About Terra Firma Engineering Ltd

ABOUT Terra Firma Engineering Ltd.

Andrew Palmer Terra Firma Engineering Ltd

Andrew Palmer BSc(Hons) MSc MIPENZ CPEng IntPE(NZ)

The company founder and Principal Geotechnical Engineer, Andrew Palmer, is a civil/geotechnical engineer with over twenty years' progressive and responsible experience in practice, varying from working with major civils contractors overseas to specialist geotechnical and environmental consultants in New Zealand.

Andrew is a Member of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), is a member of the IPENZ civil and geotechnical practice colleges, and is a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng). He is a member of the International Register of Professional Engineers, administered by IPENZ. Andrew was Chairman of the Nelson/Marlborough Branch of IPENZ for two years in 2002-2004, and currently serves on an Investigating Committee of the IPENZ practice review board.

Andrew graduated from the University of Birmingham (UK) with a Bachelor of Science (Applied Geology) degree in 1994 and immediately took up employment with Bachy (UK) Ltd, a specialist groundworks subcontractor on a major land remediation project in Derby, England. He completed his MSc in Engineering Geology at the University of Leeds the following year. Following completion of his Masters degree, Andrew worked for contractors Balfour Beatty Ltd in Jersey (Channel Islands) as a shift engineer and geotechnical specialist on a hard rock tunnelling contract. In 1997, Andrew moved to New Zealand where he worked for Downer Construction on the Vector Power Cable Tunnel in Auckland as a Project Engineer. Andrew spent two years working on this major civil engineering project. From 2000 to 2002, Andrew worked for Opus International Consultants, a large multi-national consulting firm as a project engineer where he gained experience in roading and design projects. In 2002, Andrew moved to Nelson, and took up a position as senior engineer for specialist geotechnical consultant Tonkin & Taylor in its Nelson office.

Andrew left Tonkin & Taylor and founded Terra Firma Engineering Ltd in 2005. He is an experienced project manager and has worked in many different aspects of geotechnical engineering and design work.

As a long-standing contractor to the Earthquake Commission, Andrew was on the ground immediately after the September 2010 earthquake in Canterbury and remained working with EQC in the city on a contract basis until early 2016. By lucky chance he avoided being in Christchurch during the three damaging aftershocks of February, June and December 2011 but has completed a very large amount of work for EQC since the intial tremor was felt. He has assessed well over three thousand properties at various levels of detail, ranging from rapid damage mapping and construction checks to detailed surveys.

Andrew is the principal designer at Terra Firma Engineering Ltd. He was the joint recipient of the Fulton-Downer gold medal for engineering in the role of public service, for his work in Christchurch immediately following the February 2011 earthquake.

Professional Affiliations
Professional Member -IPENZ
Member - SESOC, NZGS

Sally Hargraves BSc(Hons) PhD AIPENZ

Sally Hargraves joined the company in 2015 as Principal Engineering Geologist. She has over twenty years' experience working for a variety of consultants overseas and in New Zealand.

Similarly and bizarrely coincidentally, Sally also completed a degree in Geology at Birmingham University, graduating in 1993. She then spent three years at Bristol University undertaking research for her PhD entitled 'Reinforced Slope Stability in the Tropics', finally being awarded this in 1998. Sally worked as a consultant geologist for the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and then CL Associates (part of the large Soil Mechanics group) on a wide variety of geotechnical and environmental assessment projects including landfill construction compliance and foundation investigations, but mostly comprising stability analyses for roading and railway embankment stability and mitigation projects.

Sally moved to New Zealand in 1998 and joined the multidisciplinary consultant Connell Wagner (now Aurecon) in its Tauranga office, where she continued doing stability assessments but also took on larger land development projects for residential, commercial and industrial land use around the wider Bay of Plenty. She joined the local IPENZ committee and helped organise local meetings, presentations and project tours.

She moved to join the specialist geotechnical consultant Tonkin & Taylor in 2002 and helped organise the Tauranga-based NZGS Symposium 'Geotechnics on the Volcanic Edge' in 2003. Whilst at T&T, she became heavily involved in EQC landslip assessment work and travelled around the North Island completing numerous stability assessments and preliminary remedial design inputs. She was engaged by the Whakatane District Council to complete house-by-house emergency assessments in Ohope during the major landslips there in 2004, after which she left on maternity leave for her first child.

Instead of re-joining T&T, Sally set up a new business - Terrane Consultants Ltd in March 2005. Terrane was heavily involved in the May 2005 landslips in Tauranga and Sally completed numerous stability assessments for Council and EQC. She also completed detailed investigations and assessments for EQC at Matata in the immediate aftermath of the massive and devastating debris flow there, also in May 2005.

During her time at T&T and Terrane, Sally ran the local NZGS branch and also helped on the organising committee for the 11th IAEG Congress in Auckland in 2010. She left Terrane and handed on the NZGS committee reins in 2009 when she had her third child. Returning to work several months later, she joined Coffey Geotechnics NZ Ltd and ran their Tauranga office, growing it from a team of four to over ten geotechnical staff, as well as starting, building and managing an office of seven in Hamilton. In January 2014, Sally moved to Nelson to start a new office for Coffey and slowly built a baseload of work with some great clients and projects. Coffey elected to close the Nelson office in March 2015, opening the way for Sally to join Andrew at TFEL in her newly adopted hometown of Mapua.

Sally was elected on to the NZGS committee in February 2015 and is currently helping roll out the new NZGS Seismic Design Modules, as well as the new MBIE National Geotechnical Database.

Sally is an experienced engineering geologist who specialises in slope stability and remediation, fault identification, liquefaction and lateral spread assessments, as well as land development projects of all sizes. She endeavours to work with her clients to produce cost-effective solutions to their land issues and to deliver on time and within budget.

Sally and Kelvin have three kids - Danielle, Ben and Alex and enjoy travelling around the country in their bus on the weekends.

Professional Affiliations
Professional Engineering Geologist (PEngGeol.) Associate Member -IPENZ
Member - NZGS
Tauranga City Council accredited Geo-Professional - Category 1

What is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works such as roads, canals, dams and buildings and slopes. Civil engineering is the oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it was originally defined to distinguish it from its military counterpart. Civil engineering takes place on all levels and in both the public and private sectors - from individual homeowners through local authorities and nationally sponsored projects to international companies and joint venture partnerships.

The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) is the professional body which represents professional engineers from all disciplines in New Zealand.

Geotechnical engineering is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behaviour of earth materials. Geotechnical engineering includes investigating existing subsurface conditions and materials; determining their physical/mechanical and sometimes chemical properties that are relevant to the project in question, assessing risks posed by site conditions; designing earthworks and foundations; and monitoring site conditions during and after construction.

Terra Firma Engineering Ltd provides civil and geotechnical engineering services, and project management of civil works construction.