Meetings & Events

Christchurch topples New York to win the International Structural Engineering Congress 2020

  • October 1, 2016

Christchurch, New Zealand has won the bid to host International Structural Engineering 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 University of Canterbury, who is an award-winning earthquake engineering expert.



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. 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.” she says.

“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.

“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.

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