Canadian Consulting Engineer

What’s New… (August 01, 2006)

August 1, 2006
By Canadian Consulting Engineer



Canadian engineers help design California landmark

Vancouver consulting engineers Klohn Crippen Berger are doing erection engineering for a major portion of the new East Span on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in California.

The bridge will be the world’s largest self-anchored suspension bridge when it is completed in 2013.

Self-anchored suspension bridges require the bridge deck to be in place on falsework before suspension cables can be installed. As part of the American Bridge team, Klohn Crippen Berger will be providing structural and geotechnical design for 16 of the towers in the San Francisco Bay. The work will be done in the Vancouver office with Bruce Hamersley, P.Eng. as project manager for Klohn Crippen Berger.

The new span replaces a 1930s structure that was damaged during an October 1989 earthquake. The replacement structure stretches 2.18 miles long and is California’s largest construction contract at $1.4 billion. The lead design engineer is T.Y. Lin/Moffatt & Nichol.


Come West engineers

With Alberta desperate for engineering expertise, Consulting Engineers of Alberta is organizing an Overseas Recruiting Mission. Eight firms are participating, with the fees going towards advertising in the U.K. trade press for recruits. There will also be open houses at Canada House in London in early October, and others being planned in Manchester and Glasgow.

Meanwhile, in B.C., also hungry for engineers, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists is trying to process licence applications as quickly as it can. In July the association issued an urgent appeal for professionals willing to assist with interviewing applicants, many of whom are trained overseas.


Shawnessy Station wins international acclaim

The Shawnessy Light Rail Transit (LRT) Station in Calgary has won two prestigious international awards for innovation. Opened in June 2004, the station forms part of a southern expansion to Calgary’s LRT system.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded the station its Civil Engineering Research Foundation Charles Pankow Award in May. The award cited consulting engineers Stantec, the city of Calgary, the University of Calgary, Speco Engineering and Strudes as collaborators on the project.

In June, in Naples, Italy, the station was recognized with an Outstanding Structure design award from the International Federation for Structural Concrete. The distinction is one of only two bestowed in the buildings category by the Switzerland-based organization.

The Shawnessy station’s canopy system was created using an ultra high-strength concrete reinforced with organic fiber known as Ductal by Lafarge. It was the first time the material had been used as an architectural element in North America.


Point Lepreau nuclear reactor being refurbished

Work on refurbishing the 635-MW nuclear power plant at Point Lepreau near Saint John in New Brunswick is said to be on track so far. In 1983, the plant was the first Candu 6 reactor to enter service, and it is now the first of its type to be retrofitted.

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) was hired a year ago as general contractor for the retrofit. The work involves retubing 380 fuel channels and associated feeder tubes, and replacing the reactor’s aging technology. AECL is also responsible for constructing a solid waste handling facility already being built on the site. AECL has a fixed price and firm schedule contract. Local consulting engineering firms that are helping AECL in various aspects include Neill and Gunter, Logo and ADI.

New Brunswick Power will shut down the Lepreau plant in April 2008 for 18 months during the reconstruction which is estimated to cost $1.4 billion.

In June the federal government granted AECL $520 million to clean up radioactive waste and decommission buildings at its sites. The clean up relates to waste produced during research and development activities, some of which date back to the Cold War era.


New faces at head

Several provincial associations of consulting engineers held their annual meetings this spring. Consulting Engineers of B.C. elected Arnold Badke, P.Eng. as its president for 2006-2007. Badke is past president of Aplin & Martin Consultants in Surrey. Consulting Engineers of Alberta’s new president is Paul Breeze, P.Eng. He is the Alberta vice president for CH2M Hill’s transportation division.

Consulting Engineers of Ontario elected Ian Williams, P.Eng. as its chair. Williams is chair and CEO of McCormick Rankin Corporation. The new chair of the Association des ingnieurs-conseils du Qubec is Normand Brousseau, ing. He is the chair and vice president of Teknika HBA.


CIDA should fund engineering

Your article “Needs and Good Deeds: International Aid, Consulting Engineers and the Developing World,” (March/April, p. 30), does a good job of presenting a balanced view of a complex issue.

However, one point indirectly attributed to the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada (ACEC) needs clarification. You write: “ACEC and the forum believe … [t]his approach would help see Canadian aid dollars are spent on sending Canadian engineers, equipment and other products directly to the countries in need.” This [statement] implies that Canadian engineers will automatically specify Canadian materials and equipment.

