The first quarter of Chapter activity in Queensland passed with a mix of optimism and important engagements with Colombo amidst a well-controlled, but ever cautious pandemic environment in the state.
South East Queensland (Greater Brisbane) faced two sudden lockdowns of short durations in early January and late March to control localised community spreads of the virus; but, the economic recovery plans are well underway. Again, despite the broader impact on many other sectors, the State’s infrastructure development, mining and renewable energy investments have continued relatively unabated.

A forward planning exercise was undertaken by the Chapter in January 2021. Our programs were reviewed against the prevalent/foreseeable external environment and an Activity Forecast, which is periodically reviewed has been put in place.
The noteworthy engagements of the Queensland Chapter up till the period of May are as follows:

  • The conduct of monthly Management Committee meetings in February/March/ April this year – some physically and others virtually or hybrid
  • Conduct of a Special General Meeting (SGM) in April – for the approval of constitutional reforms
  • Participation in the first Overseas /Provincial Chapter meeting for 2021 convened by Colombo – in March
  • Renewed collaboration with the NSW & WA IESL Australian Chapters and joint progression of important propositions
  • Remote participation in the belated inaugural sessions of IESL 2020 held in Colombo – in April
  • Conduct of the first CPD event for the year – webinar on Fire Safety in Building Design – in May
  • Publishing and circulation of this first Newsletter for 2021- in May
Further details of the above activities are provided elsewhere in this Newsletter.

There have been some changes in the subcommittee staffing arrangement in order to accommodate for the changed personal circumstances of certain members, and the on boarding new members/chairs. We wish them success in their roles while extending support where necessary.

As we move forward for the rest of the year we shall maintain regular review the said Activity Forecast against the external environment and hone down to achievable best outcomes while adhering to the prevailing health regulations.

I invite all Chapter members to provide their support in whichever way, towards all chapter activities, in order to ensure the betterment and wellbeing of all members and the wider community.

Eng. Asoka Tittagala
President – IESL QLD Chapter

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“A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example” – Joe DiMaggio




As at 30 April 2021, the Chapter has a total of 71 members , reflecting approximately 60% of the total now being IESL (Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka) members.

The Editor Dinuk Weerasekera has notified of his intention to step down from the positions of Editor and Committee Member. Gajaba Panditha will transition into the position of Editor, working alongside Dinuk until the process is completed in May. Furthermore, Wuditha Premadasa has also resigned from the post of committee member in the Management Committee (MC). A member of the Technical Sub Committee, Tharindu Abeykoon was appointed to the MC on 25 April 2021, to replace Wuditha.

A Special General Meeting was held on 25 April 2021 at the Brisbane City Council's library meeting room, Mt Ommaney, and a resolution has been passed to amend some of the rules in the constitution.
These amendments to the rules are aimed principally at empowering the Management Committee to change the mode of conduct of meetings in physical, virtual or combined manner at its discretion to suit prevailing circumstances.
The amended rules will also help to open the Chapter membership to a wider pool of Sri Lankan origin engineers living in Queensland and to sustain the Chapter for the long term. 

The amendments will be effective after approval/endorsement from the Office of Fair Trading which is currently awaited.

The draft Mutual Recognition Agreement has been prepared to enhance the corporate memberships of IESL and Institution of Engineers, Australia, with the collaboration of  the three IESL Chapters in Australia (Qld, NSW and WA) . The Council of the IESL is reviewing the draft and a decision is awaited soon.

Eng. Nimal Pushpakumara
Secretary - IESL Qld Chapter

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“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot” – Michael Altshuler




a) Social
The Social Sub Committee has not been established yet on account of the pandemic situation in the state, thus limiting our options of conducting social events in a safe and responsible manner. The need for social gatherings to enliven the spirits of the membership after a lull pause has been highlighted and receiving attention nevertheless.

The Management Committee is now considering to establish the Social Sub Committee which will undertake the task of organising social events, where members and colleagues can meet in a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy themselves with their family members.

Dr. Addul Ziyath
Chair - Social Sub Committee 

b) Technical

Some of the Covid-19 restrictions that have been in place this year have limited the technical activities organised by the technical subcommittee.
Our 10th Continuous Professional Development Activity was also conducted as an online presentation and took place on 5th May 2021. A report on the presentation is given below.
Presentation on “Fire safety design of cold-formed steel buildings – How can research contribute?”

