From structural engineering to model construction contracts - technical experts recognised for their contributions to standards

Issue 53 – September 2013

The winners of Standards New Zealand annual Meritorious Service Awards were announced at Parliament on 28 August 2013.

Standards New Zealand Chief Executive Debbie Chin said standards play a pivotal role in ensuring the health and well-being of our citizens, along with supporting international trade.

'With over 60 years of work on standards technical committees between our individual winners alone, this year's Standards New Zealand Meritorious Service Awards recipients bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to standards development.'

Winners of Standards New Zealand's annual Meritorious Service Awards include:

  • Individual committee members – Graeme Beattie, Jeanette Drysdale, Ed Soja, and Sherwyn Williams
  • Committee of the Year – P 3910 Conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction
  • Standards Council Award for outstanding contribution to standards and standardisation – Richard Fenwick

Richard Fenwick received the Standards Council Award for his expertise in structural engineering and long-time commitment to standards and standardisation.

During his distinguished career, Richard Fenwick worked as a practising structural engineer, and taught at the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury. In retirement, he has continued to contribute to the engineering field and has co-supervised a number of graduate engineering students.

Standards Council Chair John Lumsden said New Zealand is privileged to have committee members and standards champions, like Dr Fenwick, who give of their time and knowledge for the betterment of New Zealand.

'Standards technical committee members are the foundation of robust standards development. Committee members give generously of their time and expertise. In fact, the annual in-kind contribution of our 2000+ New Zealand technical experts and consumer representatives is estimated at nearly $14 million dollars.'

Standards New Zealand hosts the Meritorious Service Awards each year to recognise the outstanding contribution that winning committee members have made to Standards development.

Winner bios

Richard Fenwick has been recognised with the Standards Council Award for outstanding contribution to standards and standardisation for his esteemed work in structural engineering. During his 40-year career, he has worked as a practising structural engineer in New Zealand, the UK, and the USA, and in teaching and research at the universities of Auckland and Canterbury. Dr Fenwick served as a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Building Failure caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010 for his contributions to engineering.

The Committee of the Year is P 3910, which is in the final stages of reviewing NZS 3910:2003 Conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction. The standard – which is the most widely used standard form of contract conditions in New Zealand – is being revised by the 17-member committee to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the roading, building, and construction sectors.

Four individuals were recognised with a Meritorious Service Award for their work on standards technical committees and their exceptional contributions to standards development. The winners are listed below.

  • Graeme Beattie is Principal Structural Engineer and Structures Team Leader at BRANZ. He has over 25 years' experience researching the seismic behaviour of structural systems and has been on several standards technical committees, including serving as Chair of P 4229, which developed NZS 4229:2013 Concrete masonry buildings not requiring specific engineering design.
  • Jeanette Drysdale has contributed to timber treatment research for over 40 years. She is a Principal of the consulting firm AR & JA Drysdale and regularly presents papers on timber treatment issues to various forums. She has been a member of the technical committee P 3640 Chemical preservation of round and sawn timber since it was formed in 2003.
  • Ed Soja is a senior fire engineer with BRANZ and has over 30 years' experience with standards development in the areas of fire research, testing, and engineering. He sits on Standards New Zealand's Fixed Fire Protection Group and serves on a number of technical committees. He is the New Zealand balloter on several subcommittees for ISO technical committee 92 (fire safety).
  • Sherwyn Williams has over 40 years' experience as a lawyer, specialising in construction and arbitration law. He is a consultant with Kensington Swan and is the immediate past-President of the New Zealand Society of Construction Law. He is Chair of P 3910 Conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction (which is this year's Committee of the Year).

→ Photos of winners are available to view. For media enquiries and high-resolution photos contact Jayne McCullum, Standards New Zealand, (04) 498 3989,

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