NZ Geomechanics News

News In Brief

AutoCAD Civils 3D Geotechnical Module Updated

Keynetix developed the update of Autodesk’s Geotechnical Module for AutoCAD Civils 3D 2017, which now allows borehole locations to be selected using the drawing filter; has redesigned menus, including colour coding of strata, for easier navigation; and automatic scaling of annotative text to match production drawings. Previous contributor to Geotechnical News and Keynetix Technical Director, Gary Morin, told us that they are offering free online training to support the launch of the new Geotechnical Module at “The course is an excellent way for users to learn how to get the most out of the updated module,” Morin said. “It is presented in ‘bite-size chunks’ that can be viewed over a few weeks. We can also tailor training for more advanced users.”

NZGS New Website

Our new website is now on line. Please sign up to join as a member for full access to the site. There is a large library available as well as a calendar to keep you up to date with all events.

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Growing geotechnical engineering practice

An education programme on earthquake geotechnical engineering will help the building industry provide communities with more resilient buildings.

The programme has been jointly developed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ) and the New Zealand Geotechnical Society (NZGS).

It aims to provide consistent and up-to-date knowledge on earthquake geotechnical engineering practice, drawing on lessons learnt from the Canterbury earthquakes.

The information will be available in a variety of formats; including face-to-face and online resources and events. They are developed for professionals with a background in soil mechanics and earthquake engineering and will also be useful for a wider audience including engineers looking to upskill, immigrant engineers looking to move to New Zealand, architects, developers, land planners and building officials.

“The education programme is aimed at growing knowledge and understanding of earthquake geotechnical engineering practice,” says Mike Stannard, MBIE’s Chief Engineer.

“It’s critical we understand the ground conditions on which our buildings and infrastructures are built. We live with seismic hazards and have complex and variable geological condition.

“The multi-year programme is being informed by ongoing research, both within New Zealand and in collaboration with international researchers” says Mike.

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Release of Joint MBIE/NZGS Geotechnical Guidance Modules 2 and 4: Geotechnical Investigations and Earthquake Resistant Foundation Design Guidance.

7 November 2016: Two new joint MBIE/NZGS geotechnical engineering guidance documents have now been published as Building Act s 175 guidance:

  • Module 2 “Geotechnical investigations for earthquake engineering” and
  • Module 4 “Earthquake resistant foundation design”

These are part of the `Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering Practice’ series, Refer to News at

All of the modules are also available on both the New Zealand Geotechnical Society (NZGS) and MBIE websites. These versions are being issued for public comment. NZGS members are encouraged to make use of these documents and return comments to within six months for consideration by the editorial committee. Comments are also welcome from structural engineers and others working in earthquake engineering.

These are the fourth and fifth of the new modules in this series to be published. Modules previously published are:

  • Module 1:        Overview of the Guidelines
  • Module 3:       Identification, assessment, and mitigation of liquefaction hazards
  • Module 5A:    Specification for Ground Improvement for Residential Properties in the Canterbury Region

Other modules in the series dealing with ground improvement and retaining wall design are scheduled for release in 2017.

Module 4

Module 4 provides the principles for good foundation design which brings practice up-to-date and implements recommendations from the Royal Commission. We recommend that practitioners make themselves familiar with it and apply the guideline principles in their designs. Feedback during this public comment period will inform decisions about the future direction of B1/VM4 (verification method for foundation design). B1/VM4 hasn’t been updated for some time and it has quite limited application. It does not address liquefaction-prone sites or those with other stability issues. Some aspects of Module 4 may be perceived as being inconsistent with B1/VM4, particularly related to strength reduction factors. However, shallow footing design is mostly governed by settlement considerations in the serviceability case, so the change will be minimal in these cases. For deep foundations, Module 4 references AS2159: 2009 to provide a risk based approach to strength reduction factors.


AGS sponsors 11YGPC delegate from Africa

As part of a collaboration with the African region of ISSMGE, the AGS funded a young geotechnical practitioner from Africa to attend the 11th ANZ Young Geotechnical Professionals Conference (11YGPC) held recently in Queenstown, New Zealand. The African region of the ISSMGE ran a competition to select a candidate with Mondli Magagula of Jones and Wagener in South Africa selected as the winner. His attendance at the conference was extremely well received by all delegates, as evidenced by him winning the popular vote for best presentation. Mondli has extended his thanks to the AGS for the opportunity, and looks to champion future collaboration between young geotechnical practitioners across the globe. Outside of the conference, he seemed to particularly enjoy seeing and touching snow for the first time in his life.

A strong desire was expressed by the delegates to continue this initiative at future conferences, and we trust that this will be the case.


Above: Mondli Magagula (left) experiencing snow for the first time in his life, with Darren Paul, AGS Immediate Past Chair.







NZ Geomechanics News
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 92 - December 2016

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