Insights from Coffey principal engineering geologist, Nick Clendon

Nick Clendon is the principal engineering geologist and team leader for the Wellington office at Coffey, a Tetra Tech company, specialising in geotechnical engineering, environmental services and project management services.

Last year Mainmark collaborated with Nick on a large project to deliver a seismic strengthening solution for the Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant. The facility treats up to 53 million litres of water daily and services approximately 146,000 residents and local industries in the Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt region of New Zealand’s North Island.

We caught up with Nick to find out more about his role at Coffey and the different types of projects he manages, which can vary from site investigations to designing building foundation systems and conducting technical peer reviews.

Can you share some details about the recent ground strengthening project you completed with Mainmark?

We first started working with Mainmark when they won a competitive tender for early contractor engagement at Wellington’s Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project was a seismic ground strengthening initiative by Wellington Water to ensure the essential infrastructure could withstand the impact of a large earthquake.

The limited site access was identified early on as a significant project risk and it was essential to have the contractor on board from the start; through the design and review process.  Mainmark was able to present clear evidence of how to achieve the design targets within the project’s limitations.

We successfully completed the ground improvement works using Terefirm®, Mainmark’s resin injection technique that can be applied under existing structures, helping to mitigate the risk of damage from liquefaction.

We have since consulted on several other projects using Mainmark’s Terefil® lightweight engineered fill product and will wait to see if the option is selected.

What was your experience working with Mainmark?  Is there anything different about how they operate?

In short, our experience with Mainmark has been excellent. Like all complex jobs, there are always challenges but Mainmark didn’t shy away from addressing the issues and provided additional support to the wider team when required. Mike Baker and Theo Hnat were particularly good, providing project management and technical input respectively.  They notably have a very good understanding of the product/solutions they provide and are clear on any limitations.

The Seaview project is a good example of Mainmark’s expertise as the job was extensive and technically challenging due to the limited access of the existing pump station and milliscreen buildings.  The site’s continued operation, tight limits on acceptable displacements (uplift) during injection and the design remediation target of meeting a serviceability limit state condition for a 1:500 year earthquake event were additional challenges that needed to be addressed.

Is there anything you can share about the work you do for the Earthquake Commission and government authorities in response to earthquake remediation?

Like all things in earthquake design, the goal posts are shifting and our understanding is increasing on a daily basis. What we need in the industry is a range of options or tools to help design, repair and remediate structures. This will help address the issues and support both local and regional authorities to minimise the risk in the event of future earthquakes.

Having innovative solutions from companies like Mainmark allows us to achieve these goals. Before the Terefirm resin injection technology was introduced, there were limited cost-effective, non-invasive solutions available.

Since the Christchurch earthquakes, have you noticed any changes in the way engineers (or other professionals) are doing things?

It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly ten years since the Christchurch events and there has been a lot more forward thinking.  As geotechs, we are now engaged earlier in the design process to help minimise geotechnical risks to projects. There is also a lot more consideration around ground improvement and mitigating damage.

While life safety is still the primary goal, we are also putting more consideration into managing society tolerance for building damage which can help minimise further social impacts that earthquake damage can have.

What do you think are some of the challenges facing your industry at the moment?

A lot has improved since the Christchurch events, notably the New Zealand Geotechnical Database, which is a great outcome, and the New Zealand Geotechnical Society Modules. However, as the earthquakes fade into memory, it’s easy to relax and assume we have unlimited time. As a professional industry, we need to keep working together to keep the momentum going. There is still a lot to do to make sure the next big earthquake has a smaller impact.

Are there any exciting developments or innovations that you’re watching closely at the moment?

With the likely increase in seismic hazard factors in the near future, at least for Wellington, there will likely be an increase in assessment using non-linear soil properties and time histories to get a better understanding of building/structure performance. This will also increase the importance of good site data and verification testing, such as pile testing, to ensure the models are well calibrated and aligned.


By Claire Hartley

Claire is a strategic senior marketing and communications professional who joined Mainmark in 2015. She has extensive experience gained in a range of organisations across the APAC region and the UK; from large multinationals and start-ups to industrial B2B, IT and online businesses.

The impact of earthquakes in Australia: What Australia can learn from earthquake events in the Pacific region

Road damaged by earthquake

Planet earth is a living entity that is constantly moving. Many forces impact the earth’s movement; however, ground force is primarily impacted by what’s happening deep within the earth’s core and the tectonic plates that cover the earth’s surface like a crust.

The seven major and eight minor tectonic plates are like giant slabs, joining together like a jigsaw, constantly moving and shifting. While tectonic plate theory is considered a complex and debatable topic among physicists, broadly speaking when tectonic plates move relative to each other, the resulting force creates intense seismic movement, which is more commonly referred to as an earthquake.

An earthquake can occur anywhere on the earth’s surface, but certain areas are more prone than others, particularly those located on a plate boundary. The Pacific plate is considered the largest and fastest moving tectonic plate and forms part of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, a very large seismically active basin in the Pacific region that spans across the west coast of the Americas and along the east coasts of Russia, Japan and Indonesia and down to New Zealand. This intense seismic area is where approximately 81 per cent of the world’s largest earthquakes occur and a key reason why Japan and New Zealand are considered earthquake hotspots.

The severity of an earthquake is measured by its intensity and magnitude; intensity is based on effects from the ground shaking while magnitude is related to the amount of seismic energy released at the earthquake’s epicentre. To put the forces into context, Australian Geoscience compares the energy from a magnitude 8.6 earthquake as being equivalent to 10,000 atomic bombs. In the Asia Pacific region, one of the most devastating seismic events was the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Great Tohoku, Japan on 11 March 2011. This catastrophic event was the fourth largest earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900, and was responsible for more than 22,000 deaths and a $235 billion damage bill. While the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that struck Christchurch, New Zealand weren’t as large as the event in Japan, they caused widespread devastation throughout the Canterbury region with thousands of homeowners impacted by soil liquefaction and building foundation damage.

