The city of Christchurch will host the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) 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 Chair of the New Zealand Group of IABSE and HERA Structural Systems General Manager Dr Stephen Hicks, and Dr Alessandro Palermo, Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury, who is an award-winning earthquake engineering expert.

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) Business Events, through its Conference Assistance Programme (CAP), worked with Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB) to create the bid document, and provided presentation collateral including a letter of support from Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

CCCB manager Caroline Blanchfield says Christchurch headed off New York to win the bid.

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.