendum negotiations. My evidence to the APPG addressed the skills shortage, mobility agreements and entry requirements, professional recognition and the UK’s existing skills-base. In my evidence, I said although professional recognition facilitates the movement of engineers from one country to another, it does not in itself confer any special privileges in terms of immigration. Other matters, which are of a restrictive nature and not of a beneficial nature

Jonathan Gammon FIPENZ. Photo: Supplied.

in terms of employment opportunities, require far closer attention. While the UK has initiated and funded science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-focused education policies, meeting the shortfall of engineers will not be satisfied by mobility agreements and education policies alone. Even if such policies meet with exceptional success, there is no evidence that the predicted shortfall in the number of engineers needed in the UK can be satisfied from within the country’s “native” population. With low unemployment and improving levels of pay in New Zealand, and the counter-attraction in at least civil engineering of infrastructure projects nearby in Australia, this isn’t just a case of hanging a “we are open” notice on the UK’s front door. To tackle the skills shortage in the UK, a concerted effort will be necessary to attract engineers to come here at all.

Find out more The APPG completed their evidence sessions by the end of February this year and the UK Branch awaits their findings report. Read the full text of Jonathan’s evidence at

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

» Ask the experts


Ask the experts


Experts from IPENZ, the engineering profession and other fields answer questions about professional practice, ethics, continuing professional development and other professional matters. Got a question? Email to be featured in our next issue.

International education Accords What is the Washington Accord and how does it support engineers’ global mobility?

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Brett Williams, General Manager – Professional Standards, says: The Washington Accord is an international agreement that recognises signatory countries’ accredited engineering qualifications as being substantially equivalent. The Washington Accord is one of a series of agreements managed by the International Engineering Alliance. It acts as a benchmark standard for professional engineering education programmes. IPENZ is New Zealand’s signatory to the Accord and our accreditation of BE (Hons) programmes provides assurance that our professional engineering degrees align to international standards.

There are 18 signatories that make up the Washington Accord, including the six original signatories: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. New Zealand engineering graduates looking to work in other signatory countries can benefit from greater recognition of their qualification and streamlined professional membership/ registration processes. Equally, engineers arriving in New Zealand with a Washington Accord-accredited qualification are recognised as having met the benchmark academic standard for professional membership of IPENZ (MIPENZ) and registration as a Chartered Professional Engineer.



The Sydney and Dublin Accords sit alongside the Washington Accord. These act as the benchmark for engineering programmes that set the educational base for engineering technologists and engineering technicians respectively. Learn more about the Accords at

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Connect SCIRT alumnus Phil Wilkins MIPENZ recently published his children’s book Christchurch – Our Underground Story. He talks about what motivated him to write it. We welcome our new General Manager – Engineering Leadership, Tania Williams. Plus, meet our Manager – International Relations Charles Wilmot, who talks about his role promoting engineers’ global mobility and supporting the International Engineering Alliance.

Engineering students succeed on world stage Engineering students from the University of Canterbury have won a prestigious design excellence award for their first-ever entry in the annual Shell Eco-marathon in Singapore. The international event challenges students from around the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car and is part of Shell’s approach to meeting the world’s energy needs in a responsible way. This is the first year a team from New Zealand has competed in the Shell Eco-marathon. The primary goal of the competition is not to break speed records or finish

University of Canterbury’s electric, fully recyclable car. Photo: University of Canterbury.

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first but to build a vehicle that consumes as little fuel as possible. Although energy efficiency is the core focus, the competition includes awards for vehicle design and innovation, health and safety, and teamwork. The University of Canterbury (UC) team qualified for entry with an electric and fully recyclable car. In accordance with the competition rules, all of the electric motor controller electronics and software were designed and developed by the students. A brushless DC motor is used, which made the engineering more complex, but provides superior efficiency over alternatives. In a world first, the UC students

