ASHLEY SMITH

DIRECTOR, PRINCIPAL ENGINEER

With 40 years’ experience in New Zealand, the UK, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and PNG. I have led the structural team on multiple high-rise and long-span structures including buildings, sculptures and stadia.

I provide strategic advice to architects, developers, building owners and managers and contractors around how to set up their building design to ensure it meets their needs. If you’re looking for strategic structural engineering input you’ll benefit from my experience and knowledge of the most efficient way to organise a structure to achieve a specific set of objectives. I also manage our structural engineering team, design the structures for new buildings and assess and strengthen existing ones.

My approach is to begin projects without a preconceived view of how things should be done, instead ensuring I understand the owner and architects’ specific objectives for that project. I then provide advice around how best to organise the structure to suit.  

You can expect open-mindedness and teamwork - everyone has different knowledge and experience and I believe in leveraging this to get the right outcome.

I will help to steer you in the right direction and will deliver technically. You can be confident that my team’s structural solutions are both feasible and efficient and that we can solve original challenges with no precedent. For example, we are currently designing the structure for a 100m long sculpture that can only be supported in the middle. When placed at Gibbs Farm it needs to look like it’s fallen into position. I also regularly work as an expert witness to help resolve disputes for government agencies, local bodies, insurance companies, building owners and construction companies. 

Project highlights include:
  • The Downtown Ferry Basin Redevelopment for Auckland Transport, which is being constructed ahead of the 2021 America’s Cup. Our structural engineering innovation and expertise has enabled a striking yet functional design for new ferry berths, gangways and gangway shelters along the western edge of Queens Wharf; together with alterations to the existing Ferry Terminal Building.

 

  • Ravenscar House in central Christchurch; a grand residence/museum that will house one of New Zealand’s most important private collections of fine arts, sculpture and furniture.  We worked with Patterson Associates Architects to design this important building and have protected it against future earthquakes on a base-isolated platform above the basement car park.  Earthquake demolition rubble from 2011 was used in the aggregate to make the precast concrete roof and wall panels.

 

  • The Rita Flyn Netball Centre, a $30m international level facility with seating capacity for 3,000 people, developed for the 2015 Pacific Games held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. We were involved right from the outset and agreed with the architect how to best set up the structure before he had developed his designs, important given that his vision was to make the structure part of the architecture. We delivered comprehensive documentation and the project ran smoothly.

  • Century Tower in Tokyo. Norman Foster was the architect and his outstanding design meant we had to design a huge floor area without any columns. The structural skeleton was to be exposed and needed to look great as well as perform in the event of an earthquake.

  • The Vero Centre. This iconic Auckland landmark continues to perform well and has no trouble attracting high caliber commercial and office tenants.

 

  • As an expert witness, I was joint investigator for DBH (now MBIE) into the collapses of the CTV Building in Christchurch, appearing at the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission. I also investigated and reported on the Stadium Southland roof collapse in Invercargill, and problems with the initial construction of the Vector Arena roof structure in Auckland.

 

Qualifications:
  • Master of Engineering (Civil) University of Auckland

  • Member of New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering

  • Past President and Life Member of New Zealand Structural Engineering Society

  • International Professional Engineer (NZ)

  • Chartered Professional Engineer

  • Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers (NZ)

Geyser Building (Suite 207),

100 Parnell Road, Parnell

Auckland 1052

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