Australia is relatively protected from such major events; it doesn’t sit on a tectonic plate boundary. However, while significant earthquakes are relatively rare in the country, they can occur. On average, there are 100 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or more in Australia each year. While they are unlikely to cause damage, it’s important for Australia to be aware of the risks and potential damage an earthquake can cause, particularly if it occurs in a metropolitan area. For example, Australia’s largest earthquake was a 6.6 magnitude quake that occurred on 22 January 1988 at Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. However, as it occurred in a remote area, it caused minimal damage and injuries unlike the smaller 5.6 magnitude Newcastle earthquake that occurred on 28 December 1989 which was responsible for 13 deaths and caused billions of dollars in damage.

Geoscience Australia provides a comprehensive overview of the earthquake risks in Australia to help build greater resilience in the event of an earthquake and foster a greater understanding around the hazards and vulnerabilities they can cause to our built environment. The government organisation actively monitors, analyses and reports on Australian seismic events and encourages people to report local tremors through its online ‘felt’ report.

The extent of earthquake damage will depend on many factors but generally, the bigger, closer and shallower the earthquake, the stronger the shaking will be, and the more damage is likely to occur. Factors that can impact the remediation process include the proximity to the earthquake source, the magnitude and duration of the quake, the engineering behind affected structures and neighbouring buildings, the condition of the ground the structure is sitting on and the degree of soil liquefaction. Liquefaction occurs when the structure of a loose, saturated sand breaks down due to a rapidly applied loading. In an earthquake, this results in an increase in pore water pressure, thereby softening the soil deposit. When the ground has liquefied, building subsidence is common as foundations or footings are no longer supported, often sinking into the weakened ground.

Australian engineers have learnt a lot from the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, including how to strengthen the soils and remediate damaged structures. Mainmark has invested heavily in research and development initiatives to help promote earthquake resilience through testing its ground improvement and foundation re-levelling technologies. Its team of technical and specialist earthquake engineers are experts when it comes to innovative ground improvement solutions, such as JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting and their Terefirm® Resin Injection technique.

Following the Christchurch earthquakes, Mainmark developed its Ground Improvement and Liquefaction Mitigation solution, now known as Terefirm, which has been formally recognised as a geotechnical innovation after nearly four years in development and extensive trials and testing in the Christchurch Red Zone. This led to Resin Injection being included in MBIE Module 5: Ground improvement of soils prone to liquefaction. The internationally peer reviewed report for our Resin Injection Ground Improvement Research Trials is available for review on the New Zealand Geotechnical Society website.

With ongoing research, trials and testing, Mainmark is setting the groundwork for future innovation, using its proven technologies to remediate ever taller and larger structures. Mainmark offers viable and proven alternatives to traditional, invasive concrete piling and underpinning. Mainmark’s injection technologies can significantly reduce remediation costs by doing less with more, and incredibly the most significant outcome of all is the ability to remediate existing structures using solutions that are applied directly beneath a damaged building.

For more information and advice about our range of earthquake remediation solutions, contact Mainmark on 1800 623 312 in Australia, 0800 873 835 in New Zealand or visit our website.


By Theo Hnat

Theo Hnat is a R&D and Technical Manager at Mainmark. Based in New Zealand, Theo’s responsibilities include research in new technologies in ground improvement and liquefaction mitigation, structural risk assessment of existing structures, design, and analysis.

The science behind Mainmark’s resin injection technology

Mark Sasaki blog Teretek

Polyurethane (PU) resin has been used as an innovative and effective method for re-levelling structures including residential homes for more than 40 years. The idea of using PU resin for ground strengthening was originally introduced by a Scandinavian company to help address ground movement and subsidence that can occur each year due to Europe’s extreme weather cycle, which freezes then thaws the ground.

The science behind polyurethane (PU) resin as a ground engineering solution is a homogenous mixture in two parts. When the homogenous resin is injected into the soil, it instantly reacts, forming a rapidly expanding foam that seeps into any ground voids and fissures, filing gaps and creating a bonding effect with the soil particles. The pressure from the expansion of the resin compacts the surrounding soil to significantly strengthen the ground, increasing the bearing resistance of the soil without increasing the weight or overburdening the soil. When the solution is injected beneath a structure, the expansion pressure lifts the structure, remediating differential settlement without the need to excavate.

Mainmark’s founder, Philip Mack, introduced polyurethane resin as a ground strengthening solution to Australia after researching ground engineering innovations following the 1989 Newcastle earthquakes. After remediating a number of earthquake affected buildings, Philip saw an opportunity to use the solution to re-level sunken slabs. He subsequently travelled to Scandinavia to investigate bringing this technology to Australia.

However at the time, there was skepticism about the effective use of resin as a ground strengthening solution due to the lack of scientific evidence. The idea that there was a quick, cost effective and non-invasive way to lift a building’s foundations without the need for expensive concrete underpinning was hard for the industry to conceptualise, and there were no design tools to assist engineers.

It wasn’t until Professor Olivier Buzzi, chief investigator with the ARC Centre of excellence for Geotechnical Science Engineering and lecturer at the University of Newcastle undertook an investigation in 2007, exploring the structure and properties of expanding PU in the context of foundation remedial works, that Australian engineers started to take notice.

Professor Buzzi wrote a research paper which was co-authored by Mark Yasumasa Sasaki, a Mainmark long-term employee, titled Structure and properties of expanding polyurethane foam in the context of foundation remediation in expansive soil, which concluded that the injection of expansive polyurethane resin was an effective method for remediating differential settlement. The University of Newcastle funded research also concluded that polyurethane expanding resins were suitable to use underneath building foundations and that the expanding resin didn’t impede the reactivity of clay soils. Professor Buzzi’s research was a breakthrough in gaining wider acceptance of polyurethane resin as a ground strengthening solution within the wider engineering community. Until this point, the only scientific research available was based on European soils that didn’t consider Australian soil types; specifically reactive clay.

Yet while this research was a major milestone, Mainmark has continued to push the boundaries by independently supporting further research. The company had a theory about a new technique using polyurethane resin to remediate seismic liquefaction. Following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in the Canterbury region of New Zealand, more than 15,000 homes were demolished due to the effects of liquefaction. This initiated a series of resin injection trials in a designated zone severely affected by liquefaction known as the Christchurch Red Zone.

Mainmark’s liquefaction mitigation trials using resin injection were first initiated in 2013 in partnership with the New Zealand Earthquake Commission (EQC) using a small sample of Mainmark’s engineered resins. The sample was tested in a number of different ways, including earthquake simulations with full strength shake and explosives. However while the outcome was positive, the sample was relatively small and more robust data was required.