produced the vehicle entirely from thermoformed plastic sheets with the support of Talbot Technologies, including the chassis and the outer panels. “We had the idea of an all-plastic car, but initially didn’t really believe it was feasible,” said mechanical engineering student and IPENZ student member Reuben Audley, the team’s Technical Director. “Our structural design calculations showed otherwise, so we moved forward with it and are delighted with the result.” In awarding the team the design prize, the judges’ citation said the car “brought fresh thinking about recyclability to the competition. By entering a car largely made of a common thermoplastic, the team showed a refreshing and holistic approach to design – it chose a material that was easy to work with, light, low-cost and easy to re-use.” The judges said the car paid due care to driver safety and comfort, was commendably well finished and built to the highest standard they had seen. The Shell Eco-marathon, which dates back to 1939, sees about 5,000 student participants every year, applying their skills and getting hands-on training and knowledge in the field of low-carbon mobility. The competition inspires the engineers of the future to turn their vision of sustainable mobility into reality and sparks passionate conversation about energy efficiency and what could be possible for cars on the road.


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IPENZ appoints new General Manager – Engineering Leadership


IPENZ Chief Executive Susan FreemanGreene is delighted to announce the appointment of Tania Williams as General Manager – Engineering Leadership. Tania replaces Graham Dilks, who took up a role with the Ministry of Defence in January. Susan says that in addition to being an experienced engineering leader and well known throughout the industry, Tania has been a staunch supporter of engineering graduates and of raising engineering’s profile. Susan says “I know that, like Graham, Tania will build strong connections between IPENZ, industry, and other key stakeholders. She will help IPENZ take a lead on issues that matter to engineers, and spearhead our thought leadership and lobbying work.

IPENZ members appointed to Boards of Inquiry

“I would also like to express our gratitude to Kieran Devine FIPENZ, who has stepped in to cover this role during the vacancy.” Tania comes to IPENZ from MWH, most recently leading water resources. Tania’s first day at IPENZ was Monday 20 March.

Alan Bickers DistFIPENZ and Nigel MarkBrown MIPENZ have been appointed to Boards of Inquiry for Auckland roading projects, the Government announced in February. Nigel will serve on the Board for the Northern Corridor Improvements Proposal, which will complete Auckland’s Western Ring Route and establish motorway interchange connections at SH1 and SH18. Alan joins the Board for the East-West Link roading proposal, which involves constructing a new fourlane arterial road between SH20, the Neilson Street Interchange and SH1 at Mt Wellington.

Group CEO appointed at Fulton Hogan Cos Bruyn FIPENZ is returning to Fulton Hogan to serve as Group Chief Executive Officer. Cos was previously CEO for Downer New Zealand, following a 15-year career in a broad range of management roles at Fulton Hogan. He will take up his new role in the second half of 2017.

Professional Development Partnerships renewed Congratulations to our Professional Development Partners (PDPs) who have successfully completed their reviews: Abley Transportation Consultants, Davis Ogilvie & Partners, AECOM, Dodd Civil Consultants and Ergo Consulting. Find out more about our PDP Programme at


Earthquake Resistant Foundation Design MBIE and NZGS have jointly published Guideline Document Module 4: Identification, Earthquake Resistant Foundation Design. Learn more about these Guidelines and their context within New Zealand building regulations by attending a one-day course. Presented by Dr Kevin McManus FIPENZ and Paul Campbell MIPENZ, practical examples will be used to demonstrate design procedures in detail. This course is a must for all geotechnical and structural engineers involved in foundation design for structures. Find out more about this course and others we have available at


Hynds Group founders are 2017 Business Hall of Fame Laureates John Hynds ONZM and Léonie Hynds are to be inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame. They will receive the honour in recognition of their contribution to New Zealand’s economic and social development through manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure. They will be inducted at a Gala Dinner in Auckland on 27 July. John is a Companion Member of IPENZ.

