Canadian Consulting Engineer

STRUCTURES: Digging starts for Grande Bibliothque

January 1, 2002
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Underground construction began in December on the $58-million Grande Bibliothque du Qubec in Montreal. The high-profile, $58 million project was subject to an international architectural competition...

Underground construction began in December on the $58-million Grande Bibliothque du Qubec in Montreal. The high-profile, $58 million project was subject to an international architectural competition in 2000, which was won by a joint team from Vancouver and Montreal.

The library is being built on the site of the Palais du Commerce in the north-east downtown, on a block bounded by de Maisonneuve Boulevard to the south and Berri Street to the east. Work involves demolishing the Palais, relocating sewers and water mains, and creating a connection to the Berri-UQAM metro station. The six-storey building will have a total area of 33,000 square metres (comparable to the Vancouver Central Public Library built in the late 1990s), with many daylit spaces, underground parking, and an art garden. It is due to open at the end of 2003.

Mechanical and electrical engineers are Bouthillette Parizeau and Groupe HBA. The structural engineer is Nicolet Chartrand Knoll/Gniplus. Architects are Patkau/Croft-Pelletier.

Curved roof code alert

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes has rushed to change its provisions for the design of arched roofs — the kind that are typically found in curling and hockey arenas. A “Special Change” to sentence in Part 4 of the 1995 National Building Code of Canada has been authorized as an urgent public safety issue. It removes exemptions for snow load calculations for span ratios greater than 1/10. Call Cathy Taraschuk, Institute for Research in Construction, NRC (613) 993-9949. E-mail

PROFESSION: Special structural engineer designation passes in B.C.

The Structural Engineer of Record designation has been approved by over 75% of the voting members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC). To qualify, registered engineers have to show that they have six years of acceptable experience and pass an examination. One option is to take an oral examination, involving a review of three recent projects in which the engineer played a leading role.

Nova Scotia engineers and architects dispute Acts

Both engineers and architects in Nova Scotia are trying to revise their Acts, and neither group likes what it sees the other proposing. The architects want engineers to exclude the terms “art” and “structures” from the definition of engineering practice. They also want engineers to start being licensed by discipline. The engineers, on the other hand, feel that the proposed new Architects Act may exclude them from designing certain buildings (for example engineers currently design industrial-type retail stores).

The professional associations have committed three people each to a review committee to hammer out their differences. They have also agreed to resort to binding arbitration if necessary.

HIGHWAYS: Quebec extends Highway 25

At a conference organized by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Quebec (AICQ), the provincial Minister of Transportation announced the creation of a special office to facilitate public-private partnerships. Its first announcement was a call for expressions of interest to develop a nine-kilometre expansion to Highway 25 in Laval that would connect it between Highways 40 and 440. The $320-million road will add a new bridge crossing to the North Shore and shave half an hour off a journey east to Quebec City. Another possible project is a 40-kilometre extension to Highway 30. Also, a $7 million environmental study of a light rapid transit line corridor between Montreal and the south shore is under way.

MAILBOX: What’s special about a P.Eng.?

In reading the October-November 2001 issue, I find no reference to the professional credentials of either technicians or technologists in any of the award-winning project descriptions. I am quite sure that there were technologists involved in these projects since they work hand-in-hand with engineers every day. If you don’t believe me, ask the engineers involved!

So I have to assume that it is your publication’s policy NOT to include the professional credentials of these [other] individuals in your articles. Why is this?

Jay Fisher, Communications Director, Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists (ASET), Edmonton

The long-time editorial policy of this magazine has been to list only the P.Eng. credential, partly for space reasons, and partly because the magazine is intended primarily for that group. We invite your comments. –Editor.

No place for social issues

While not commenting on the content of the editorial in the December 2001 issue [Face to face with prejudice,” p. 4], I feel that publishing it in such a professional oriented periodical was inappropriate.

I feel much the same about the article by Mr. Tay [“Black Engineers,” p. 33]. It is not relevant to the practice, business or science of engineering.

In the light of some of the interesting engineering feats and problems of the past couple of years, would not an article on the equipment, its design and use, for raising the “Kursk” — surely a great engineering feat — be of relevant interest in our profession?

On the other side of the coin, the vibration problems faced at the opening of the Millennium Bridge designed by Ove Arup and their proposed solution to the problem as a consequence of the bridge being closed by the government, would also be of interest.

Both these topics are overseas, and would broaden our view of engineering internationally, which is one way, possibly, to reduce prejudice in our profession.

John A. Charnock, P.Eng., John A. Charnock & Associates, Mississauga, Ont.

COMPANIES: Firm changes in Alberta

Hemisphere Engineering of Edmonton has acquired Intra Tech Power Systems, also of Edmonton. IntraTech specializes in consulting to the utilities and power distribution industry.

Stantec of Edmonton is acquiring Yoneda & Associates of Saskatchewan. Yoneda is a mechanical engineering firm with offices in Regina and Saskatoon, and 26 employees.

AMEC Earth & Environmental celebrated its 50th anniversary last November. Now part of U.K. based AMEC plc, the firm has undergone many name changes but originated in April 1951 as Engineering and Construction Services, a firm launched by two professors at the University of Alberta — Chick Thorssen and Dr. Bob Hardy. It was one of the first Canadian firms of geotechnical engineers to pioneer work in oil and gas pipelines and engineering for tar sands.


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