In 2016, a second round of Red Zone trials commenced in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Employment, and Innovation (MBIE) and the EQC. This time the research was conducted under the supervision of a team of engineers and independent international peer reviewers using pre and post ground investigations, geophysical testing including CPT, cross-hole shear-wave velocity testing and seismic dilatometer testing (DMT). The tests were carried out approximately two metres below the ground improvement zone and post testing the test area was hydra-excavated to observe the resin structure in the ground. The trial injection panels were then analysed to determine the outcome of the resin structure. The outcome was overwhelmingly positive, with vastly improved ground density and stiffness, significantly reduced surface damage and an improvement in the static bearing capacity.

These encouraging outcomes, and the results from numerous subsequent projects such as the Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant liquefaction mitigation project using Mainmark’s proprietary Terefirm™ Resin Injection, continue to drive Mainmark toward further innovation. The Seaview project in Wellington, New Zealand, was the first of its kind whereby the client has proactively prepared the ground beneath critical infrastructure to prevent failure or downtime during a seismic event.

Mainmark has since taken its research trials even further, conducting a series of blast testing of the Red Zone Trial site with the US Department of Science in an effort to further understand how the resin material behaves in soils under extreme earthquake simulations. The results are expected to be released later this year.


By James O’Grady

James O’Grady is a Sales and Business Development Manager at Mainmark. He is a civil engineer with 25 years’ experience in structural engineering, construction materials and ground treatment.

Inside Mainmark: introducing Joe Glanville, Mainmark’s new general manager in ANZ

You’ve worked at Mainmark for many years. Can you describe your career journey so far?

Prior to Mainmark, I worked in the commercial construction sector for approximately 15 years, completing a Bachelor of Construction and then a Master of Project Management at the University of Technology, Sydney. I was introduced to Mainmark through a colleague and I remember at the time being intrigued by its unique resin injection product offering (which was Uretek at the time).

I began working with Mainmark as commercial manager seven and a half years ago. In this role I worked closely with senior management, helping to drive key business initiatives which led to my appointment as head of operations a few years later. Earlier this month I was appointed to the position of general manager for the ANZ region.

As Mainmark’s new general manager for Australia and New Zealand, what do you hope to achieve?

In the seven years I’ve worked for Mainmark, I’ve had an opportunity to watch it grow considerably. For the last five years, we’ve been very focused on reaching the objectives set out in our 2020 Vision, strategic plan. Now we’ve reached the end of this business plan cycle, Mainmark is at a really interesting point in its journey, having matured as an organisation. I’m looking forward to taking the business into its next growth stage and helping to further develop our people, technologies, systems and processes.

What are your thoughts on the ground engineering industry today?

When I first started at Mainmark (or Uretek as it was known back then), resin injection, was the company’s bread and butter; we had only just started working on a few JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting projects in New Zealand. Now we have a very diverse range of ground engineering and asset preservation solutions and we work across many industries including commercial, residential, civil infrastructure and mining.

Today, Mainmark’s Teretek® resin injection solution has evolved and is being used in new and innovative ways. And our Terefirm® Resin Injection technique, which was originally developed in New Zealand as a ground improvement solution to help mitigate earthquake liquefaction, is also proving to be a very successful non-invasive ground improvement technology, with broader applications outside of the New Zealand seismic upgrade market.

The huge focus on infrastructure along the East Coast of Australia provides Mainmark with some unique ground engineering opportunities, most notably the tunnelling boom in Sydney which has also allowed us to develop a significant capability in providing specialist water control, linings, coatings and concrete remediation solutions.

These advancements in our new and existing technologies, and the different applications across all sectors, is really gaining momentum and is an exciting development for the business.

How are you and the Mainmark team working through the challenges facing the industry at this present time?

There is no doubt that the current pandemic is challenging but luckily Mainmark has a diverse range of solutions and technologies which are assisting us through these troubling times.

As a business that shares resourcing across Australia and New Zealand, border closures has been one of our biggest challenges and we’ve had to bring a number of staff back home. We were busy before the COVID-19 shutdown, so managing resourcing has been tricky and we’re monitoring this on a day-to-day basis.

The COVID-19 economic stimulus from local, state and federal governments has also opened up new opportunities for Mainmark. Teretek®, our proprietary resin injection solution, doesn’t just service the residential market; along with our other technologies, we also work with major road authorities, the commercial and industrial construction sector and the mining industry.

We recognise that Mainmark is extremely lucky compared to some business sectors that have been hit hard. The pandemic is forcing many businesses to rethink their approach and we are also looking at ways to stay ahead through innovation and improvements to our processes.

What do you enjoy most about working for Mainmark?

There are many things I enjoy about working for Mainmark but its people are definitely number one; we are very lucky to have such a great team of people. I enjoy working with Mainmark’s unique products and admire the company’s commitment to research and development. I also like the diversity of work as I’m rarely doing the same thing; there’s always a new challenge around the corner.

What does a typical day look like for you? How to you plan your day?

With three children aged 3, 5 and 7 years, I’m always woken up early by one of them!  But I’m a morning person and usually get into the office around 7am. I like to use the quiet time to set myself up for the day, catch up on emails and power through some work. Once the day kicks in, like the rest of the world at the moment, it’s currently usually a series of Zoom and MS Teams meeting as travel is restricted.

What do you enjoy doing in your downtime, do you have any special interests or hobbies?

Running is something I really enjoy and it’s a great way to release stress. But a lot of my time is spent with my family as three kids definitely keep me busy. When I’m not taking my kids to sport, the playground or a birthday party, I enjoy catching up with friends and family. And when I have some downtime, I also love cooking.


Laurie Andrews MainmarkBy Joe Glanville

Joe Glanville is Mainmark’s ANZ General Manager. He has over 15 years’ experience in the Construction Industry, acquiring broad commercial, construction and project management skills.

How smart solutions can help to keep critical infrastructure projects on track

While much of Australia was forced into shutdown at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the infrastructure construction industry carried on as the Government acknowledged the sector as an essential service.

Infrastructure projects are booming across Australia with progress continuing at levels unseen in decades, supported by a new $1.5 billion stimulus announced by the Federal Government. The works include major tunnelling, road and rail projects across the country, including civil infrastructure and asset rejuvenation work. However, as the economy dips into recession, keeping construction projects on track and within budget will be critically important.

