Mike Stannard

Citation on the award of Life Membership, April 2017

Mike Stannard is conferred with Life Membership for his significant contribution to earthquake engineering in New Zealand.

During his time as Government’s Chief Engineer, firstly at the Department of Building and Housing and more recently at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Mike has been a strong supporter of the activities of the Society, and actively involved in a wide range of initiatives that have benefitted the earthquake engineering profession. He has demonstrated a special ability to understand technical issues and put them in a policy and regulatory context.

Prior to the Canterbury Earthquakes, Mike had overall responsibility for the Department’s work on 500E reinforcing steel, precast concrete floors, earthquake prone buildings, slender precast panels and post-disaster rapid evaluation of buildings. Operationally, he was involved in the response to the December 2007 Gisborne earthquake, and was a co-leader of the NZAID NZSEE Earthquake Assistance Project Team that carried out evaluation of damaged government buildings after the Padang, West Sumatra earthquake of 30 September 2009.

Mike was the MBIE lead for technical work relating to the response and recovery following the Canterbury Earthquakes.  Initially he was a key member of the team assisting Christchurch City Council with rapid building assessments following the 4 September 2010 Darfield Earthquake. Following the 22 February 2011 Christchurch (Lyttelton) earthquake, he initiated and participated in the investigation into the Christchurch CBD building collapses, and provided various inputs into the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission of Inquiry.  He was responsible for establishing the Engineering Advisory Group within DBH, and he actively participated in the production of guidelines on residential and commercial repairs and rebuilds, and supported their release and implementation. He has subsequently led the development of specific geotechnical earthquake engineering modules to ensure best practice and consistent approaches are adopted by geotechnical engineers. Mike has also supported the development of the Canterbury Geotechnical Database, and more recently overseen its transition to the National Geotechnical Database.

Through all of these events, including the Kaikoura Earthquake of November 2016, Mike has ensured that the communications with Central Government, Government Departments, Local Authorities, practicing professionals, and the technical societies is maintained. This has kept those involved well informed, develop greater understanding and guidance to assist the recovery and increase our knowledge base.

He has been an active and knowledgeable supporter of research to assist the regulatory system and practitioners alike. Of particular note is the active liaison he has maintained with the engineering and science communities in the period during and since the Canterbury Earthquakes. He was instrumental in establishing the position of MBIE Chair of Earthquake Engineering at the University of Auckland, and this has extended New Zealand’s access to the international research community.

Mike has actively encouraged collaboration between the Government and the technical societies, including NZSEE, and led the preparation of memorandums of understanding to facilitate these collaborative working relationships.

Mike’s contribution and leadership across this wide range of activities has been extensive, and in conjunction with his tireless personal efforts, represents a very significant contribution to earthquake engineering regulation and practice in New Zealand.  The Society is very pleased to acknowledge Mike for his outstanding commitment to earthquake engineering in New Zealand through this award of Life Membership.