Canadian Consulting Engineer

Up Front

March 1, 2014
By Canadian Consulting Engineer



Alberta awards go to rural, urban and U.S. projects

Consulting Engineers of Alberta gave out their annual Showcase Awards on February 6 at a “Gala Italia” event at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

CEA President Craig Clifton, P.Eng. noted that the winning projects are in rural and urban sites in Alberta, as well in Nunavut and California.

In total 12 awards of excellence were given. Of these, Stantec Consulting won four: for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District building (two awards, sustainable design and international categories); the Wandering River Pipeline and Reservoir Design Build (water resources and energy production); and the North Highway Connector, Red Deer (transportation infrastructure).

SMA Consulting won three awards of excellence, all for projects in Edmonton: the North LRT Drainage Project (project management); the Gold Bar Thickener/Fermenter Operational Simulation (small firm, big impact); and the Earned Value Integrated Monitoring System (studies/software/special services).

Awards of excellence also went to Read Jones Christoffersen for the Glacier Skywalk, Jasper National Park (building engineering); to AECOM Canada for the Shawnee Park Subdivision Land Use Re-designation and Outline Plan, Calgary (community development); to Golder Associates, for the Linking Science and Community project, Kugluktuk, Nunavut (community outreach/in-house initiatives) and to Golder for the Oil Sands Technology Deployment Roadmaps, Calgary (natural resources, mining and industry). Associated Engineering won for the Gregoire East Sanitary Sewer Outfall, Fort McMurray (environmental).


Montreal and Toronto

grapple with expressways

The big master planning moves of the 1960s and 1970s left a legacy of expressways threading through Canada’s cities. Today these structures are either still seen as vital traffic arteries, or are dismissed as an urban blight, dividing neighbourhoods and encouraging car travel.

On February 21, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced that the city wants to cover a 125-metre section of the Ville Marie Expressway with public space. The expressway dates from 1967 and carries traffic through the downtown to the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

Most of the road runs in a tunnel, but there are exposed sections downtown. According to the mayor, covering the section between St. Urbain and Sanguinet Streets would better connect the downtown core with Old Montreal. It would also ease access to the new “superhospital,” the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Montréal that is under construction along Avenue Viger and is due to open in 2016.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Waterfront Toronto has recommended that the city remove 2.4-kilometres of the Gardiner Expressway East, an elevated section of the expressway that runs across the downtown from the Don Valley Parkway to Jarvis Street. (In 2001 the city already demolished a section of the expressway farther east.)

The recent environmental assessment for the Gardiner East involved Dillon Consulting, with Morrison Hershfield, Perkins + Will, HR&A and Hargreaves Associates.

They looked at several options, all of which come at a price. The options included repairing and keeping the expressway as it is, replacing it with a new elevated expressway or a tunnel, and the chosen option: the boulevard.

There is strong opposition for a tear down, not just from feisty politicians like Mayor Rob Ford, but also from transportation experts who say replacing the expressway with a ground level boulevard will make traffic conditions worse.


Halifax Central Library

makes new landmark

The Halifax Central Library is shaping up to be a new landmark in Nova Scotia’s capital city, with completion scheduled for August this year.

Located at the corner of Spring Garden Road and Queen Street in the heart of downtown, the 108,000-sq.ft. building has a bold architecture of juxtaposed horizontal boxes, clad with an aluminum curtain wall.

Fowler Bauld & Mitchell of Halifax are the prime consultant and architects, with an international firm, schmidt hammer lassen architects. SNC-Lavalin are the civil and structural engineers, and CBCL are the mechanical-electrical engineers.

The $57-million building is being designed for LEED certification, with features such as a green roof and rainwater harvesting, occupancy and daylight controls, and a chilled beam system for energy efficiency.


Big dams still bad

news, says report

A report from the University of Oxford’s Said Business School has come out punching against the construction of large dams.

Released March 10, 2014, the report is based on research of 245 large dams in 65 countries. It concludes that in the large majority of cases large dams are not economically viable, and “Instead of obtaining hoped-for riches, emerging economies risk drowning their fragile economies in debt owing to ill-advised construction of large dams.”

