News & Insights

Piers Bjerkhamn: My Melbourne Legacy

The City of Melbourne runs through the veins of Surveyor Piers Bjerkhamn, passed down from great grandfather to grandfather to Piers.

So, it’s no wonder Piers is proud of the city and his contribution over the past 12 years at Cardno, now Stantec, building on the foundation of his forebears.


Piers' great grandfather Arthur Wilton Knee, a Civil Engineer, Architect and Surveyor, worked on the design of Flinders Street Station 120 years ago.

His grandfather, John Wilton Knee was the City Engineer from the 1950s to 1970s. 

Naturally gravitating towards mathematics, science and physics at school, Piers fell in love with surveying when he accompanied his father, Franz, an Engineering Geologist with the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works, to a surveying course introduction at RMIT

At a very young age, Piers’ whole family lived in the construction camp for the Thomson Dam, the main source of Melbourne’s water supply, where his father was working. It would be fair to say he was raised in Civil Engineering and construction.

Holidays saw the family on camping trips throughout Australia and sometimes in unconventional locations, such as fossicking abandoned open cut opal mines in Coober Pedy.

Being a Surveyor enabled Piers to travel to different countries, honing his craft.

He was able to expand his technical knowledge and experience in combination with his interests, including mapping out mountain bike trails and skiing in Whistler, Canada, a world-class ski resort, building jetties for tankers in Singapore. He also spent a couple of years working in New Zealand on a major freeway project.


With a love for the outdoors and travelling, surveying was an obvious occupation choice for Piers, graduating with a Bachelor of Geomatics from The University of Melbourne in 1995.

He later went on to gain accreditation as a Mine Surveyor in Western Australia, and then as an Engineering Surveyor in Victoria.

Returning to Melbourne, in 2010 Piers joined Cardno and set up the survey department with fellow surveying colleagues, Peter Sullivan and Nick Lawson. Servicing the Citywide contract for the City of Melbourne, the survey team customized the software environment in 12D, which has now become the standard in Victoria for many major infrastructure projects.

This innovative solution has resulted in large data sets being cross-referenced and survey control marks as well as historical survey information to be easily managed and repurposed with the added benefit of dealing with contracts efficiently. 

Piers loves seeing feature surveys transfer to the civil construction set out of the proposed design structure. The team have produced over 700 feature surveys for the City of Melbourne, as well as being involved in the construction phase of another 200 or so.

Piers' Melbourne city project highlights:

  • The MCG – surveying to support the rebuilding of the northern stand
  • Surveying both sides of the Yarra River for the design of riverside inner-city shared path upgrades 
  • Surveying three full blocks from Little Lonsdale Street, Williams Street to Swanston Street for redesign and streetscape
  • Surveying the full length of Lygon Street from Elgin to Victoria Street

Piers is the go-to surveyor for the City of Melbourne Citywide team, having developed great relationships over the years, collaborating for seamless delivery.

A treasured family heirloom - this antique surveyor's level was used by Piers' great grandfather to set out some of the City of Melbourne's prominent civil infrastructure landmarks.


 

Piers is part of a 40-strong Geospatial Team in Victoria that utilise the latest cutting-edge technology including robotic total stations, satellite positioning, 3D laser scanners and drones.


Piers loves to roll up his sleeves and be on the tools, where he’s on the front-line and close to the action.

Cardno, now Stantec, is big enough to deliver with connected teams and small enough to make it personal. 


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