Dr Najif Ismail residing in Wellington, received Ivan Skinner Award 2020 for conducting research related to earthquake engineering.
Dr Ismail has been working with the Hutt City Council to examine earthquake risks to commercial and industrial buildings near the Wellington Fault line. The award will enable him to complete this vital research project.
Dr Ismail said in a statement that he has dedicated his career to seismic hazards since his university days when his homeland Pakistan was hit by a huge earthquake in 2005 that killed 86,000 people.
He further said that i had just finished my Bachelor’s degree and my first job was in the reconstruction response in Pakistan from where my all life has been started about earthquake resilience.
He moved to New Zealand for getting PhD in assessing and strengthening existing buildings at the University of Auckland and again found himself on the seismic front line in 2011.
The Christchurch earthquakes hit while I was doing my PhD in Auckland and suddenly I found myself working in Christchurch going around the CBD, assessing and tagging buildings for earthquake damage.
Dr Ismail has worked, lectured and published across New Zealand and overseas in his chosen field of earthquake strengthening and in 2013 received the Masonry Society Best PhD Dissertation Award for his thesis on strengthening unreinforced masonry buildings.
In recent times, Dr Ismail has focused on commercial and industrial buildings in Lower Hutt, specifically those around the Wellington Fault line, to identify which buildings may be at risk in an earthquake, and how that risk can best be mitigated.
Dr Ismail is specifically interested in structures that fall outside the MBIE categories for earthquake-prone buildings but may still be at risk.
Dr Ismail and his team, working with Hutt City Council, will look at the geological data for the area, and the characteristics of buildings geospatially to understand how earthquake risk can be reduced and people kept safer.
He added that there has been a lot of interest and cooperation from the building owners, because under the new Health and Safety At Work Act they are all responsible for protecting anyone working or visiting the buildings.
Dr Jo Horrocks, Head of Resilience Strategy and Research at EQC said that the Commission is proud to fund the Ivan Skinner Award.
He further said that Ivan Skinner is a previous head of research at EQC and is considered the father of base isolation techniques. Constructing stronger building to keep people safe was his passion, and is still a top priority for EQC, so it is appropriate that we can help Dr Ismail to follow in Ivan’s footsteps.