Sheer Force Engineering is a site which provides the latest insights into the art of Structural Engineering.
Our intended audience is varied and includes anyone with an interest in Structural Engineering, general engineering or the construction sector such as:
- Structural Engineers
- MEP Engineers
- High School students interested in STEM
- Real Estate Agents
- High-Rise Building Enthusiasts
- University Students
About the Author Quentin Suckling
Chief author Quentin Suckling is a full time practicing Structural Engineer and sometimes red wine drinker based in Melbourne Australia with over 16 years of experience within tier 1 consulting firms with special interest in:
- High-Rise Buildings
- Post-Tensioned Concrete
- Long-span Structures
- Seismic Analysis
- Forensic Engineering
- FEA Modelling
Quentin is a Chartered Professional Engineer and Registered building practitioner. From working on 75+ storey towers, stadiums, long-span structures, deep basements, bridges and large infrastructure projects, Quentin has gained a wealth of knowledge across a large cross-section of sectors and construction techniques.
Check out articles Quentin has authored all on the topic of the wonderful art of Structural Engineering HERE.
Quentin’s Project Experience
Below is a list of Quentin’s selected project highlights through his 16+ years of being a practicing Structural Engineer in Australia.
Western Program Alliance (WPA)
|Project Value||Multi Billion|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Civil Structures Discipline Lead|
Western Programme Alliance (WPA) comprises Mott MacDonald, ARUP and McConnel Dowell as an alliance type arrangement delivering several billions of dollars’ worth of grade separations and associated station upgrades across Victoria.
Quentin is team leader of circa 15-20 engineers across all packages within the WPA alliance. Roles and responsibilities include day to day management of the team, ensuring technical consistency and quality across all work packages.
Quentin is also responsible for resource balancing and resource projection across all projects, on the job training and mentoring of staff, overseeing package programs and budget, coordination with other disciplines and discipline leads, technical review of significant/critical design elements on select packages and identification and resolution of key risk items influencing both design and construction.
4-6 Bligh Street Sydney
|Builder||Yet to be Appointed|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Director|
A 60-storey luxury hotel tower with three levels of basement. Located directly above and between the twin Sydney Metro underground tunnels, designed by renowned architects Woods Bagot.
The project involves demolition of an existing multi-storey structure, constrained site located directly between two heritage listed buildings. Quentin was responsible for leading the structural design team and producing the structural scheme for the vertical and horizontal support systems as well as coordinating the design resolution of the towers impact on the proposed Sydney Metro tunnels below.
Quentin also led the coordination between the structural design team and the project wind engineer to ensure optimum design of the stability system which comprised a central core supplemented with outrigger walls and mega columns. Quentin also worked alongside Lendlease who were performing an ECI role for the client (SC Capital).
Docklands Towers 8, 10 and 11 Technical Structural Reviews
|Project Value||$750+Mil Combined|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Director|
Quentin Suckling has led the analysis team and been heavily involved with technical peer reviews at various towers for Mirvac Development in the Docklands area, notably towers 8, 10 and 11.
These peer reviews were prompted by other engineering consultancies producing deficient designs, some of which became apparent during construction stages. Quentin was tasked with reviewing the designs across these 3 towers with the principle task of identifying risk and design deficiencies.
These studies have involved assessment of overall building movement-deflection as well as local slab movements and differential settlements. The review process was aimed at providing the client, Mirvac Development, with a clear understanding of project risks associated with the structural design and the opportunity for value management and introduction of efficiency in design.
Victoria One Tower
|Project Value||$350 Mil|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Design Manager/Team Leader|
Victoria One at 452 Elizabeth Street is a 75 storey tower set to join the growing number of high-rise developments beyond 200m in height through the northern end of the CBD (240m to be precise).
The 75 level building design features 10 level podium containing car parking and apartments fronting Elizabeth and Franklin Street. The development contains a total of 629 apartments. The stability system comprises a centralised core with mega-column/outrigger wall system.
Quentin’s responsibility on this project was to lead the design team through the delivery phase from a technical and commercial perspective. Key technical challenges on this project included:
- 12m high columns within the podium supporting tower load. Due to car park constraints, the maximum width of these columns allowable was 420mm. This required a full composite column design with heavy welded plates and concrete infill with shear studs.
