Canadian Consulting Engineer

CHAIR’S REPORT: Engineering in the aftermath of September 11

As professional engineers, the events in New York and Washington of September 11, 2001, oblige us to prepare ourselves, our firms and our clients against future acts of terrorism that challenge the st...

December 1, 2001  Canadian Consulting Engineer

As professional engineers, the events in New York and Washington of September 11, 2001, oblige us to prepare ourselves, our firms and our clients against future acts of terrorism that challenge the strength and integrity of our engineered designs, structures, systems and operations. Are you taking steps to consider changes to the design, management and operational practices of your firm?

As your industry association, we invite you to consider and to talk to your clients about promoting safer, stronger, cleaner, more responsive and more sustainable communities in this time of heightened awareness of public safety.

Safer. Airport security, water supply systems and national defence installations are all obvious potential targets, as are transportation systems, utilities and buildings in general.

Stronger. Will building codes need to be revised? Will normal loads and normal risks need to be reassessed?

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Cleaner. Issues of air handling and quality, selection of construction materials and the design of quarantined areas could all be issues of great public attention in the months and years to come.

Faster. How quickly and how ready are we as engineers able to respond to threats and disasters? Our world class expertise in transportation systems, buildings, water resources, the energy sector and telecommunications can be a key element in disaster mitigation and relief efforts.

Enduring. September 11 clearly identified segments of our economy and our communities that are vulnerable to breakdown or destruction. Now is the time for engineers to stress the importance of long-term planning and design. Years of under-investment must now be corrected. Fresh approaches to public works need to be investigated. Public safety requires sustainable infrastructure.

Better. I am an optimist and a professional engineer. As such I believe that we should be planning for the best and preparing for the worst. Now is the time for ACEC and its members to be a strategic resource in Canada’s defence against terrorism.

ANDREW STEEVES, P.ENG., CHAIR

ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTING ENGINEERS OF CANADA

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