20180202 Dick Beetham 191x103

Richmond Beetham

Engineering Geologist and Principal Geotechnical Engineer

+64 3 3749 600 +64 272 218 853
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I’m a senior geo-engineer with over 40 years’ of global experience in hydro developments, complex site investigations for large projects and natural hazard assessments, including earthquake liquefaction and tsunami as well as landslide mitigation and control.

My qualifications in order over a period of years are BE civil (Canterbury), BSc geology & geophysics (Auckland), MSc soil mechanics & engineering seismology (Imperial College, London). I am a Professional Engineering Geologist (PEngGeol), Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng), International Professional Engineer (IPE) and have been elected a Fellow of Engineering New Zealand.

I’ve been on earthquake reconnaissance to Japan, USA, and many times in Indonesia. My natural hazards work in Indonesia includes volcanic debris control in Yogyakarta, East Java & Bali, reconstruction with UNDP following the 2004 Aceh and 2005 Nias Earthquakes and Tsunami, and the assessment of earthquake shaking, liquefaction and tsunami damage to Padang.

Much of my project work experience has been in New Zealand but also includes Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, PNG, Fiji, Japan and the USA. 

I started my career as a civil engineering graduate working for three years on a volcanic debris control assignment with the Indonesian Public Works Department in Java and Bali in the early 1970’s. This assignment has positively influenced both my cultural and professional development. Post this I worked in consultancy then returned to university to complete a degree in geology and geophysics, subjects that were to dominate my subsequent career.

Since then, I’ve worked over 35 years on a wide variety of projects and was one of nine engineering geologists in New Zealand who carried out geo-engineering for all the hydro and infrastructure developments in the country. I worked on the Rangipo tunnels and underground powerhouse of the massive Tongariro Power Development (TPD), the Clutha Valley development and Cromwell Gorge Stabilisation, as well as many other national infrastructure road and rail developments. On completing work at TPD, I won a scholarship to study soil mechanics and engineering seismology at Imperial College, London.

Later I worked on assessments for the subsidence in Waihi into the old Martha Mine underground workings, the reopened mines at Globe-Progress at Reefton and the Blackwater underground mine, and the instability threatening early closure at Golden Cross Mine near Waihi. In 1996 wrote the chapter on liquefaction in the Geology of Urban Christchurch bulletin, which was proven correct in the 2010 – 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. I have studied liquefaction and landslides in other parts of the country, including Napier – Hastings and Whakatane. Most recently I have reviewed and signed off many road and rail reconstruction designs following the Kaikoura earthquake(s).

I am inspired by collaborative and smart geo-engineering that uses new or appropriate technologies with intelligent risk, to investigate and deliver effective solutions to clients.

I enjoy working collaboratively in high performance teams to provide innovative solutions to complex geo-engineering problems. I am excited that Coffey embodies these concepts into their work culture.