Canadian Consulting Engineer

Up Front

May 1, 2014
By Canadian Consulting Engineer



Port Mann, Highway 1 wins

top award in B.C.

The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia (ACEC-BC) gave its 2014 awards at a gala dinner on April 12, at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

Guests dressed in 1940s attire for the theme “Swing into Spring,” and dignitaries in attendance included the Hon. Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and the Hon. Linda Reid, Speaker of the BC Legislature.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence went to H5M, a joint venture of Hatch Mott MacDonald and MMM Group, for their onshore works for the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvements. Part of the Trans-Canada Highway between Vancouver and Langley, the transportation corridor is Metro Vancouver’s busiest.

Awards of excellence went to: Jasper Place Library, Edmonton by Fast + Epp; Mosquito Creek Debris Flow Net, North Vancouver by Tetra Tech; Ruskin Dam Seepage Control Upgrade, Mission by Golder Construction; John Matthews Ravine Restoration, Burnaby by Associated Engineering; and finally, the Heat Seeking Sewer Model, Vancouver by Kerr Wood Leidal Associates.

In the awards for individuals, the 2014 Meritorious Achievement Award went to Brian Johnson, P. Eng. Johnson recently retired from Stantec after 30 years, 20 of which he served as vice president of B.C. where he oversaw the growth of the company to over 800 staff and revenues in excess of $100 million. The Young Professional Award went to Allison Clavelle, P.Eng., of Urban Systems who has served two terms as chair of ACEC-BC’s Young Professionals Group.


Consulting Engineers of

Ontario celebrate excellence

Also on April 12, a few hours before ACEC-BC gave out its awards, the 12th Annual Ontario Consulting Engineering Awards were held by Consulting Engineers of Ontario. The top Willis Chipman Award went to REMISZ Consulting Engineers for a multi-use path they completed for the National Capital Commission along a very steep escarpment on Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Parkway. The design uses a system of micro piles, elevated precast concrete slabs, and a new type of guiderail system.

The awards were handed out at the Liberty Grand in downtown Toronto. Bruce McCuaig, president and chief executive officer of Metrolinx, was keynote speaker.

Awards of excellence, selected according to the firm’s number of employees, went to:

1-25 employees: Integral Group for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario headquarters in Toronto.

26-50 employees: Cowater International of Ottawa for planning, financial management, design and construction supervision of 600 rural water systems in Mozambique.

51-100 employees: Associated Engineering for upgrading the century-old Scott Street Sewage Pumping Station in downtown Toronto.

100-350 employees: Halsall Associates won for renovations and a new 15-storey tower at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

350+ employees: MMM Group for Quito International Airport in Ecuador.

The awards were chosen from 36 nominees.

Barry Steinberg, chief executive officer of CEO, noted: “The quality of the work we see each year through this awards program speaks volumes about the incredible skill and dedication of consulting engineers in Ontario and the reputation they’ve earned around the globe.”


APEGA struggling to keep

up with applications

The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) is struggling to keep up with the large number of applications it is receiving from engineering and geoscience graduates. APEGA received 6,200 applications for membership in 2013, a statistic that — astonishingly — means approximately 1 in 10 of newcomers to the province is applying to the association.

About 60% of the applications come from other Canadian provinces, while 40% are from other countries.

Philip Mulder, director of communications with APEGA, says that the reasons why they have so many applications is “obvious.” “There’s work available for professional engineers and geoscientists in Alberta right now and into the foreseeable future. While this is good news, it does result in a large number of applications to APEGA,” he says.


Engineering giant

Parsons acquires Delcan

Parsons, based in Pasadena, California, has acquired Delcan, a company that has its roots in Toronto.

Delcan was incorporated on December 31, 1953 as De Leuw Cather Canada and one of its earliest projects was the first subway transit line in Toronto. Today the company, which is mostly employee-owned with Manulife as a minority shareholder, employs 800 people in 25 locations around the globe. It had revenues of $126 million in 2013.

SNC-Lavalin sells AltaLink

SNC-Lavalin has entered into a binding agreement to sell 100% of its interest in AltaLink. The sale is to Berkshire Hathaway Energy of Des Moines, Iowa. It will bring SNC-Lavalin approximately $3.2 billion.

Founded 12 years ago, AltaLink operates approximately 12,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 280 substations in Alberta. It delivers electricity to approximately 85 per cent of the province’s population.

SNC-Lavalin said that the sale represents “another significant step” in the execution of the company’s strategic plan.

Two hydraulic modelling companies join forces

Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd (NHC), based in Edmonton has acquired LaSalle Consulting Group based in Montreal. They are among the few private companies in North America that have hydraulic laboratories. Brian Hughes, P.Eng. of NHC said: “It’s a fit that makes sense. Both firms are highly regarded in the industry, but operate mostly in different geographic markets.”


Jacques Whitford

founder honoured

Michael S. Whitford, P.Eng., vice-president for Canada-geotechnical at Stantec, was presented with the President’s Award from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-New Brunswick (ACEC-NB) in April. Whitford was a founding partner of the well-known Atlantic Canada company Jacques Whitford, which at one time had 1,700 staff working primarily in the environmental and geosciences fields. The company was acquired by Stantec in 2009.

on Lien Act.

The decision is in response to concerns raised by general contractors, owners and others about the proposed Bill 69 Prompt Payment Act, which has already passed its second reading.

An article on the Ontario General Contractors’ Association posted March 11 said the proposed changes under Bill 69 “would seriously disrupt the way the construction industry operates, impacting everyone from homeowners conducting renovations to the successful and timely completion of major infrastructure projects.”

The article said that while the contractors support the principles of Bill 69 and that “subcontractors should be paid promptly for good work,” they found that the bill’s reforms were “so far reaching” the changes should be considered in a more formal process involving everyone affected by the legislation.

The unions and others that support Bill 69, on the other hand, say that the habitual late payment of subcontractors in the construction industry invites abuse, and that the practice puts an unfair burden on the trades. They say late payments are “[not] only harmful to our industry and the economy, but they have a very real negative impact on workers and their families, by lowering employment and investment in training.”



Ontario to review

Construction Lien Act

The government of Ontario is conducting an independent review of its Construction Lien Act. The decision is in response to concerns raised by general contractors, owners and others a
bout the proposed Bill 69 Prompt Payment Act, which has already passed its second reading.

The unions and trade industries who support Bill 69 say that the habitual late payment of subcontractors invites abuse and puts an unfair burden on the trades.



Highrise and lowrise ventilation standards to be same

ASHRAE is proposing to consolidate its residential air-quality standards, regardless of building height. Common areas in any residential building would fall under the current standard for higher buildings, standard 62.1. All dwelling units, meanwhile, would fall under the current low-rise residential ventilation standard 62.2.


Cement giants merge

Switzerland’s cement manufacturer Holcim announced in April that it is buying Lafarge of France. The merger will create the world’s largest construction materials company.


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