Curriculum Vitae

John Knapton


Location: UK




Civil Engineering First Class Hons - Newcastle University



Newcastle University CAD of Industrial Buildings



Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Ghana




Professional Affiliations


Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers



Fellow of the Institution of Highways and Transportation


F Cons E

Member of the Association of Consulting Engineers


Expert Witness Work


Š               Asphalt Pavements

Š               Concrete pavements

Š               Highway, industrial & aircraft pavements

Š               Industrial ground bearing floors

Š               Bitumen and Cement Bound Materials

Š               Slope Stability

Š               Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Š               Structural Mechanics and Testing of floors, foundations and pavements


John has presented evidence across all UK Courts (including Scotland and Northern Ireland), including the English TCC on eight occasions, with nearly all cases having settled.  He has also presented in the District and Federal Courts in the United States and is currently working on two Australian law disputes (New South Wales & Queensland juristictions).  John has experience in Adjudication, Arbitration and Mediation in English, Scottish, New South Wales, Queensland and US law, and has been deposed in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida.  He has frequently accepted joint appointments from clients in dispute.  He has given testimony before International Arbitration Tribunals in Copenhagen, Kampala, London and New York.


In most cases, John is engaged to provide expert advice regarding asphalt and concrete pavements both in the UK and overseas as well as actions related to soil mechanics and structural engineering.  His disputes have included those for which the claim has exceeded $100million.


John is presently advising the following lawyers on the below listed disputes:



Beale & Partners

London – United Kingdom

(Failure in Dominican Republic)


Cracking of asphalt pavements and concrete runway beams at Puerto Caucedo, Dominican Republic.  Expert for Dubai Ports in action against designer of 140,000m2 of heavy duty asphalt/pavers.


Porzio, Bromberg & Newman

Morristown, NJ


Dispute concerning cracking of container yard paving, Newark, New Jersey. Claim $US25m


Allens Arthur Robinson

Brisbane - Australia


Dispute concerning the failure of container yard pavement, Brisbane.  Claim $A66m.


Pinsent Masons

Leeds - United Kingdom


Container yard geotechnical and foundation failure, Leeds.



Sydney - Australia


Dispute concerning cracking/rutting of asphalt highway & industrial pavements at Port Botany, Sydney.  Claim $A112m.


CMS Cameron McKenna

London – United Kingdom




Dispute concerning 32km failure of A55 Bangor to Holyhead Road involving ground conditions, ingress of water and deformation of asphalt pavement surface.  Claim £35m.




Edinburgh – United Kingdom


Failure of industrial roads, Glasgow.


Herbert Smith

London-United Kingdom


Dispute concerning failure of asphalt paving on 30km of A74(M) Carlisle to Glasgow Road, Scotland


Watson Burton

Newcastle upon Tyne – United Kingdom


Dispute over failure of town centre streets, Aberystwyth.



London - United Kingdom


Dispute concerning failure of second runway, Manchester Airport.



London – United Kingdom


Dispute concerning two B&Q national distribution centres (Doncaster & Worksop).  In each case, B&Q are replacing cracked floors and roads.  Working as expert for B&Q.


CMC Cameron McKenna

London – United Kingdom


Failure concerning cracking of overlay to roads, runway & apron, Beira Airport, Mozambique.


Hill Dickinson

London- United Kingdom


Dispute concerning differential settlement of retail park floors/car parks/ loading areas at Taunton.  Development built on landfill site.




Construction Work

John has been appointed engineer on the following, all within the last 3 years, some of which remain current:



Š                Asphalt Roads and Hardstandings at Jersey Energy From Waste Facility, St Helier (7,600m2);

Š              Design of asphalt pavements at Enfield Intermodal Project, Sydney (55,000m2)

Š                Design of asphalt pavements at New Container Handling Facility, Port of Poti, Georgia (Black Sea port)

Š                Design of new heavy duty asphalt pavements for DP World, Caucedo, Dominican Republic (36,000m2)

Š                Contain handling pavement, Potter Group, Selby (26,000m2)

Š                Rehabilitation of heavy duty port pavements at Port of Felixstowe, UK (112,000m2); and

Š                New Wharf Pavement, Alderney, Channel Islands, heavy duty paving (5,000m2)

Š                Design Review of Berth 7 heavy duty pavement, Fisherman Islands, Brisbane for DP World


In the past 25 years, John has been appointed to design the following large projects:


Port of Santos


Container Facility.  Designed the paving and drainage for this $US25m project, using a permeable paving system, the first application worldwide of permeable paving to a heavy duty pavement.