The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) Queensland Chapter successfully hosted its 10th Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Activity on Wednesday 5th May 2021.
The presentation on the above topic was made live online by Professor Mahen Mahendran, who is a Professor of Structural Engineering and the leader of the Wind and Fire Lab at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He has extensive research and teaching experience in structural, wind and fire engineering.
Professor Mahen Mahendran works closely with the building industry on research projects, focusing on cold-formed steel buildings and wind and fire-resistant construction. He demonstrated how university research in collaboration with industry can contribute to the fire safe design of the emerging cold-formed steel construction. Also, he demonstrated how the research findings were used to develop some of the sections in the AS/NZS 4600 Cold-formed Steel Structures.
The event was well attended by more than 30 participants from around Australia and overseas, including Sri Lanka, ended with a lively Q & A session.
The Management Committee of the Chapter takes this opportunity to thank Professor Mahen Mahendran for his excellent presentation, everyone who attended the event and 4EB Sri Lankan Radio Group for media coverage.
The recorded presentation can be viewed here:

Fire safe design of cold-formed steel buildings
Dr. Chanaka Abayasingha
Chair – Technical Subcommittee

c) ICT

A subcommittee meeting was held to identify the tasks that require the attention of the ICT Subcommittee, where all the members expressed their willingness to support all ICT activities.

In this quarter, ICT Subcommittee helped the MC to conduct the SGM and technical sub-committee to conduct yet another virtual CPD event. Both events were handled successfully, with participants from multiple countries attending our CPD event.

The ICT subcommittee continues to support the Editorial board, with the production and circulation of its newsletters.

The IESL Queensland Chapter website underwent a brief interruption. However, the ICT Subcommittee was able to resolve the issue, with minimum inconvenience to the members and wider groups. We have taken steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

ICT Subcommittee are yet to schedule any activities on the current ICT platforms, but we are working on improving the current processes which would in turn result in a higher quality service and fast turnaround to all members that require our support.

Eng. Thushara Weerakkody
Chair - ICT Subcommittee

d) Membership
Members have been our strength as always and I wish to convey my heartiest best wishes to all for the just past Sinhala Tamil New Year. Hope everyone had a good time with your family and friends over the holiday break.  

The pandemic is still not over, and I believe most of you must be worried about your relatives back in Sri Lanka with the recent developments. Wish to remind everyone to take precautions and to follow the health guidelines as a priority to keep away from the COVID threats.  

Since our last update we have now 1 honorary fellow member, 2 fellow members, 23 members and 15 Associate members and 30 resident members altogether bringing the total membership up to 71 in the chapter.  It is a slow and steady growth and interesting to note most of the recently joined members are still maintaining their financial membership status with Colombo.  

At the start of this year, we lost one of our very active resident members Sathish Thilainadarajah due to a tragic circumstance and the management committee highly acknowledged his true spirit and support rendered to the chapter activities.    

Objective of the membership subcommittee is to expand the membership and to provide better service based on your needs. Chapter can be instrumental in reinstating lapsed IESL corporate memberships of our members as we have done in the past. Contact us if you need assistance.  

All of you must be getting our invitation messages for the CPD events.

We are aiming to organise some networking events through our social subcommittee soon and have initiated our discussions over it. Your participation and feedback are very much important for these events. We invite you to send in your thoughts and suggestions through our web contact details and Facebook account.  Please feel free to send in your thoughts and suggestions through our web contact details or Facebook account which is open for the members now.

Anyone who is interested in joining the chapter and being in touch with the chapter activities is welcome to enroll with us by forwarding your application forms. To become a member there is no membership fee requirement as far as you fulfil the eligibility criteria.
If an applicant is a current financial member of IESL Colombo, he or she can become a financial member of QIESL QLD chapter. Applicants who hold an EA charter or RPEQ with a former IESL corporate membership are eligible to enrol under the resident member category. For more details, please contact us through

Eng. Jagath Wanigasekera
Chair for Membership Sub Committee

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“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller




The economics and the viability of utilizing recycled, demolished concrete material as an alternative aggregate for low volume traffic roads construction has been engaging the attention of local authorities around the world for many decades. In Queensland, the Logan City Council (SEQ) has successfully developed a specification and a cost-effective strategy to use the demolished concrete material economically and effectively in its local road construction /rehabilitation works for the first time. This study was undertaken by the Road Construction & Maintenance Branch (RCM) of the Council.
 One of our members, Ruchitha Mendis, who is currently employed by the Logan City Council as a Senior Construction Engineer, has initiated and coordinated this study. Ruchitha recently received an achievement award from the council in recognition of his pioneering work in this area. He narrates the background and details of this innovative work here. Read More

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“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller


Being the second largest state of Australia, our Chapter membership spreads across a large geographical area, with a large portion of our network being predominantly employed in infrastructure development, mining, resources and energy sectors. The North & Central Queensland regions in particular play a significant role in the Australian economy on account of the high percentage of export earnings they generate for the country.

In this first of a series of insightful interviews that the Chapter has planned to conduct with our regional membership, Poorna Wijewardena shares her experiences of working in the Central Qld region. The narration and discussion should be beneficial to any prospective members who have intentions of venturing out to work in such regions.
The interview can be viewed via the following link:



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“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals ” – Zig Ziglar


Shathieskumar Thillainadarajah – well known as Shathies – was a Professional Civil Engineer and a product of the University of Peradeniya.

Shathies was a great person to associate with. His knowledge in matters relating to life was vast and he could always give different perspectives to popular beliefs. He never missed an opportunity for a laugh, to sing or to dance. He could naturally create a vibe and cheer up people around him by giving a different and meaningful view to many seemingly minor incidents. Shathies’ untimely passing away has created a void among all his family, friends and colleagues.

I met Shathies for the first time in early 2012 when he earned a position in the team I was in, in the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Brisbane. This was his second job in Australia. He previously worked in Palmerston City Council in Darwin. I was fortunate enough to have closely associated with him for more than 5 years as team members. During this time, I was able to witness his professionalism and the many good qualities of his character. Shathies did not just follow the way things were being done. He took the time to study well and add value to the outcome of any task at hand. He took pride in doing new things and doing things differently and was always available to help team members to complete their tasks. He made a great contribution to the team and to the region by formulating a simple but comprehensive process for the heavy vehicle movements assessment, and to the skid resistance management in the Brisbane Metropolitan Region.

Many are not aware that Shathies was a great contributor to the society by being involved in many charitable works. He has donated the entire income from his properties in Sri Lanka to charities. He sponsored a number of disadvantaged children in Trincomalee by providing free accommodation in his own house and arranging free tuition by negotiating with the well-known tuition masters. He has teamed up with the Jaffna Branch of the Australian Medical Association and delivered a program to lift the self-esteem of the war affected school children in Kilinochchi. He frequently donated lots of educational and medical equipment to the schools in Sri Lanka.

Shathies was a very active member in social events and groups in Brisbane. He was always at the forefront in organising Peradeniya Alumni gatherings in Brisbane and entertaining the audience. He was an active member in the Interim Committee in the IESL Qld Chapter when it was being formed in 2016. His contribution to the events at Lord Ganesh Hindu Temple, South Maclean was immense.

Shathies left with us a long-lasting legacy. He will be forever missed and fondly remembered by everyone who knew him and loved him.

Eng. Nandasiri Tennakoon


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“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals ” – Zig Ziglar



As we approach the halfway point of the second quarter, 2021 has brought forward a significant leap towards the development of herd immunity through the roll out of global vaccination programmes. Even with Queensland facing two relatively significant spikes in COVID cases since our last publication, the immediate lockdown measures and protective protocols, allowed for effective contact tracing and thereby the control of its spread. However, it remains of upmost importance to remain vigilant and up to date with the current cases and state recovery measures.

From an infrastructure standpoint, it is to be noted that Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan is currently underway. The $13.9 billion dollar infrastructure investment for 2020-21 continues to hold a vital role in the boosting of the state’s economy and employability. Having an understanding of Queensland’s economical standing and having a firm grasp on the roadmap to its revival should be on the forefront of its residents. The article below, supplemented by the links provided in our previous issues hopes to do just that.

