Christchurch wins International Structural Engineering Congress 2020

27 September 2016

Christchurch, New Zealand will host the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) Congress in September 2020.

The prestigious five-day event, to be held at the new Convention Centre, is expected to attract 550 delegates from around the world, with an estimated economic benefit of $1.2 million for Christchurch.

The bid was put forward by Dr Stephen Hicks of the Heavy Research Engineering Association, and Chair of the New Zealand Group of IABSE and Dr Alessandro Palermo, Associate Professor at the Department of Civil and Natural Resource Engineering, University of Canterbury, who is an award-winning earthquake engineering expert and UCSA 2016 Lecturer of the Year.

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) Business Events, through its Conference Assistance Programme (CAP), worked with Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB) to create the bid document, and provided presentation collateral including a letter of support from Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

CCCB manager Caroline Blanchfield says Christchurch headed off New York to win the bid.

“This is another example of Christchurch playing to its strengths. We know the city will deliver world-class expertise and knowledge, and an amazing destination experience for these international delegates,” she says.

“Our collaboration with Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events team was of great value in securing the winning bid. Working with Tourism New Zealand and our local business partners helped us to attract this group of experts to Christchurch.

“As well as the high-value spend it will bring to the city, many delegates are expected to spend more and stay longer in the region with their partners and families before and after the event. Coming in the September shoulder season, they will provide a boost for our accommodation, hospitality and attraction providers throughout the South Island.”

Dr Hicks says New Zealand is well known for its earthquake engineering and low damage construction techniques, and Christchurch has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with international structural engineers. University of Canterbury has been heavily involved in the design concepts of those innovative buildings which utilized technology reached and tested in the Laboratory.

Assoc. Palermo said that a clear example is the design of the first damage resistant rocking bridge in Christchurch (Wigram-Magdala bridge link) where Researchers and Practitioners worked seamlessly to developed a world-first solution that allows to minimize the post-earthquake disruption and bridge functionality.

“The provisional symposium theme is Resilient Infrastructure, and Christchurch will be a showcase for the latest in technology and practice for resilient and sustainable structures. This symposium will be a forum to present new ideas, practical applications and new technologies to engineering staff, engineering managers, researchers, and industry.

“Christchurch is also the ideal place for technical visits, to present the know-how gained from the earthquakes in 2011. Site visits will feature new structures, together with the retrofitting techniques within existing structures,” he says.

New buildings likely to be on show include the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, with its specialised lateral force-resisting system and base isolation, and the Trimble Navigation building with post-tensioned Laminated-Veneer-Lumber (LVL) frames and walls with energy dissipating devices for lateral load resistance, the first commercial building in New Zealand to use this technique.

 

ENDS