Canadian Consulting Engineer

What’s New… (October 01, 2006)

October 1, 2006
By Canadian Consulting Engineer


Building drama at the University of Toronto

The latest in a string of buildings in Toronto designed by internationally acclaimed architects opened in early September. The Leslie Dan L. Pharmacy building at the southeast corner of the University of Toronto campus was designed by Foster Associates of the United Kingdom.

Sir Norman Foster came to public attention around the world with designs such as the high-tech Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank headquarters that he designed for Hong Kong in 1979, and Stansted Airport in England from 1981. More recently he designed changes to the Reichstag in Berlin, and the Millennium Bridge across the Thames River in London in association with Arup engineers. (The bridge became infamous when it opened in 2000 and had to be temporarily closed after the footfalls of the crowds passing over it caused unexpected lateral movements.)

The Toronto pharmacy faculty building is Foster’s first project in Canada. Halcrow Yolles is the structural engineer, and electrical and mechanical engineering is by H.H. Angus & Associates. The architect of record is Moffat Kinoshita and Cannon Design.

A tall, glass structure with a small footprint, the pharmacy building sits on the southwest edge of Queen’s Park, close to the provincial parliament buildings. Its 15 storeys amount to 15,600 square metres of space.

The dramatic ground level entry hall is a 20-metre high open area. It has columns five storeys high, as well as two silver “pods,” egg-shaped objects clad in a silver skin that hang in the space. One pod is a 60-person lecture theatre, and the other is a 24-person classroom with a lounge on top.

The $75 million building centralizes teaching and research space for the largest faculty of pharmacy in Canada.


World Council of Civil Engineers launched

A new worldwide organization for civil engineers has been formed. The World Council of Civil Engineers held its founding assembly on July 15 in Mexico City. Engineering organizations from around the world attended and signed a charter.

Objectives of the council are: (a) to promote the free and open exchange of technology, (b) to apply civil engineering knowledge and skills to fight and reduce poverty through the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, (c) to promote the civil engineering profession and ethics.

Jos Medem Sanjuan, the council’s first president, said: “signing this charter ratifies our conviction that civil engineers throughout the world can easily work together, for our approaches and techniques are almost identical as differences lie in the physical, social, economic, environmental, and political conditions throughout the world.”

Founding members include civil engineering organizations from Cyprus, Costa Rica, Cuba, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Portugal and Tanzania. The European Council of Civil Engineers and the Africa Engineers Forum have also signed up. Individual engineers can become members.

Two standing committees were approved, one on construction in Puerto Rico, and another on education and capacity building in Zimbabwe.

The WCCE 2007 general meeting will be hosted by the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers at the Victoria Falls. For information, contact Jette Bohsen,


Calgary gravel quarry to be developed

The site of a gravel quarry in the south end of Calgary is being reclaimed and developed as a huge community of homes, offices, parks and stores. The plans by Remington Development Corporation for the 314-acre Quarry Park were approved by Calgary city council this summer.

Gravel has been extracted from the quarry for over 50 years and used in construction projects in the city. The most recent owner was Lafarge Canada. Now that the quarry is nearing the end of its life, a parcel currently being used as a staging area has been targeted for reclamation and development. The site abuts the east bank of the Bow River just east of Deerfoot Trail.

The plans call for 1.7 million square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of stores, 2,300 homes and 80 acres of park area. Consulting firms working on the site preparation and infrastructure include IBI Group, Cirus Consulting, Westoff Engineering and Lim and Associates. Riddell Kurczaba is doing the architecture and engineering for the buildings.


Chillers in Ontario to go CFC-free

Ontario has proposed new regulations to require building owners to replace refrigeration and air conditioning units and chillers that contain Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. The proposed amendments to Ontario’s Refrigerants Regulation O.Reg. 189/94 were posted for public comment over the summer on the provincial Ministry of Environment’s website and will now go for cabinet approval.

Ontario is one of the last provinces in Canada to introduce the rules on using CFCs, with only New Brunswick and Nova Scotia still lagging behind. Canadian provinces have had rules governing the handling of CFCs and ozone depleting substances for several years, but the new stage of regulations affect the actual use of them in equipment.

