PROF Nelson Lam

PROF Nelson Lam


  • Performance modelling of infrastructure in extreme events (seismic impact collision)



  • Nelson Lam is Professor in Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne, has 35 years of experience in structural engineering. He has been working in the specialized field of earthquake engineering, impact dynamics and structural dynamics; he is a member of the standing committee for future revisions to the Australian standard for seismic actions; he is the principal international advisor to the drafting of the National Annex to Eurocode 8 on the seismic design of building structures for Malaysia, and is a member of the Seismic and Dynamic Events Panel commissioned by the London Headquarter of The Institution of Structural Engineers. His achievement in research in this field was recognized by the award of the Chapman Medal (1999) and Warren Medal (2006) by Engineers Australia; the Best Paper Award (2004-2007) by the ISET Journal of Earthquake Technology; and Chapman Medal for the second time in 2010. He is also recipient of Award for Teaching Excellence given out by Engineers Australia in 2012 and Academic Staff Teaching Award by Melbourne School of Engineering in 2013. His early career as structural engineer was with Scott Wilson International throughout the 1980’s and attained British chartered engineer status during that period. He was awarded the degree of BSc in civil engineering with first class honours at the University of Leeds, England in 1981, MSc degree in concrete structures at Imperial College of Science & Technology, London in 1982 and PhD in earthquake engineering at the University of Melbourne in 1993.   


Member of

  • Engineers Australia. Chartered Engineer Member 1990 -
  • Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (civil and structural divisions). Chartered Engineer Member 1990 -
  • Insitution of Structural Engineers (UK). Chartered Engineer Member 1990 -
  • Institution of Civil Engineers (UK). Chartered Engineer Member 1986 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • New Approach for Design of Barriers For Impact, ARC Discovery Project 2017-2019, A$231,824

    Structural Performance of Rigid Debris-resisting Barriers, Research Contract with Hong Kong Government 2017, HK$200,000 (A$33,000 approx.)

    Collapse Assessment of RC Buildings in Regions of Lower Seismicity, ARC Discovery Project 2014-2016, A$210,000

    Development and Optimisation of Low Carbon, Affordable, Medium-rise Modular Structural System using Innovative Connections, Low Carbon Living CRC project no. RP1031 2016-2018, A$95,500.

    Developing Auxetic Composite System for Protective Engr. Applications, ARC Linkage, 2015-2018, A$387,500

    Cost-Effective Mitigation Strategy Development for Building Related Earthquake Risk economic loss estimation model, Bush Fire Natural Hazards CRC (project no. A9), 2014-2017, A$763,000

    Pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model. Bush Fire Natural Hazards CRC (project no. A8), 2014-2017, A$525,000.

    Displacement Controlled Behaviour of Non-Ductile Structural Walls in Regions of Lower Seismicity, ARC Discovery Project 2010-2012, A$180,000

    Collapse Modelling of Soft Storey Buildings, ARC Discovery Project 2007-2009, A$180,000.

    Displacement Based Earthquake Design of URM Walls, ARC Discovery Projects 2004-2006, A$185,734

    Rational lateral bracing design for steel-framed domestic structures, ARC Linkage, 2011-2013, A$199,000



Education and training

  • MSc, University of London
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1993
  • DIC, University of London 1982
  • BSc, University of Leeds 1981

Awards and honors

  • Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Australia, 2014
  • Award for Teaching Excellence in Structural Engineering by Engineers Australia., Engineers Australia, 2013
  • 2008 RW Chapman Medal for the paper "Recent developments in the research and practice of earth quake engineering in Australia", Engineers Australia, 2010
  • Best paper of the journal for period 2001-2004, ISET Journal of Earthquake Technology, 2007
  • Warren Medal for the best publication in Civil Engineering, Engineers Australia, 2006
  • Chapman Medal for the best publication in Structural Engineering, Engineers Australia, 2000



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Research higher degree students are being sought to work in the areas of earthquake engineering and impact engineering