The study’s authors say theirs is the first systematic, global and independent research to be done since the World Commission on Dams published its findings in 2000.

They found that the construction costs of large dams are on average more than 90% higher than the budgeted cost at the time they were approved. This tendency to cost overruns has not declined in recent years.

The high costs were calculated even before any accounting for negative impacts on human society and the environment. Neither did they include the effects of inflation and debt servicing.

Researchers Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, Dr. Atif Ansar, Alexander Budzier and Daniel Lunn, published their research March 10 in Energy Policy.

They also note that mega-dams take a long time to build — “8.2 years on average and often more than 10 years” — leaving them vulnerable to financial volatility and hyperinflation.


Changes at Delcan, SNC-Lavalin, CH2M HILL

At Delcan, Rajan Philips, P.Eng. has been appointed as senior transportation engineer and manager of the company’s regional operations in Waterloo, Ontario. Philips was previously with the city of Guelph.

SNC-Lavalin has appointed Preston Swafford as chief nuclear officer, president and CEO of Candu Energy, based in Toronto, Swafford joins the company following a seven-year career with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Hatch has appointed Mario Marchese as the company’s new global director of renewable power. He will be based in Lima, Peru. Marchese’s credentials include an M.Eng. in mineral processing from McGill University.

David G. Wilkins has been appointed as SNC-Lavalin’s chief compliance officer. Wilkins was previously with Dow Chemical Company, in charge of ethics and compliance. Wilkins will succeed SNC-Lavalin Andreas Pohlmann, who will move into a consulting role focusing on World Bank compliance.

CH2M HILL has named Greg McIntyre as president of its global water market division. McIntyre was previously in the position from 2004-2013.


CH2M HILL acquires TERA

TERA Environmental Consultants of Calgary has agreed to be acquired by CH2M HILL. TERA has over 450 staff and has been in the environmental consulting business for 30 years, serving the pipeline, electrical transmission and oil and gas industries. The company has three offices in Alberta and one in Victoria, B.C.


3D laser images

show even nuts and bolts

Several hundred Ontario engineers gathered at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto on the night of March 6 to learn more about the magic of 3-D laser imaging.

Held as part of Engineering Month, the “Engineering Innovations in 3D Imaging” was organized by Professional Engineers Ontario.

Peter Srajer, P.Eng., advanced technology manager with MMM Group, gave a presentation about the company using 3D laser scanning on a range of proj
ects — everything from huge power plants to tunnels and bridges and historical buildings.

Srajer showed highly detailed and colourful 3D images reconstructed from millions and billions of data points. A power substation, for example, was detailed right down to the smallest pipes and bolts, to an accuracy of 2 millimetres.

He and other presenters said the only thing standing in the way of even greater 3D laser possibilities is the limits of computing power, “which has “not kept up.”


Ammonia is natural refrigerant

An editing error to “Refrigerants: Ammonia vs CO2,” in the March-April 2013 issue (p. 24, fourth paragraph), incorrectly identified ammonia as a synthetic refrigerant.


SNC-Lavalin stoic about

year-end results

Canada’s largest engineering company announced its 2013 year-end results on March 6. The company’s net income was $35.8 million for the year, down from $305.9 million in 2012.

“2013 was a year of great progress for SNC-Lavalin in spite of disappointing overall financial results,” said Robert G. Card, president and chief executive officer.

The company attributed its poor results in the infrastructure and environment division partly to “legacy fixed-price contracts, particularly in the hospital and road sectors.”


Municipalities not happy with Fund

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is concerned that while municipalities own the vast majority of Canada’s roads, water systems, public transit etc., to date they have received no clear indication that a fair share of the new BCF will be invested in municipal projects.They want 70% of the funds.

Claude Dauphin, president of FCM, also criticizes the new plan’s requirements for a “cumbersome” P3 screening process, and “rules that could force local governments to carry a higher share of project costs.”


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