- Detailed staged construction analysis to determine locked in stresses due to vertical load migrating between mega columns and core through the outriggers located at discrete locations up the building
- Full axial shortening study to determine differential axial shortening between highly stressed perimeter columns and comparatively less stressed core walls with floors requiring pre-setting to satisfy serviceability requirements.
Melbourne Quarter Towers R1, R2 and R3, Batman Hill
|Project Value||$1.9 Billion|
|Architect||Fender Katsalidis and DCM|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Principal/Team Leader|
Melbourne Quarter occupies a key infill location opposite Southern Cross Station, with key frontages onto Collins Street, Aurora Land and Wurundjeri Way. The site comprises three separate precincts (totalling approximately 16,408m2), as well as air rights over Wurundjeri Way. The vision is to create a new city block containing vibrant mix of commercial, residential and community uses. In detailed terms, Melbourne Quarter will include the following features.
- Three towers of 40, 41 and 18 storeys with post-tensioned slabs and reinforced concrete cores
- Park/garden on a suspended slab with extensive landscaping trees and deep planting
- Stabilisation of the heritage retaining wall along Flinders Street which is up to 5.5m in height.
Quentin was responsible for overseeing all Structural Engineering related deign items across the three residential towers.
380 Lonsdale Street
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Principal/ Team Leader|
380 Lonsdale street is a dual tower development comprising the northern end at 68 levels and the southern end at 52 levels. The two towers are joined, making structural analysis complex when dealing with differing heights and stiffness of the north and south core structures.
The stability system comprises two centralised cores for each tower coupled with shear walls. The stiffness aspect ratio of the joint towers is circa 1:13.5 making it an extremely slender very tall building. This is further exacerbated by its large wind sail catchment area with the combined length of the towers measuring at 48m. The development has recently started construction on its 2 level basement with the detailed structural design having been completed.
Quentin lead the design team on all structural aspects of the project. Most notably Quentin successfully derived the stability system to be such that the tower did not require supplemental damping for occupancy comfort under wind loading. This freed up significant net lettable area on the top levels of the tower.
Kavanagh Street (Melbourne Square Stage 1)
|Project Value||$490Mil (Stage 1)|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Principal/Team Leader|
Melbourne Square stage 1 (towers 2 and 3) is the first stage in a multi staged precinct. Tower 2 stands at circa 230m in height (70 storey) with a stability system comprising a centralised core structure coupled to perimeter mega columns via outrigger walls at three locations.
Tower 3 stands at 55 storey and has a conventional centralise core stability system.
Both towers project from a shared 8 storey podium structure encompassing a large landscaped zone to the north, outdoor swimming pool, water fountains and gym all on suspended structure.
Monash University NRAS Student Accommodation
|Builder||Broad APM (Now APM Group)|
|Architect||Bligh Voller Nield (BVN)|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Engineer|
Monash NRAS student housing provides accommodation for students studying at Monash University Clayton campus.
The project comprises two identical structures, each having 4 levels of mixed residential, office and communal/games areas. The project ultimately provides single unit accommodation for 600 students. Structurally, the buildings comprise a fully suspended slab-on-ground founded on pre-cast driven piles. Upper levels are post-tensioned one-way concrete slabs spanning between pre cast party wall “wall beams”. The roof is steel framed supporting solar cells, solar hot water units and plant equipment.
The structures achieved a full green star rating for “as designed” and “as built” conditions and is the first of its kind in Victoria. As the sole engineer managing and designing this project, Quentin’s responsibilities covered the entire range of tasks expected from a project engineer both from a team management point of view and a technical design point of view.
Quentin was responsible for overseeing this project from schematic design to completed construction. He was involved heavily in all aspects of this project and carried out detailed design on all structural elements including a full lateral analysis (wind, earthquake, robustness).
Austin Centre for Neuroscience
|Project Value||$53 Mil|
|Builder||Hooker Cockram (Now Icon)|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Engineer|
The Austin Neuroscience centre is a mixed office and research laboratory complex dedicated to studying illnesses of the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Structurally, the building is founded on bored piers. The ground floor is designed as slab-on-ground with the upper floors comprising of a banded post-tensioned slab system with large cantilevered band beams and transferred column loads.
