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Strength to strength

Fraser Thomas Ltd needs no introduction when it comes to the best professional geotechnical, civil engineering, land surveying and land development projects in Canterbury.



With a core team of civil engineers and surveyors led by Christchurch Director and Geotechnical Manager Mason Reed, Fraser Thomas Ltd offers a one-stop-shop for civil, environmental, geotechnical and structural engineering, not to mention resource management, surveying and land development.

Now with the addition of offices in Central Otago and Hawkes Bay, more families and businesses than ever before can benefit from the professionalism and attention to detail that Fraser Thomas brings to every project.

The company’s new Central Otago office, headed by a tightly knit team of engineers and surveyors, is situated in the ever-growing community of Cromwell.

Many structural, civil engineering and land development projects can now experience the Fraser Thomas treatment like so many in Canterbury.

The same can be said for residents of Napier, where Fraser Thomas’s Hawkes Bay office has been leaving its mark on cutting-edge projects thanks to a team of highly qualified engineers and surveyors.

With more offices on the cards throughout New Zealand, Fraser Thomas Ltd is going from strength to strength.

For more information on Fraser Thomas Ltd and the engineering and surveying services they provide, visit the website.


Surveying residential damage: Fraser Thomas

Fraser Thomas’ areas of engineering expertise are many and varied. One particularly close to some homeowners following the Canterbury earthquakes is the company’s work surveying damage to residential buildings.



“An unfortunate consequence of the earthquakes is that there have been a number of disagreements between homeowners and insurance companies about the causes and severity of damage to homes,” says David Mawhinney, Senior Surveyor with Fraser Thomas.

“In order to reach resolution on those disagreements, it is often necessary to have independent experts provide evidence about the elements of a building that may have sustained damage. As surveyors, we are trained to take measurements of appropriate accuracy and present the data collected in a user-friendly format for others to understand and interpret.”

Building elements often measured include:
• Land movement
• Verticality of walls, window sills, door frames and piles
• Levels of floors, ceilings and foundation bearers

“We are contracted by either of the parties in a dispute. There are always different methods of measuring building elements ranging from GNSS to lasers to tape measures amongst others. The most accurate, reliable and efficient methods must be chosen and can sometimes be quite time consuming. The outcome of the survey is of great value to the homeowner so it is important to get it right.”

For the Fraser Thomas team these surveys are extremely interesting. “They are unique – a kind of detective work – and it is professionally satisfying if we can contribute to fair and reasonable resolution of disputes.”



Fraser Thomas Ltd

Raising the engineering bar: Fraser Thomas Ltd

Since opening its Christchurch office six years ago, Fraser Thomas Ltd has gone from strength to strength. Established in Auckland in 1969, the company has earnt a sterling reputation for engineering surveying excellence throughout New Zealand, raising the bar when it comes to geotechnical, civil engineering, land surveying and land development projects.


Fraser Thomas Ltd


Operating out of its new offices in Workstation 55 Business Park on Princess Street, Addington, Fraser Thomas Christchurch has experienced rapid growth over the last few years, especially the growth of the team of engineers and surveyors which is now 15 staff (which has doubled from the previous year).

With this kind of continuous growth, which also coincides with the company’s 50th anniversary this year, Fraser Thomas is looking to expand in a big way. With potential offices in Queenstown, Nelson and Hawkes Bay on the cards, expect plenty of projects nationwide getting the Fraser Thomas treatment. Fraser Thomas is also 100 percent Kiwi owned and operated with nine directors, each specialists in their field.

Christchurch Director and Geotechnical Manager Mason Reed is proud of the company’s history and envisions a bright future for Fraser Thomas Ltd and looking to provide a quality service for the next 50 years to come.

For more information on Fraser Thomas Ltd and available engineering and surveying services, phone 03 358 5936 or visit



Mason Reed

Mason Reed: The Influencers

Mason Reed
Fraser Thomas Director – Geotechnical Engineering

It’s hard to believe that it is Christmas time and as always, I realise that the year has once again flown past. I always look forward to Christmas because it is a time when we can spend more time with our friends and family. As a business owner, it is also a good time to step back and to reflect on the business year, in particular to revisit the goals that we set ourselves at the beginning of the year.