Container Handling Facility



Development of design for container handling yard, Glasgow £5m


Port of San Francisco

Army Street Terminal

$3.8m container handling facility.


Port of Oakland

California, United States


Investigation of failure of container pavement, design and repair.


Manchester International Railfreight Terminal


Design of two container handling facilities at inland port, Trafford Park, Manchester.  £3m


Cyprus Port Authority



Design of container handling pavement, Port of Limassol, £9m.


Mina Sulman Container Terminal, Bahrain


Designed asphalt and concrete block pavements for Bahrain Ports, £6m.


Courthouse Square

Dayton Ohio, United States


Design and supervision of town square and nearby streets. $3.5m.


Portland City Council

Oregon, United States


Design of city centre streets surfaced with brick pavers.  Presently working with Portland based architects and undertaking site visits.  Project commenced January 2007, $12m.


Jersey Airport


Design of £7m Fire Training Ground and design of airport perimeter road.  This project was completed in 2004 and included an innovative drainage system, which involved storing winter’s rainfall below the pavement and evaporating it throughout the summer.





Design of roads for 40 individual stores throughout Ireland between 2002 & 2010.


Bogota City Council



Advice on repair works to city’s network of bus roads.  The city has 50km of asphalt roads which are failing prematurely.  These roads were built as a low cost rapid transit system in the late 1990’s and have mostly failed.  They include one road through the city centre surfaced with brick which also failed.


Belfast International Airport


Investigation and repair of asphalt taxiways at Belfast International Airport.  Also, design of two new aprons.


Research Development & Publications

John continues to publish design papers and books on the structural design of aircraft, port and highway pavements.  John was retained by BSI to draft the first British Standard on the structural design of concrete block and clay paver pavements (BS7533) and is regarded as the world’s authority in this field.


John is the Author of all four editions of the British Ports Association heavy duty pavement design manual which is used worldwide for the design of heavy duty pavements.  He has developed design procedures for polypropylene fibre reinforced concrete paving and has designed over 30 pavements of area 1,000m2 to 50,000m2 throughout the United Kingdom.


John has published the definitive work on laser screeded industrial floor design and construction for fibre reinforced floors.  He has written three books, all published, one on industrial floors and the remaining two on industrial external hardstandings and has also written the Civil Aviation Authority guide on the use of pavers for aircraft pavements.



Academic History

1991 - 2001

Newcastle University, Professor of Structural Engineering


Was responsible for all academic, professional, financial and administrative work within the Structural Engineering group of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University.  This represented approximately 20% of the activity of the Department.


The Group ran three laboratories and had a staff of seven academics with technical and clerical support. There were 41 postgraduate students in the Group each working on laboratory and/or computer based projects and dissertations. Is a regular contributor to local, national and BBC World Service radio, in relation to the University's Full Scale Rolling Load Facility, bridge strengthening work undertaken with National Trust, gravestone stability and routine expert advice on concrete structures and highways.


Has published work in the Civils Proceedings and in the Highways Journal on the design of paver roads, industrial pavements and aircraft pavements.  In 1997, published the latest version of the American Association of Port Authorities heavy duty pavement design manual and has become the world's leading authority on the subject. Has been enstooled as a Ghanaian Chie (Nana Odapagyan Ekumfi 1) following his work in the village of Ekumfi-Atakwa.  Has developed a significant television and radio profile flowing from the enstoolment. Undertook "blue form" research of value £320,000. Was General & Scientific Chairman of the Fourth International Congress in Structural Engineering, Analysis and Modelling, Kumasi, Ghana. Has contributed to University Alumni Weekend and to University Sixth Form Conference as lecturer. Manages the Civil Engineering Department's Structural Engineering laboratories.


Undertook research in the field of rigid and flexible pavement design and concrete block paving. Is author of the Civil Aviation Authority paver design guide which is the authoritative work on the use of concrete block paving for airside applications. Is also author of the UK & US design manuals for heavy duty paving in ports and related industries. Effectively, all pavements subjected to loads in excess of those commonly encountered on a highway are designed to his design methods.