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

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Responding to mistakes Mistakes happen in every workplace. Helen Davidson, our General Counsel, discusses why an environment of open and honest discussion is the best way to spot a mistake and to prevent it from happening again. As professionals, we go to work each day to do the very best we can. We don’t intend to make mistakes, but even the best and most experienced of us are fallible. Too often, our natural tendency is to cover up mistakes for fear others will think we’re incompetent. This benefits no one. Through acknowledging and learning from our mistakes, we can identify areas for quality improvement. In an environment where professionals feel comfortable discussing mistakes openly and honestly with their managers and colleagues, more mistakes are detected, contained and ultimately reduced. When mistakes are discussed openly with affected parties, complaints and claims may be avoided. Several studies in the United States show a reduction in litigation following the adoption of open disclosure policies. If you think you’ve made a mistake, discuss it with your manager. Own the mistake. Be willing to look at it objectively, recognise what went wrong and understand why your choice or actions were the wrong thing to do. Then fix it and put safeguards in place so it won’t be repeated. If you’re a manager, be receptive and supportive. Let those involved in the mistake be a part of putting it right, so they can learn from it. Always document the steps you take to respond to a mistake.

“In an environment where professionals feel comfortable discussing mistakes openly and honestly with their managers and colleagues, more mistakes are detected, contained and ultimately reduced.” If evidence of poor service is found, acknowledge it to any affected party, demonstrate what you have done in response and offer a remedy. This could be an apology, an offer to put things right (as much as you can), reimbursement of fees or compensation. Apologising to affected parties could clear the air quickly, restore goodwill and trust, and stop the situation from escalating to a formal complaint. If necessary, talk to your professional indemnity insurer about what happened and what you plan to do – they’ll let you know if they think there is a better way to handle things.

How you respond to a mistake may be relevant in any subsequent complaints process. For example, a complaint about the nature of comments an engineer made during a meeting was quickly resolved when the engineer offered an apology to the person affected by his comments. Last year a disciplinary committee found an engineer negligent for errors in his design work and specifically considered the engineer’s ownership of the error and willingness to engage in the complaints process when deciding what would be an appropriate penalty order to make in response. The drivers of IPENZ’s new complaints resolution process are learning, quality improvement and appropriate accountability. People make honest mistakes. Our role is to make sure that, when those mistakes escalate to a complaint, a proportional and fair approach is taken. We can only do this with the cooperation of those involved in the process. If a mistake you are involved with is escalated to a complaint, be open with us about what you think happened, and what you have done to stop it happening again. Engage with the process. The way you do this may be the difference between us being able to resolve a matter promptly, rather than through a more formal and stressful process.

Find out more For more information about the complaints resolution process, email Helen (concerns@ipenz.


SAVE materials SAVE labour SAVE time SAVE construction cost SAVE maintenance Phone: 0800 422 692

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How far we’ve come

Phil with his son at the official book launch on 25 February.

Phil Wilkins MIPENZ was contracted to the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) from Beca after the 2011 earthquake. Together with the illustration skills of chemical engineer Martin Coates, Phil has written a children’s book that shines a light beneath the rubble and concrete to demystify the role of engineers in putting the city’s infrastructure back together. Phil talks about his career, the motivations behind his book and the future of engineering.

Writer Erica Mather

Why did you become an engineer? I enjoyed physics, maths and geography at high school, and was obsessed with Lego. I have always liked problem solving and thinking logically. I also have a deep desire to help people and have a positive impact on the world. Civil structural engineering is an exciting industry to work in – engineers have a key role and responsibility in shaping our wibbly-wobbly world.

What have been the highlights of your engineering career? Working at SCIRT was just phenomenal – tackling some 700 projects over five years and spending around $2.2 billion. SCIRT was one of those rare projects where clients, consultants and contractors all pulled together for a common cause. I worked on the asset assessment of structures and project prioritisation through to design.

What’s the story behind your book, Christchurch – Our Underground Story? I wrote the book to educate and inspire our kids, and to promote the industry to the wider public. I hope it will remind people of how far we’ve come, and of the unsung engineering heroes that rebuilt the city. Martin was very excited about the opportunity to be involved; it only took one quick call to get him on board as illustrator. The response has been great. Nearly half the books pre-sold before the official launch. Through the kind sponsorship of local engineering companies, all proceeds from the book, around $20,000, will be donated to Ronald McDonald House South Island; to support their facilities providing a ‘home away from home’ for families who must travel to Christchurch and Southland hospitals for their child’s medical treatment.