Mainmark is helping engineers and contractors to maintain productivity by using site specific asset remediation and water stop solutions that are cost effective, fast acting and non-invasive. Its range of specialised resins, gels and coatings are designed to revitalise, seal, protect and structurally reinforce a wide range of assets, including many that have been impacted by water ingress. Water ingress can occur due to geotechnical conditions that are either encountered during construction or have appeared over time due to factors including corrosion and weakened ground.

This blog (the first of a three-part series) takes a closer look at common issues that can occur during the construction phase of large infrastructure projects, and how innovative solutions now available in Australia from Mainmark can help engineers and construction professionals approach complex geotechnical issues when excavating and tunnelling. These solutions ensure infrastructure is not only safer and more structurally sound, they are also delivered more efficiently and cost effectively due to their unique properties and application methods.

Using specialised resins, gels and coatings to restore structural integrity to underground assets

Underground road and tunnelling projects may unearth ground issues that contractors have historically addressed using concrete. Water control treatments may be needed in areas with a low lying watertable, as encountered in many inner suburbs of Sydney. Deep excavation in these areas is susceptible to groundwater inflow which can significantly impact the cost and duration of a construction project. Equally, weaker soil conditions can contribute to subsidence problems and considerable remediation costs in the future.

Hard wearing solutions including specialised resins, gels and coatings can help to stop water leaks, seal joints and cracks, solidify soil and protect against corrosion.  Mainmark’s specialised water control, chemical injection and cementitious grouting products are suitable for application in both wet and dry conditions making them particularly beneficial for large infrastructure projects with complex ground issues. Our advanced range of engineered solutions are non-invasive technologies that have been used to rectify and preserve all types of structures, including commercial buildings, industrial sites, residential and heritage properties as well as major civil infrastructure and mining projects.

Tunnelling and drilling projects where deep excavation is required can present unique geological and environmental challenges due to differing soil structures that can range from large fissures, clay seams, soft shale and wet sandstone. These varying soil substrates can cause issues requiring innovative solutions to limit or eradicate water seepage, address ground stability and improve the structural integrity of the tunnel or cavity.

Existing geological conditions, either identified prior to commencement or discovered during the course of the project, can also impact the construction phase of infrastructure works.  For instance paleochannels (deep soil sediments), which are prevalent in some parts of inner Sydney, are ancient rivers filled with alluvium, a soft sediment which water easily passes through, located up to 50 metres below the ground; these can be a catalyst for water ingress into a tunnel cavity or ventilation shaft.

Addressing these types of complex environments requires specialised expertise in tailoring solutions for specific ground conditions in and around tunnels such as the major transport and urban renewal infrastructure that is currently under construction in Sydney and Melbourne. Mainmark can apply innovative water stop solutions, including rock and substrate injection treatments, using a range of specially formulated products such as cementitious grout, structural resin, silica, or acrylic polymers.

Each solution has high compressive strength properties for underground use, and some feature fast setting times to control water flows that can be as fast as 250 litres per minute. These proven high-performance water control treatments can be critical in emergency situations where fast flowing water needs to be addressed quickly, delivering both safety and longer-term asset preservation. For example, a specially formulated acrylic based hydro-structural resin with a fast and adjustable setting time was recently applied to a large tunnel to arrest water flow.

The right help at the right time

Major infrastructure projects, including tunnelling, commonly face obstacles throughout their long project timeframe. However, while there are always solutions to aid projects as unforeseen problems arise, most ground issues can be prepared for in advance using geotechnical data acquired during the planning phase. Having ground engineering experts on board before projects commence can help to design a better, site-specific approach to benefit the speed and overall budget of the project, and the structural integrity of the completed works.

Our next blog takes a closer look at broader waterproofing issues and how they can be invaluable for projects, such as basements and water tanks, that require structural linings and membrane coatings.

For more information and advice about our range of specialised resin coatings and asset remediation solutions, contact Mainmark on 1800 623 312 in Australia or visit our website.


Matt McleanBy Matt Mclean

Matt McLean is the Operations Manager for specialised resins and coatings at Mainmark. He is a concrete remediation, coatings, resins and waterstop injection specialist with a long history of working with ground stabilisation and grouting technologies.

Insights from a geotechnical engineer: Nick Traylen from Geotech Consulting

As a leading ground engineering company, Mainmark regularly collaborates with consultants from within the engineering sector including civil, structural and geotechnical engineers.

Nick Traylen is the director of Geotech Consulting, a geotechnical and geological consultancy based in Christchurch, New Zealand specialising in earthquake engineering, liquefaction and foundation engineering. Nick was a geotechnical advisor to the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE, formerly Department of Building & Housing) and chariman of the geotechnical section of the MBIE’s Canterbury Engineering Advisory Group, which helped guide the post-disaster recovery of Christchurch and the greater Canterbury region following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

We recently spoke to Nick about his role at Geotech Consulting and why he chooses to work with Mainmark.

Ground engineering is a highly specialised industry, can you tell us about how and why you started working as a geotechnical engineer?

I studied at the University of Canterbury, obtaining a degree in civil engineering. After an early career with a mix of geotechnical engineering, structural engineering and hydrology, I moved to Hong Kong for a number of years where I focused on geotechnical engineering. Being a less prescriptive discipline, I found geotechnical engineering to be more of an interesting career path than, for example, structural engineering – however there are many opportunities for creativity in all branches of engineering.

Geotech Consulting Ltd was founded in 1992 and consists of myself and two other principals, Mark Yetton and Ian McCahon. We’re a small team with extensive local experience working on all aspects of geotechnical engineering including investigation, design, and review of foundations, seismic liquefaction, and ground improvement works across a wide range of projects.

Other areas we specialise in include land stability assessment and design; construction implementation for landslides and landslide damaged buildings; insurance claim assessments; and post-earthquake investigations and assessments for earthquake damaged buildings and land.

Since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, I’ve been heavily involved in high level advisory roles for government departments and local authorities. I’ve also co-authored a number of geotechnically-focused guidelines published by the New Zealand Government.

You’ve worked with Mainmark many times, what are some of the more recent projects you’ve completed with us?