With the vaccination programme and the Queensland Infrastructure Guarantee working in complete synergy, it’s results are beginning to take form through the continued, fast paced development projects such as Cross River Rail, and the initiation of projects such as Coomera Connector (also known as the Second M1), both being upwards of $1.5 billion dollars. A list of all major projects currently undertaken, announced to be commenced this year and projected to reach completion can be found through the link below.

As for the IESL QLD Chapter, the work being undertaken can now almost be considered as business as usual. Based on the state regulations at the time, the institution continues to conduct it’s meetings on either in a virtual or in-person manner. The technical subcommittee was able to conduct yet another successful virtual CPD event, and the editorial board has also begun the roll out of virtual newsletter items, such as the Regional Experience piece, brought to you in this publication. By doing so, we have not only been able to connect you, the reader to our wider state network, it has also allowed us to provide such articles of interest in a more digestible form.

Lastly, as touched upon by this issue’s secretarial message, the editorial board has transitioned over to a new chair, with Eng. Gajaba Panditha taking on the role as the Editor. It has been a pleasure to serve under the banner of IESL QLD Chapter as it’s editor and bring forth the skills, experience and knowledge residing across our state. It is with great enthusiasm I introduce to you, our new editor Eng. Gajaba Panditha.

Eng. Dinuk Weerasekera
IESL Newsletter Editor

We have been moving forward for more than a year since the announcement of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This has brought challenges to all professions, including the engineers working in every corner of the world. However, even with its adverse effects, we were able to overcome these challenges with everyone’s hard work and unwavering dedication. As Engineers, we must remain proud to be in the forefront of finding solutions to keep the momentum of the projects going, all while having no impact on the spread COVID-19. The Cross River Rail project in Brisbane, the housing industry boom right through out Queensland, and normal operations in the mining sectors in regional areas are few examples where engineers were able to overcome challenges and keep the rhythm of responsibilities and duties going.  With the declaration of 2032, Olympic Games venue as Brisbane, the state has awakened with greater hope for numerous developments, catapulting the state to an economic boom.

It is undeniable that the pandemic has changed our usual way of life, whether it be from a professional sense or a personal standpoint. Before the Pandemic, we used to participate in, in-person seminars, conferences, workshops, and training seasons and sometimes in social activities; which may possibly be the most effective way to share our experience and knowledge. Due to the limitations put forward on physical meetings, a significantly negative impact on our day to day work and lifestyle can be observed. However, in spite of such challenges, there still remains a need for us to update our knowledge and skills, in order to establish stronger relationships with our various stakeholders, which would in turn allow for such that needed economic growth. Therefore, it remains of utmost importance to adapt to the current climate and requested changes by switching to a virtual presence in such activities. Further to this, the benefit of reduced travel times, deductions in ad hoc costs, and the opportunity to be close to your loved ones, alongside these changes cannot be disregarded. There is no doubt that the pandemic has brought the world closer and the future remains bright. In essence, we should keep moving forward and overcome any challenges caused by this pandemic, in order to uphold our duties to ourselves, the society and the betterment of others.

As for our chapter activities, it is with great pleasure, I embark on the role of the IESL QLD Chapter editor. I hope to continue to elevate the banner and high standards set by the chapter, by bringing you the stories and achievements of our ever-growing community. As always, we look forward to hearing from you and potentially collaborating with you on the events and publications to come.

I wish to offer my sincere thanks to Eng. Dinuk Weerasekera, outgoing editor for the prodigious service rendered as the editor of IESL QLD Chapter and wish Eng. Dinuk Weerasekera good luck for his future endeavors.
We are stronger together

Eng. Gajaba Panditha
Incoming Editor – IESL QLD Chapter
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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams ” – Eleanor Roosevelt

IESL Qld Website

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It is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice”
John Templeton
Our Queensland Chapter mission statement is to connect with, educate, empower and enhance the skills of our members and fellow engineers to develop and deliver solutions to real world challenges nurtured by our unique Queensland experience while upholding the overarching objectives and values of the IESL. However, we believe that we would only be at our best if we were to also learn from you, the reader. Therefore, our pursuit of excellence requires your assistance.

Please feel free to follow the link below to get in touch with us and provide your valuable feedback and advice. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you.

IESL Feedback Form

Thank you.

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“Believe you can and you are halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt
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