Phil Wilkins MIPENZ Based in: Christchurch Education: Masters – Civil and Structural Engineering, Loughborough University UK, 2003 Role: Senior Civil Structural Engineer, Beca

What will the future of engineering look like? Limited natural resources like fresh water and energy, combined with world population growth, means as engineers we will need to be smarter about how we go about our work. Engineers have been there since the beginning, fundamentally changing the way we live; from steam power to electric power to information technology. Now, as we approach the fourth revolution, which will fuse the physical, digital and biological worlds, we get the chance to do it all over again. The future of engineering is going to be really exciting – I can’t wait to see where it goes and to be part of it!

Find out more Order your copy of Christchurch – Our Underground Story ($20) at

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2

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Remuneration Survey: median base salary by qualification Our latest Remuneration Survey revealed engineers continue to experience strong salary growth. It also outlined the other factors that affect engineers’ salaries, including how engineering qualifications affect median base salary. The size of the bubbles in this graph show how many people there are with each qualification. The centre of each bubble pinpoints the median base salary (across all career stages) for people with that qualification.

$140,000 $120,000 $100,000

Find out more Access the full results of the Remuneration Survey by logging into My IPENZ.

$80,000 $60,000 $40,000 $20,000 $0

KEY Bachelor of Engineering (Washington Accord)

Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Sydney Accord)

Diploma of Engineering (Dublin Accord)


Master’s degree

Postgraduate certificate or diploma


Kaileshan Thanabalasingham 1970–2017 Kaileshan Thanabalasingham has died at the age of 47. Kailesh passed away in hospital following a fatal fire at his Auckland home that also caused the death of his son, wife and mother-in-law. Kailesh moved to Canada as a result of unrest in his native Sri Lanka. He gained a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science before moving to New Zealand more than 10 years ago. He served as a dedicated and active member of the IPENZ-supported Special Interest Group for Immigrant Engineers (SIGIE) for many years. In 2011, he stepped down from the Group to serve as Executive Officer of the Refugee Council of New Zealand. SIGIE former Chairperson Namir Amso

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(2003–2006; 2007–2010) worked with Kailesh in SIGIE in 2010. He says “Kailesh was a valuable addition to SIGIE, helping with the Group’s initiative – the Supporter Programme – which helped new migrant engineers settle well and find their first engineering job in New Zealand. He also helped coordinate the competence assessment workshops jointly organised with IPENZ National Office”. SIGIE Treasurer and former Chairperson Zaid Essa (2010–2013) says “Kailesh took every opportunity to assist new immigrants who were trying to find their way in New Zealand, settle in a decent professional job and start building a better life for their families. He was

always the first to raise his hand and take initiatives and challenges to benefit the wider group. He worked hard over two years to secure sponsorship for SIGIE. He was successful in 2011, securing sponsorship from SkyCity in Auckland to purchase some essential equipment for the group. “Losing Kailesh left those who knew him devastated and in shock. He left behind a unique legacy that many will remember and appreciate for many years. He changed many people’s lives by getting them to start a new life here in New Zealand. We all will miss Kailesh – the colleague, the friend and most importantly the gentle soul”.


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David Thom 1924–2017 David Thom CBE, DistFIPENZ, FICE died in Auckland on 19 January at the age of 92. He changed the way engineers in New Zealand think and act towards the environment and had a major influence on environmental thinking for engineers worldwide. Having served as a navigator during World War Two, David returned to New Zealand in 1946 to undertake his engineering training for the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK) examinations at Seddon Memorial Technical College (now Auckland University of Technology). Under an indentured apprenticeship with Andrew Murray in 1950, he surveyed the environmental deterioration of the Maketu estuary in the Bay of Plenty and proposed remedies. He joined Jones, Adams, Kingston in 1952 and became a partner in 1957 in the consultancy which became Kingston, Reynolds, Thom and Allardice. His main role was developing environmental practices in relation to civil engineering and was coordinator of environmental impact reports, planning and policy studies, particularly in relation to harbours and coastline. He was also appointed Adjunct Professor at UNITEC from 2000 to 2005. It was the proposed 30-metre raising of Lake Manapouri for hydro-electric generation in the 1960s that raised David’s concern for the environment. As Chairman of the New Zealand Institution of Engineers Annual Conference in 1965, he arranged the theme “Engineering and Environment”. But more needed to be done, so David organised a New Zealand Institution of Engineers Conference in 1967 called “Countryside in 1980”, followed by the “Population Conference” in 1972. At these conferences, engineers realised environmental issues had to be given careful consideration. Responding to David’s initiative, the Government in 1969 brought in the requirement that all major projects must have environmental impact reporting. David’s 1970 talk,