The Christchurch Art Gallery was the project we are most proud of and collaborated closely with Mainmark. This complex job involved a two-stage plan to strengthen the foundation ground using jet grouting. We then re-levelled the structure using JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting to remediate earthquake damage to the building.

It was a ground-breaking project as it was the first large-scale building in New Zealand to have been lifted using this type of non-invasive technology and people were nervous about it. The outcome was successful and a boost for the Christchurch community and its recovery efforts, preventing this important building from being demolished.

Geotech Consulting Ltd has also collaborated with Mainmark on a number of other projects including the Resin Injection Ground Improvement Trials (the report is now available for review on the New Zealand Geotechnical Society website); the Northwood Supa Centre, which required ground improvement and re-levelling; 50 Carlton Mill Road, where we used jet grout columns to re-support the building; the Christchurch Town Hall bid where we proposed jet grout lattice work and ground improvement works; and a recovery feasibility investigation proposal for Lancaster Park using resin injection ground improvement.  We’ve also worked with Mainmark on the Victoria Mansions project using jet grout columns, the Holly Lea retirement complex where we used resin injection for ground improvement works, and currently the re-levelling of the seven storey West Fitzroy Apartments.

Is there a story you can share about working with Mainmark?

We’ve worked with Mainmark for many years. In the early days, we completed several smaller re-levelling projects prior to the Christchurch earthquakes. Then during the recovery efforts after 2011, I encouraged Mainmark to be more active. I assisted the government in assessing resin injection for inclusion in the official guidelines for home recovery efforts, and then for it to be more widely accepted and understood within the construction industry. It was during this time we needed to change the mindset that the only way to lift a building was by mechanical means, so the challenge was to overcome that thinking and demonstrate the viability of injection methods. I think it has since been well proven through the success of many lifting projects.

What has been your overall experience working with Mainmark, how do they operate differently?

Mainmark is a company that is willing to trial new technologies and invest money into research and development where necessary. Together, we’ve scientifically proven that resin can be used for liquefaction in the right soils – and it’s been well received around the country. International researchers from the United States and Italy have also recently returned to the Red Zone site to see first-hand how the soils have behaved during the trial conditions, as well as subject the injected resin panels to further large-scale dynamic testing. This has been an invaluable opportunity for us to showcase the technology and how it can be used for earthquake strengthening.

Mainmark also provides one of the few technologies that can be used to recover earthquake damaged buildings with minimal intrusion. The Supa Centa project for example, demonstrated that both re-levelling and liquefaction mitigation can be successfully carried out in a working business environment; Mainmark was able to successfully work around a fully operational supermarket with no business interruption.

Since the Christchurch earthquakes, have you noticed any changes in the way engineers (or other professionals) are doing things differently?

Yes, there a lot more engineers around to start with, and the standard of work has lifted due to a more collaborative professional environment and newer technologies, including solutions such as JOG.  There has also been a lot more engineering guidance from the New Zealand Government.

Looking forward, the inevitable downturn in work due to COVID-19 and the earthquake recovery efforts nearing completion, will have an impact on the industry. However, infrastructure spending in other parts of the country, including road projects, may partially offset this.

National road projects are the biggest investments for engineering services in New Zealand at the moment. School infrastructure is  another significant area of investment with the Ministry of Education continuing to roll out an ambitious building programme,  and hospitals are also an important sector earmarked for future projects.

How do you unwind away from work?

I’ve recently taken up golf again, now that the kids are a bit older. We also like to holiday on the West Coast at Lake Brunner. I enjoy tramping (hiking), spear fishing and free diving. Nature is a great escape.

Nick Traylen can be contacted via ntraylen@geotech.co.nz


By Claire Hartley

Claire is a strategic senior marketing and communications professional who joined Mainmark in 2015. She has extensive experience gained in a range of organisations across the APAC region and the UK; from large multinationals and start-ups to industrial B2B, IT and online businesses.

Collaborating with trades to remediate properties

Hands of architects working on blueprints in the office, selective focus NZ Residential

Mainmark’s Teretek® is frequently used as a non-invasive, cost effective resin injection solution to improve ground bearing capacity and re-level buildings impacted by foundation issues. While cracked walls, uneven floors, paths and driveways, and jammed doors and windows can all be visible signs of potential problems with foundation ground, homeowners often initially call upon trades people to help restore their home to its original condition.

Consultation and referral between the client, Mainmark and specialty trades, such as landscapers, plasterers, plumbers and builders, can occur before or after ground improvement works have taken place, with different trades playing their own important role in the remediation process. Following are a few examples of what ground issues different trades might encounter on residential remediation projects.

Plumbers

Leaking sewer, stormwater and water mains pipes can wreak havoc on a home’s foundations which is why it’s critical to catch signs of a leaking pipe or cracked drain as early as possible. Soggy and saturated soil or water pooling around a home can weaken the founding soil. This can lead to homes subsiding at different perimeter points, or indeed over their entire footprint. Damaged or unconnected downpipes and overflowing gutters can also create water ponding and sink holes as soils wash away. Engaging a licensed plumber at the first sign of a leak can help avoid longer-term ground problems and significant structural damage.

Landscapers and arborists

A landscaper can help assess soil conditions at a property. Arborists can identify trees with invasive root systems that may be contributing to blocked drains and cracked water pipes. These can all be causes of a home’s foundation ground subsiding. Aggressive tree roots can travel long distances resulting in serious damage to a home’s foundations. However, trees can equally be beneficial for drawing up excess moisture from the ground, so removing trees can sometimes lead to differential soil movement. Homeowners can be guided by a landscaper to help ensure trees are planted at an appropriate distance from the home, driveways, patios, and footpaths. Landscapers can also provide guidance on suitable retaining walls for different zones around the home, and the impact that new paving or the addition of a swimming pool may have on site drainage.

Plasterers, painters and builders

Wall cracks are a common first sign of potential foundation movement under a home. Therefore, it’s important that homeowners avoid painting or patching plaster over the crack without investigating the underlying issue first. A professional builder or plasterer could help differentiate between cracks that are minor, or possible symptoms of a more serious structural issue. Generally, small hairline cracks are not cause for concern and these are usually the result of seasonal expansion and contraction of soils beneath the building over time, and can be patched with a flexible filler and re-painted. Problematic wall cracks will typically start at windows, doorways or corners of buildings and are usually wider than about 5mm (or the thickness of a little finger).