It is easy, when we are busy, to fall into the trap of working in the business rather than working on the business. Having a break gives us the opportunity to step back from the business and to have a critical look at it. This coming year is shaping to be another busy one for Fraser Thomas Ltd. We are moving into our new offices, which will be more suitable for our expanding workforce. We are working with some inspirational clients, who are challenging our engineering ingenuity and will ensure that we are exposed to some exciting engineering challenges next year.

That being said, next year my goal is to try and make more time in my busy schedule, to ensure that I have more time for my wife and kids and also for myself. Success in business typically takes a lot of time and effort, but we also need to try and prioritise working on ourselves, in order to enable us to maintain our health and focus (which ultimately will help to improve our businesses).



Fraser Thomas

On the Move: Fraser Thomas

Next year marks 50 years in business for Fraser Thomas. And at the end of November, the burgeoning Christchurch branch of specialist engineers and surveyors will celebrate with clients, the move to larger remises at Workstation 55 Business Park in Princess Street.


Fraser Thomas


Staff numbers have grown substantially, as have the city’s continuous need for specialist services, such as geotechnical, land surveying, resource management, soil contamination testing, civil engineering, slope stability assessments, and land surveying. Included in the company’s skill set is expertise in mediation and insurance court cases for clients, and 14 chartered engineers are part of the company’s approachable, friendly team.

Fraser Thomas, with its head office based in Highbrook, Auckland and set up in Christchurch in 2012, provides a multi-disciplined, ‘one-stop shop’ for land development projects. Christchurch’s Director and Geotechnical Manager, Mason Reed, is also a Practice Area Assessor for Engineering New Zealand.
His principles include keeping the industry honest. Hailing from Whangarei, and one of the eight directors, Mason has 20 years’ experience in the company, including the Pacific Islands and South East Asia.

He says it’s wise to assess potential geotechnical issues, before any building work, to mitigate future issues. Around 80 percent of work is residential, with commercial projects including the Waterloo Business Park. Ngāi Tahu’s Te Whariki subdivision development in Lincoln, a substantial project in several stages, is underway, utilising all the skillsets of the Fraser Thomas team. “Ngāi Tahu is committed to providing a quality product to their purchasers,” Mason says. “And we have the skills and experience to deliver for our client.”


Fraser Thomas Geotechinical Engineers

Foundations right first time: we talk to local firm Fraser Thomas about finding the right geotechnical engineer

Geotechnical engineering is a highly specialised form of engineering that deals with foundation design for buildings. If the engineer gets it wrong, remediation can be very expensive.

Fraser Thomas Geotechinical Engineers

In California, insurance companies sick of paying out on claims covering negligence of incompetent engineers started a special licensing regime to ensure only qualified geotechnical engineers undertake geotechnical work.
In New Zealand there is currently no robust system in place to ensure only qualified chartered professional (geotechnical) engineers are providing geotechnical advice for building developments.
“When seeking geotechnical consultancy services, you should satisfy yourself that the engineer is appropriately qualified and experienced,” says Mason Reed of Fraser Thomas Limited.
“The Chartered Engineer register on the Engineering NZ website can confirm whether an engineer is Chartered and in which field (ie. structural, fire, civil). If you take advice on geotechnical matters from an engineer who is not a chartered professional (geotechnical) engineer, you do so at your own risk.”
Fraser Thomas has been providing expert geotechnical consultancy services for 50 years. “We have a sound understanding of geomechanics and provide foundation solutions which are best suited for the site conditions, which can sometimes result in significant cost savings for our clients in foundation construction costs.”
Fraser Thomas has a long history in identifying and mitigating the effects of a variety of geotechnical hazards ranging from residential and commercial to large infrastructure projects, such as landfills. “We have particular experience in slope stability assessments, including cliff lines/coastal erosion affects, foundation design on soft highly compressible soils, piled foundation design and the provision of foundation solutions for sites on liquefiable soils.”
In a shaky land, it is vital work.