A reputation for innovation and delivering first-class structural engineering solutions. Over the past 40+ years I’ve worked on projects in New Zealand, Australia, Nepal and around the pacific, including Fiji, PNG and Samoa.

My focus is on working with others in the design team to get a really good solution to each project on which I’m engaged. Where appropriate, that means pushing the boundaries by thinking about things in a new way. It also means designing buildable solutions - important because it can be incredibly costly if extensive redesign is required once construction is underway. Keeping abreast of new technology and ideas allows me, and my team, to stay ahead.


My in-depth experience, as a result of my 40+ years as a structural engineer, means I’ve come across many of the problems facing my clients today and, more importantly, many great solutions. This means you get the benefit of my ability to take what’s been done before and to either build on it or to come up with something even better.


My key skills include problem solving, conceptual engineering and construction engineering. My approach to working with my clients and partners is collaborative. I listen well, respond and contribute to project teams - I’m not a silent partner. My approach to working with my team at Structure Design is to give them goals and to let them find their own way there, while at the same time supporting and pushing them.

Key projects on which I’ve been involved include:
  • Te Papa. I worked with a great team and, at the time, the engineering on this building was sharp. It remains a good building today.

  • A number of buildings for the University of Auckland as part of its rebuild.

  • Two projects in Papua New Guinea - the Taurama Aquatics Centre and the Rita Flyn Netball Centre, which will be completed in time for the 2015 Pacific Games. Our strong team won these projects over international stadium experts.

I set up Structure Design in 1998 after spending over 20 years at Holmes Consulting Group.


If you’re looking for an experienced structural engineer for your project, please get in touch.


  • A Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (1st Class Honours) University of Canterbury


  • Chartered Professional Engineer, New Zealand

  • Member of New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering

  • Member of New Zealand Structural Engineering Society

  • Elected Fellow of Institution of Professional Engineers

Ashley Smith.jpg



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.


  • 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)

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Director and senior structural engineer, with 20 years’ experience in New Zealand and the UK. I have led design for a range of structures - from educational and sculptural projects to multi-storey commercial, residential, retirement and carpark buildings.

I provide innovative structural engineering input that stands the test of time to projects for developers, architects, building owners and contractors who:

  • are designing or developing a new building

  • are planning alterations to an existing building


  • have received advice from their local Council about the seismic grading of their building.

My diverse experience on a range of different building types from educational centres and large-scale commercial through to multi-storey residential means I can work up solutions to complicated problems. This sometimes involves finding new and better ways of doing things.'


If you choose to work with me you can expect me to communicate clearly and regularly with everyone in the design team to make sure that:


  • I understand your desired outcomes

  • I meet these as well as agreed timeframes, and

  • my work is coordinated with that of the architect

Examples of my work, that demonstrate this innovation include:
  • Waiparuru Hall - Jon led the structural design of the largest catered school leaver hall in New Zealand, which was opened in 2020. It will be home to 786 residents across two towers. To improve structural performance and increase future flexibility, SDL advocated for the post-tensioned floors to be used in lieu of tradition beam and slab construction, which was further researched and accepted by the contractor.


  • The Diocesan School for Girls Aquatic and Fitness Centre, Auckland. The development of post- tensioned timber box beams helped Structure Design win a design excellence award at the 2009 Timber Design awards.


  • Tall Tree and the Eye, Anish Kapoor. The challenges on this sculpture, our first of several similar sculptures, were numerous, requiring intensive collaboration between teams and tackling unique problems, such as designing a shipping container to carry the sculpture from Auckland, New Zealand to London, England and finally on to Bilbao, Spain.

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Hons), 2000

  • Member NZ Structural Engineering Society

  • Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng)

  • International Professional Engineer (IntPE)

  • Member, Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (MIPENZ)

  • Member, Structural Engineering Society New Zealand (SESOC)

  • Member, New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE)




Senior structural engineer, with more than 12 years’ experience in New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific. I have experience of designing a range of structures - from commercial, industrial and multi-storey residential buildings to medical facilities, liquid retaining structures, power plants, educational and community facilities and sports stadia.

I am passionate about delivering successful projects that help clients to thrive and, ultimately, benefit the wider community.


This involves working with clients to overcome both conceptual and detailed problems; finding ways to strengthen old buildings cheaply and cunningly, providing architects with great designs with the minimum of hassle, helping contractors build as quickly and easily as possible, peer-reviewing large engineering firms’ work and meeting deadlines.


I enjoy using the architect’s or client’s design objectives to drive innovation in the structure. Technical challenges excite me because they force me to do things in a new or smarter way. Both these things allow us to achieve a legacy. For example, on the University of Auckland’s Engineering School project, I collaborated closely with the design team to achieve an aesthetic result in the structural steelwork detailing, as well as structural performance.


