2021
ENGINEERING INNOVATION AWARD

Sponsored by Waka Kotahi

A breathtakingly clever engineering project or product that has solved an age-old problem or shifted from the ‘always done this way’ mentality.

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FINALISTS

RESILIENT SLIP FRICTION JOINT (RSFJ)

Tectonus Limited

We can’t prevent earthquakes from occurring, but we can build to avoid their destructive impacts.

Seismic zones worldwide have an ever-increasing need to be prepared for the next event. The Tectonus team started their journey by probing whether there was a better way to protect structures from earthquakes and aftershocks.

The company emerged from the collaborative efforts of New Zealand based researchers pioneering the future of structural resilience. Their mission is to create seismic technology that will revolutionise how we can live & prosper in earthquake-prone zones.

The Resilient Slip Friction Joint (RSFJ®) is an innovative seismic damper with an additive self-centering capability that re-centres buildings during earthquakes and aftershocks. Not only does it improve building resilience, but it also significantly reduces business disruption and evacuation times, for both new and retrofit buildings of any size and material.

ASSET ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION FRAMEWORK (AAIF)

Christchurch City Council

Now more than ever, we need better and more robust asset management processes that decision-makers understand and trust, to ensure funding goes to the right projects at the right time.

The Asset Assessment and Intervention Framework (AAIF) process and tool were developed to provide fast, auditable and repeatable renewal and prioritisation projections for Christchurch City Council’s three waters reticulation assets.  

Supporting the adoption of the New Zealand Asset Management Metadata standard, the AAIF enables concise communication of complex data analysis to stakeholders. It has the potential to set a new benchmark in infrastructure asset management for local authorities across New Zealand.

This AAIF stands out in that the process is 100% on-tool, automatically extracting data from over one hundred sources and performing calculations, eliminating the potential for data entry errors or observer bias.

WESTPORT WATER PIPELINE TUNNEL PROJECT

Hadlee & Brunton Ltd and Davis Ogilvie (Aoraki)

Through clever design, innovation, and creativity, this project brought back a 100-year-old critical water supply infrastructure that the people of Westport had built, maintained and relied on for generations. 

A collapsed supply tunnel in 2014 meant the town of 4600 people were having to constantly pump water – an expensive and unsustainable task.

The project required innovations in drilling, thrusting and bespoke design – previously considered impossible. An innovative solution and leading-edge technology enabled the collapsed main water tunnel to be reinstated and lined with steel pipe restoring gravity flow water, through a fully enclosed 2.5km pipeline. This novel alternative to an overland pipe solution hadn’t been done in New Zealand before and was potentially a world first. 

Delivered under budget and on time, the new water pipeline provides safe and reliable drinking water to Westport – and will do so for the next 100 years. It demonstrates the importance of innovation in achieving high-quality outcomes from the perspective of health and safety, sustainability, cultural considerations and a sound technical solution. 

TRENTHAM TO UPPER HUTT DOUBLE TRACKING (T2UH)

KiwiRail, Downer, and Aurecon

Trentham to Upper Hutt (T2UH) was a visionary project where KiwiRail boldly attempted the first completely paperless BIM project of its scale. They showed true innovation in digital delivery and have set a benchmark for a new way of working.

T2UH involved double-tracking of 2.7 km of the Hutt Valley line between Trentham and Upper Hutt stations, enabling trains to travel in both directions simultaneously and delivering more frequent and reliable services.

Delivered under a collaborative early contractor involvement (ECI) model, Kiwirail were intentional in achieving a new way of working that aligns with the values of the Construction Sector Accord.

The digital innovation in this project is a step-change in Australia and New Zealand. Through the creation of a collaborative, high-performing team, KiwiRail, along with partners, Downer and Aurecon, achieved breakthrough innovations on T2UH, which provided game-changing safety and productivity benefits for working in the rail corridor. 

Key innovations include machine control and avoidance technology, clash and service strike avoidance, and a process for upfront as-builting.

Digital tools developed on T2UH will contribute to a more resilient, productive rail sector, and have the potential to enhance outcomes on other infrastructure projects in New Zealand.