Ontario’s proposed rules will require all CFC-containing chillers to be converted or replaced upon their first major overhaul beginning January 1, 2009. The rules would totally prohibit the operation of all such chillers beginning January 1, 2012. The province is also proposing to require wholesalers to take back CFC refrigerants at no charge. And it would prohibit the storage of CFC refrigerants six months after their recovery from equipment. CFCs will be designated as a hazardous waste on July 1, 2012.

The president of the Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Industry, Warren Heeley, is pleased that the Ontario government is coming into line. “After five years of operating a voluntary extended producer program to collect and dispose of CFCs, it’s time to level the playing field,” he said. He says Ontario currently has about 1,500 chillers of the 3,000-4,000 tonne capacity. Of these chillers, about 900 still use CFCs and are nearing their time for an overhaul.

CFCs are one of a number of halocarbons that are depleting the ozone layer in the stratosphere, a phenomenon that in turn admits harmful levels of ultraviolet solar radiation to reach earth. Other ozone depleting substances include bromofluorocarbons, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

By phasing out the emission of these substances, governments are hoping that their concentrations in the atmosphere will eventually return to pre-industrial-era levels. Global CFC production fell by 88% between 1988 and 1999. The global abundance of CFC-11 in the lower atmosphere peaked around 1994 and is now slowly declining, but the level of CFC-12 is still increasing very gradually.

Despite some progress in halting the damage, the Antarctic ozone hole expanded this year to its highest recorded level. It matched the hole recorded in 2000 at 28.5 million square kilometres. The World Meteorological Organization said in August that it would take until 2065 for the ozone layer to recover and the hole over Antarctica to close. That estimate was 15 years longer than the previous predictions.

Environmentalists are now targeting halons as an ozone depleting substance that should be phased out. Halons are used in fire protection.


Winner names Terry Fox Foundation

The winner of the draw in Canadian Consulting Engineer’s reader survey was Dave Judge, P.Eng. Judge’s name was entered into the draw after he participated in our online reader survey conducted in June. The winner of the draw was asked to nominate a charity to receive a $100 donation from the magazine. Judge chose the Terry Fox Foundation.

a senior project engineer with Hatch Energy, was surprised by the news, saying that “I can honestly say that I never win anything.” He says the Terry Fox Foundation is an appropriate cause because: “Terry’s relentless drive and determination seems to fit very well with the engineering profession!”

Canadian Consulting Engineer thanks all the other subscribers who participated in the survey.


Flying high

Two of Canada’s largest airports are planning to grow again. Vancouver International Airport is in the process of building a $200-million new wing on its terminal, while it has drafted plans to extend two existing runways and add a new one. The airport is consulting with the local communities over where to locate the new runway.

Edmonton International Airport is planning a $100-$150-million expansion to cope with enormous increases in its passenger traffic. The airport is already servicing five million passengers a year, a target that was not supposed to be reached until 2015. Planned upgrades would include changes to the check-in counters, parking and area around the runway.


Laval bridge collapses

Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security is to hold a public enquiry into the cause of the collapse of a 20-metre section of overpass over Highway 19 in Laval, Montreal. The collapse of the 1970s-era structure in early October killed five people. The ministry of transportation immediately identified 20 similar structures that needed a detailed review.


Universities delve into concrete and water

The University of Laval has opened a new laboratory for researching the durability of concrete infrastructures.

The Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal is setting up a mobile laboratory to investigate contamination in water sources. The 16-metre long vehicle will have equipment to detect and treat contaminants that have only recently been identified, such as pharmaceuticals.


Oil vs. Kyoto

“Nurturing doubt about climate-change has become big business for public-relations companies and lobbyists south of the border. From 2000 to 2003, Exxon Mobil Corp. alone gave more than $8.6-million (U.S.) to think tanks, consumer groups and policy organizations engaged in anti-Kyoto messaging, according to the company’s own records.” From “Meet Mr. Cool,” an article by Charles Montgomery in The Globe and Mail, August 12, 2006.


Cool is clever

A study in Denmark funded by the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) found that lowering the temperature and increasing ventilation in classrooms improved student performance by up to 20 per cent.


Inside the Sponge

An exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal features students’ ideas to modify a dormitory at Simmons Hall at the MIT campus in Cambridge. Simmons Hall was designed in 2002 by Steven Holl as a radical structure inspired by the sea sponge and the concept of porosity. The student were asked to address the idea of “How to drill a hole in Simmons Hall,” example at right. The exhibition runs until November 12.


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