Distinguished Fellow of IPENZ in 1996. Emeritus Professor David Elms worked closely with David on many projects and wrote the foreword to Onset of the Environmental Age. He says “David was a great engineer with a strong moral imperative to do what is right. This resulted in his strong and effective involvement with the natural environment. His engineering was environmentally sympathetic. He was the moving force behind the WFEO’s adoption of its Code of Environmental Ethics. He played a crucial role in developing the nation’s attitude to the environment through the “Roads in the Landscape”, changed the way engineers designed roads. David was a superb leader and original thinker. During the 1990s, he became widely regarded and respected within the international engineering community as a leading advocate for engineering and sustainable development and care for the environment. He was invited as a guest speaker to many national and international engineering conferences. He was a member and chairman of many national and international organisations that were concerned about engineering and environmental issues, including President of the NZ Institution Engineers in 1979–1980, Chairman Environmental and Engineering Committee, World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) 1991–1999 and Vice President of WFEO 1995–1999. He was also a prolific writer. His books included Onset of the Environmental Age – the Papers of David Thom, which was published in 2014 and launched at his 90th birthday party. David was recognised both nationally and internationally by many awards, including the Fleming Medal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Gold Medal of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a CBE in 1981. He was made a

national bodies he headed, such as the Environment Council and the National Parks and Reserves Authority. He guided the development of two new national parks and laid the foundations for a third. “David took a long view. He was strongly supportive of policy frameworks and felt the way forward had to be through political action. In engineering education, it was not so much that he hoped for curriculum changes as that he believed that we engineers needed to change our very way of thinking and adopt a systems approach, seeing the whole as well as dealing with the detail. “David was different, and in the best sort of way. He followed a path he thought was right, and it was not always a path of convention. Following your own path can be lonely, but David was able to reach out and share his vision with an engaging good humour, bringing people along with him into his world.” David is remembered as humorous, warm, a cheerful good friend, and a mentor to many. In his writings and his actions he did much to change the world – the worlds of engineers and educators, and the greater world beyond. Supplied by John La Roche. Photo courtesy of the family.

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2


WOOD ENERGY FUELLING THE SOUTH Over the last three years 7 new biomass boilers have been successfully installed in Southland, with a further 5 committed to be installed in 2017. The combined environmental impact of these is a 6,830 tonnes per annum reduction in carbon emissions, equivalent to emissions from 2,530 cars. Another 7 new and converted biomass systems are in the pipeline that will remove a further 19,400 tCO2 per annum, equivalent to emissions from 7,190 cars.

A drive to improve the air in Southland has seen businesses and councils switch from coal to renewable fuel sources and is delivering health, financial and environmental benefits to the community. Venture Southland, the economic development agency for Invercargill City, Southland District and Gore District councils, partnered with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to deliver the Wood Energy South Project. Its purpose is to lower energy-related carbon emissions in Southland, improve air quality and demonstrate the cost and life cycle benefits of wood-chip and wood-pellet fuelled boilers utilising local waste wood. A sustainable regional market Wood Energy South’s goal has been to establish a regional cluster of wood energy users in commercial and industrial applications to reduce emissions, to utilise an abundant waste wood resource and to promote an efficient renewable energy source. Southland harvests one million tonnes of logs annually, and in the process produces 200,000 tonnes of wood waste. This is forecasted to increase to 600,000 tonnes per annum over the next 30 years, enough to heat 65 Olympic sized swimming pools per year. This successful project has demonstrated: • Organisations using wood energy can save 40 – 60% fuel costs compared to LPG, while benefitting from reduced emissions and improved air quality • Sustainable regional markets are possible. Southland businesses considering switching from fossil to wood fuels can be confident that there is security of supply through to 2050

