Canadian Consulting Engineer

Up Front: news

June 1, 2014
By Canadian Consulting Engineer



Speaker at CaGBC conference

in Toronto delivers green building inspiration

Keynote speaker on June 4 at the Canada Green Building (CaGBC) Conference in Toronto was Matt Noblett of Behnisch Architekten. The German design firm is based in Stuttgart and had its beginnings in the Post World War II era. Its founder helped design the 1972 Olympic Stadium in Munich (with Frei Otto), and new Parliament buildings in Bonn — just before East and West Germany were unified and the government moved to Berlin.

Noblett, who is from Behnisch’s Boston office, presented projects from both Europe and the U.S. What was striking was their holistic approach to green design and creative features that they had introduced as early as the 1990s. It was a reminder that if you start from fundamentals, green design does not have to be formulaic.

The first building Noblett showed was from 1998 in the Netherlands. The IBN Institute is a sprawling complex with large interior gardens interspersed generously between built blocks.

Then he showed the Genzyme pharmaceutical building near the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, dating from 2003. In this project the design integrated the garden areas vertically at different levels off a 13-storey atrium. To direct sunlight down into the atrium they mounted heliostats on the roof, and installed a set of prismatic chandeliers. The chandeliers hanging deep into the atrium playfully reflect daylight of their surfaces.

One of the most colourful and appealing projects was a simple parking garage in Santa Monica, California. A bright red ramp and red metal panels punctuate the facade. The panels have reflective material on the inside, which is folded out to reflect sunlight into the garage. Ironically, Noblett said, despite this daylighting, the building code requires that artificial lighting be left on permanently inside the garage.


Report shows up anonymously at Elliot Lake Inquiry

New questions are arising at the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry as to how the parking lot structure in the 1970s-era Algo Centre Mall was allowed to deteriorate to such a point that a steel beam connection failed.

For years the rooftop parking deck was known to be leaking water into the structure below and it had undergone several engineering inspections.

Now new evidence has shown up, long after the Commision of Inquiry hearings are over. On May 8 a government report was mailed anonymously to the Inquiry with a typewritten note asking whether the document had been taken into account at the hearings. Apparently it had not, though the 60-page report dates from 1988 and was prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Housing specifically on “the deterioration, repair and maintenance of parking garages.”

Responding to an order by the Commission, the Province of Ontario confirmed on May 30 that the 1988 report had prompted changes to the building code for new parking lots, including incorporating, CSA Standard 413. However, no formal regime had been instituted for maintaining existing parking lots. The province said the 1988 report was widely disseminated among engineers, architects, etc., that it was published in English and French, and still sits on library shelves.

PEO is already moving towards implementing its first mandatory continuing education program for licensees partly in response to the tragedy in Elliot Lake. In its recommendations to the Commission of Inquiry, PEO also recommended specialist structural designations, and a stricter regime for inspecting existing structures.

Justice Belanger is due to release the Inquiry findings by October 31.


Federal government acts

on industrial emissions

The Government of Canada has proposed the first mandatory regulations to govern pollutant emissions from industry.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said on June 3 that the proposed Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations “will contribute significantly to lower smog levels and better air quality overall for Canadians.”

The first phase of requirements will affect industrial boilers and heaters, stationary engines, such as those used for gas compression or back-up generators, and the cement manufacturing industry.


Specialized surgical suite wins top ACEC-Manitoba award

The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Manitoba (ACEC-Manitoba) awarded its top Keystone Award to WSP Canada for a 1,000-m2 specialized healthcare project: a surgical suite on the second floor of the Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine, part of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

AECOM won an award of excellence for its assessment of the condition of the City of Winnipeg Sewer Interceptor Network. The 119-km network runs 20 metres deep, making it impossible to inspect by conventional means. AECOM used multi-sensor technology to enable it to be assessed for the first time.

Hatch won for the Keeyask Generating Station Planning Studies. From 1999 to 2013, Hatch teamed with Manitoba Hydro and First Nations to develop preliminary designs for the 695-MW hydropower station to be constructed in northern Manitoba.

SMS Engineering won for the Investors Group Field. The open air stadium for 40,000 people hosts the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It incorporates two 140 metre long trusses supporting an undulating canopy roof.

An award of excellence also went to AECOM for the James A. Richardson International Airport Elevated Roadway, Departure Level Bridge. The 506-m structure has a post-tensioned ribbed beam superstructure.

Stantec Consulting won an award of excellence for the Swinging Bridge Replacement in the town of Souris. The 184-metre long clear span pedestrian suspension bridge is the longest of its kind in Canada.

Three individuals were honoured. William H. [Bill] Brant, P. Eng., won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Now with WSP, he spent many years with his long-time associate Alf Poetker at Poetker Engineering. That company was acquired in 1990 by Cochrane Engineering, which in turn was acquired in 2007 by Genivar, now rebranded as WSP. Brant is past chair of the American Water Works Association, and past president of the Western Canada Water and Wastewater Association.

Kristen Poff, EIT, won the ACEC-Manitoba Rising Star Award, and Alana Gauthier, P. Eng. won the Engineering Action Award. Both are with WSP in Winnipeg.


Alberta spends $104 million

to prevent flooding

In response to the devastating floods last June, Alberta has announced it will provide $104 million for three projects. The projects are to protect dams from erosion or washouts, which will reduce flood damage to downstream communities.

At the Travers/Little Bow Dam southeast of Vulcan, AMEC and Klohn Crippen are the engineers for an upgrade that involves a combined emergency spillway and connecting canal. Also the Little Bow Dam will be raised and the irrigation outlet will be replaced.

MPE is the consulting engineer for a project at Taylor Coulee Wasteway and Bullhorn Wasteway near Cardston. The existing wooden emergency spillways is being replaced with larger, concrete spillways.

Another project being upgraded is the Bassano Dam, a 100-year old structure that “barely survived” the 2013 flood. At press time, an engineer had still not been hired.


Associated and DIALOG

Associated Engineering has appointed Steve Croxford as professional services production manager. He will lead in company-wide procedures, tools and systems. Alan Emery has been appointed national practice leader, highways. He will also remain as manager of the Kelowna office.

Two engineers were included in 10 new associates announced by Dialog. Matt Parkes, P.L. (Eng.) is based in Calgary and part of the mechanical group. Ryan Renihan, P.Eng. is based in Edmonton and a structural engineer.


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