The façade exhibits multiple constructions with typical glass curtain walls, hung pre-cast and glass reinforced concrete (GRC) panels requiring a highly coordinated/sophisticated structural solution.
During the early stages of the project Quentin’s key roles included detailed design of vertical elements as well as upper level slabs. As the project moved from detailed design to construction, Quentin took on more of a project engineer role, taking full control of on-going coordination, design changes and response to builders RFI’s. HE also conducted periodic site inspections to ensure accordance with the structural documentation.
The “Coromandel” is an 18 level high rise apartment building with one basement level storage, ground level shopping complex and rooftop terrace and garden. Structurally, the project consists of a bored pier site retention system at basement level and reinforced upper level slabs.
Vertical elements are load bearing pre-cast party walls. Quentin’s key role in this project was predominantly that of detailed design. He undertook a full dynamic earthquake analysis as well as the design of the upper level slabs and vertical load bearing elements. The small footprint of the structure as well as its high rigidity made it behave in a complex manner under earthquake conditions.
CSL Cell Culture Facility – Broad Meadows
|Builder||Hooker Cockram (Now Icon)|
|Quentin’s Key Role||Project Engineer|
The cell culture facility is a partly government funded complex dedicated to developing new therapies for cancer, bleeding disorders, inflammation and infection. The facility’s primary role is to culture living cells that will be used to develop new protein-based drugs.
The client’s project brief specifically requested flexibility in the structure to facilitate future upgrades to process equipment. Structurally, the building is comprised of concrete slab on ground and first level reinforced concrete “ribbed” slab to provide flexibility for future penetrations. Levels 2 and 3 are of steel framed construction with large spanning roof trusses making up level 3 and an underhung trafficable ceiling making up level 2. All ceilings and most of the façade are comprised of sandwich panels supported by steel framing.
Quentin’s key role in this project involved overseeing its progress from schematic design to construction stage. He was involved in all aspects of design including concrete slabs, columns, and steel framing. Quentin’s primary role was to attend on-going design consultant meetings and coordinate the structure with the complex process and mechanical equipment. His role also included managing the design and documentation resources (task delegation) in order to efficiently meet milestone deadlines as set out by the client. Documentation of the structure was carried out using REVIT.
Telstra Data Centre – Clayton
The Clayton site involves the construction of an AUD$110M data centre comprising 1000m2 of data hall space and power density of 3000W/m2.
The data centre is a three level building with a conventionally reinforced concrete flat slab adopted at the data hall level to allow maximum future flexibility. The basement level consists of a stiffened raft slab on ground supporting heavy plant equipment. The “third level” roof structure consists of a banded slab system with post-tensioning and conventional reinforcement.
Located on a constrained site, the design involves an innovative and cost-effective site retention system comprising of bored piers with a sprayed concrete infill wall. As lead structural engineer, Quentin was responsible for coordinating and managing the structural design process. The structure required a significant level of coordination with the support services engineers; his duties also included ensuring strict coordination between the electrical, mechanical and structural designs.
12 Month Secondment to Christchurch – New Zealand
The city of Christchurch had sustained significant damage following the earthquakes of September 2010, February 2011 and subsequent aftershocks. Quentin was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Christchurch on a 12 month secondment to assist with the earthquake re-build.
Being a structural engineer in Christchurch, it was fascinating to witness the effects earthquakes have on structures in a practical sense. On a personal level, this was the most rewarding period of Quentin’s career as an Engineer where he was able to witness first hand the positive outcomes the profession of Structural Engineering can have on people and society.
While in Christchurch, Quentin was able to develop skills in seismic design as well as forensic and investigative engineering. He was responsible for analysing and assessing multiple commercial and residential structures to determine their seismic capacity against current standards and then design and specify repair and strengthening measures to achieve desired strength levels.
This often involved detailed site investigations and assessment of visual damage, then adopting a combination of analysis, engineering intuitive, lateral thinking and problem solving skills to pin-point the critical weak points of the structure.