One reason that some infrastructure projects have failed in the past is because engineers were obliged to specify their nation’s products even when these were completely inappropriate. For example, if a city in the developing world is already successfully using German butterfly valves in its water supply system, and has the spare parts and trained personnel to operate, maintain and repair them, then it doesn’t make sense to specify North American butterfly valves that are untested in local conditions on a new project just because the project is financed by Canada. Yet this is exactly what happened on one project that I worked on, and this was not an isolated instance.

If CIDA were to fund engineering projects without funding the subsequent construction work, this should leave the engineer free to make the best materials and equipment choices for each project. Canadians are well suited to this role because Canada’s comparatively limited industrial base means that there are fewer connections and obligations between engineers and equipment suppliers than in some other countries.

Chris Newcomb, P.Eng.

Chair, International Committee

Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada (ACEC)

Selling cheap fails owners

Re. CCE web site, July 26, “Engineers have to cut services to be competitive — Quebec poll.”

When I was a graduate student at Texas A&M many years ago, the main department store we had access to was a J.C. Penny outlet. That old Texas store featured a picture of the founder of the company and a comment below the picture. As memory serves, it said, “I have no quarrel with those who sell for less. They, better than anyone, know what their products are worth.” And that raises the question, who decides what their services are worth?

On the other side of this argument, the clients are saying they don’t get the service they expect or need. Isn’t this like buying a 1999 half-ton and wondering why it doesn’t perform like the 2006 Tundra? It seems to me both parties are saying that the system doesn’t work.

Ron Britton, P.Eng.

Professor and Associate Dean

Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg


Expanding Quebecor’s headquarters

Engineers on the project to expand Quebec
or’s head office in downtown Montreal are Nicolet Chartrand Knoll as structural engineer, and Pageau Morel as mechanical and electrical engineer. The architects are Cardinal Hardy and Arcop.

The new 19-storey building for the large media company is being built adjacent to Quebecor’s existing head office facing Place Victoria in the Quartier International.


Zero tolerance for bribery

The American Society of Civil Engineers has amended its 92-year old code of ethics to make engineers obliged to show “zero tolerance” towards corruption and bribery in the construction industry. The society is working to encourage civil engineering organizations worldwide to adopt similar guidelines.

Approximately 10% of the total money spent on construction and engineering worldwide is lost to corrupt activities according to conservative estimates.


DC for data centres

Sun Microsystems in California has a demonstration project to show that data centres can conserve massive amounts of energy by using direct current (DC) architecture to run servers connected to the internet. A group of other high tech companies as well as the California Energy Commission are behind the demonstration project. Using DC instead of AC power reportedly allows up to 20% energy savings. Pentadyne provided the power protection.


Waste overflows

The Canadian Construction Association is concerned about the lack of recycling capacity for construction waste. According to its report, despite the ever growing regulations requiring the diversion of waste, there are not enough recycling facilities to accept it. The CCA intends to raise the issue with the federal government.


September 17-19 — Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (CHES) Trade Show & Forum. Halifax, N.S. Tel. 613-531-9210,

September 17-21 — Sixth World Congress on Joints, Bearing and Seismic Systems for Concrete Structures. Halifax, N.S. Tel. Ronald Watson, 716-691-3301,

September 17-20 –Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Annual Conference. Charlottetown, P.E.I. Tel. 613-736-1350,

September 17-20 — Water in the City Conference, 21st Century Approach. Victoria, B.C. Tel. 250-472-7644,

September 24-27 — FIDIC 2006, International Federation of Consulting Engineers Annual Conference. Budapest, Hungary.

September 25-26 — Sustainable Lighting Solutions Workshop. Lightpoint Canada, Osram Sylvania, Mississauga, Ont. Tel. 905-673-6171 x2206,

September 27-28 — Future of Canada’s Infrastructure. Holiday Inn on King, Toronto. Held by Strategy Institute. Includes Andre Juneau, Ministry of Transport and Marie Lemay, Chair of National Roundtable for Sustainable Infrastructure and CEO Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. Tel. 416-944-8833,

September 30-October 5 — Canadian Dam Association Conference, “Dams: Past, Present and Future.” Quebec City. Tel. 780-432-7236,

October 1-4 — Sea to Sky Geotechnique 2006. 59th Geotechnical Conference and 7th Joint CGS/IAH-CNC Groundwater Specialty Conference. In Vancouver. Tel. Peter Lighthall, 604-473-5343,

October 11 to February 22, 2007 — NRC Institute for Research in Construction 2006 Technical Seminar Series on Sustainable Infrastructure. In 14 cities across Canada. In October, Fredericton (11th), Halifax (13th), St. John’s (16th), Winnipeg (24th), Regina (26th). $329 + taxes. Tel. 613-993-0435,


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