Interview with Joshua Wong, the leading Structural Engineer at Cephas Rock NZ & AUS

Posted August 9, 2021

Interview with Joshua Wong, the leading Structural Engineer at Cephas Rock NZ & AUS

Why did you choose your field of study? Which projects or topics did you find most enjoyable?

My father ran his own construction company, so I went to construction sites and helping him up since I was young. I then got my passion for building and construction. Why structural engineering? In structural engineering, we have the chance to solve complex problems and deliver a great benefit to our clients. I genuinely do love helping people to find the most effective engineering solution. I really enjoy designing high-end residential properties, as they are challenging projects where I can fully apply my skills and knowledge for the owners to enjoy their homes for many, many years. 

What structural engineering project are you most proud of and why?

There are quite a few of them, actually. One is The Michael Hill Clubhouse which is located on the outskirt of Arrowtown, Central Otago. I am so proud of it because it is a beautiful building with architecture by Patterson Associates. The structural engineering of that building was so challenging, and it involved a big cantilever roof loaded with soil, and we used 1200 deep steel I beam.

Is there an engineer whose work you admire?

It will be my former mentor and employer, Arthur Tyndall. He was a legend in what he did. He was someone who kept pushing boundaries, dared to dream the impossible and encouraged me to think outside the box.

What area of structural engineering do you find most challenging?

I think Seismic design is the most challenging part as it involves motion, dynamic, and ductility design. But, at the end of the day, it is a matter of life or death, so the pressure on engineers to develop a sound design and then for the builder to follow is enormous.

What do you do to stay up-to-date with the latest technology in the Engineering field?

We network with other engineers, attend seminars, trade shows and follow the latest trends in engineering-related journals and magazines.

What do you enjoy most while working with Cephas Rock clients?

What really motivates me is my clients, and I should say that we have built strong and respectful relationships with a lot of them throughout the years. We see our work is appreciated, and that's what we are here for. I also enjoy creating value for clients, seeing their houses being built, their broken homes being fixed and renovated. You know people say "there is no place like home", and I guess this is what I truly believe in too. We see excellent structures being created from the ground up, and then our clients call them home. 

Why do you think Cephas Rock Structural & Geotechnical Engineers are very different from others?

We are very easy to work with, flexible, responsive, and appreciate our clients and relationships with them. Moreover, the team of engineers at Cephas Rock are real experts in the field. 

How do you think the construction industry in New Zealand has changed in the past couple of years?

It's booming now! 150,000 Kiwis have come home from overseas, and it is expected that the number will rise to 500,000 in the next two years. These people need somewhere to live, so I would say everyone in the construction/building industry will be very busy for quite a while. At the moment, section and building material are quite limited plus low interest rates, so the property price has increased significantly since the pandemic, and I expect it will continue to increase for some time.