If you work with me you can expect a good quality design, delivered to the agreed programme, and clear communication throughout the process. I start by listening and really understanding what you want to achieve and then am methodical in the way I plan and execute my work both in terms of design and communication back to the client and to the wider project team. I talk to the architect to understand which aspects of their design are sorted and which are in flux so I can maintain flexibility for areas still being worked through. This results in a smoother, quicker process by minimising re-work.

The University of Auckland’s Engineering School is a key recent project of mine; other career highlights include:
  • Mercy Ascot Hospital redevelopment.

  • Jervois Rd apartments; 5 storeys of luxury apartments built over a 3-storey basement. What a view!

  • Mangere Arts Centre, a hub for arts & culture in South Auckland.

  • Designing foundations for the iconic Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

  • Working in the Solomon Islands on a number of aid infrastructure projects. The country had suffered from ethnic conflict which had decimated the construction industry, so working with locals to help the industry recover and upskill was really rewarding.


  • Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng)

  • International Professional Engineer (IntPE)

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), University of Auckland 

  • Executive Member, Engineers for Social Responsibility

  • Associate Professional Certificate in Safety in Design, University of Sydney

  • Chartered Member, Engineering New Zealand (CMEngNZ)

  • Member, Structural Engineering Society of New Zealand

  • Member, New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering




Structural engineer and qualified architect with 13 years of experience in Spain and almost 7 in New Zealand.  I studied architecture at University but realised my passion lays in the structural design of projects, so I decided to move to Barcelona to do my master’s degree in Structural engineering.

This background has given me an understanding of both perspectives and means I find ways of delivering structures that complement and enhance the architect’s vision.


You can expect me to adopt a problem-solving approach to your project.


Every development brings new challenges and I enjoy working with the wider project team to identify the best solution.

Project highlights include:


In Spain I worked on the structural design of many different types of projects, ranging from office and residential buildings, sporting facilities, hotels and schools.


Probably the most challenging and interesting one was the Water Park project for the Zaragoza International Exhibition.


Some of the most significant projects I have been involved since I arrived in NZ are:

  • Design of 33m long gangways for the Downtown Ferry redevelopment project.

  • Elm Street, a Kainga Ora development of 6-8 storey blocks in timber.

  • Hanging Jet Plane Sculpture, Sylvia Park Shopping Centre Auckland.

  • Several complex residential buildings.

  • Atrium building of the University of Auckland Engineering School.


  • Anglesea Medical Centre in Hamilton, a 2 storey building with steel frame and CLT floors.

  • Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering. Polytechnic University of Barcelona, Spain

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and Urbanism. National University of La Plata, Argentina. Degree homologated by the Ministry of Education in Spain.

  • Member of Structural Engineering Society New Zealand


  • Member of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (MEngNZ)

Joseph Hinde.jpg



Structural Engineer with over three years’ experience. I have designed a wide variety of structures ranging from specialist Rib-Raft foundations through to  terraced housing and Light Gauge steel portal frames. I have also conducted a number of detailed seismic assessments of structures.

You can expect me to simplify problems and keep my designs simple to understand and build. I won’t over-engineer structures. My preference is to meet upfront to understand clients’ desires, limitations and budget and to brainstorm ideas. You’ll find me straight-talking and punctual - I stick to client timeframes.


I have extensive experience in Internal commercial fitouts and alterations to existing structures. Designs included have been suspended ceilings, partition wall & seismic restraints.  I have up to date and an in-depth knowledge in modern seismic fitout systems including RONDO, Unistrut, Tracklok & Gridlok systems as well as creating bespoke specific engineering solutions.

Project highlights include:
  • Developing a concept design for a seven-storey apartment building in Cheshire Street. The structure consisted of concrete shear walls and steel gravity frames.


  • Undertaking a detailed seismic analysis on the old Council chambers on New North Road. These are part of Auckland’s heritage and it’s fulfilling to think I am playing a part in helping to preserve these for others to enjoy.


  • Designing multiple Kainga Ora projects including cost effective solutions for a development in West Auckland.


  • Being the construction engineer for a 3 story mass timber apartment block located in Manurewa. (Churchill)


  • 20m high steel portal frame industrial building in Wiri.

  • Single storey dementia ward, timber structure at Selwyn Heights.


  • Sculpture in the Gardens - We helped bring each artist’s vision to life, advising them about suitable materials and how to build their sculpture. 

  • BE(Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering


  • Working at Height - Advanced Course, Vertical Horizonz


  • Pole Top Rescue Course, Vertical Horizonz


  • Bridge and other significant highway structures inspection, NZTA 

Matthew Johnson.jpg



Senior structural engineer, with over 15 years’ experience in New Zealand and the UK. I help clients to achieve their architect’s inspiration by understanding the brief and developing a structural solution that supports this.

