Engineers Australia

Rebuilding Angola – Geotechnical Challenges

Robert May, Golder Associates Principal Geotechnical Engineer


Following independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola was ravaged by a civil war which lasted until 2002. Much infrastructure was damaged or destroyed and large numbers of refugees were displaced to the relative safety of major cities. The population of the capital, Luanda grew from 0.5M to 5M during the war, most of the newcomers living in shanty towns.

Following the end of the war efforts have been made to use some of the countries substantial oil and natural resources wealth to rebuild the country. However, the rapid pace of construction using building methods new to Angola has encountered problems – many of which are due to the ground conditions. The talk considers the soil types in Angola and the problems they pose and draws some parallels with conditions in parts of Australia.

To view a PDF of the presentation please click here.

About Dr Robert May

Dr Rob May is a geotechnical engineer with 35 years’ experience working in various parts of the world. He has worked on projects in Angola since 2002 including the design of foundations for major high rise buildings in Luanda and extensive reviews of Chinese-built townships in various parts of Angola.

In the period 2004-2014 Rob worked as Head of Technology for Geotechnics at Atkins Ltd in the UK. This wide-ranging role enabled him to work with arid and collapsible soils in Central Asia and the Middle East. He also worked on a wide range of foundations and geotechnical problems in the UK ranging from nuclear power stations to offshore wind farms and oil and gas platform foundations to new rail tunnels under London.

In 2014 Rob moved to Golder Associates in Brisbane to act in leading project and technical roles. He takes a keen interest in the similarities and differences shown by soils and rocks in different parts of the world and in the variety of approaches engineers have adopted to tackle the challenges posed by the ground.

Event Sponsored by:


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.