Rob Jury

Citation on the award of Life Membership, April 2017

Rob Jury is conferred with Life Membership for his exceptional contribution to earthquake engineering in New Zealand.

Rob is a widely respected consulting structural engineer who has provided a guiding role in the design of many complex buildings and infrastructure projects, both in New Zealand and overseas. The depth of Rob’s contribution to the wider field of Earthquake Engineering is exemplified by the major leadership roles he has engaged with such as:

  • Chair of the Technical Group revising the NZSEE guidelines on the Seismic Assessment of Buildings, with particular responsibility for the section on Initial Evaluation Procedure (IEP).
  • Chief Editor of the NZSEE Study Group on Earthquake Risk Buildings.
  • Member of the Engineering Advisory Group advising MBIE on structural engineering matters.
  • Committee member of the AS/NZS joint Standard for Loadings on Buildings including NZS 1170.5 Earthquake Loadings Standard.

More particularly, Rob has provided a clear understanding of the over-arching philosophy of “earthquake resilience” and how it can be achieved. In the many forums he has contributed to, these ideas are articulated in a way that shows the depth of thought Rob applies to understanding built structures, and the way these structures perform in seismic events. His contribution to the guidelines for The Seismic Assessment of Existing Buildings has signifcantly advanced the approach to the assessment process; to aid in the identification of critical issues and how they should be assessed.

Rob is a Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers, New Zealand, and Life member of New Zealand Structural Engineering Society.

he has provided a major contribution to the seismic assessment of existing buildings for various Territorial Authorities. He has ongoing responsibility for the assessment of approximately 4,000 buildings in Wellington using the IEP procedure, and reviewing submissions from building owners and their advisors. Over many years he has reviewed various materials and components of building constructions such as Standard requirements for 500E Grade Reinforcing Steel in New Zealand, the seismic performance of Hollowcore flooring units, as well as seismic risk studies.

Rob’s consultancy experience in seismic design covers a wide range of commercial and industrial building types, as well as road and rail bridging. Notable structures he has worked on include Sky Tower, Auckland; overbridges, interchanges and retaining walls for State Highway 2 Dowse to Petone Upgrade, Lower Hutt; 338m high Macau Tower, Macau; responsible for the estimation of the earthquake hazard for the Otira viaduct site. These projects, and many more, include advising clients on best engineering practice, both in New Zealand and overseas.

In addition, Rob has carried out risk analysis for industrial plant (Motunui gas to gasoline plant, seismic risk; NZ Forest Products Ltd plants in the Central North Island, seismic risk; Telecom microwave telecommunications towers, wind loading risk ) and for National Design Codes (Papua New Guinea) for seismic events.

He was a member of the NZSEE Reconnaissance (Learning from Earthquakes) team which visited Mexico in the early days following the 1985 earthquake. This earthquake caused extensive damage to reinforced concrete multi-storey commercial buildings in Mexico City. Then in 1987, following the Edgecumbe Earthquake, he was a member of the team who carried out post earthquake damage inspections and identified repair strategies for the Whakatane Board Mills Plant, Whakatane. Rob also reported on the damage to the Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill Plant, Kawerau, and investigated the reasons why the damage occurred.

Following the Darfield (Canterbury) Earthquake in 2010, and the subsequent Canterbury Earthquake sequence, Rob has maintained a continuing involvement in a wide range of investigations including:

  • Investigation into the seismic performance of buildings during the Canterbury Earthquakes as part of a Department of Building and Housing (MBIE) study.
  • Responsible for investigations into two buildings that failed during the Christchurch (Lyttelton) Earthquake of 2011.
  • Membership of an Expert Panel overviewing the investigation of these buildings and two other major structures in the Christchurch Central City area.
  • Presented evidence to the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission, including the Expert Panel report.

Rob has published over 38 papers and presentations to Learned Societies and Technical Conferences. Over the years, for these achievements, Rob has received many awards, such as:

  • 1988 New Zealand Concrete Society Prestressed Concrete Award                                               Hapuawhenua Railway Bridge (with Hollings, Catley).
  • 1999 ACENZ Gold Award of Excellence for the Thorndon Overbridge project.
  • 1997 New Zealand Concrete Society Prestressed Concrete Award Sky Tower
  • 1997 New Zealand Concrete Society Concrete Award Sky Tower.

This is a remarkable contribution to seismic engineering in New Zealand; with the development of significant intellectual insights and application of leadership, be it in developing design solutions or investigations of structures or studies of seismic risk, his contribution here and overseas, has made a difference that will benefit our society in the future.

Rob Jury is today awarded Life Membership of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, for his contribution to the understanding of seismic engineering as a science and an art, as well as the practice of structural engineering.