International conference in seismic design hailed a major success

1 February 2018


The ninth triennial STESSA ’18 Conference on the Behaviour of Steel Structures in Seismic Areas was hosted by the University of Canterbury on 14-17 February 2018, with partners SCNZ, the University of Naples and the University of Auckland.

The event successfully attracted the top tier of specialists from around the world who are working in steel and structures; and inspired local as well as international participants.

Approximately 150 delegates from across 20 countries descended on the Garden City to gain exposure to the latest research and seismic applications, just one week ahead of the seven-year anniversary of the February 22 earthquake that shook Christchurch in 2011.

A total of 118 papers authored by local and international structural engineering experts in seismic design and performance were presented and several keynote presentations focussed on learnings from the performance of structures following the Canterbury earthquakes. In addition, SCNZ’s Senior Structural Engineer (Technical Development), Kevin Cowie, chaired a special session on BRBs.

To cover the diverse range of papers from around the world, three streams were run simultaneously on topics from performance-based design through to behaviour of connections, numerical modelling, passive control, and more.

Professor Greg MacRae, University of Canterbury, discussed how Christchurch is becoming a blueprint for seismically resilient construction following the 2011 earthquake.

He commented, “STESSA ’18 successfully showcased NZ designs and construction. The research that was presented inspired practical discussions, enabled valuable information to be shared and facilitated the development of important connections amongst specialists; all of which will help us as we seek to make better seismic systems made of steel in New Zealand.”

SCNZ Manager Darren O’Riley said the conference provided a valuable opportunity for structural engineering academics and practitioners to present and assess the results from recent research on seismic retrofit, the minimisation of earthquake damage and the collapse behaviour of steel structures.

Darren commented: “Structural steel’s seismic-resisting qualities have allowed a new Christchurch to emerge from the devastating earthquake of 2011. Due to structural steel’s proven seismic performance, its market share is currently over 80 percent in Christchurch, up from virtually nil before the earthquakes.

“It is vital that we learn from the Christchurch experience and share our insights with other similarly developed cities worldwide.”

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The STESSA’18 delegation

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Gala Dinner attendees with the Maori Performance Group