Quentin’s Project Portfolio (Continued)
Ferguson Street Grade Separation (WPA) – A road-over-rail grade separation with associated station upgrades. Quentin was package lead for the Civil Structures team across two significant work segments; the soldier pile retaining walls which made up the cutting (over 1 kilometre of retaining wall structures ranging from rock nail walls to soldier pile walls) and two bridge elements over rail; a pedestrian concourse structure comprised of pre-cast deck units and a road bridge construction of conventional reinforced concrete adopting top-down construction methods. Quentin’s role as package lead comprised of coordinating the structural elements with other disciplines as well as managing the engineering and documentation team. From a technical perspective, Quentin performed the design checks (under mentorship) on both the retaining wall and bridge elements for the project.
Old Geelong Road Grade Separation Pedestrian Bridge over Rail (WPA) – A steel Vierendeel truss with two main spans over rail servicing the platforms at Hoppers Crossing with associated canopy structures. Quentin performed an Independent Review role (under mentorship) for this significant bridge element at Old Geelong Road.
Cranbourne Line Upgrade (WPA) – Cranbourne line upgrade comprises a mixture of elements including a long-span steel arch bridge, u-trough structures, and overhead wiring gantries. Quentin performed an Independent Review on the long span arch bridge (specific focus on fatigue and welding of the built-up sections) as well as technical advisor to RFI and design change requests to elements across the entire line upgrade.
Queen Victoria Market Infrastructure Renewal Project – Project manager and structural design leader for varied works across Queen Victoria Market valued at $350 million in total. The project is separated into distinct packages; the Queens Corner Building, Northern Shed, Trader Shed and the heritage shed restoration and strengthening works.
Queens Corner Building comprises 2x levels of basement, and two above ground suspended floors. Northern Shed is a large cantilever span structural steel structure providing shelter for goods delivery to the market. Beneath the Northern Shed lies one level of basement housing the waste equipment servicing the market. The Trader Shed structure comprises 3x levels of underground basement housing cool rooms and freezer rooms for the storage of fresh produce for the market. The Trader shed also comprises 2x suspended aboveground floors and a lightweight steel framed roof. The heritage sheds were originally constructed in circa 1880 and Quentin lead the design team in conceiving a repair and strengthening strategy to satisfy heritage requirements as well as a percentage compliance to current day BCA standards (80% compliance as agreed with the building surveyor).
133 Mary Street Brisbane – Quentin was project manager and structural design leader for a new commercial tower of circa 24 storeys in Brisbane. Constructed over an existing single level basement, the suspended floors are post-tensioned, and the stability system comprises an eccentrically located core structure.
Swinburne University OSD Campus Masterplan (Hawthorn) – Quentin was Structural technical advisor to Swinburne University for their 2025 masterplan involving significant deck and buildings over and adjacent to rail as well as potential station upgrades and modifications.
Ivanhoe Early Learning Facility – Quentin was project manager and structural design leader for a new library and community centre for the city of Banjule. Project cost of circa $35 million. Large plan footprint three level structure with architectural brickwork façade and large internal atrium/void spaces.
Melbourne Airport Terminal T2 Satellite Expansion Peer Review – Quentin was project manager and structural design leader for multi-disciplinary peer review of the proposed works at the T2 Satellite expansion project for Melbourne Airport. Project budget total circa $380 million. The structural peer review resulted in the proposal of a significantly more efficient structure and one which is safer to build. Proposed structural solution saved in the order of $10 million to the materials cost for the project.
Structural Assessment of Jack Dyer Stand, Punt Road Oval – Quentin was project manager and structural design leader structural assessment of existing heritage Jack Dyer Stand at Punt Road Oval. Originally constructed in circa 1914 and subsequent expansion in 1927, the project involved inspection of the existing structural system and condition then specifying strengthening measures to achieve compliance with current BCA standards.
200 Victoria Parade Peer Review – Quentin was project manager and structural design leader for peer review of proposed structural solution at a new multi-level commercial building. 10 levels and approximately 25,000m2 of NLA. Structural peer review resulted in proposals which saved the equivalent of a typical floors work of concrete volume as well as improved structural performance (reductions in deflection). In addition, risk items were identified for rectification by the design team.
