Canadian Consulting Engineer

UP FRONT (March 01, 2011)

March 1, 2011
By Canadian Consulting Engineer



Victoria bridge a whole new experience

Last November, citizens of Victoria, B.C. voted to let the city borrow $49 million towards the $77-million cost of replacing the Johnson Street bridge across the harbour. The existing “Blue Bridge” carries 30,000 vehicles a day, but it has extensive corrosion and is vulnerable in an earthquake. Victoria has a 30-35% chance of suffering an earthquake in the next 50 years.

MMM Group is engineer and project manager for the new bridge, which will be to the north of the existing one. The design is by Wilkinson Eyre Architects of London, U.K.

Spanning almost 100 metres in total, the crossing will have a central opening section of 57 metres that pivots up on a “rolling wheel.” Pedestrians on the west side of the harbour can walk through the rolling wheel mechanism while the bridge is being raised. The city says it is the first bridge in the world to allow such an experience.

The bridge will include three lanes of car traffic and a railway. Geotechnical work is proceeding.


Floating ice platform among CEA Awards

Consulting Engineers of Alberta announced the winners of its 2011 Showcase Awards on February 4 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.

Al MacDonald, P.Eng. won the 2011 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement. MacDonald is a former president of EBA Engineering and also a former president of CEA. He instigated the Showcase Awards during his tenure at CEA during 1996-97.

Glen Campbell, P.Eng. of AECOM won the Harold L. Morrison rising Young Professional Award.

There were 11 awards of excellence, plus 9 awards of merit.

One unusual projectthat won an award of excellence is EBA Engineering’s Design, Construction and Monitoring of an Ice Platform in Siberia.

As part of an international research project, EBA designed a floating ice platform to support drilling for ice cores in a crater 3.5 million years old. The cores preserve past climate change signatures that can help researchers predict possible climate change in the future. EBA also designed the 7.5-kilometre ice road to the drilling platform.

Awards of excellence also went to:

AECOM Canada, Manitoba Hydro Place (sustainable design); North East Stoney Trail Design-Build-Finance-Operate project (transportation); XL Foods/Nilsson Brothers (natural resources, mining, industrial).

Associated Engineering, Fire Training Runoff Water Treatment and Reuse at Lakeland College (environmental);

CH2M HILL Canada, Edmonton SE and West LRT Planning Studies (studies, software, special services);

ISL Engineering and Land Services/CH2M HILL, G37 Interchange, Stage 1 Detour, Calgary (project management);

ISL Engineering and Land Services/Golder Associates, Okotoks 32 Street Crossing (water resources);

KTA Structural Engineers, Montrose Cultural Centre, Grande Prairie (small firm, big impact);

Stantec Consulting, Edmonton Waste Management Centre, Phase 1 & 2 (building engineering); North Lethbridge Regional Park Study (community development).



Donald Lloyd Angus

In February, Donald Lloyd Angus, P.Eng. died in Toronto at the age of 93. Mr. Angus was president of the family engineering firm of H.H. Angus & Associates for 30 years until his retirement in 1985. He was also a president of Professional Engineers of Ontario.


Engineers Canada tackles climate change

David Lapp, P.Eng. of Engineers Canada spoke about work the organization is doing on infrastructure and climate change at the University of Toronto on Thursday, February 10.

The lunchtime presentation in Hart House was held by the Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy with about 200 people in attendance. Lapp has been giving the presentation to engineering associations, but also to municipalities in an effort to prompt them to consider climate change when planning and designing their infrastructure. He said a similar workshop at Peel Region in Ontario the week before had been “sold out.”

Engineers Canada began to ponder the issue of climate change in 2003 around the time the Kyoto Protocol was being passed, Lapp said. Now, in partnership with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Engineers Canada has formed the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC).

The committee is tackling the problem based on four main categories of infrastructure: roads, stormwater and wastewater; water supply; and buildings. They have devised a draft protocol and tested the protocol on projects like a water treatment plant at Portage La Prairie, the Quesnell Bridge in Edmonton, buildings in Ottawa and thermosyphon foundations in the Far North. Using the pilot studies they have refined the protocol and are producing case studies.

