Canadian Consulting Engineer

PORTS: Canada Place expands berthing

Westmar Consultants of Vancouver designed the $80-million extension to the pier at Canada Place on Vancouver's waterfront. The port authority extended the marine structure to increase its berthing cap...

December 1, 2001   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Westmar Consultants of Vancouver designed the $80-million extension to the pier at Canada Place on Vancouver’s waterfront. The port authority extended the marine structure to increase its berthing capacity and accommodate the largest cruise ships that serve the Alaska market. The triangular quay extension covers 12,000 square metres and is set on 38 steel pipe piles with concrete pile caps. Westmar was also the project manager for the two year undertaking. An expansion to the superstructure passenger facilities (done by other consultants) over the new quay extension is nearing completion.

Meanwhile, efforts are still being made to find $498 million in financing to build a new convention centre facility on a site just to the west of Canada Place.

INTERNATIONAL: Jamaica highway

Dessau-Soprin of Montreal planned the route and did preliminary design of a major toll highway in Jamaica that will run for 240 kilometres through the Caribbean island. It will connect the capital city, Kingston, with the two main resorts, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Sixty Canadians worked with 100 Jamaican professionals in a seven-month project that included 134 bridge structures, as well as doing drilling and boring, traffic surveys, property mapping, etc. The contract to do detail design and complete the first 80 kilometres of the toll highway has been awarded to a French company and should begin construction next year.

FORECASTS: Work impacts

The events of September 11 will leave their mark on the construction industry according to CMD’s North American Construction Forecast given in October. The economists say that partly as a result of the terrorist attacks and aftermath, construction activity will decline 6% next year in North America, but should revive in 2003.

Alex Carrick of CMD Group/ CanaData gave the forecast for Canada. He said commercial building will decline slightly to 42.5 million square feet in 2002, and retail and hotel building will suffer from lack of consumer confidence.

As for Canadian construction activity this past year, Carrick found that while the industrial building market fell by 50% largely because of events in the automobile market, institutional construction continued to flourish with hospitals ($4.4 billion) and schools ($2.3 billion) achieving seven-year highs. Investment in engineering infrastructure and energy projects also continued an upward trend ($46.7 million). However, Carrick questioned whether this rise will be halted next year if money is diverted to the military.

COMPANIES: Stantec’s founder dies

The founder of one of Canada’s largest consulting engineering companies died in September. Dr. Don Stanley, P.Eng. died of Parkinson’s disease at age 83. He founded the Edmonton engineering firm now known as Stantec as a one-person firm in 1954 and was president until Ron Triffo, P.Eng. took over in 1983.

Dr. Stanley once turned down an offer to play hockey for the NHL, instead choosing to serve the WWII effort in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He graduated from the University of Alberta and obtained a Ph.D in environmental engineering from Harvard.

ADI invests in laboratory

The ADI Group of Fredericton, New Brunswick opened a large new centralized laboratory and testing facility in Oromocto on the outskirts of town in October. The consulting engineers invested $1 million in renovating the building.

Marshall Macklin Monaghan hits 50

With its sights on the firm’s 50th anniversary next year, Toronto consulting engineering firm Marshall Macklin Monaghan has set up a special web site at www.mmm.ca. Alumni and others are invited to visit, record their memories with the firm and renew contacts with other MMM-ers. The company is also asking for any photos that employees or alumni may have in their family albums.

MAILBOX: Stay low

I have not been completely at ease in skyscrapers since an experience my family had in evacuating the 24th floor of a downtown Toronto hotel after midnight because of a fire alarm. This feeling has only been reaffirmed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy.

Your article, “Reach for the Skies” (p. 24, August-September) spoke of a renewed interest and enthusiasm towards [tower] construction — this has certainly changed after the calamity.

Can engineers design 500 metre+ buildings that can withstand such attacks? Perhaps! Should they try? I think we should stay closer to the ground.

John Pivnicki, ing

Hatch, 5 Place Ville Marie,

(only one floor up!). Montreal

Canadian Consulting Engineer invites your comments. E-mail to bledger@corporate.southam.ca, or write to 1450 Don Mills Rd., Toronto, Ont. M3B 2X7.

PRACTICE: Should minimum fees be law?

A panel at the annual meeting of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) at the end of October discussed the hiring of consulting engineers and the possibility of enshrining quality based selection and/or minimum fees in the province’s Engineering Act. If such a proposal was included in the legislation (the Act is currently being revised), the change would make it illegal for consultants to charge fees below the recommended levels and for clients to hire consultants based on price.

Panelists and participants, however, noted that it would be expensive and difficult for the association to monitor conformance to mandatory minimum fee schedules, and most favoured voluntary compliance. Most also favoured some form of mandatory quality based selection, i.e the two-envelope practice where a firm’s experience, qualifications, and methodology are given priority over price.

Allen Russell, P.Eng., representing Consulting Engineers of B.C., said the organization has supported quality-based selection “wholeheartedly” for years, and said they would be pleased to see it enshrined in the Engineering Act.

Russell noted, however, that CEBC members had differences of opinion on making minimum fees mandatory. Some believe the practice would stop competing firms “lowballing” at unrealistic levels. Others, like himself, feared that there would be expensive legal challenges, and that the practice may encourage mediocrity.

The issue went for further discussion at the annual general meeting, and final recommendations will likely go before APEGBC council next year.

NOTES: Geodata window closing

Specialists in geographic information management (GIM) have only until December 27, 2001 to apply for designation as a GIM Professional with the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors under a two-year grandfathering clause. From December 27 on, applicants will have to undergo examinations, coursework and articling.

Tired out

Americans take only 13 annual vacation days — far fewer than other developed countries. Canada ranks fourth with 26, after Japan and South Korea who take 25. The British take 28 days, but Germans, French and Italians take between 35 and 42. Source: Ethics and Corporate Policy, Fall 2001, quoting USA Today.

Don’t do windows

Homes with self-cleaning glass were displayed in a trade show in Baltimore this fall. PPG’s SunClean glass has a transparent coating that is said to break down and loosen dirt. It also sheets water so that rain will rinse the window clean.


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