Richard Evans

Richard Evans


Innovator and problem solver

Richard has more than twenty years of experience as a structural engineer. He arrived in Marlborough in 1997 to work with Connell Wagner and quickly built up a successful structural engineering division. In 1999 he joined Abacus Design and continued to forge his growing reputation as an innovator and problem solver. In 2007, along with Derek Wong Nam, Richard joined with Paul Williams (planner) and the late John Smart (engineer), to form the innovative interdisciplinary Smart Alliances, providing clients for the first time, access to fully integrated resource planning, engineering and architecture services. Richard leads the engineering team and is also the firm’s principal manager.

Richard’s focus is on finding engineering solutions that not only work but are economical for the client. “People are inclined to think that engineering is just about applying rigid formulas and calculations. In practice it is about solving problems and then using those formulas and calculations to prove that the solution works and complies with building codes and standards.”

African experience taught practical innovation

Working in Africa prior to arriving in Marlborough has given Richard a distinct advantage when it comes to thinking outside normal limitations. “Of course I was taught how to do things the right way, but when it came to applying it, it wasn’t always that straightforward,” remembers Richard. “When you don’t have the resources for the job, you have to find another way. Steel beams suddenly become timber and you have to make it work somehow.”

Innovative team approach

“At Smart Alliances we have a comprehensive problem-solving team covering areas much wider than just buildings and structures,” Richard says. “Because we work together across architecture, engineering and resource planning, we can focus on identifying and resolving potential issues before they become problems.” That enables the team to shape innovative yet practical and economic designs and construction techniques to fulfil clients varying needs.

Stimulating range of projects

Recent years have seen immense changes in construction techniques, clients and the scale of construction. Whereas once the majority of Marlborough businesses were locally owned and most buildings quite modest in size, now many are national or international companies and many of the buildings are large with exacting performance criteria. That has changed the whole dynamic of the planning and design process and with clients spread across Marlborough, New Zealand and overseas, Smart Alliances operate to the highest professional standards. “We’ve been involved in some exceptionally interesting projects, finding innovative design, performance and construction solutions, often operating within very tight financial constraints.”