Why we’re creating geotechnical resources and events

Last updated: 4 May 2017

Earthquake cracks in a lawn

To build it right we need to understand and design for the ground our buildings stand on. We are therefore producing educational resources and events to share understanding of the latest geotechnical learnings and guidelines among geotechnical engineers and those they work with in the building sec.

The guidelines and education will help promote consistency of approach to everyday engineering practice in New Zealand, improving geotechnical-earthquake aspects of building performance.

Upcoming events

The events calendar on the New Zealand Geotechnical Society website provides information on upcoming events and learning opportunities for geotechnical practitioners.

Events calendar

Who the resources are for

We are creating these educational resources and events for geotechnical engineers and people they work with in the sector. In particular, they are for:

  • geotechnical engineering graduates training for CPEng/PEngGeol
  • experienced geo-professionals looking to upskill
  • architects
  • developers
  • land planners
  • building officials.

Geotechnical response to Canterbury

High-level geotechnical skills are essential. They improve both our understanding of the ground we build on and our methods for designing foundations where liquefaction is likely. The Canterbury earthquakes caused significant land damage. Our learnings from those earthquakes will help us build foundations that better withstand land damage, reducing the chance of costly building failures in the future.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission made recommendations about geotechnical considerations and foundation design. These included the need to provide guidance on geotechnical earthquake engineering (recommendation numbers 3-31).

Guidance supported by education

MBIE and the NZ Geotechnical Society (NZGS) are developing seven geotechnical guidelines [modules], called the earthquake geotechnical engineering practice series, in response to these recommendations. MBIE, Engineering New Zealand and NZGS are working together and combining their expertise to provide education on the guidelines and other important geotechnical topics.

Watch an introductory presentation about the earthquake geotechnical engineering practice series.

Parties working on the geotechnical education

MBIE, Engineering New Zealand and the New Zealand Geotechnical Society are working jointly on this programme.


This programme is expected to run for several years. Our initial focus will be on creating education for the MBIE/NZGS geotechnical guidelines, while also producing other resources (for example, a rockfall guide).

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: