NZ Geomechanics News

Review of National Seismic Hazard Model

In 2015 MBIE commissioned an independent international panel of experts to review the New Zealand National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM). The panel issued their final report to MBIE in April 2017 which looked at:

  • The governance and resourcing, of the NSHM.
  • Hazard estimate stability of the NSHM.
  • The application of probabilistic seismic assessment analysis (PSHA), its robustness and transparency for incorporation in the NSHM.
  • Seismic hazard approach used in the NSHM.
  • Site specific hazard study guidelines and reporting requirements.

The report presented a list of activities to be considered, including the development of an appropriate governance structure and a new funding model for improving and maintaining the NSHM.
In response to the reports finings MBIE and EQC are co-funding a business case that will present options for consideration for the future governance and funding of the NSHM. A number of stakeholders will be consulted with to support the development of the business case.
After consideration of the options MBIE, potentially working with other agencies, will then seek to implement a preferred option to allow the activities recommended in the April 2017 expert panel report to be completed. These are summarised in priority order below:

  • Form a NSHM team.
  • Adequately document the processes used to develop the current NSHM models (both the 2002 model used in the current maps and the 2010 model that updates the seismic source characterisation).
  • Move the existing software to an open-source hazard programme and make the model publically available, readily accessible and user friendly.
  • Review and update the period-dependant spectral shapes used in NZS1170.5.
  • Develop guidelines for undertaking site-specific hazard studies.
  • Work through the other technical recommendations made in the expert panel report to update and improve the NSHM.

If you would like to discuss the content of this article further, please email


NZGS Course in
Design and Construction Techniques
in Soft Ground

Course objectives and outcomes

This one-day course, developed and organised by NZGS, will provide an introduction to the essential components of soft soil engineering. The course will include an overview of the theory of the behaviour of soft soils and design criteria. Attendees will develop good understanding of the issues arising when building on such soils and of the importance of specific strategy and planning for such projects. The course will also provide methodologies for ground investigation and sampling and techniques for building the ground model. The techniques for soft soil treatment will be discussed, including construction staging and monitoring.
The course will comprise classroom teaching and a short design exercise. At the completion of the course, attendees should be able to consider options to deliver the project, scope a geotechnical investigation to support the design, perform simple calculations to estimate the performance of options including consolidation, stone columns and soil mixing. Attendees will be introduced to implementation of instrumentation and monitoring regime and use of the Observational Method and back analysis. Development of specifications for ground improvement for soft soils will be briefly addressed.

Who should attend?

The course is targeted at geotechnical engineers with minimum 2 years’ experience, and ideally at those with
5 to 10 years’ experience. More senior engineers may benefit from a refresher.
It is assumed that the attendees have a university level understanding of soil mechanics.



The course will be presented by Dr. Richard Kelly, based in Australia and Nick Wharmby based in New Zealand.

Dr. Richard Kelly
Richard is a Chartered Professional Engineer and fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia (CPEng). He is currently the Chief Technical Principal – Geotechnical with SMEC Australia – New Zealand, a Conjoint Professor of Practice at the University of Newcastle and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong. Richard has extensive expertise in site characterisation, soft soil engineering, ground improvement, materials use, earthworks and foundation design.

Nick Wharmby

Nick is a Civil Engineer specialised in Geotechnology. Nick has been working in New Zealand since 2004, and has been involved in major infrastructure projects playing a key role in bringing new construction methodologies to the country, including ground improvement techniques. Nick has contributed in his area of expertise to many international organisations and committees (Federation of Piling Specialists Technical Committee, ICE, Ground Engineering Advisory Panel, CIRIA). Nick is currently Technical Manager with March Construction.


The cost for the course per attendee is
$350 plus GST, for NZGS members
$650 plus GST, for non-NZGS members
This covers full attendance, course notes and teaching material, and full catering for the day.

Course locations and dates
Auckland – Monday 3 September 2018*
*(the course will be repeated tentatively on Tuesday
4 September, depending on the level of interest).
Wellington – Wednesday 5 September 2018.
Christchurch – Friday 7 September 2018.

For further information contact the organiser Eleni Gkeli (





Tags : #National seismic model

NZ Geomechanics News
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 95 - June 2018

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