Queensland Chapter

Masterclass 2016:
Legal Aspects of Geotechnical Engineering Practice: Experience, Thoughts, Concepts and Ideas

Tim Sullivan, Pells Sullivan Meynink (PSM), Adjunct Professor UNSW

The 2016 AGS QLD Masterclass, while dealing with legal concepts, is presented from the perspective of an engineering practitioner and not a lawyer. The topics covered are focused on the practicing geotechnical professional; and are drawn from the experience, thoughts, concepts and ideas gained by the Presenter from more than four decades within the geotechnical industry.

Tim Sullivan’s 40+ years of experience covers extensive involvement in litigations, arbitrations, expert conclaves, inquiries and tribunals. Presented information relates to his involvement not only in expert witness roles, but having acted as a Mining Warden (with the powers of a judge) and in assisting the Coroner in a Coronial Inquiry.

The Masterclass is built around four major case studies and topics covered include:

  • The role of the expert witness;
  • Forensic engineering and the geological or geotechnical model;
  • Liability, negligence and risk issues; and
  • Latent conditions and construction.
  • Also highlighted from the case studies are the human factors and how they can adversely influence our thinking.

About the Presenter

Tim Sullivan is currently Adjunct Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, University of New South Wales and Director and Principal of Pells Sullivan Meynink. From 1997 to 2000 Mr Sullivan was the NSW Coroner’s adviser on the Thredbo Landslide. Mr Sullivan has worked on over 400 mining projects at all stages from planning to operating. He is a geotechnical consultant on slope stability for some of the world’s largest mining operations and companies; including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Newmont, Anglo Gold, Pilbara Iron, Newcrest, and many others. In addition to all the states and mainland territories of Australia, Mr Sullivan has lived and worked extensively overseas. Major projects have been located in India, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Africa, Philippines, Mexico, New Zealand and Fiji.

Associated AGS Evening Presentation

Tim Sullivan will be the presenter at the monthly QLD AGS evening event on the following night (Thursday, 12 May 2016) at the Treasury Hotel. The presentation will contain related, but slightly different, content to that presented in the Masterclass event. The announcement of the evening technical presentation event will be issued in the coming weeks.

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.