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CONFERENCE: Newfoundland still averse to outsourcingDuring the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada held June 27, delegates swapped news from consulting engineer...

August 1, 2002  Canadian Consulting Engineer

CONFERENCE: Newfoundland still averse to outsourcing

During the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada held June 27, delegates swapped news from consulting engineering associations across the country. The conference was held June 27-29 at the Manoir Richelieu resort beside the St. Lawrence River in the glorious Charlevois region of Quebec.

Mike Hogan, P.Eng. representing Consulting Engineers of Newfoundland and Labrador said that the ongoing issue for consulting engineers in that province is the government’s persistence in doing engineering work in-house. Despite the association’s lobbying efforts to have more projects outsourced, the government believes it is more economical to do its own designs. In response, Wendy Cooper, executive director of Consulting Engineers of Alberta, said the Deputy Minister of Transportation in her province brags the ministry has saved $50 million by outsourcing work. She suggested Hogan use the information as lobbying ammunition in Newfoundland.

In her own report, Cooper explained that one of Consulting Engineers of Alberta’s main thrusts this year has been developing an image campaign. Using a public relations consultant, the association has devised print advertisements that promote consulting engineering.

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Chris Newcomb, P.Eng., president of Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, said they are generally optimistic about the new provincial government and think it will be more open to dialogue with consulting engineers. However, he noted that the government has cut some capital projects. He also said engineers in the province are wrestling with major changes to the Engineering Act which could see a merger with technologists, the introduction of a minimum fee schedule, and the requirement to have a Certificate of Authorization to do consulting work.

Blake Wellner, P.Eng. of Consulting Engineers of New Brunswick told the meeting about their successful salary surveys (firms only get a copy if they take part). He said the association is also continuing efforts to have legislation passed to limit the professional’s liability period.

In Quebec, much effort by the Association des Ingnieurs-Conseils (AICQ) has been put into fighting new laws. Georges Dick, P.Eng., past chairman of the association, and director-general Johanne Desrochers, explained that Law 45 as originally formulated meant that firms would have to register staff as though they were unionized. The association succeeded in getting the law changed. Another proposed law on procurement that applied to large cities was successfully opposed. As a result the two-envelope system is being used. Finally, a law on lobbying had just been passed. It originally “was a very bad law” that would have meant all consulting engineers and their employees would have to register as lobbyists. After solicitations by the association, the government has backtracked and only firm principals have to register.

John Gamble, P.Eng., the new president at Consulting Engineers of Ontario, gave a fast-tracked presentation. He noted that regulatory changes following the Walkerton disaster and the need to examine water systems have resulted in much work for engineering firms. The work has also produced a large dividend for the association, which administers the program for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The CEO Board has recommended using a portion of the money for a research fund.

RECRUITMENT: Unlikely engineering symbol draws support

A wave of generosity swept engineers attending the Association of Consulting Engineers annual conference in June.

Inspired by a luncheon presentation on the ACEC’s Career Awareness Project given by Robyn Osgood, manager of the program, conference attendees spontaneously rose from their seats to promise financial support.

Osgood’s team have come up with the motto, “Generation E: Attracting Tomorrow’s Engineers.” The visual icon is Jenni, a zany, well-proportioned female cartoon figure intended to show high school students that engineers can be “cool.”

AWARDS: Saskatchewan announces 2002 winners

Seven engineering projects by five firms received honours in the second Consulting Engineers of Saskatchewan Awards of Excellence.

Awards went to: Associated Engineering, mechanical system renovations at North Battleford Comprehensive High School. Bullee Consulting, Wawota Water Treatment Plant. Stantec Consulting (with Ground Effects Environmental Services), Enhanced In-situ Hydrocarbon Recovery at the Cantuar Field Scrubber, Success. Stantec Consulting, Core Area Park Underground Stormwater Detention Structure, Regina. Trialpha Consulting, 22nd Street and Circle Drive Interchange Study. Trialpha Consulting, SGI Safety Engineering Studies Regina intersections. UMA Engineering, Intake Twinning Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant, Phase II, Regina and Moose Jaw.

The Association’s special award for an individual — the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan Meritorious Award of Achievement for 2002 — was given to J.D. (Jack) Mollard of J.D. Mollard and Associates.

PROJECTS: New university shaping up

A team of architects and engineers is at work doing detail design on Canada’s newest university. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology was legally created in June, and will be built north of Durham College in Oshawa, east of Toronto. Ninety per cent of the programs to be offered by the university are professional, and include a Bachelor of Engineering in Manufacturing Engineering and a Bachelor of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering.

Construction of the campus will start in September 2003 on a 400-acre treed lot. Plans call for an academic village surrounding a large outdoor quadrangle.

The design team was selected from a shortlist of eight firms. Led by architects Diamond and Schmitt, it includes mechanical engineer Keen Engineering (Mark Mitchell, P.Eng.), electrical engineer Carinci Burt Rogers (Corrie Burt, P.Eng.), structural engineer Yolles (Eric Gordon, P.Eng.) and civil engineers, Totten Sims Hubicki (John Campbell, P.Eng.).

EDUCATION: Plagiarism plagues Carleton

Engineering students in their fourth year of study at Carleton University have been found guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism is counted as one of the most serious offences in academic circles, considered a type of theft of intellectual property.

In July, the university’s Faculty of Engineering and Design concluded that 29 out of 30 students investigated were guilty. In many cases the students were copying text from the Internet without acknowledgement. Four professors noticed something was wrong, and simply plugged in some of the phrases into a search engine and found the original sources. The students received penalties ranging from a zero grade for the essay, to failure in the course.

COMPANIES: Large and small firms blend

CEM Consultants, an engineering firm specializing in the industry sector, has joined with Genivar, one of the largest consulting engineering firms in Quebec. CEM has offices in Chicoutimi, Jonquire and Trois-Rivires.

International engineering giant Bechtel Group, based in San Francisco, has announced it will “combine” with BPR Group of Quebec City to form BPR-Bechtel. BPR has 750 employees in 12 offices in Quebec. Bechtel has a workforce of 50,000.

In Toronto, Delcan Corporation has signed a strategic alliance with DHV Group of the Netherlands — a firm with a staff of over 4,000 people across the world. DHV has acquired a minority ownership in Delcan.

Environmental Management Solutions of Ottawa has purchased Forensic Environmental Services based in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

TECHNOLOGY: IRC update now free

Construction Technology Updates published by the National Research Council’s Institute for Construction are now available free on the IRC web site. Published 12 times a year, they each consist of 4-6 pages of practical explanations of construction technologies. Visit www.nrc.ca/irc/catalogue

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