Canadian Consulting Engineer

News (October 01, 2002)

October 1, 2002
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

REGULATIONS: Ontario engineers to face Building Code examThe building industry in Ontario is poised for major changes after the provincial government approved a new law in June. The Act to Improve Pub...

REGULATIONS: Ontario engineers to face Building Code exam

The building industry in Ontario is poised for major changes after the provincial government approved a new law in June. The Act to Improve Public Safety and to Increase Efficiency in Building Code Enforcement (Bill 124) is part of the government’s program to cut red tape, but it brings in a whole new layer of requirements for building designers.

Following the recommendations of the Building Regulatory Reform Advisory Group (BRAGG), the new rules will require that all building designers have to pass an examination to show their knowledge and competence with the Building Code. Certification will be linked to building types and technical disciplines (e.g. fire protection, mechanical, etc.). Building inspectors also have to be qualified, and contractors have to employ certified site supervisors. Professional Engineers Ontario will most likely administer the certification program on behalf of the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

One of the most troublesome aspects of the new law for engineers is the requirement to carry errors and omissions insurance with automatic run-off cover for seven years following completion of a building. John Gamble, P.Eng., president of Consulting Engineers of Ontario, says firms may have trouble finding insurers willing to provide the coverage.

Other features of the new Act include efforts to streamline permit approvals, with a maximum of 30 days for a decision on the most complex buildings. The law also allows municipalities to outsource the administration of building approvals through private Code Enforcement Agencies.

MAILBOX: Jenni’s not cool


Congratulations to Jenni for beating out Lara Croft, that other “zany, well-proportioned” female cartoon figure, for the role of icon of the ACEC’s Career Awareness Program. I am sure she will attract many high-school aged boys to engineering. Too bad that Canadian Consulting Engineer did not have the space to print the zany well-packaged male cartoon figure which I assume the ACEC surely also must have developed — but then again, I suppose there are already enough high-school aged girls interested in the profession anyway.


I’m certain that the intent of the Jenni program is to attract girls as well as boys, and let’s face it, as the Spice Girls phenomenon showed, having a well-proportioned figure is no longer seen by the young female as something antipathetic to being a powerful, strong person, but rather the reverse. Having said that, please note that the description “zany and well-proportioned” is mine rather than the ACEC recruitment program developers’.


The icon, at least as shown, has no relevance to engineering whatsoever. She looks more suited to be the icon of a music store.

I have loads of ‘cool’ female engineering friends — they mountain bike, mountain climb, volunteer, dance, do Ironman triathlons, champion the environment, travel and speak more than one language. They are smart, excellent engineers and entrepreneurs. I’d rather that teenage girls see this as the image of ‘engineering cool’ rather than Jenni.

I want girls to know that their looks are immaterial to having a successful engineering career. Brains and creativity are what engineering requires and, frankly, we don’t care what they [female engineers] look like. What a refreshing message that would be to send to girls, as opposed to the ‘bombshell = cool and successful’ one they are bombarded with every day! Not all high school girls want to look like Jenni, and we underestimate them when we assume that they do.

Lee Nicol, P.Eng. (AB)

Kerr Wood Leidal, Vancouver, B.C.

English as she is spoke

While I agree with your “Comment” section in the June/July issue (“Eat well, but pay”), I noted several typographic/spelling/content errors. Multiple numbers of animals are referred to as “1,567 head” not “1,567 heads.” Large livestock operations also do not raise animals “crammed in stalls.” The more common vision is that of large or small fenced manure filled feed lots perched on the edge of, and draining into, a water course.

While these points may seem like nit picking, such inaccuracies reduce your credibility and dilute your message.

Malcolm Richardson, P.Eng.

Stantec Consulting, Edmonton

PROFESSION: Engineering vs. Microsoft

Despite an earlier agreement, Microsoft Canada has decided that it will allow graduates of its IT programs to use the designation “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.” The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE), representing the professional engineering licensing associations across Canada, is vehemently opposed to the decision.

In a statement, CCPE present Marie Lemay said: “It is important for the public to know that the term “engineer” refers to a person with a university engineering education and engineering experience who follows a professional code of ethics, not someone with just a few months of IT training.”

For its part, Microsoft argues: “the term systems engineer is a well-recognized title that has been used for many years in the IT industry and it does not represent that one is a professional engineer.” The company says Canadian graduates of its courses “should be able to carry the same designation that is used by their colleagues throughout the rest of the world.”

B.C. engineers and technologists to merge?

British Columbia engineers are considering merging their professional association with the association of engineering technologists. The two organizations, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. (APEGBC) and the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of B.C. (ASTTBC), set up a joint task force a year ago to study the issue. The task force recommended combining as one organization and being subject to one legislative Act.

ASTTBC has approximately 10,000 members and APEGBC has around 19,000. The technologists and technicians have already indicated overwhelmingly (89%) that they are in favour of the merger.

The proposal is for the new organization to have different grades of membership, depending on the member’s level of qualification, expertise, etc.

Why merge? In a question and answer section on its web site, APEGBC cites factors such as technologists’ growing efforts to have the government legislate the scope of work they are entitled to do, whereas at present only their title is legally protected. As well, APEGBC notes that the provincial government is increasingly listing technologists as qualified persons to do work that used to be the exclusive purview of professional engineers.


A United Nations environment group has recommended that governments cut or eliminate the production and consumption of mercury by substituting other products and processes. The Global Mercury Assessment Working Group met in Geneva in September and made the recommendations based on evidence of significant adverse effects stemming from the release of the heavy metallic element.

A study of daylighting and human performance in 100 California schools showed students progressed 26 per cent faster in reading and 20 per cent faster in mathematics when in classrooms with the most overall daylighting compared to rooms with least daylighting. The research, published in ASHRAE, was done with 20,000 elementary students.

A number of Calgary members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGGA) have set up an organization to argue against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The “Friends of Science” argue that current efforts to blame human activities for global warming are misguided. They say the earth has been heating up since the last Ice Age, and that changes in solar radiation and oceanic absorption play a more important climatic role than human activities such as burning fossil fuels. —


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