“One of the advantages of using wood chips for boilers was that it used wood that would otherwise be waste. If wood boilers can be widely adopted in Southland, despite the large amounts of coal available, it means it could work anywhere in New Zealand where a local wood fuel is available.” EECA project director Bill Brander. Collaboration for innovation Industry leaders from the Bioenergy Association of New Zealand (BANZ), boiler suppliers, wood fuel suppliers, forestry owners, and heat plant consultants have come together with customers to achieve economic and environmental outcomes in the South. “One of the most valuable components of this project has been the partnership between Venture Southland and EECA,” - Venture Southland Project Coordinator Cathy Jordan. “This combined with the knowledge sharing and support of the Bioenergy Association and industry is an incredibly progressive and positive approach. This provides a great model as New Zealand works towards meeting its Paris targets.” Venture Southland is now working with BANZ and other regional councils to share the knowledge gained from this project and to offer support to see the expansion of the Wood Energy South model in other regions. BANZ Executive Officer Brian Cox says “Wood Energy South have not just successfully sold the concept, they’ve proved ongoing fuel supply in the region and highlighted long term financial and environmental gains. We now need to see the same work undertaken all over New Zealand.”

• Forestry owners and sawmills benefit from diversifying their businesses and deriving value from waste.


McCallums Group Managing Director, Wayne McCallum and Niagara Woodfuels Representative, David Blue

Switching from LPG and light fuel oil to wood chip-fired boilers has helped Southland drycleaners McCallums Group cut fuel costs by two thirds. In 2008 Managing Director Wayne McCallum began investigating new heating options for his business. “We had one LPG and two oil-fired boilers and they were proving cost prohibitive to continue operating.” “Since switching to wood energy seven years ago, we’re saving $323,000 a year in fuel costs and a further $14,500 in avoided boiler maintenance. We have also logged more than 1,400 tonnes of carbon emission reductions.” Wayne was also interested in future-proofing his business from upcoming air emissions regulations. While the mainstream solution was to install bag houses, Wayne researched and developed a flue scrubber that used waste water from the laundering and preheated the cold water into the boiler. “Now, water entering our Otepuni Avenue plant is heated by a wood fired boiler and used in seven different ways within the plant including laundering product, collecting heat and scrubbing emissions. The emission control was the primary purpose of the scrubbing system - any heat recovery was considered an added benefit”. The McCallums boiler was tested in 2015 and emissions were less than 90mg/m³ and the scrubber was estimated to save $5 per day. “There are not many emission control systems that put money into your back pocket”.

If McCallums was burning lignite, their emissions would have been 2,300 tCO2-e. They produce less than 3% of that using wood energy. Particulates produced by burning coal are about the tenth of the thickness of a single human hair and are dangerous to health. The smaller the particle, the deeper they can embed in your lungs. The number of New Zealanders who die every year from inhaling particulates is four times the number killed on our roads. Many more New Zealanders develop debilitating respiratory conditions. Environment Southland is reviewing the particulate matter standards in the Invercargill and Gore air sheds. Stage one, covering domestic particulate emissions is completed and stage two, covering industrial emissions is at the scoping stage. “Every step industry takes towards cleaning up the air contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of the community. Businesses that have adopted low particulate-emitting technologies, such as Splash Palace and McCallums Dry Cleaners, provide excellent examples for others to follow,” said Environment Southland air quality scientist Owen West. Full Case studies are available on


Specifier Practice Paper for Wood Fuelled Industrial and Commercial Heating Systems

business criteria and basic economic viability, system and project design (heat loads, fuel supplies, plant design), and contracting.

To assist professionals through the process of wood energy commissioning, Venture Southland and EECA have developed a practice paper for consultants and specifiers. This paper has been adopted as a Bioenergy Association technical guide and provides guidance on evaluating and carrying out wood-fuelled industrial and commercial heating system projects.