Homeowners can take action to help fix cracked walls, caused by ground subsidence, by re-levelling the home’s foundations using a non-invasive method such as Mainmark’s Teretek resin injection solution.  While this will generally result in wall cracks narrowing or closing up, the area may need cosmetic finishing. With brickwork, some re-pointing of mortar joints may be required and with plaster or render walls, some patching and repainting may be needed.

Maintaining and restoring homes that have been impacted by foundation issues is often a team effort and the type of trades required to support the remediation work will depend on the underlying cause. Mainmark has raised, re-levelled and re-supported homes and other residential buildings for more than 25 years and provides a fast, cost effective and non-invasive alternative to traditional underpinning methods. Our experienced team works collaboratively with other trade professionals to complete each job.


By James O’Grady

James O’Grady is a Sales and Business Development Manager at Mainmark. He is a civil engineer with 25 years’ experience in structural engineering, construction materials and ground treatment.

Mainmark celebrates International Women’s Day 2020

International womens day

With International Women’s Day yesterday, Mainmark would like to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that women in our organisation bring to their roles.

We introduce three of the many women who work at Mainmark, across a range of roles and geographies.

JOG Technician, Jodi McNulty has been working with Mainmark for five years. Based in Christchurch, Jodi loves all the different challenges each project presents, especially on her current job where they are using JOG in a unique way to how it has been used in the past.

Jodi is the only female Technician across the whole of Mainmark. Working in a traditionally male dominated field, Jodi is demonstrating women’s capability to thrive in the ground engineering industry.

Prior to working at Mainmark, Jodi had no engineering background. She says she owes her industry knowledge to the various Mainmark staff who have taught her along the way. Jodi will be celebrating International Women’s Day quietly at home enjoying a well-deserved day off!

Head of People and Culture, Ekaterina Tabbernal is new to the Mainmark team having started in January this year. During work hours you can find Ekaterina engaging with staff, coaching managers, and creating policies and systems to ensure Mainmark remains HR compliant. Out of office you can find her spending time with her three children, supporting the Arts or going for a run.

As her first foray into the ground engineering world, Ekaterina is enjoying seeing Mainmark’s products in action and travelling between offices. In just over a month, she has travelled to Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand to meet staff from all areas of the business.

For International Women’s Day Ekaterina will be celebrating the women in her life by spending time with friends who also work in the HR industry. She owes her passion for HR to her TAFE teacher who was instrumental in forging her path in the industry. Now settling into her role, Ekaterina is hoping that Mainmark staff recognise the benefits HR can provide and that she is available and approachable should they need her advice.

Claire HartleyGlobal Head of Marketing, Claire Hartley has been an integral part of the Mainmark team for almost five years now. Based in the Northbridge office, Claire is responsible for planning, executing and budgeting wide ranging marketing and communication strategies across all customer facing touch points including PR, advertising, media, digital and social.

Claire describes Mainmark as an inclusive workplace regardless of race or gender and values its supportive culture that allows flexibility to support family life and healthy living.

This International Women’s Day Claire will be closely following the media to stay up-to-date on topical gender-based issues. Claire is particularly inspired by any woman who does well in their chosen field despite coming up against sexism in society.  As a mother of two boys, she is very conscious of gender bias and suggests people become aware of ways in which men and women in leadership roles are often viewed differently; a recent headline that captured her attention is Women Are ‘Bossy’, Men Are ‘Leaders’.

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on the 8th of March.

Buying or selling a property with foundation issues

Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House

Purchasing and maintaining a property is for many the biggest investment of their lifetime.

When a property is on the market, there will often be the need for compromise. For sellers, the final sale price is typically the biggest compromise, while buyers usually need to be flexible regarding the location, layout and size. However, expensive structural repairs may be a deal breaker for many homehunters.

Being informed is the best protection against major unexpected issues or costly repairs after the contract of sale is signed. A visual inspection is recommended to identify minor defects and potential maintenance issues, as well as a thorough inspection by a qualified building inspector to help identify major structural faults or safety hazards that may not be visible at first glance.

Understanding wall cracks and soil types

While many astute homeowners and buyers will recognise wall cracks as warning signs of potential subsidence, not all wall cracks indicate major foundation issues. The type, size and location of cracking can help to identify the extent of the issue, and possible solutions. For example, cracks that are 5mm or wider, extensive stepped cracks in brickwork, or complete separation in the mortar or cement between bricks may be cause for concern.

If the building foundations are affected by ground subsidence, the underlying reason may not be immediately obvious, and further investigations are highly recommended before finalising the sale.

The common causes of foundation ground issues often relate to moisture in the soil beneath the home’s foundations. Different types of soil behave in different ways to changing moisture levels, so consider the following when investigating the likely cause:

  • water ponding around the house,
  • excessive moisture leaking into the foundation ground, often due to broken pipes, making it too wet
  • invasive tree roots searching for water, making it too dry.

The value of building inspections

Fair Trading NSW recommends investing in a pre-purchase building inspection to gain specialist advice regarding any major problems, and how the issues may affect the property over time. The inspection report can help determine future maintenance plans, with the cost of major repairs able to be factored into the purchase price.

By inspecting the whole property, especially drains and gutters, sheds, pergolas, retaining walls, windows and roofing, inspectors look for signs of structural problems and differential settlement. It is recommended that you familiarise yourself with local pre-purchase building inspection guidelines as states and territories across Australia and regions of New Zealand vary and some things may not be checked.

Extensive foundation damage should also be fully assessed by a suitably accredited structural or geotechnical engineer, to identify the cause, how extensive the settlement is, and whether the underlying cause of settlement has been fixed.

Remediating the issue

In many cases, foundation issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently using modern ground engineering solutions that are less invasive and costly than traditional underpinning.

After purchasing a 12 year old property in England, the new owner discovered differential settlement had affected the site, leading to uneven subsidence by as much as 82mm. The subsidence needed to be addressed before other renovations could commence.

Mainmark was able to resolve the issue in less than five-days using JOG Computer-
Controlled Grouting which provides an extremely precise method for stabilising soils, consolidating weak ground, and raising foundations to deliver specific, engineered outcomes.

