Canadian Consulting Engineer

NOTEWORTHY (January 01, 1999)

U.S. plugs master's degreeThe American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has adopted a policy to support the master's degree as the "first professional degree" in civil engineering. ASCE 1999 Presiden...

January 1, 1999   Canadian Consulting Engineer

U.S. plugs master’s degree

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has adopted a policy to support the master’s degree as the “first professional degree” in civil engineering. ASCE 1999 President Daniel S. Turner, P.E. said, “Graduates of today’s four-year undergraduate programs in civil engineering are not adequately prepared for professional practice, and it is time to establish a ‘first professional degree’ in civil engineering.”

The society decided on this policy believing that a civil engineer’s education has to be broadened to cover computer applications and specialty methods and materials that cannot be developed in four-year programs. It is calling on governments and other organizations to support and promote the concept of mandatory post-graduate education in professional practice.

Cinderellas in the back room

“The pride and satisfaction of doing a terrific job overshadows everything else for the engineer; that’s part of our problem. That’s why we take second place and why the Arthur Andersens become the consultants to owners. … These people have no technical ability, no knowledge of owner needs, but they know the importance of taking a leadership role. They go out and get an engineer–who works in the back room–while they have the glory and the limelight.” Barbara A. Nadel, AIA, of New York, in “Listening to Engineers,” a panel discussion in Architectural Record, October 1998.

Commercial building on rise

Canada’s building industry continued to improve in 1988, and is predicted to be “solid” for 1999. In its yearly report on construction activity, CanaData of CMD Group reports that Montreal’s industrial, commercial and institutional building last year was about 6 million square feet, up 20% from 1997, and up 33% from 1996 and 1995. Toronto nearly doubled its activity last year to 25 million square feet, and Calgary increased its activity 25%.

CanaData reports that “areas such as entertainment and recreation facilities, plus casinos and hotels are very strong.” However, the report says that the future of oil and gas pipelines, electricity, highways and bridges and sewers and water mains is “more cloudy.” It cites one big exception: the $3.7 billion Alliance Gas Pipeline project being built from Alberta to Chicago.

Our mistake

The item on the Air Canada Centre in Toronto published on page 10, November-December CCE, correctly identified Yolles Partnership as the structural engineers. However, it erroneously suggested they were working under the direction of Le Group Canam Manac. The latter is the sub contractor responsible for the roof fabrication and erection and was not in charge of engineering research and design.


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