Crossway Baptist Church Assessment and Extension Works – Quentin was project manager and structural design leader for two staged project. First stage comprised a detailed assessment of existing auditorium slab which had performed un satisfactorily for vibration during concert events. The assessment involved finite element analysis to determine acceleration and frequency of the floor which then informed advice for stiffening measures in order to mitigate the problem vibration experienced by the auditorium users.
The second stage of the project involves significant extension works to the existing building footprint; a new multi-use facility and a circa doubling of the plan area of the existing auditorium as well as additional of amenities and facilities.
Bendigo Lawcourt Concept Design – Design with Cox Architects for the proposed new Bendigo lawcourt. Comprising significant multi-level open atrium entrance foyer, transfer structure and holding cells.
Warragul Pump Station, Structural Design – Quentin was Lead structural designer for new pump station located in Warragul. Employing pre-cast construction techniques (walls and roof), to speed up construction. The building is required to house significant pumping and ancillary equipment and provides trenching for entering and exiting pipework.
Newmarket Station retaining wall assessment and Heritage Tree Report – Quentin was project manager for politically sensitive project to assess the condition and rectification of significantly aged retaining walls at Newmarket station as well as detailed assessment on impact/influence from neighbouring heritage trees. Required coordination and liaising with expert arborist as well as collaboration with MTM and PTV to formulate a risk/benefit assessment on each proposed rectification option; replacement of retaining walls, strengthening of retaining walls or re construction of platform structure.
PTV “Flag Sign” Failure assessment and re-documentation – Quentin was project manager for a two staged project for Public Transport Victoria. The first stage was the analysis/assessment and reporting on an apparent wayfinding sign failure at a suburban train station. This comprised detailed computations and assessment of failure mode. Following detailed assessment, the sign structure was re documented and certified for ongoing use and fabrication.
Manor Lakes Shopping Centre Peer Review – Peer review for tendering contractor ADCO, peer review comprised identification of risk items as well as identification of potential cost saving items.
Queen Victoria Market Weather Protection – Quentin was project manager and lead structural designer on new glass canopy structure located between existing sheds E and F at Queen Victoria Market. Reaching across the full width of the market, the proposed structure was required to be light and demountable in nature to satisfy strict heritage requirements. The proposed foundation system is a total above-ground solution which negates the need for any soil disturbance (soil disturbance was strictly forbidden due to the sensitivity of an historic aboriginal burial site being located immediately below the area in question). The project also involves full replacement on all the existing retractable awnings located market wide.
South Yarra Stakeholder Engagement Sub-Station Design (Sunbury Line Upgrade) – Quentin was technical structural reviewer for reference design of large sub-station providing traction power.
Southern Cross Station, Additional Concourse Access – Quentin was Structural lead designer on feasibility design for introduction of new third concourse level access to platforms at Southern Cross Station for IFM. Involved coordination with existing in-ground structure and tunnels as well as track clearances, crash loading and DDA access considerations.
Festival Hall Structural Assessment – Heritage events hall with significant heritage overlay. Responsible for detailed assessment which involved investigating moving the orientation and location of the existing stage, as well as capacity of the existing roof to support increased equipment loading as well as general structural assessment on adequacy and condition.
PLC Sports and Aquatic Centre Peer Review – Quentin was responsible for peer review of existing design for proposed new sports and Aquatic centre. Multi-level comprising basement carpark, suspended basketball court zone and Olympic size swimming pool.
Proposed solutions explored various options for the long-span timber structure spanning above the sporting courts and swimming pool. Options were propped cantilever, haunch/tapered structure and arch structure.
Northcote Primary School, Temporary Works – Originally opened in 1874, Northcote primary school contains heritage buildings of significant age and importance. Responsible for detailing of temporary propping design to allow the contractor to demolish internal walls and introduce new support beams.
812 Elgar Road Doncaster (Gardenhill), Beulah International PTY LTD – This $33 million project is located in Doncaster, 15km East of Melbourne. This residential apartment development complex consists of 11 floors with inclusion of a roof garden and 3 floors of underground parking/basements. The buildings sculptural from features a unique curved façade around a lush front garden that is the focus of the design. A rooftop terrace garden features a barbeque and seating pods, and edible garden, pergola and sun deck, grassed entertaining area and landscaped surroundings. The building is clad in sliding slatted weather screens enabling residents to control their preferred levels of privacy and direct sunlight.
