IDS Consultants, Structural & Earthquake Engineers

Dr. Tom Moore

IDS Consultants has a reputation as the most quality and cost conscious engineering practice in the field of seismic strengthening of existing buildings, whether they be brick, stone, concrete, steel or timber buildings. Expertise is demonstrated with numerous publications and over thirty years of experience and history in many countries. 

IDS Consultants is lead by Principal Structural and Earthquake Engineer, Dr. Thomas A. Moore IntCPEng 82137, BSc, BE Hons (I), PhD, MIPENZ

CONTACT Tom Moore at IDS: Phone 02102334301, (03)4727794

Email:, 101 Blanket Bay Road, Dunedin 9023


Tom's thirty-five years of professional consulting experience as an earthquake and structural engineer includes addressing public policy issues, architectural, social and economic implications, research, design, professional education, disaster recovery, and risk management studies for new and existing structures subject to seismic hazards.

These projects include building projects for low cost multi-unit and single-family housing, power plants, and restoration of existing buildings such as heritage brick and stone structures located in higher-risk seismic or cyclonic zones.


Tom has consulted on the structural engineering design and construction administration of commercial, institutional and residential buildings, infrastructure, and industrial facilities. Tom has served in New Zealand, California, and other U.S. states consulting on building design, structural analysis, and the forensic investigation of damage due to earthquakes, cyclones and other hazards.

Tom has consulted on risk assessment and mitigation, considering structural, public policy, social science, heritage, architectural, and economic impacts - to serve public agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA,) and the National Science Foundation (NSF,) other departments of the U.S. government, and the California Seismic Safety Commission. He has also served the California Insurance Industry Council and member companies for seismic and cyclone risk assessment and post-earthquake damage assessment.

Tom has expertise in mathematical modelling of a range of structures subject to earthquake loading, including high-rise steel and concrete buildings, innovative structural systems such as timber high capacity shear walls, portal frames, and exotic trusses, bridges and foundation systems.

Tom has consulted on the structural design, cost accounting, and construction administration of low cost housing using sound rated, thermally insulated, fire rated high capacity modular wall and floor panels — for construction in seismic and/or cyclonic environments.

Tom has expertise in the structural design and construction administration of the seismic retrofit of heritage buildings constructed from both brick and stone, along with unreinforced masonry residential and commercial buildings.



Tom has experience in serving public and private sector clients such as University of Otago, BNZ, Meridian Energy, Contact Energy, Church of England, and Department of Corrections, which includes:

Post-Earthquake: Assessment and strengthening of buildings following the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

Innovation: Innovative structural design of high capacity timber shear-walls and timber portal frames, and the Homer Tunnel Rock Shelter on the Milford road.

Timber: Structural design of cost effective timber framed buildings and structural systems such as at ANZ Twizel and SPCA Timaru. Development of low cost housing schemes for post- disaster and third world poverty relief application.

Concrete: Seismic assessment and provision of strengthening schemes for multi storey buildings, University of Otago, Southland Institute of Technology, etc., and reservoir tank at Westport Treatment Plant.

Hydroelectric Plant: Seismic assessment of structures and equipment at Clyde, Roxburgh, and Waitaki hydroelectric power plants.

Heritage Buildings: Seismic retrofit of St. Pauls Cathedral, Dunedin and Bodkins Building, Alexandra. Seismic evaluation of original Dunedin Prison for the Department of Corrections.

Unreinforced Masonry: Structural assessment and strengthening design of numerous buildings such as Les Mills Gym and SPCA Timaru, and published a 2014 paper with NZSEE.

Steel: Structural design and design review of many steel buildings and the seven storeys Oceania Dairy Boiler at Waitaki River mouth.

Forensic: Forensic investigation regarding structural failures at 6 and 16 Hickory Place commercial buildings in Christchurch and the Annan residence in Alexandra.


Tom has substantial project experience working for IDS Consultants and URS in California and other states and countries, with consulting assignments such as:

Research on seismic loss assessment, structural strengthening measures, risk analysis and social impacts of earthquake and hurricane disasters for FEMA, National Science Foundation (NSF,) California Seismic Safety Commission, Applied technology Council (ATC,) California Insurance Council, and private clients.

Post-Earthquake: Assessment and strengthening of buildings following the Northridge 1991, Loma Prieta 1989, Philippines 1989, Japan 1981, Livermore 1979 earthquakes and the Kauai Cyclone of 1990 ... Including preparing of a report evaluating the seismic performance of Fukushima Nuclear Plant following the 1981 Miyagi ken Oki earthquake for Tokyo Electric, Japan, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) reconnaissance report following the Philippines earthquake, and an NZSEE paper following the Livermore earthquake and numerous reports for insurance companies following the Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes.

Unreinforced Masonry: Management and design of seismic evaluation and strengthening of numerous 1-6 storey unreinforced masonry buildings throughout California for various institutional and private clients at costs from $10 per square foot or $100 per square meter.

Timber: Structural design and construction administration for numerous multi-family residences up to five storey (plus single family homes and innovative structures and commercial buildings) using state of the art plywood sheathed light timber framed construction at shell costs from $35 per square foot or $350 per square meter.

Forensic: Forensic investigation and expert witness testimony regarding structural failures and collision investigations.

Steel: Structural design of numerous commercial buildings such as the seven storeys steel frame Chevron Research Centre at San Francisco and the Southridge Cogeneration plant, Nebraska.

Nuclear: Design of elements of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant and research on the out-of-plane capacity of confined unreinforced masonry walls.

Concrete: Structural design and construction review for concrete buildings and retaining walls.