The paper does not (and cannot) provide detailed design information for the full range of plant and issues involved, but it does seek to identify and discuss the issues that must be resolved, and proposes good practice approaches for achieving these resolutions. For many project aspects, checklists are provided with the aim of assisting the consultant/specifier in ensuring that all relevant issues are addressed.

The paper covers hot water and saturated steam plant appropriate for small to medium commercial and industrial plant, and common wood fuel types. The paper considers initial project evaluation to establish

Wood Energy South in partnership with the Bioenergy Association is running a course using the practice paper in June, more details on this course below.

SPECIFIER PRACTICE COURSE Invercargill, June 2017 Technical course for professionals, including consultants and engineers, delivering wood energy projects. The course will draw on the expertise of industry players and utilised a number of key resources such as the consultant specifier paper and other BANZ Technical guides. The course aims to engage participants via discussion and practical case studies that concentrate on the key components of evaluating biomass energy systems. The course would also be suitable for staff or organisations that are considering wood energy plants. Improve your knowledge and technical training while earning CPD points.

Register your place at


Event for asset managers, policy specialists, consultants and engineers. This symposium will present the results of the Wood Energy South project and provide the opportunity for decision makers and technical specialists to gain knowledge of the sector and opportunities for adopting wood energy.



9:00-10:30am Registrations, Welcome and Project Overview

1:30-3:00pm What can other regions learn from Southland? This session will focus on key learnings and Government national policy on process heat.

SESSION 2 11:00-12:30pm This session will provide an insight into the challenges and opportunities of adopting wood energy. Hear first-hand from a range of businesses and organisations that are involved in the wood energy sector, what it has meant for them or their reasons for considering wood energy in a region where lignite is so cheap.

SESSION 4 3:30-4:30pm Site visits to nearby wood chip user Splash Palace where attendees will get an opportunity to see the system operating and logistics of the fuel delivery.

Register your place at


Promoting global mobility Charles Wilmot is our Manager – International Relations. He works with international engineering organisations and oversees IPENZ’s Secretariat service to the International Engineering Alliance. He talks about his role in negotiating international agreements and preparing for the next IEA meeting in Alaska.

What do you do at IPENZ? I develop and maintain an international strategy and work with key engineering organisations around the world to advance our members’ global mobility. I’m also responsible for providing Secretariat services to the International Engineering Alliance (IEA). While it’s largely an administrative role, the highlights include interaction with intelligent and polite academics and industrial engineers from around the world. There is never a dull moment. The IEA is made up of members from 35 jurisdictions within 26 countries, across seven international agreements so it’s not unusual for me to hear from colleagues in different time zones at odd times. I respond to enquiries about everything from joining the Alliance to requests for support from members’ jurisdictions on how they can satisfy their membership obligations. A key focus for me is making sure the six-yearly reviews of IEA members’ activities are running smoothly, so they’re ready for reporting to the Alliance’s annual meeting, held in June each year.

What’s your top priority right now? I’m negotiating a unilateral agreement with the State of Nevada in the USA. Each US State regulates licensing for engineers working there. The aim of the agreement is to recognise the similarities in licensing standards and practices between Nevada and New Zealand. This is the first such agreement with a US State and I’m hopeful this might serve


as a template for further agreements with other US States. I’m also completing the minutes of the last governing group meeting, and preparing 12 review reports for presentation at the annual meeting. And I’m getting ready for a further 10 reviews scheduled for later in 2017.

What should we be looking out for over the next couple of months? Earlier this year, a team visited Pakistan to assess whether they’re ready for full Washington Accord Signatory status. We’re hoping for a good result. The Netherlands and Chile are applying for provisional membership this year, too. We’re busy preparing for this year’s IEA annual meetings, which will be held in Anchorage, Alaska in June. The sun never sets there at that time of year. It will be quite an experience.

Anything else we should know? IPENZ has secured the IEA Secretariat contract until 2019, with right of renewal through until 2021. This is great news for the Institution.

Find out more Go to for more information about the International Engineering Alliance and how it supports engineers’ global mobility.

Engineering Insight » Volume 18/2


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Engineering Insight April/May 2017  

Global mobility: Engineering's international community

Engineering Insight April/May 2017  

Global mobility: Engineering's international community