Freemasons Development (Eastbourne Apartments), Mirvac Design PTY LTD – This development located at 300 Albert Road, East Melbourne (Freemason’s Development) contains 250 plus luxury residential apartments with associated residential facilities, pool, gymnasium and residents lounge. The apartment mix comprises of one, two- and three-bedroom apartments together with 500 plus car spaces, which will be provided in below ground basement levels. The development site was home to Dallas Brooks Hall which undertook demolition works of the existing building now accommodates the Freemasons new 2,452m2 facility with associated amenities and carparking.
40 Elizabeth Street, Mirvac Design PTY LTD – 40 Elizabeth Street is a high rise 4 star hotel which has 368 rooms over 27 floors. The development has an approximate GFA of 15,000m2 including a basement structure for back-of-house purposes and is constructed next to an existing multi-level basement at the Myer Centre. During the period of the development, the existing heritage façade was retained and listed.
399 Burwood Highway (Easton Apartments), MRCB – Four storeys of high-quality apartment living. Mixture of one, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Two level basements on a vast site area of 5000m2. Comprises outdoor landscaped communal zones supported by suspended structural slabs. Basement construction comprises combination of pre-cast retaining walls and soldier pile walls. The Easton comprises 1, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments over 2 buildings, communal gardens, rooftop terrace garden and courtyards which have views to both the city and Dandenong ranges. Building B sits on the Northern side of the site containing 45 apartments. Significant and interesting aspects of the project include, Large site with significant basement structure shared by both structures, pre-cast detailing to assist speed of construction and save on capital cost and civil and structural design for all elements on the project.
Zac Apartments, Prahran – The unique façade combines a clever mix of organic and futuristic materials, making the 5-story development an instant icon from every angle.
139 Queensberry Street. (The Eminence) – This project located at 139 155Queensberry Street, Carlton and comprises of 1, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments over 14 levels with a rooftop terrace and indoor lounge. At the lobby entrance is exclusive amenities which include retail spaces and cafes.
2 Riverside Quay South Bank – Quentin was project manager and structural lead designer for a new office structure or circa 7 levels constructed above an existing car park of circa 8 levels which was constructed in circa 1980’s. Project involved investigating and strengthening the existing structure prior to commencement of works to the new build above. This included detailed analysis and appraisal of the inground footings. One of the most complex commercial build projects in Melbourne, the site was made further complex by the presence of Coode Island Silt and water table above basement level.
472 Bourke Street (Equity Chambers) – Quentin led a large team of engineers for an 18 storey tower incorporating an existing 100-year-old heritage building with proposed introduction of 6 new floors constructed on top. Required initial investigation on existing structure condition as well as adequacy to support introduction of significant new increased loading on existing columns and foundations.
318 Queen Street (Paragon Apartments, Celtic Club Site) – Three levels of basement 227 apartments, retainment of an existing heritage façade. Close proximity to underground metro tunnel requiring structure/soil interaction study. Design manager and project Principal.
Royal Hobart Hospital Block K – Complex steel structure requiring full vibration analysis due to supporting of high precision medical equipment and microscopes. Complex construction staging allowing progressive decanting of existing patients then completion of top down construction. Significant transfer truss structure provided to allow temporary transfer support of top floors.10 storey Development.
Gungahlin Aquatic and Leisure Centre – Quentin lead structural designer for new Aquatic centre. Structure comprised pool structure and exposed steel long-span trusses above.
Regional Rail Link Package C Tender Design – Structural designer in the JV team for Regional Rail Link Package C project. Design responsibilities ranged from overhead gantry structures, pedestrian footbridges and accessways for proposed new stations, deflection walls and signalling equipment rooms.
Footscray Station Deck Over Rail Feasibility Design – Quentin was responsible for concept design for significant deck over rail at Footscray station involving crash loading, track clearance and coordination of above track structure and below-ground infrastructure.