Engineering NZ – Distinguished Fellows and New Fellows, 2020

Leading the future of Engineering in New Zealand

In early March Engineering New Zealand announced their 2020 Fellows. And we’re extremely proud to celebrate two of our very own Holmes people!

Des Bull, Technical Director here at Holmes Consulting, was honoured by being made a Distinguished Fellow. And our Principal, Structures – Hamish McKenzie, was announced as a Fellow. Both Des and Hamish have been recognised as leaders by their peers, and for their ongoing efforts in making a significant contribution to engineering.

2020 Distinguished Fellow, Engineering New Zealand
Des Bull DistFEngNZ, CPEng

Des has been elected a Distinguished Fellow of Engineering New Zealand for his contribution to structural engineering practice. Des has held senior roles in the profession, including Technical Director here at Holmes and the Holcim Adjunct Professor of Concrete Design at the University of Canterbury. He’s a key player for helping create the USAR engineer service in New Zealand, which was highly important in the aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. For almost 30 years, Des has been a regular presenter at industry training seminars and a major contributor to the New Zealand Standards for Concrete Structures and Seismic Design Actions. Including being the author or editor of many widely used national and international guidance publications, as well as devoting much of his personal time to mentor others, whether they are fellow colleagues, undergraduates, and postgraduate students. Read more about Des’ achievements here.

2020 Fellow, Engineering New Zealand
Hamish McKenzie FEngNZ

With over 20 years of structural engineering experience in New Zealand and overseas, Hamish is a great source of knowledge for the team here at Holmes, but his generosity with his knowledge doesn’t stop there! Hamish is the current President of the Structural Engineering Society and is recognised for his leading involvement in the structural engineering profession and wider industry initiatives. Currently, Hamish is one of our Principal, Structures here at Holmes, based in our Wellington office, and his project experience includes the structural design, seismic assessment and strengthening of several well-known Wellington buildings, many of which have been presented at national and international conferences and recognised in global engineering awards. Read more about Hamish’s achievements here.


Congratulations to both Des and Hamish on such a wonderful accolade acknowledging not just your engineering knowledge and experience but also your leadership in the New Zealand engineering community too.

NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards 2020

Wahinga Martinborough Community Centre (photo credit: Andy Spain).

We’re so honoured to have been Highly Commended for the recent NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards for 2020!

Our vibrant and visually striking community centre project, the Waihinga Martinborough Community Centre (pictured left), was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the Engineering Innovation Award category, something we’re incredibly proud of!

But the accolades don’t end there, out of the 12 award categories, we had five different Holmes projects nominated by our peers in the following five categories, an incredible achievement in itself:

Public Design Award: Waihinga Martinborough Community Centre, Oxford Tce Baptist Church

Interior Design Award: Oxford Tce Baptist Church

NZ Specialty Timber Award: Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (Winner), Christchurch Town Hall (Highly Commended)

Engineering Innovations Award: Waihinga Martinborough Community Centre (Highly Commended), All Souls Church and Hall

Engineered Wood Products Innovations Award: All Souls Church and Hall
*Plus, one of our Principals’ lovely home was also nominated for the Residential Design Award by the architecture firm involved.

Congratulations to all the winners in this year’s awards, there are some incredible projects out there showcasing the best of the best in timber design and we at Holmes Consulting are proud to be a small part of that amazing legacy.

Want to know more about the two projects our team nominated for the awards? Have a read about them below!

Timber brings Martinborough community hub to life
The striking glulam trusses that enclose the new Martinborough community hub create a stunning structural feature—breathing life and vibrancy into an important local facility. The trusses extend 30m across the venue, creating an attractive and functional space that also delivers on economic and environmental sustainability goals.

The strengthened and extended Waihinga Martinborough Community Centre is in the heart of the town’s square—a hive of activity for locals and a central location for the region’s many visitors. The design strengthened the historic structure, at the same time as modernizing it to deliver an elegant and functional building to align with the region’s rapid growth and advancement.

The existing 106-year-old historic masonry Town Hall was seismically strengthened, and the new community hub added additional facilities for the local Martinborough community, including a Plunket, library, café, and visitors’ centre. The Timber LVL purlins span over the trusses to support the exposed plywood roof diaphragm, seamlessly tying the roof together and creating a stunning visual element inside the building.

Working with the talented team at Warren and Mahoney, Holmes is proud to have been a part of creating such a vibrant new community hub for the people of Martinborough.



All Souls Church and Hall, Merivale (Christchurch).

