Dr James Lim



My PhD was on the topic of cold-formed steel portal frames (thesis can be downloaded here), supervised by Professor D.A. Nethercot. Following this, I spent five years working at the Steel Construction Institute (The SCI), where I extended my research interests to include hot-rolled steel, composite construction and fire. I have been a full-time academic since 2007, working at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and Queen's University, Belfast, before joining the University of Auckland in 2014. To-date, I have authored slightly over 70 journal papers and supervised ten PhD students to completion, three of whom are pursuing full-time academic careers. My research is dominated in trying to understand fundamental structural behaviour, for which I employ a combination of full-scale testing and finite element modelling.

More recently, my research includes structural engineering applications to Building Information Modelling (BIM). A recent paper entitled "Finite element investigation of cold-formed steel portal frames in fire" describes how a BIM model was moved to ABAQUS and subsequently used to investigate the behaviour of portal frames in fire; this paper won the Palmer Prize. (Video of the portal frame burnt to collapse.)

I would be very happy to receive applications for PhD and ME on both structural engineering and BIM. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. Titles of the research work that I have previously been involved with can be most easily seen on my Google Scholar page.

Full-scale fire tests on portal frames for Ross Johnston's PhD: video video
Full-scale testing on cladding for Krishanu Roy's PhD: video video
Cyclic tests on stainless steel beams for Hafez's PhD: video
Racking tests for Zhenghao Tang's and James Maguire's PhDs: video

Research | Current

Cold-formed steel portal frames; Portal frames, Cold-formed steel, Composite construction, Trusses, Genetic Algorithms, Concrete filled steel tubes in fire, BIM

Teaching | Current

The threshold concepts of freebody diagrams, leading onto the concepts of bending moment diagrams and shear force diagrams, are problematic for some students at UoA. With a large number of UG student volunteers, we have been trying to develop the contents of a XorroQ app that may help some students. They are not perfect, but can be viewed below. Any feedback, positive or negative would be appreciated, either by email or through the feedback form:
Cantilever 1 Cantilever 2 Cantilever 3
Beam 1 Beam 2 Beam 3 Beam 4
Cantilever PL01: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p21988
Cantilever PL02: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p21991
Cantilever PL03: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p21994
Cantilever PL04: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p21998
Cantilever PL05: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p22006
Cantilever PL 06: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p22009
Beam_Sim1_P_001: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14717
Beam_Sim1_U_001: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14718
Beam_Can1_U_002: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14722
Beam_Fix1_U_001: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14739
​Fixed end: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14739
Multi-Span Beam: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14724
Qualitative Analysis-Deflection: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14750
Buckling-Basic Problems: http://q.xorro.com/dfcm/p14761

Videos from the web
Some excellent videos on bending moment diagrams: David Brohn 1 David Brohn 2 David Brohn 3
Some videos from Dr Structure: SA11

Courses taught at UoA
CIV211: Structures and Design I

CIV718: Cold-formed steel structures and building information modelling (BIM)

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD Students as main or joint-main supervisor:

  • Mr Boshan Chen
  • Mr Pouya Pouladi
  • Ms Maelle Van Thinen
  • Mr Krishanu Roy
  • Mr Amirmohammad Yousefi
  • Mr Amir Shahmohamady
  • Mr Rehan Masood
  • Mr Matt Russell

Completed PhD Students as main or joint-main supervisor:

  • Dr Kingsley Ukanwa: Fire design of concrete filled steel tube continuous column subjected to concentric or eccentric axial loading
  • Dr Andrzej Wrzesien: Effect of stressed skin action on the behaviour of cold-formed steel portal frames
  • Dr Migel Paya: Back-pass non-perforated solar air collectors: Performance and evaluation
  • Dr Ying Lian: Web crippling behaviour of cold-formed steel sections with circular web openings under one-flange loading
  • ​Dr Ross McKinstray: Single storey steel optimisation for steel weight and carbon incorporating asymmetrical topology with photovotaric panels
  • Dr Ross Johnston: Behaviour of cold-formed steel portal frames at ambient and elevated temperatures
  • Dr Mahbubur Rahman: A computational study of the behaiour of hot-rolled steel portal frames in fire
  • Dr Duoc Phan: Design optimisation of steel portal frames using real-coded niching genetic algorithm
  • Dr Asraf Uzzaman: Web crippling behaviour of cold-formed steel member with web opening
  • Dr Gordon Callaghan: Wind induced vibrations in tall buildings

Areas of expertise

Cold-formed steel portal frames

Committees/Professional groups/Services

AS/NZS 4600 Cold-formed steel structures

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Roy, K., Ting, T. C. H., Lau, H. H., & Lim, J. B. P. (2019). Experimental and numerical investigations on the axial capacity of cold-formed steel built-up box sections. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 160, 411-427. 10.1016/j.jcsr.2019.05.038
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy
  • Roy, K., Lim, J. B. P., Lau, H. H., Yong, P. M., Clifton, G. C., Wrzesien, A., & Mei, C. C. (2019). Collapse behaviour of a fire engineering designed single-storey cold- formed steel building in severe fires. Thin-Walled Structures, 142, 340-357. 10.1016/j.tws.2019.04.046
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy, Charles Clifton
  • Maguire, J. R., Teh, L. H., Clifton, G. C., & Lim, J. B. P. (2019). Residual capacity of cold-formed steel rack uprights following stomping during rocking. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 159, 189-197. 10.1016/j.jcsr.2019.04.039
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Charles Clifton
  • Roy, K., & Lim, J. B. P. (2019). Numerical investigation into the buckling behaviour of face-to-face built-up cold-formed stainless steel channel sections under axial compression. Sttuctures, 20, 42-73. 10.1016/j.istruc.2019.02.019
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy
  • Yousefi, A. M., Lim, J. B. P., & Clifton, G. C. (2019). Web crippling strength of perforated cold-formed ferritic stainless steel unlipped channels with restrained flanges under one-flange loadings. THIN-WALLED STRUCTURES, 137, 94-105. 10.1016/j.tws.2019.01.002
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Amirmohammad Yousefi, Charles Clifton
  • McCrum, D. P., Simon, J., Grimes, M., Broderick, B. M., Lim, J. B. P., & Wrzesien, A. M. (2019). Experimental cyclic performance of cold-formed steel bolted moment resisting frames. ENGINEERING STRUCTURES, 181, 1-14. 10.1016/j.engstruct.2018.11.063
  • Lawson, R. M., Way, A. G. J., Heywood, M., Lim, J. B. P., Johnston, R., & Roy, K. (2019). Stability of light steel walls in compression with plasterboards on one or both sides. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings10.1680/jstbu.18.00118
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45817
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy
  • Mathison, C., Roy, K., Clifton, G. C., Ahmadi, A., Masood, R., & Lim, J. B. P. (2019). Novel pin jointed moment connection for cold-formed steel trusses. Steel and Composite Structures, 31 (5), 453-467. 10.12989/scs.2019.31.5.453
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy, Charles Clifton


Contact details

Alternative contact

phone: 09 923 8138
mobile: 022 417 5301

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 313
New Zealand

Web links