Najif Ismail – Engineering

Najif HD 2

A chartered professional engineer and well-published researcher, Najif Ismail brings his expertise in structural earthquake engineering to WelTec.

Najif worked in Christchurch following the Canterbury earthquakes, was a contributing author on the report to the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission and has won awards in the structural engineering community for his work.

His current research involves WelTec students and focuses on better understanding the seismic vulnerability of Wellington’s built environment and the ways to improve building performance in earthquakes.

“We do theoretical and practical work as part of the programmes at WelTec. As well as projects around structural design of existing and new buildings, we do lab projects, design buildings and learn from case studies of buildings that haven't performed well,” says Najif.

Originally from Pakistan, his first job was a structural design engineer. “I remember visiting an earthquake-stricken area of Pakistan after a serious quake. We went to a village where there were more dead people than alive. We visited a school where 200 children died in one building.”

Passionate about improving resilience of structures, when Najif came to New Zealand he completed a PhD at the University of Auckland focused on the seismic assessment and strengthening of earthquake-prone buildings.

He finished his PhD just before the Canterbury earthquakes struck and headed to Christchurch to work with the city council and researchers from around the world. There he inspected the performance of buildings and prepared structural reports.

Najif, who has taught at universities and tertiary institutes, now teaches across WelTec's Engineering programmes, including leading the Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Structures).

“As well as the practical focus, one of the things I like about WelTec is the satisfaction of being able to contribute to students' development, especially second chance learners such as those who may have initially planned to go to a university, but it didn't work out,” says Najif.

Highly regarded in the structural engineering community, Najif has authored more than 45 peer-reviewed manuscripts and a book.

He was awarded the Outstanding PhD Thesis Award by the Masonry Society (USA) and invited to join the masonry seismic strengthening subcommittee of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2016, he received the UAE Ministry of Infrastructure Development Award for Innovation in Sustainable Materials for his work on the development of alkali activated polymer concrete.

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