Civil Engineering Building (H20)
Level 7, Room CE719
Emeritus Professor at UNSW
Deputy Director of UNSW Centre for Infrastructure and Safety
Level 1: I do research into the behaviour of the structures that you see around you every day (e.g., buildings, bridges, etc.) and I particularly deal with reinforced and prestressed concrete structures.
Level 2: My main interests are in how concrete structures perform in terms of deformation, deflection, and cracking. Most of my work is either experimentally based in the laboratory or involves analytical and numerical modelling of the structure.
Level 3: I’ve spent a long time developing design guidelines for practicing engineers to be able to design concrete structures at service loads where cracking and deflection need to be adequately controlled.
Interest in engineering
Why did you get into engineering?
All through high school I planned to do Medicine, but as I was filling out the form to go to University, I decided to do Civil Engineering instead. I’d actually come to UNSW, and was interviewed by Crawford Munro (the first Head of School here) who talked to me about engineering.
What are your research goals?
My goals are to continue winning grants for the next few years and continue doing what I do, because for the past 35-40 years I’ve enjoyed my research. It has been a hobby.
What do people not understand about you do?
I’ve found most people think Civil Engineering research is breaking concrete. Civil Engineers are seen by many as the ‘brick layers’ of the Faculty, when often what we do is far more sophisticated and mathematically challenging than some of the more ‘sexy’ fields of engineering.
Advice for prospective civil engineers
If you are good at maths, and like solving problems, then civil engineering is a challenging and rewarding thing to do. It’s reasonably well paid, and you’ll be doing something interesting every day.
Over the years, I have taught all courses in structural engineering at the undergraduate level and courses on advanced concrete structures at the post-graduate level. In recent years, I have been a full-time researcher.
Number currently in lab: 3 PhD Students, 5 Honours Students
Number PhD students graduated: 14
Current Student Projects:
Anchorage of reinforcement in concrete structures subjected to loading and environmental extremes
Time-dependent in-service behaviour of composite concrete slabs with profiled steel decking.
Strength of Two-Way Steel Fibre Reinforced Composite Flooring Systems
Creep-induced buckling of eccentrically-loaded slender reinforced concrete columns
Prediction of deflection in reinforced concrete continuous one-way slabs
The role of human error in building failures
Crack control in reinforced concrete
Professional Organisations and Service Positions
Fellow, Engineers Australia and Chartered Professional Engineer.
Member, American Concrete Institute
Honorary Life Member, Concrete Institute of Australia
Elected member of the National Council of the Concrete Institute of Australia, 2009-2013.
Active member of Standards Australia’s Committee BD-002 for over 30 years responsible for the on-going development of the Australian Standard for Concrete Structures AS3600.
Active member of Standards Australia’s Committee BD-090 charged with the current revision of the Australian Standard for Concrete Bridges AS5100(5)
Voting member of the American Concrete Institute Committee 209 – Creep and Shrinkage of Concrete
Technical and Publication Coordinator for the Concrete Institute of Australia
Chairman of a Concrete Institute of Australia Task Group preparing a comprehensive treatment of cracking and crack control in concrete structures
Awards, Grants, Etc.
National Award for Excellence, Technology Category, for the book “Time-dependent behaviour of Concrete Structures”, by Gilbert RI and Ranzi G, Spon Press, London, 2011. This award is made every two years by the Concrete Institute of Australia.
Honorary Life Membership of Concrete Institute of Australia for “outstanding contribution to the development and use of concrete in Australia” – awarded 2011
2005 Australian Professorial Fellowship awarded by the Australia Research Council (one of only 5 such awards ever in the field of Structural Engineering)
Eminent Speaker for 2001, Structural College, Institution of Engineers, Australia.
Chapman Medal, 1999 - awarded annually by the Institution of Engineers, Australia (since 1921) for the most significant contribution to the science and practice of structural engineering.
Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing, 1999 - nominated in Tertiary (single title) category for u/grad textbook Engineering Statics, UNSW Press, 1999 (co-authored with A.S. Hall and F.E. Archer).
Gilbert RI and Bradford MA; ARC Linkage LP0991701, Time-dependent in-service behaviour of composite concrete slabs with profiled steel; 2009-2012; $315,000
Bradford MA, Gilbert RI and Foster SJ; ARC Linkage LP0991495, Strength of two-way steel fibre reinforced composite flooring systems; 2010-2012; $160,000
Gilbert RI; ARC Discovery DP1096560, Anchorage of reinforcement in concrete structures subjected to loading and environmental extremes; 2010-2012; $280,000
Gilbert RI and Ranzi G; ARC Discovery DP110103028, Time‑dependent stiffness of cracked reinforced concrete; 2011-2013; $390,000
Ranzi G, Gilbert RI and Mackay-Sim R; ARC Linkage LP110100008, Behaviour of lifting inserts for precast concrete construction; 2011-2013; $180,000
Gilbert RI; ARC Discovery DP130102966, Control of cracking caused by early-age contraction of concrete; 2013-2015; $355,000