Steve Kay

(in memoriam 1946 - 2018)

The late Steve Kay was an independent geotechnical consultant with thirty-three years’ experience as a principal engineer with Fugro, and over forty-five years as a geotechnical specialist, mainly in the oil and gas industry, both with contractors and consultants. His expertise was in shallow and intermediate (caisson, bucket, can) foundation design, with extensive worldwide experience in offshore, nearshore and land engineering. He gave suction foundation courses and master classes and wrote the commercially available software package CAISSON_VHM and the calculation kernel for Jack-Up Rig & Spudcan Penetration, based on ISO-19905-1. 

His son Richard Kay (1982) currently looks after his software legacy and licensing.



An independent geotechnical consultant. Available for consultancy and review. Over forty years’ experience as a geotechnical engineer engaged on the design, analysis and supervision of major onshore/offshore oil and gas processing and storage facilities, jetties, plus other civil engineering works in Australia, Netherlands and U.K. Formerly Principal Engineer / Numerical Analysis Manager for Fugro Engineers BV, Leidschendam, The Netherlands. Recently retired.


Chartered Engineer

Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers

Special Interests

– review conceptual design and engineering approach
– geotechnical engineering report review
– shallow and intermediate (caisson, bucket, can) foundations
– numerical analysis and models (fluent in FORTRAN and MathCAD)


1978 - 2011

– Principal Engineer / Numerical Analysis Manager.

– Fugro Engineers BV, home office at Leidschendam, the Netherlands

– Over forty years’ experience as a geotechnical engineer engaged on the

design, analysis and supervision of major onshore/offshore oil and gas

processing and storage facilities, jetties, plus other civil engineering works

in Australia, Netherlands and U.K.

– As Principal Engineer, responsible for supervision of geotechnical staff

engaged in wide variety of onshore and offshore projects. Project Manager

for numerical analyses of end-bearing responses of the North Rankin ‘A’


– As Numerical Analysis Manager, responsible for the engineering software.

Expert in Finite Element Method. Experienced user of commercial finite

element program package ABAQUS.

1975 - 1978

Coffey & Partners Pty. Ltd., Australia.

Soils Engineer/Senior Soils Engineer. Involved with soil and rock mechanics

groundwater evaluation projects, numerical methods applied to

geomechanics and supervision of wharf piling and socketting operations.

1971 - 1974

Cementation Ground Engineering Ltd., U.K..

Soils Engineer. Responsible for the technical and contractual control of site

investigation contracts.

1970 - 1971

Messrs. Rofe, Kennard and Lapworth, London.

Assistant Engineer. Performed general design work in the office on water

supply schemes and earth embankments.


As Fugro Engineers BV Numerical Analysis Manager: responsible for the

acquisition, development, documentation, quality assurance and

maintenance of engineering software. Expert in finite element method.

Representative software projects include:

– Slope stability limit state analysis using modified Bishop and Janbu

methods (programs BISHOP and JANBU);

– Bulkhead Analysis  programs using free/fixed earth support method and non-linear Winkler models (programs SHEEP and FEWAND);

General purpose non-linear finite element programs, including plotting pre- and post-processors (FE programs FEGRO – 2d plane strain/axisymmetric, HARMONY, laterally loaded axisymmetric and FEGRO3 – 3d)

Suction can installation and capacity analysis (programs CANNI, CANCAP2 and PI_CAN).

Shallow foundation capacity under inclined (VHM) loading (program ISOBARE).

– Involved with studies for both piled and gravity offshore structures worldwide. Expert on suction foundations for anchors and platforms.


Representative engineering projects to date include:

– North Rankin ‘A’ platform, Australia. Complex numerical analysis and reporting of all project design phases. These included single pile and pile group analyses, both for static and cyclic loading, back analysis of in-situ laterally loaded pile tests, conductor tests and plate load tests, plus predictions of the end bearing behaviour of the large diameter bells adopted as remedial measures. The foundation soils were weak calcareous materials with abnormal deformation characteristics and low strengths under rapid load.


– Jamuna Bridge, Bangladesh. Preparation of Quality Plan and execution of it on site during Design Phase Site Investigation. Soils were loose to medium dense micaceous sands with gravelly materials at great depth. Office work included capacity and stiffness/settlement analyses of pile groups and back analysis of lateral pile test results.


Also performed finite element analyses of underwater slopes using MONOT double hardening model to emulate static liquefaction response observed during construction.


– LNG Tanks, Bonny, Nigeria. 70 m diameter concrete tanks are to be constructed on dense sands underlain by organic clays. Piling was uneconomic. The sand preload pressure is less than during water tests. Detailed predictions were made of the amount and rate of settlement. These were based on in-situ CPT and permeability tests and cyclic triaxial tests. Instrumentation within and beneath the concrete raft was also designed.


– Millom West and Calder Platforms, Irish Sea, UK. Lightweight minimal facilities platforms with suction can foundations penetrating dense sands. Installation resistance predictions made including liquefaction and friction reduction due to upwards flowing water within cans. Inplace capacity under VHM loading determined using non-linear 3DFEA. Settlements assessed including cyclic loading component.