All Souls Church and Hall, Merivale

Timber at the heart of a place of worship and welcome

The creative vision for this new church was to create a place of worship, combining the St Mary’s and St Matthew’s parishes. With striking timber features providing warmth and atmosphere, the modern design also aims to inspire community members of all faiths to visit and enjoy a vibrant, spiritual space. The All Souls Church and Hall proudly rises from the original St Mary’s site. The timber elements honour the design of the original St Mary’s Church, built in 1866.


From the exterior, your eyes are drawn to the church’s unique truncated cone, which is clad in white opaque glass. The cone houses the chapel and consists of eight glulam timber columns standing 8-10 metres high. Together, they form a portal framed structure through a series of radial roof beams. Inside the church, the glulam timber columns provide the frames and protection for 15 remarkable stained-glass windows that were carefully salvaged from the original St Mary’s Church.


During the day, gentle light shines through the opaque exterior glass, illuminating the stunning stained-glass windows. It creates an ethereal natural light show, drawing attention to the chapel’s magnificent timber structure. The glulam timber truss chords and ceiling beams have been left exposed, with a further highlight provided by structural steel connections shaped in the form of a crucifix, adding to the sense of spirituality, sanctuary and comfort.


We’re very proud to have played our part in this important community project, working alongside the talented team at Warren and Mahoney. The result is a new, modern and light-filled church with the beautiful structural timber as the centrepiece.

Good News Story – Adam runs 100 miles in Queenstown

How’s this for a good news story!

One of our Queenstown team members (Adam Carlson) had been building up to run a long race – when we say long, we don’t mean a marathon, we’re talking ultra-distance, don’t sleep, always keep moving kind of long. Unfortunately it, like many other events, got cancelled.

But Adam, had already done the hard yards of training and mental preparation – so he’d do what any great Holmes employee does, he engineered his own race!
So, on the weekend before any of us knew lockdown was coming, he set out on his epic run in the beautiful Queenstown Lakes District region.

How long you ask? Just a mere 161.3km and around 8,600m of vertical climbs around the hills and mountains. It took Adam, 29hrs and 20mins to conquer this amazing feat of endurance!

But when asked what he though was the best thing about such an incredible achievement? ‘It was the support I got from the people around me. And to be honest, (aside from my family) most of the people who supported me were those who work around me, five days a week’. Adam’s supportive family and friends came out on the weekend to meet him at what he described as the most ‘absurd places, to watch me shovel food or drink something (including even having a beer in Arrowtown!), and then carry on with my run’.


One friend, even went to the trouble of racing up the side of a mountain on his motorbike to see how Adam was getting on, out in the middle of nowhere! Plus, there was other friends and team members who came to join Adam on the run for some of the trail – helping keep him company and to check in on him.

Finally, when it came time to finish at the Queenstown lakefront, the whole support crew were there to cheer him to the end, and of course they had a bottle of Corona for Adam to celebrate with!



International Women’s Day 2020

To celebrate International Women’s Day

on the 8th of March, two of our talented engineering experts – Sulo Shanmuganathan and Holly Wright were interviewed by the NZ Herald.

Sulo is one of our Technical Directors here at Holmes Consulting, and is a vital part of our Civil Structures Team. Whilst Holly is a Design Engineer (in our Structures Team) working on large projects like the soon-to-be-completed Commercial Bay in Auckland.

Both women bring their experience and expertise for all things engineering to the team here at Holmes, and we’re thrilled they got to share a snippet of what their engineering journey has been like so far.

Read the full article on the NZ Herald here!

World Engineering Day, 4 March 2020.

Finding unique and diverse talent to take up the baton isn’t always easy, but those looking for the next generation of engineers don’t have to go it alone. There’s a lot of value in joining up with other organisations who can help facilitate these new connections.

Today is World Engineering Day (4 March 2020) and to celebrate we’re resharing a LinkedIn article about our relationship with the Keystone Trust, written by our very own Chris Mackenzie, National Business Development Director here at Holmes Consulting.

For us here at Holmes Consulting, our connection with Keystone Trust has been hugely valuable when it comes to finding new talent and investing in the future of the wider property industry. It’s one of the ways we’re committed to helping the next generation get excited about engineering and careers in engineering.

Keystone Trust is a Registered Charity that has been promoting opportunities for young people to enter the property industry for 25 years. Its primary purpose is to encourage participation and provide opportunities for students who have financial need to reach their potential and grow their talent in property-related industries including construction and engineering.

Holmes has been a strong supporter and believer in Keystone Trust’s mission, that’s why we chose to partner with them nearly 20 years ago.

