Associate Professor Charles Clifton


  • Associate Professor of Civil Engineering

Charles Clifton graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) in 1978 and a Master of Civil Engineering in 1979. From 1979 to 1981 he worked for a major New Zealand consulting engineering firm, then from 1981 to 1983 for a joint UK/Saudi Arabian consulting engineering firm in London.

In 1983 Charles joined the New Zealand Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA) first as Structural Engineer then as Senior Structural Engineer, with responsibility for promoting the efficient and effective use of structural steel in buildings. At HERA he conducted and coordinated research in structural steel, composite construction, fire engineering and durability. He also made major and ongoing contributions to the introduction of new and revised standards, developed widely used design guides and was actively involved in professional development.

A long and productive collaboration with The University of Auckland whilst at HERA saw several innovations researched, developed and adopted by the profession and also the award of his PhD in 2005. The principal outcome of his PhD was two new forms of semi-rigid beam to column connections for moment-resisting steel frames which are now used in a number of high profile New Zealand buildings. He has also formulated design and detailing requirements for composite floor systems in fully developed fires, based on research undertaken in the UK and New Zealand.

In 2008 he joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering specialising in structural steel and composite engineering. He is currently engaged on a large government funded research project on the development of composite structural assemblies as well as being involved in ongoing development of the seismic and fire research topics mentioned above.


Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Second Class Honours Division 1), University of Canterbury (1978)
Master of Civil Engineering, University of Canterbury (1979)
Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering, The University of Auckland (2005)



Accelerated Pathway Student Co-ordinator for department

Research | Current


  • Behaviour and design of steel seismic-resisting systems
  • Behaviour and design of steel buildings for fully developed fire conditions, especially in regard to composite floor systems
  • Corrosion rates for steel in above ground and below ground conditions
  • Behaviour and design of composite steel and concrete elements
  • Behaviour and design of light gauge steel, for strength and thermal performance
  • Acoustic performance of buildings and building elements


Research groups

  • Composite Structural Assemblies Consortium
  • Materials Accelerator
  • Steel Research Panel
  • Bridge Development Group

Teaching | Current


  • CIVIL 250 - Civil Engineering Materials and Design
  • CIVIL 313 - Structures and Design 3
  • CIVIL 711 - Structures Seminar: Thin walled steel and composite members
  • CIVIL 713 - Structures and Design 4
  • CIVIL 714 - Multistorey Building Design

Committees/Professional groups/Services


Professional affiliations

  • Fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ)
  • Fellow of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE)
  • Member of the Structural Engineering Society of New Zealand (SESOC)
  • Member of Standards New Zealand Committee on the Loadings Standard and Steel Structures Standard
  • Member of Department of Building and Housing Working Groups on aspects of fire safety design and acoustic performance.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Jing, J., Clifton, G. C., Roy, K., & Lim, J. B. P. (2020). Three-storey modular steel building with a novel slider device: Shake table tests on a scaled down model and numerical investigation. Thin-Walled Structures, 15510.1016/j.tws.2020.106932
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy, James Lim
  • Jing, J., Clifton, G. C., Roy, K., & Lim, J. B. P. (2020). Performance of a novel slider device in multi-storey cold-formed steel modular buildings under seismic loading. Structures, 27, 212-246. 10.1016/j.istruc.2020.05.051
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy, James Lim
  • Jing, J., Clifton, G. C., Roy, K., & Lim, J. B. P. (2020). Seismic protection of modular buildings with bonded rubber unit sliders: Experimental study. Thin-Walled Structures, 15410.1016/j.tws.2020.106790
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Krishanu Roy, James Lim
  • Alizadeh, S., MacRae, G. A., Bull, D., & Clifton, G. C. (2020). Composite gravity beams subject to slab lateral movement. JOURNAL OF CONSTRUCTIONAL STEEL RESEARCH, 17110.1016/j.jcsr.2020.106162
  • Taheri, H., Clifton, G. C., Dong, P., Karpenko, M., Raftery, G. M., & Lim, J. B. P. (2020). The use of effective full penetration of T-butt welds in welded moment connections. WELDING IN THE WORLD10.1007/s40194-020-00941-z
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: James Lim
  • Hashemi, A., Clifton, G. C., Bagheri, H., Zarnani, P., & Quenneville, P. (2020). Proposed design procedure for steel self-centring tension-only braces with resilient connections. STRUCTURES, 25, 147-156. 10.1016/j.istruc.2020.02.024
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ashkan Hashemi, Pierre Quenneville
  • Maguire, J. R., Teh, L. H., Clifton, G. C., Tang, Z. H., & Lim, J. B. P. (2020). Cross-aisle seismic performance of selective storage racks. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 168.10.1016/j.jcsr.2020.105999
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: James Lim
  • Bahrebar, M., Lim, J. B. P., Clifton, G. C., Zirakian, T., Shahmohammadi, A., & Hajsadeghi, M. (2020). Perforated steel plate shear walls with curved corrugated webs under cyclic loading. STRUCTURES, 24, 600-609. 10.1016/j.istruc.2020.01.047
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: James Lim

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 10, Room 1010
New Zealand

Secondary office location

Level 2, Room 221
New Zealand