Tom has over thirty years of experience as a structural engineer in the areas of building design, analysis, and forensic investigation of damage due to earthquakes, and assessment of building performance in earthquake, hurricane, and other hazards. Tom's employment history includes service to the Ministry of Works and Development (MWD) in New Zealand, URS/Blume in San Francisco, principal of IDS Consultants Inc., California and NZ, Opus International Consultants, and currently at IDS Consultants, NZ.

Tom was originally registered as a professional engineer in New Zealand in 1976 with registration number 82137, and in California: Civil, 1979 and Structural 1982 SE2551. Tom also has been registered as a structural engineer in Hawaii, Nevada, and Alaska. He has published numerous technical papers from 1972 until 2016. Tom was also the Chairperson of the Existing Buildings Committee of EERI and SEAONC.

As principal structural engineer for IDS Consultants Inc. in San Francisco Tom had responsibility for all structural engineering design, strengthening of existing buildings, post-earthquake investigations and reports, and research for NSF, EERI, SEAONC, FEMA, and local insurance companies.

Because of his substantial professional experience Tom is often able to conceive of core seismic and structural issues in an innovative way and envision effective technical and economic resolutions.

SPECIALIZATIONS (partial list):


Recent projects include "Review and Justification of Insurance Claim Regarding Earthquake Damage at 6-14 Hickory Place, Christchurch," December 2013.

"Projected Seismic Losses," for the Insurance Industry Council of California, 1990.


Tom's experience and expertise with Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings is recognizable by his appointment as chairperson of the Existing Buildings Committees of both EERI and SEAONC of California, and also as structural engineering consultant to the Dunedin City Council published as "DCC Earthquake Prone Building Policy," by Dunedin City Council, 2011.

A major retrofit program for URM buildings was unleashed in California during the 1980's, fueled by research performed by John Kariotis (of ABK) et al (1986) and ABK Consultants (1981), Los Angeles. The results from this program suggested that the transverse (out-of-plane) URM wall inertial forces are much lower for flexible (timber) diaphragms than for rigid (concrete) floor and roof diaphragms. The consequence of this reduction is that many California Cities adopted a more "liberal" Bolts-only URM Retrofit Ordinance that recognizes a much lower risk in less seismic regions, compared with current more expensive NZ practice.

However, there were objections from some redevelopment orientated groups to such a liberalization of the strengthening requirements, especially from those developers and real estate agents with a redevelopment agenda and who envisioned demolition of most URM's and replacement with modern buildings.

Recent research by Professor Jason Ingham et al, based at the University of Auckland, has advocated and advanced the "rational" approach. However, there are powerful forces in New Zealand promoting demolition-and-redevelopment to make way for new buildings. Some local engineers are feeding this redevelopment by adopting the more "cautious" and expensive traditional approach to the strengthening option. This "cautious" but expensive strategy often will involve (even in lower risk seismic zones,) either;

1) The installation of steel, timber, or concrete portal or braced frames, sometimes with soldier beams (purlins) spanning between the frames spaced to suit the particular building demand, say 5.0m to 8.0m, or;

2) The application of reinforced Shot-Crete (or fiber reinforced polymer,) dowelled to the URM interior face, or post-tensioning the walls. [Note that there are many instances where the "cautious" approach is necessary and essential such as where there are rigid diaphragms and/or storey heights are large, walls are thin, and cross walls are insufficient.]

The cost of seismic strengthening to above 34%NBS can be thus increased from say $60-$100 per square metre for the "liberal" method by a factor as large as four to $200-$400 per square metre for the "cautious" approach.

PUBLISHED PAPERS (partial list)

Twin Terrace Tunnels, Published by M.W.D. with Dr. M.J.N. Priestley, New Zealand, 1971.

Karangahape Road Bridge, Published by M.W.D., New Zealand, 1971.

Mangere Bridge Foundations, Published by M.W.D., New Zealand, 1971.

Timber Nailed Connections, Published by M.W.D., New Zealand, 1971.

Finite Element Analysis of Box Girder Bridges, Published by NZIE, 1977.

"Fukushima Nuclear Power Station—Effects and Implications of the June 12, 1978 Miyagi-Ken-Oki, Japan, Earthquake" by Peter I Yanev, Dr. Thomas A. Moore, and Dr. John A. Blume. A reconnaissance report prepared by URS/John A. Blume & Associates, January 1979.

"Seismic Performance of Wine Tanks," Livermore, Published by EERI, 1982.

"Effects of the 1988 Philippine Earthquake," Published by EERI, 1988.

FEMA 121, 122, Published by FEMA, 1991; Reference "Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook and Supporting Documentation (FEMA 154 and 155) with Chris Arnold, AIA, 1990.

FEMA 172, NEHERP Handbook of Techniques for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings (FEMA 172) by Chris Arnold (AIA) and Dr. Thomas Moore (SE. PE,) 1991.

"DCC Earthquake Prone Building Policy," published by Dunedin City Council, 2011.

"The Demand versus Capacity of the Homer West Debris Shelter, New Zealand," by Dr. Thomas Moore and Andrew Blacker, Opus Dunedin, February 2013. Report No. 6-V8232.01-1, Presented to Opus PIN conference, Wellington, 2013.

"Trends regarding the Structural Enhancement of URM Buildings, including Case Studies," by Dr. Thomas A. Moore, NZSEE, 2014, Annual Conference, 2014.

"Repairing NZ Seismic Building Code Anomalies, including SLS," by Dr. Thomas A. Moore, Bulletin of NZSEE, to be published 2017.