At Holmes, we believe it’s important to establish a workplace culture that is representative of the communities we serve and the places we live and work. By partnering with an organisation like Keystone Trust, we have been able to connect with rising talent who have challenged our thinking and encouraged greater diversity of thought.

But, like any partnership, it’s important that the connection is mutually beneficial. In addition to Holmes Consulting’s sponsorship and supporting various events, we take an active role by contributing to the Trust’s Sponsor Advisory Group. This gives us a chance to pay it forward by advocating for how other sponsors can contribute to the Trust and by offering guidance to the board of trustees.

If you’re looking to boost the future of both your organisation and the industry, we encourage you to consider how to do this in a way that can have an even bigger positive societal impact – starting with your people.

Read the full article by Chris here, to find out more about our involvement and to meet a former Keystone Trust Scholarship recipient who now works at Holmes!

Graduate & Summer Internship Recruitment Process for 2020/2021

Want to know what our recruitment process looks like for Graduates and Summer Internships?

Have a read of our process (below) for this year’s 2020/2021 Graduate and Summer Internships for structural design engineers.

And if you’re interested, we’d love to hear from you! Visit our Grad & Summer Internship page to apply today!

Holmes Consulting Graduate & Summer Internship Recruitment Process


You can also download a pdf of our recruitment process here.

Te Tatau ki Kirikiriroa – New MESH Sculpture unveiled in Hamilton.


Over the past 10 years, the Holmes Consulting team in Hamilton have been avid supporters of the MESH Sculpture Hamilton Charitable Trust. The trust are a group of business and community leaders passionate about their Waikato city and art. They commission nationally significant artworks through the generous donation of others, and then gift them to Hamilton city.

Ewan Opie, one of our Hamilton based Senior Project Drafters has been involved in the coordination and delivery of every single commissioned sculpture by MESH (there are currently four scattered around the city)- and has enjoyed seeing the Holmes Consulting team in Hamilton step-up to the challenge and become more involved in enhancing the local city’s urban landscape.

The latest sculpture Te Tatau ki Kirikiriroa was officially unveiled on Monday, 9 December 2019, where local Iwi welcomed the trust members, project sponsors, and supporters onto the Victoria on the River park in Hamilton’s CBD. The chair of the MESH board made special mention of our involvement as a Principal sponsor and how Holmes Consulting’s meticulous attention to detail will enable such a striking sculpture to stand for generations to come. Ewan has worked closely with the artist, Prof. Robert Jahnke, to enable his vision to be realised.

This incredible art sculpture was gifted to and received by Hamilton Mayor, Paula Southgate, its name translates to ‘The Doorway of Hamilton’ – which its views perfectly capture!

Next time you’re passing through the Waikato we highly recommend you stop in and visit this newly installed art piece.


[Picture above L-R: A truck delivers the precious cargo to site; Dusk at Te Tatau ki Kirikiriroa; The official unveiling ceremony].

Trafalgar Centre in Nelson wins prestigious EVANZ award.

trafalgar-centre-nelson-new-zealand Last week the Trafalgar Centre in Nelson was honoured to be awarded the 2019 Pixel Medium Venue of the Year at the EVANZ (Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand)

The Nelson Trafalgar Centre was an interesting project for Holmes Consulting, as we were asked to assess both the 1970s ‘Main Hall’ building and the more modern ‘Southern Extension’ built in 2005.  Both required seismic strengthening which Holmes designed in 2015 and then carried out the work between 2015-2016. Among the challenges for building was accommodating the Nelson Giants basketball team for a season in the midst of construction.

The Main Hall is quite a cool space with timber glue laminated arches which Holmes then added steel to for support, creating an aesthetically pleasing result for the client. We added some buckling restrained braces to the sides of the building, roof bracing, and also improved the foundations.

Their recent win adds to the venues collection of accolades, after the architects [Irving Smith Architects] won a Public Architecture Award for the Centre last year.

Read more about the Trafalgar Centre’s win here.

ENVI Winners for 2019


The inaugural winners of Engineering New Zealand’s inaugural industry awards, the ENVIs, were announced at the start of this month. Congratulations to the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and KiwiRail who set up the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Alliance with Fulton Hogan, Downer, Higgins, and HEB Construction for taking out the ‘Engineering Impact Award’ for their efforts in the Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery.

The judges commended NCTIR on its efforts to rebuild, stating it ‘set the standard for how we [New Zealand] need to mobilise as a country following a natural disaster’.

Read more about this project and the other 2019 ENVI winners here. Or find out about Holmes Consulting’s extensive history with induced seismicity here.


[Image credit: Engineering New Zealand, 2019 ENVI Awards Night].