Kay, S. (1997), “De Conus Pressiometer Test Numeriek Gesimuleerd” (Modelling the Cone Pressuremeter Test Numerically), in Geotechniek, Geotekniek, December.


Kay, S. and Molenkamp, F. (1997), “Comparison of Convergence of 8-Node and 15-Node Finite Elements”, Proceedings 6th International Symposium on Numerical Models in Geomechanics, Montreal, Canada, pp. 415 – 419.


Kay, S. (1996), “Revised Mapping Functions for Three Dimensional Serendipity Finite Elements”, Communications in Numerical Methods in Engineering, Swansea, U.K.


Kay, S. and Legein, J.J.D., (1994), “Size Effects by Finite Elements”, in Siriwardane, H.J. and Zaman, M.M. (eds), Proceedings of the Eigth International Conference on Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, Morgantown,WA, 22-28 May 1994. – Rotterdam, Balkema, Vol III, pp. 2343-2347.


Kay, S., (1994), “Subsurface Mapping and Modelling Techniques – Numerical and Analytical Geotechnical Models”, in Rengers, N. (ed), Proceedings of the 20-year Jubilee Symposium of the Ingeokring, Delft, 3 june 1994 . – Rotterdam, Balkema, pp. 93-112.


Kay, S., and Dobson, C. (1994), “Lateral Pile Response using a Single Finite Element”, in Smith, I.M., (ed), Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering – ECONMIG 94, Manchester, 7-9 September 1994. – Rotterdam, Balkema, pp. 351-354.


Kay, S. (1993), “3-D Finite Element Analysis in Geotechnics”, KivI Open Speakers’ Day, March.


Kay, S. and Legein, J.J.D. (1992), “Influence Of Size on the Bearing Capacity of Circular Footings”, in Pande, G.N. and Pietruszczak, (eds), Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Numerical Models in Geomechanics – NUMOG IV, Swansea, UK. – Rotterdam, Balkema, 1993, Vol. 2, pp. 895-903.


Kay, S. (1993), “3-D Finite Element Analysis in Geomechanics,” Open-Sprekersdag, Delft, 16 maart 1993. – Den Haag, Koninklijk Instituut voor Ingenieurs, Afdeling voor Geotechniek, 10 p., 36 figs.


Kay, S. (1991), “Lateral Loading of Offshore Foundations”, in Beer, G, Booker, J.R. and Carter, J.P. (eds), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, Cairns. – Rotterdam, Balkema, Vol. 2, pp. 1073-1077.


Kay, S. (1991), “Finite Element Analysis of Skirts for Gravity Base Structures”, in Proceedings of the 10th ECSMFE, Florence. – Rotterdam : Balkema, Vol. 1, pp. 233-236.


Kay S. and Smits, M.Th.J.H., (1988), “Quality Assurance for Geotechnical Finite Element Software”, in Symposium “Het ontbrekende element aan de elementen methode”. CIAD, Utrecht, pp. 39-61. Smith, I.M., Hicks, M.A, Kay, S.,. and Cuckson, J. (1988), “Undrained and Partially Drained Behaviour of End Bearing Piles and Bells Founded in Untreated Calcarenite”, in Jewell, R.J. and Khorshid, M.S., editors, Engineering for Calcareous Sediments, Proceedings of the International Conference on, Perth, Vol. II. Rotterdam, A.A. Balkema, pp. 663-679.


Kay, S., Griffiths, D.V., and Kolk, H.J. (1986), “Application of Pressuremeter Testing to Assess Lateral Pile Response in Clays”, in Briaud, J. L. and Audibert, J.M.E., editors, Pressuremeter and Its Marine Applications, Second International Symposium, ASTM Special Technical Publication 950. Philadelphia, American Society for Testing and Materials, pp. 458-477.


Kay, S. and Seters, A.J. van (1986), “Design of Cyclically Loaded Pipe Piles”, ECONMIG 86 Proceedings, European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geomechanics. Stuttgart, University of Stuttgart, 13 pp.

Kay, S. and Weele, A.F. van (1985), “Analytical Results with Numerical Programs”, in Holm, G, Bredenberg, H. and Grävare, C.-J., editors, Application of Stress-Wave Theory on Piles. Stockholm, Swedish Pile Commission, Rotterdam, A.A. Balkema, pp. 377-384.


Kay, S. and Chow, Y.K. (1984), “On the Aitken Acceleration Method for Nonlinear Problems”, in Computers & Structures, Vol. 19, No. 5/6, pp. 757-761.


Kay, S., Kolk, H.J. and Hooydonk, W.R. van (1983), “Site Specific Design of Laterally Loaded Piles”, in Wright, S.G., editor, Geotechnical Practice in Offshore Engineering Proceedings, Austin. New York, American Society of Civil Engineers, pp. 557-580. Smith, I.M. and Kay, S. (1971), “Stress Analysis of Contractive or Dilative Soil”, in Jrnl. SMFE, ASCE, Vol. 97, No. SM7, July, pp. 981-997.


Kay, S. (1970), “An Experimental and Theoretical Study of Hollow Cylinder Tests in Sand”, M.Sc. Thesis, University of Manchester, U.K.