The Art of Engineering Connections


  • Mike Papillo - Chief Engineer, KBR Australia-Asia Operations
  • Bob Tracey - Chief Inspector, BTI Pty Ltd 



Connections are the key to success or failure in many structural engineering projects. Many engineers are comfortable with analysis and member design, but are often taken out of their comfort zone with connections. This technical meeting is all about the theory and practice of structural connections. 

Mike Papillo - Theory 

A couple of years ago, Mike was engaged to investigate and solve a significant failure of a vital piece of mining infrastructure. Mike’s comprehensive involvement and investigation gave him a rare and valuable insight into a significant failure involving connections. Most structural failures are caused by a number and combination of errors. In this case the eventual failure was caused by a two bolts tearing out of their steel cleat. Mike will share the ten steps (errors) that led to this failure and there are lessons for us all here. 

Mike’s four decades as a structural engineer since graduating from Monash University has taken him into many projects in buildings, off-shore oil & gas, pipelines, water, rail, bridges, mining and industrial markets in Australia, overseas, and even on site in Antarctica. He has held many senior positions, and is currently Chief Engineer for the KBR Australia-Asia Operations. 

Bob Tracey - Practice 

Bob will present on structural bolting installation, tensioning application controls, relevant procedures and work practices. 

Bob served his apprenticeship as a Boilermaker Welder from January 1964. He has worked continuously in the steel fabrication and construction industry since then, with the exception of 2 years National Service with the Army from 1969 to 1971. Since 1974 Bob has been employed as a Senior Inspector with VICTORIAN WELDING SUPERVISION PTY LTD, VWS STAFF PTY LTD and BTI PTY LTD. Bob has worked on a wide range of steel fabrication projects, including: Victoria Arts Centre, Parliament House Flag Mast – Canberra, Rankin A Gas Platform - Western Australia, Iwaki Gas Platform – Japan, Trough Girders to City Link - Westgate Freeways, Trough Girders to Brighton Bypass - Jordan River Tasmania, Container Cranes & Ship Loaders - Melbourne, Tasmania, Darwin & Townsville.  

This event will be held in Lecture Theatre C1 at The University of Melbourne, Engineering Block C, Level 4. View map.

This event will start at  6:00pm, with refreshments from 5:30pm

All of the IStructE Technical Meetings are free to attend unless stated otherwise.