Bruce Stewart

Principal / Geotechnical Engineer / Director

Principal and Director of Douglas Partners and with over 33 years’ experience in geotechnical consulting and contracting, Bruce has worked on both ‘sides’ of many groundworks and foundation projects.

With particular interests in basement construction, foundations, ground improvement, reactive and dispersive soils, Bruce has enjoyed dealing with these issues on many projects throughout regional and metropolitan NSW, while at Douglas Partners.

Bruce graduated with Honours in Civil Engineering from Sydney University in 1990 and then a Master of Engineering Science, majoring in Geotechnical Engineering in 1994. After 8 years of consulting in Australia and Malaysia, Bruce worked for Frankipile Australia for 2 years before joining DP in 2000. During his time in contracting, he worked on most the Olympic venues in Sydney including Stadium Australia and the adjacent Multi-Purpose Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. These projects involved very large pile inspection and testing regimes. Another major pile testing project handled by Bruce included the Eastern Distributor (motorway) in Sydney, with 17 static load tension tests and over 100 sonic integrity tests (SIT) performed.

Major project experience at DP includes the foundation investigation and design for the Victor Trumper Stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the main (Malcolm Fraser) bridge for Majura Parkway (ACT) and several deep basements in Sydney for residential, commercial and retail projects. Many of the issues that interest Bruce, particularly in relation to pile foundations, reactive and dispersive soils, have been present on the numerous transmission line and substation projects that he has worked on throughout NSW. Secondary containment dams needed to be constructed at over 15 substations using locally won earthfill, often entailing chemical modification of the soils and careful design of zoning and protection of the embankment.

Bruce has also worked on several building upgrades where it has been necessary to carry out forensic SIT or geophysics to determine the existing footing dimensions. This information is combined with detailed soil profile data, such as is provided from cone penetration testing (CPT), to assess whether existing piles can cater for increased loadings. Bruce has successfully applied this approach to a number of shopping centres and other buildings across Australia, with the benefits of reusing foundations becoming increasingly recognised (and valued) as important in sustainability, by reducing greenhouse gases caused by construction.

Bruce also assists in lecturing undergraduates at the University of Sydney on the subject of practical geotechnical engineering and has written several published technical papers on pile testing, reuse and (capacity) upgrade, as well as other subjects.