You can expect me to be flexible in my design approach - I am willing to look at all options. My solid background in all materials means I can consider not only what will work best but what’s available, at what price and in what timeframe. For example, in 2015 I provided structural input into two hotels being constructed in Kathmandu, Nepal. I married Structural Design’s seismic experience with locally available building products to create a well- designed structure that was easy for local labourers to install.


In the UK I worked a lot with concrete, and my experience is predominantly in the area of medium-rise residential and commercial buildings.


This has taught me three things that are critical to delivering a successful design: understanding the brief, working closely with other professionals to achieve the client’s goals and considering the buildability of the various structural options open to me.

Experience highlights include:


  • Designing Grafton Halls of Residence with the University of Auckland. My first major project back in New Zealand consisting of three individual 3-5 story buildings with a communal dining hall.


  • Tall Tree Sculpture, an Anish Kapoor design. The concept involves 1m stainless steel spheres sitting on top of one another. The sculptures range from 8 metres to 15 metres tall. We make the artist’s design work structurally. 


  • Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club, a new 27 hole Nicklaus design golf course, a state of the art, classical contemporary clubhouse and a fully-fledged driving range and short game practice area.


  • Designing the structure for an Olympic Community Area, a legacy project for the Olympic Park in Stratford, London. This featured cross-laminated timber and resulted in an attractive building in an iconic location.


If you choose to work with me you can expect me to present information clearly, work closely with your wider team and deliver buildable structural designs that result in a building or other structure of which you can be proud.


  • A Bursary

  • Bachelor of Civil Engineering, the University of Auckland

  • Chartered Member of the Institute of Structural Engineers (MIStructE)

  • Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng)

Sean Bissett.jpg



Structural Engineer with 6 years experience and have been part of the Structure Design’s team since completing my studies at university. I try to work to the Structure Design’s values of having a can-do attitude with no surprises.

I joined Structure Design as an undergraduate part-time while completing my studies at university. By working at the same company for my entire career this has allowed me to learn and work in a familiar and trusting environment. 


I have worked on numerous different building types which have their own challenges. These include seismic assessment and improvement of existing buildings mainly in unreinforced masonry, high-end residential buildings and  medium-rise apartment buildings.


I have recently worked on a light timber frame and mass timber hybrid building which has been an interesting and challenging project.

Project highlights include:
  • Seismic assessment and improvement work to Parnell Blind Foundation Buildings with the main highlight of the Jubilee Hall

  • Matakana Cycleway Bridge

  • Working on projects with mass timber

  • Working on multiple high-end residential buildings 

  • Reinforced concrete medium rise apartment building 

  • Large span structural steel portal frame building for a car show room


  • Auckland Grammar School


  • Batchelor of Engineering (Civil and Environmental) 1st Class Honors University of Auckland 

  • Member, Engineering New Zealand (MEngNZ)

Terry Dawson.jpg



Senior structural engineer with 20 years’ international experience in building structures, with a particular interest on seismic engineering, high rise structures and low damage building technologies. In addition to New Zealand, I have worked in Canada, the USA, the UK, and Israel.

I work with building owners, developers, designers, contractors, and users on projects that contribute positively to our built environment.


I analyse, design, document and supervise a range of new and refurbished building types. I develop cost-effective, high-quality, efficient and thorough design documentation based on sound structural schemes, which results in efficient designs that minimise construction, operation and maintenance issues.


My personal philosophy of thorough building design and documentation will save you time and money during construction and my experience both overseas and in New Zealand, including on the Christchurch rebuild, allow me to conceive of and apply a range of solutions.


You can expect me to adopt a pro-active and holistic approach to working with your wider team and resolving problems. You’ll find me honest and straightforward and I will strive to understand and provide for your needs.

Experience highlights include:
  • Lead Structural Engineer and project manager on a retirement village in Downtown Auckland, responsible for preliminary design, investigation of options, and coordination for a series of buildings in the village. Represented Structure Design at design team meetings and workshops to collaborate with the owner, design team and contractor.

  • Multiple projects related to the Christchurch rebuild. I am proud to have contributed positively to the rebuild, including alterations and seismic strengthening of a damaged 18 storey building for use as a hotel and a damaged 12 storey apartment building for reoccupancy.

  • Multiple projects in Auckland including Tuvalu Christian Church, 3 storey timber framed apartment buildings, a series of primary schools and a 10 storey apartment building.  This apartment building utilizes post-tensioned (PT) flooring systems to maximise the use of a tight site.

  • Numerous projects overseas including underground red line train stations in Tel Aviv, 40 storey Veer Towers in Las Vegas, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and a series of theatres in Ontario.


  • Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng)

  • International Professional Engineer (IntPE (NZ))

  • Member, Engineering New Zealand (CMEngNZ)

  • Member, New Zealand Structural Engineering Society (SESOC)

  • Master of Engineering (Structural), University of Toronto

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (1st Class Hons), University of Canterbury