The process was completed without any need for structural demolition, destruction of landscaping, or interference with floor slabs. With access via a shared driveway, Mainmark worked closely with neighbours to plan works to minimise disruption.

Work together for a better outcome

If the new home of your dreams is affected by ground subsidence, it may not necessarily be bad news, however, you will need to make an informed decision. Do your research and consult experts, before agreeing on terms of purchase with the seller.

Some homeowners prefer to remediate issues prior to sale. The owners of a clifftop property in Auckland sought a solution for substantial ground settlement which had affected the front wall of the home, causing cracks in masonry walls, the driveway and lawn area.

Mainmark’s Teretek® engineered resin was injected through tiny tubes, rapidly expanding to improve ground bearing capacity, re-levelling the home in careful increments. The entire process was completed within a day, without any need for excavation works that may have further damaged the property or grounds, and allowing the owner to proceed with the sale.

Remember that fixing the problem for the long term requires correcting any issues that might have caused the foundation damage, and this may also involve consulting a plumber or other expert. The CSIRO guide to foundation maintenance is also a valuable reference.

Mainmark has treated tens of thousands of sites throughout Australasia, from single-storey homes to large commercial buildings. For more information and advice about ground engineering issues and remediation solutions, contact Mainmark on 1800 623 312 in Australia or 0800 873 835 in New Zealand.


By James O’Grady

James O’Grady is a Sales and Business Development Manager at Mainmark. He is a civil engineer with 25 years’ experience in structural engineering, construction materials and ground treatment.

The impact of prolonged dry weather on building foundations

Gap between wall and floor

After months of little to no rainfall, many Australian regions are experiencing drier than average ground conditions. This weather pattern looks likely to continue, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting drier than average Summer conditions, following one of the driest winters on record for large parts of the country. Coinciding with this dry spell are increased reports of wall cracks in suburban homes.

This trend is unsurprising; last year’s record-breaking UK summer affected many building foundations as lack of rain caused water from subsoils to dry out, resulting in shrinkage. This created a subsidence surge.

Why subsidence occurs in dry conditions

Subsidence occurs when the ground changes, causing the foundation of a home to gradually settle in one area or across the entire footprint. Many Australian homes are built on sandy or reactive clay soils which shrink and swell in response to moisture levels.

The combination of significant drought conditions, with occasional heavy rainfall, can result in shifting foundations as varying moisture levels cause clay soil beneath the home to shrink or swell, which can cause movement.

When buildings become un-level due to subsidence, it can result in significant and expensive damage so it is important to recognise the signs of subsidence early and act without delay.

Often one of the first indicators of foundation subsidence is cracks in walls appearing or getting significantly wider. Remember, not all wall cracks are the same; the type, size and location of cracking is important to consider when identifying the likely cause. Likewise, every home is different and the signs may not be immediately obvious or limited to wall cracks, so it helps to know what else to look for:

  • sinking or sloping floors
  • windows and doors becoming jammed or misaligned
  • skirting boards separating from the wall
  • puddles around the perimeter of the home.

There is more than one solution for subsidence

Once the underlying cause has been identified, homeowners often assume the only solution is to ‘underpin’ their home without realising there are alternative and far less disruptive methods for addressing foundation issues.

When a Sydney homeowner observed a gap at the base of the wall inside their house, they worried that the building foundations were sinking. Mainmark technicians were able to treat the issue by applying their Teretek® resin injection solution from the exterior of the building via small penetrations, avoiding any need for excavation or damage to the home.

Ground improvement by non-invasive resin injection has minimal impact to the structure of the home, and is generally more cost effective than traditional underpinning methods. It has less impact on the surrounds of the building, including gardens, and is environmentally inert.

A heritage café in Melbourne had suffered differential settlement which caused a double brick wall at the western end of the building to rotate by 30mm, resulting in the appearance of stress cracks on the wall and separation at the wall openings on the two transverse walls.

The issue occurred when tree roots from a row of heritage listed elm trees growing in close proximity to the café had removed moisture from the reactive clay soil during prolonged dry periods, causing localised subsidence. The problem was remediated with no impact on the structural integrity of the heritage building or damage to the protected trees.

If the signs of subsidence appear, consult structural and geotechnical engineers or ground engineering experts. Building movement can be caused by other underlying or site specific issues which require a professional assessment and working knowledge of the local area.

Mainmark has treated more than 30,000 sites throughout Australasia, from single-storey homes to large commercial buildings. For more information and advice about ground engineering issues and remediation solutions, contact Mainmark on 1800 623 312 in Australia or 0800 873 835 in NZ, or visit www.mainmark.com.


Laurie Andrews MainmarkBy Laurie Andrews

Laurie Andrews is Mainmark’s Business Development Manager for NSW & ACT. Laurie is a qualified civil and structural engineer with nearly 30 years experience working in the construction and engineering industry.

Inside Mainmark: Mike Baker, Around Wellington

Photo-Mike Baker_banner

What is your role at Mainmark?

As Mainmark New Zealand’s Area Manager in Wellington, I’m on the ground, working closely with our customers throughout their ground remediation journey. From first contact, initial site visit and assessment of the issue and ground conditions, I liaise with customers until completion of works, making sure everything runs smoothly. I enjoy being able to invest time with customers because they are relying on us to get the right results and the best possible outcome – whether it is their own home, business, or government managed infrastructure.

What drew you to the industry?

I started my career in civil construction and engineering in England where I was working on everything from laying underground pipes to concrete reinforcement, drainage and deep excavations. With five years of experience under my belt and a broad understanding of civil construction, I moved to New Zealand. My background in civil was invaluable when I joined Mainmark New Zealand in 2013, because I was able to draw on this knowledge in supervisory roles for projects, such as the Christchurch Art Gallery, which needed to be resupported and re-levelled following the 2010-2011 earthquake sequence.

During your time with Mainmark New Zealand, what changes have you witnessed?

The Mainmark business has really diversified to meet the changing needs of all regions in New Zealand. Up until 2018, we were servicing Wellington remotely, and now we are on the ground, with an office in Lower Hutt. We now also have a dedicated Rig and a team of people that live and work in this community. Some of us, myself included, moved here to help Mainmark establish the Wellington office, and we consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to live and work in New Zealand’s capital city. We’ve recently moved our Wellington office to a larger facility to help cater for the growing volume of work in the area.

