Canadian Consulting Engineer

News (December 01, 2003)

PROFESSIONRoom 229 hits the dustA room that held fond memories for many professional engineers in Manitoba has been demolished. Dr. Doug Ruth, dean of engineering at the University of Manitoba, told t...

December 1, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

PROFESSION

Room 229 hits the dust

A room that held fond memories for many professional engineers in Manitoba has been demolished. Dr. Doug Ruth, dean of engineering at the University of Manitoba, told the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM) annual meeting in Winnipeg on October 25 that the faculty’s infamous Room 229, “where many of us have misspent many hours,” had been reduced to rubble in January.

The demolition was necessary, he explained, to make way for a major expansion and upgrade of the engineering faculty buildings, some of which date from 1911. The existing facilities were so outdated some areas had no air-conditioning and only a four-amp power supply. The new complex will house both the faculty of engineering and the department of computer science.

Dean Ruth asked APEGM to approve a $350,000 gift towards the $200 million goal for the new building program. In return he said the new 5,000-s.f. design studio which is to be the hub of the building would be named both in honour of the professional association, and renamed “Room 229” — “the name near and dear to our hearts.” Several engineers at the meeting appealed to alumni to send in personal donations, suggesting that even $100 per person would help (e-mail private_funding@umanitoba.ca).

AIR QUALITY

Methods for calculating air ventilation changes

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is changing its recommended method for calculating air ventilation rates. Addendum 62n to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality was approved at the society’s annual meeting in October. The addendum is now going for approval from the American National Standards Institute.

The standard’s present procedure for calculating air ventilation was set in 1989. Larry Schoen, P.E., who chaired an ASHRAE subcommittee overseeing the proposed changes, says that the existing calculating method was not written in code language and is too vague in certain aspects. For example, it asks designers to take ventilation effectivenesss into account but does not tell them how to do so, whereas the new method has specific tables based on system characteristics.

Under the existing method fresh air rates are calculated by the number of people, whereas under the new method, air flow rates are calculated using the number of occupants plus a rate for the unit area of building. For an office space such as a reception area, for example, Schoen says the rate will be typically set at 5 cfm per person, plus .06 cfm. per square foot. The net effect of the new method, he says, will be to reduce and make more reasonable the rates of outside air vented into densely occupied spaces such as auditoriums, classrooms and conference areas.

ENERGY

Farming fuel in Manitoba

With its eyes on the Kyoto accord, and aware that its farmers would benefit from new sources of income, Manitoba is pushing hard to develop an “agri-energy” industry.

The provincial Energy, Science and Technology department has opened a special agri-energy office to explore ways that the farm industry can generate alternative sources of power. In November the office organized a tour of wind energy farms, ethanol plants, and a family dairy farm that uses manure to produce enough electricity for the farm as well as supplying 75 homes.

The government’s focus is on developing the production of ethanol from grain. In November, the provincial government was expected to pass the Bio-fuels Act which would require that in two years’ time 85% of gasoline sold in Manitoba will be blended with 10% ethanol — known as “gasohol.” Some gas stations in the province already sell ethanol blends. The government is also to give financial support to ethanol manufacturers.

EVENT

Consulting Engineers of Alberta hits quarter-century

Consulting Engineers of Alberta celebrated its 25th anniversary in October. Along with representatives of 30 consulting firms and 17 past CEA presidents, a host of government dignitaries were at the event. They included Edmonton’s mayor, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, five Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and over a dozen MLAs.

CEA was launched in 1978 at the offices of Associated Engineering in Edmonton. Associated’s Jack O’Brien, P.Eng. was first president and Harold Morrison, P.Eng. of R.M. Hardy & Associates was treasurer.

QUOTE

Ethical dilemmas

“Perhaps the most significant thing about the resolution of ethical dilemmas, which can run contrary to the problem solving mind of an engineer, is that there is no formula that will deliver the ‘correct’ answer.”– Tom Sisk, P.Eng., Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick’s Director of Professional Affairs, in an article “Making Tough Decisions,” Engenuity, Fall 2003.

CONSTRUCTION

Ottawa opens new air terminal

Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport opened its new passenger terminal building in October. The autonomous structural steel building has 14 new gates and a four level parking structure.

Marshall Macklin Monaghan of Toronto (Kim Gurney, CET) and J.L. Richards & Associates of Ottawa (George McCaffrey, P.Eng.) were in charge of project management. Prime consultant was Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects in alliance with Architectura, now Stantec Architecture. They oversaw a roster of engineering firms that include Ove Arup (concept), McKee Engineering (mechanical & electrical), Genivar (structural), and Trow (civil).

The $310-million Ottawa project was completed six months ahead of schedule — unlike the situation at Toronto Pearson International airport where the opening of the new terminal scheduled for October has been delayed.

COMPANIES

The big get bigger

Stantec, Canada’s second largest consulting engineering firm with 3,500 employees and headquarters in Alberta, continues to expand. It recently added the nine employees of Optimum Energy Management to its Calgary operations. Optimum specialized in industrial energy management services. Dale Hildebrand, P.Eng., managing principal of the firm, will continue with Stantec as a principal.

Another large firm of consulting engineers, UMA of Vancouver, recently acquired Trialpha Consulting of Regina, Saskatchwan. Trialpha specialized in transportation planning. Its founder, Bruce Belmore, P.Eng. and two engineers-in-training joined UMA’s office in Regina.

CODES & STANDARDS

la NFPA 13

The U.S. National Fire Protection Association has agreed to translate one of its most important standards into French, hoping to encourage its use throughout Europe. The Centre National de Prevention et de Protection of France, an insurance organization, has been given the licence to translate NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. The French organization also has the right to sell the translated document outside the United States. NFPA and CNPP are expected to reach similar agreements soon on other standards, including NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids.

Hydronics for experts

The Canadian Hydronics Council is promoting certification courses for hydronic system designers and installers. The move follows the development of a national standard: CSA B214 Installation Code for Hydronic Systems. The British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton are the first schools to launch certification courses.

MISCELLANY

One in the eye

In an online survey by the Globe and Mail, 69% of respondents said that surveillance cameras infringed on their privacy. The remaining 31% believed the cameras are a reasonable safety measure.

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Engineering


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