One of the challenges of assessing a structure’s vulnerability is that climate predictions at a local geographic scale are not precise, says Lapp. Still the program is about “understanding the risks and setting tolerances.”

Though the protocol is intended for engineers, it could be of use to planners,  climate scientists, owners and operators, Lapp says, adding that in fact it almost requires a multidisciplinary approach.



2010 NBC Part 6 changes ventilation requirements

By Cathy Taraschuk & John Burrows, P.Eng., NRC/IRC Canadian Codes Centre

The 2010 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) includes changes to Part 6 that affect the design and operation of building ventilation systems. Previous editions of the code did not specifically indicated what constituted acceptable air for building ventilation purposes in terms of the concentration of particles and gases; it was assumed that the outdoor air being vented into the indoor building environment was acceptable. However, it has become evident that in some areas of Canada the quality of air being introduced may not be acceptable for building ventilation unless certain particles and gases are first removed or reduced.

Part 6 of the 2010 NBC has set maximum levels in air used for building ventilation for particulate matter, ground-level ozone and carbon monoxide. The limits are based on the National Ambient Air Quality Objective (NAAQO) benchmark levels published under Section 8, Part 1, of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The limits are intended to reduce the probability that as a result of a ventilation system a person in a building will be exposed to an unacceptable risk of illness.

In locales where there are provincial or territorial requirements for air quality, the design of ventilation systems should be based on them. In the absence of such requirements, the limits prescribed by the National Building Code will apply.

The change to Part 6 requires that building ventilation systems be provided with devices to clean the outdoor air equal to or less than the maximum acceptable NAAQO levels prior to the air’s distribution to indoor occupied spaces, as follows:

  • 70 µg/m3 annually and 120 µg/m3 daily for particulate matter that is 10 µm or less in diameter (PM10);
  • 15 ppb annually, 25 ppb daily, and 82 ppb hourly for ground-level ozone;
  • (c) 13 ppm (15 mg/m3) in eight hours and 30 ppm (35 mg/m3) hourly for carbon monoxide (CO), where 1 ppm = 1.146 mg CO/m3.

The NBC must be adopted by the provincial and territorial authorities to become law.


New ASHRAE 90.1 is stiffer

The ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings Except
Low-Rise Residential Buildings has been made 30% more rigorous. Using the 2010 compared to the 2004 version, site savings without plug loads are 32.6% and energy cost savings are 31%. When plug loads are taken into account, site energy savings are estimated at 25.5% and energy cost savings at 24%.


Montreal to have

faster commutes

The Quebec government has announced it will go ahead with a new dedicated commuter rail line to Montreal’s West Island. Currently commuter trains have to share the tracks with freight trains, causing frequent delays. The new line is estimated to cost $600 million and will be built for the Metropolitan Transport Agency.


Leaving Libya

SNC-Lavalin evacuated nearly all its employees from Libya by the end of February during violent uprisings against Colonel Gadhafi. The Montreal-based company’s projects in Libya include the Great Man Made River 4,000-kilometre water pipeline across the desert, a prison and an airport.


Asking too much?

Professional liability insurers are concerned about documents that Infrastructure Canada is asking design professionals to sign. It is feared that the “Statement Concerning the Construction Schedule,” and Federal Schedule D “Solemn Declaration of Substantial Completion,” require consultants to make commitments on matters that may be beyond their expertise and control.


First commissioning standard

The Canadian Standards Association is due to publish its first edition of a national standard on building commissioning, CSA Z320, in March. Besides architectural and control systems, the standard includes mechanical, electrical, vertical and horizontal transportation sub-systems.


How the wind blows

Quickly after halting all proposed offshore wind projects, the Ontario government moved to reassure the renewable energy industries of its support. On February 24 it approved 40 renewable energy projects under its Feed-in Tariff program. A press release said the new projects will result in at least 240 more wind turbines, 1 million solar panels, and 7,000 jobs.’


Wendy Cooper leaves CEA

After 16 years, Wendy Cooper, chief executive officer of Consulting Engineers of Alberta, left the association in March to take up a new role as president and chief executive officer of Port Alberta. The interim chief executive officer and current registrar at CEA is Ken Pilip, P.Eng.


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