What do you most enjoy about living in Wellington?

Wellington is a very friendly city with a welcoming community. I genuinely love where I live, the city is only 20 minutes in one direction and there is incredible nature 20 minutes in the opposite direction.

What are the most common issues and remediation solutions in Wellington?

The Wellington climate is wet and windy compared to other New Zealand regions, and consequently foundation issues can often relate to poor drainage or flooding. Wellington soil types can also vary from street to street, and we carefully assess every project so we can determine the most appropriate solution.

The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake has motivated residents in Wellington to proactively undertake preventative work and remediate any outstanding ground issues, helping to ensure the foundations of their home or business are well prepared to withstand future seismic events.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far, and why?

I would have to say the Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant liquefaction mitigation project using our proprietary Terefirm™ Resin Injection. This was the first project of its kind whereby the client proactively prepared vital infrastructure to prevent failure or downtime during a seismic event.

For Mainmark, it was an amazing opportunity to establish the first commercially viable solution that is able to mitigate the impact of liquefaction by treating the ground beneath existing structures. Terefirm™ Resin Injection is unmatched by other solutions as it enables us to allow structures, including vital infrastructure, remain fully operational while the ground underneath is treated. For the technicians that worked onsite at Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant and the team involved in the Christchurch Red Zone trials, it is an incredible achievement that proves what we’ve long suspected in terms of the capabilities of Terefirm Resin Injection, as a proven ground improvement and liquefaction mitigation solution.


Mike Baker is Mainmark New Zealand’s Area Manager in Wellington. After joining Mainmark in 2013, Mike supervised remediation of the modern Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island. In 2019 he led the first of its kind Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant liquefaction mitigation project in Wellington.

Time efficient solutions for lifting large concrete slabs in industrial environments

Ruler-slab-movement

Large concrete slabs play an important role in warehousing and logistics environments, where hardstands for loading and unloading heavy road freight trucks and haulage vehicles, and vast storage facilities are essential to core business operations.

If these heavy concrete slabs are compromised in any way, due to underlying issues below ground, it can significantly disrupt business operations, impact equipment performance and load tolerance, affecting the safety of operators and drivers, and raising serious concerns for operations managers.

To avoid service disruptions or, in the worst case, workplace accidents in an environment where heavy vehicles and machinery are common, effective and proactive health and safety management is crucial, including looking out for less obvious hazards as well as the obvious ones.

For example, early signs of sloping or sinking transport yard pavements and driveways, or a sudden increase in concrete cracks, may indicate unstable ground due to voids beneath the surface.

Subsidence can occur when the soil beneath the slab compresses under pressure, or swells and contracts due to changes in the ground’s moisture level as a result of heavy rainfall, leaking pipes or tidal flow in wetland areas.

Other common indicators of issues beneath the slab are misaligned joints between slab panels, and soil being pumped out between joints as vehicles travel across the slab. Soil pumping at a joint is evidence of voiding beneath the joint and if not addressed leads to the slab cracking, while misaligned joints can cause jolting of forklift loads as they cross the joint.

Slab subsidence occurred at a Queensland wharf logistics business located close to the Port of Brisbane. Due to its close proximity to the river, a large concrete hardstand was built on reclaimed marshland, with the substrate consisting of soft marine mud.

South East Queensland Hauliers’ (SEQH) hardstand is the central transport hub where large shipping containers, up to 40ft long and weighing 30 tonnes, are loaded and unloaded from heavy haulage trucks by 40 tonne forklifts. It is operational 24/7.

Daily tidal flows affecting the soft ground beneath the hardstand, combined with failing joint seals in the concrete slabs, resulted in settlement. Over time, the outer edges of the hardstand sat higher than the midline (known as dishing), which caused water to pool in the centre further compounding the problem, affecting 3500m2 of the 12000m2 hardstand.

This is a common issue affecting external slabs and pavements when water seeps into the foundation ground. As heavy traffic loads pump the saturated foundation ground, it leads to even more damage and increased subsidence. The biggest concern for business owners is not if, but how and when to address the issue without impacting daily operations.

Using innovative ground engineering technologies and solutions, it is possible to not only stabilise and re-level large transport yards and hardstand areas by improving the ground beneath the concrete slab; you can also achieve this without interrupting access for heavy vehicles, or risking the safety of people or property.

One such solution is JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting (or JOG), a computer-controlled injection technology that uses fast setting grout and is ideal for remediating large areas and heavy structures, gradually and gently lifting them back to level. A total of 400 injection points were installed in carefully selected points along the SEQH hardstand, allowing technicians to control the lift in increments less than 0.5mm across sections of up to 700m2 at a time.

JOG also proved ideal for re-levelling a large factory and warehouse in Sheffield, England which was situated on a previous coal mining site. The building had subsequently suffered significant differential settlement due to voids and subsidence, which resulted in severe cracking and sloping floors.

Another solution that is ideal for remediating concrete slabs at factories and truck depots is our Teretek® engineered resin injection solution. A transport yard at one of New Zealand’s largest companies, Fonterra, had settled due to unstable soils and voids under the 150mm-thick concrete slab. A build-up of water underneath resulted in the slab moving every time a vehicle drove over it. The challenge was identifying a solution that would raise and re-level the slab without impacting up to 500 vehicle movements daily, including milk tankers, trucks and light vehicle traffic.

Teretek filled the voids, lifted the slab, and ‘stitched’ sections of the slab back together, in a single day without disruption to business operations. The unique engineered resin increases ground bearing capacity and delivers re-levelling solutions at a fraction of the cost of traditional underpinning. The injection process is likened to keyhole surgery, with the resin delivered through small tubes, typically 16mm diameter, and is controlled with constant monitoring by laser level. The process is extremely quick and non-invasive: as this time lapse video demonstrates, with most slab lifting completed in less than a day.

For more information about Mainmark’s innovative ground engineering solutions that are suitable for factory, warehousing and logistics environments, contact Mainmark on 1800 623 312 in Australia, 0800 873 835 in NZ, or visit www.mainmark.com.


By James O’Grady

James O’Grady is a Sales and Business Development Manager at Mainmark. He is a civil engineer with 25 years’ experience in structural engineering, construction materials and ground treatment.