Has undertaken design studies for many highway, aircraft and heavy duty industrial pavements and has investigated defects at Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport, Ben Gurion Airport, Manchester International Freight Terminal, Railfreight (Manchester), Tilbury Docks, Port of Sunderland, Portsmouth Commercial Docks, Poole Harbour and Birtley Truckstop. 


Was Consulting Engineer to Cyprus Ports Authority on container pavement development at Port of Limassol (220,000m2). Was consulted by Long Beach Port Authority, Port of Durban, Port of Brisbane, Port of Stavanger, Portsmouth Commercial Ferry Terminal, Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority, Port of Sunderland, Port of Tyne, Santos Port Authority and Port of San Fransisco in relation to port pavements. Has been engaged by Tyne & Wear Development Corporation, York City Council, Leeds City Council, North Wiltshire District Council, Middlesbro Borough Council and London Borough of Camden to advise on highway construction projects.


1991 - 2001

Was external examiner in civil engineering at the University of Dundee, the University of Sierra Leone, Bolton Institute of Technology and the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa’s principal engineering school. Undertook classified research with the US Navy, Naval Warfare Section in testing ships hatch covers when trafficked by container handling Front Lift Trucks.


Academic History cont.


1976 – 1980

Newcastle University, Lecturer in Structural Engineering

Head of Division of Structural Engineering (1979 and 1980). Published several papers during this period in the fields of computer aided design, the structural design of concrete block paving and the design of port pavements (see attached list). Developed the British Ports Association Heavy Duty Pavements Design Manual, which has become the definitive design guide for port and other heavy duty industrial pavements.


The port pavement research led to a contract with British Ports Federation to write the definitive heavy duty pavement design guide which was published in 1984 and expanded in 1988.  The Third Edition, taking into account innovations in container handling and finite element analysis was published in June 1995. Most of the world's port authorities now use this guide.  In 1988, The American Association of Port Authorities published the US version and Professor Knapton is presently engaged to write the US version of the Third Edition.


Initiated and organised the First International Conference on Concrete Block Paving, September 1980.  Three hundred delegates attended, representing fourteen countries. This conference led to the creation of the Small Element Pavement Technologists (SEPT) council which holds the title to subsequent international conferences which have taken place in Delft(1984), Rome(1988), Auckland New Zealand(1992) and Tel Aviv(1996), Tokyo(2000), Sun City(2003), San Francisco(2006) and Buenos Aires(2009).

1973 - 1975

Cement and Concrete Association – Slough, Research Engineer

Responsible for all aspects of research into the structural design of concrete block pavements.  This research helped to establish a major new industry in the United Kingdom with a present annual turnover of over £290m.

Many publications resulted from this work, including the first concrete block road design guide, the first industrial pavement design guide of any type and in 1992, the first British Standard.


1970 – 1973

Newcastle University, Junior Research Associate

Ph.D.  “Computer Aided Design of Industrial Buildings”

This work was supported financially by the British Constructional Steelwork Association and led to the publication of several papers.

1967 – 1970

Newcastle University, Department of Civil Engineering

First Class Honours B. Sc

Mather Book Prize for best academic results in the Faculty of Applied Science.


Employment History

1980 - Present

Principal of Consulting Practice

In 1980, established a civil/structural engineering consulting practice initially with a partner, but since 1988 acted as Principal.   Hos practice specializes in pavement engineering, mainly heavy duty port pavements.


From 1988 to 1991, John managed the practice full time with a staff of eight.  In 1991, John accepted the Chair of Structural Engineering at Newcastle University and in 1992 sold the company to RT James & Partners, and continued to practice whilst holding the Chair. 


In 2001, retired from the University and continued in practice full time, focusing upon Expert Witness work. 


Presently working on 14 disputes, of which 12 involve paving failures.


1975 - 1976

British Dredging Company, Civil Engineer

Concerned mainly with structural design of industrial and highway pavements.  Also responsible for concrete testing laboratory and quality control of all the company’s precast concrete products (bridge beams, retaining walls, flooring systems, building blocks, paving).





85 Monkseaton Drive

Whitley Bay

Tyne & Wear

NE26 3DQ




Date of Birth

10 March 1949