Canadian Consulting Engineer

What’s new… (January 01, 2007)

January 1, 2007
By Canadian Consulting Engineer


Soccer stadium to open in March

Soccer star David Beckham is coming to North America and due to open in March is a new 20,000-seat soccer stadium on the exhibition grounds near downtown Toronto. The National Soccer Stadium at Exhibition Place will be home to the Toronto FC and the national team.

The 14,835-sq.m stadium holds 20,000 grandstand seats in a horseshoe plan. Player change rooms, training and press facilities are on the west side at grade level, with a VIP club on a mezzanine above. Building the new stadium required demolishing the Hall of Fame on the grounds.

Consulting engineers on the project are Halcrow Yolles, Mitchell Partnership, Mulvey & Banani, R.V. Anderson, Stantec, Cole + Associates, Terraprobe and MGTW. Prime consultant is Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects. PLC is building the project for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Montreal also has plans to build a soccer stadium for its team, the Montreal Impact. The stadium will be located in the east end of the city in Olympic Park.

Richmond Oval takes shape for Olympics

Despite earlier reports of cost overruns, VANOC, the Vancouver organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games reported in December that it was “on track and on budget,” with its construction projects.

Construction has started on the $178-million Richmond Oval, which is to be the most important legacy building of the Games. The 33,650-sq.m. facility has a 400-m speed-skating track and seating for 8,000 spectators. The total development covers 32 acres along the banks of the Fraser River and includes a waterfront park and plaza. Consultants include Cannon Design as architects, Glotman Simpson and Fast and Epp as structural engineers, Stantec as mechanical-electrical engineers, Delcan for civil design, Thurber for geotechnical work, BTY for costing and LMDG as fire code consultants.

The Olympic organizing committee hit an unexpected hurdle in January when the fabric roof of BC Place Stadium ripped open and deflated. The stadium is to be the ceremonial venue for the games.


GENIVAR buys Cochrane Design

GENIVAR of Montreal has expanded into western Canada with the acquisition in late December of the Cochrane Design Group, a consulting firm with 150 employees. Cochrane operates in infrastructure, transportation, power and industrial processes. It also offers architecture through PBK Architects of Vancouver. Current projects include the Canada Line Rapid Transit in Vancouver, a metallurgical coal mine in B.C. and an ethanol plant in Manitoba. The firm was founded in 1974 by Trevor Cochrane, and is now led by president Rob Harmer.

Following that acquisition, in January Genivar bought Kazmar Associates, a Toronto structural engineering firm of 25 employees that was founded in 1960.

This brings to three the number firms that Genivar has bought since it began trading as Genivar Income Fund on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year. At the time it became a publicly traded company it acquired MacViro.

Stantec to buy large New York firm

Stantec, another publicly traded Canadian consulting engineering company, has signed a letter of intent to acquire a 650-person firm from New York City. Vollmer Associates LLP does engineering, architecture, planning and landscape architecture focused on the transportation sector throughout the northeast U.S. In 2005, Vollmer’s gross revenue was approximately $80 million. Stantec now has more than 6,000 employees in over 80 locations. The deal is expected to close in April.

Dessau-Soprin secures IT

Dessau-Soprin, headquartered in Laval, Quebec, has bought Elytra Enterprises of Ottawa.

Elytra is a highly specialized consulting firm that focuses on IT and telecom security. It employs 20 people.

New CEO at Dayton & Knight

Sean Brophy, P.Eng. has been appointed as chief executive officer and president of Dayton & Knight in North Vancouver. Mr. Brophy succeeds Harlan Kelly, P.Eng. who will remain active in the firm.


Making a downtown in Markham

A session at Construct Canada on November 29 focused on Downtown Markham, a $3-billion mixed-use project that was billed as a “green project case study.” It is also “the largest planned mixed-use development in Canada.” Rudy Buczolits of the Remington Group, Sheldon Levitt of Quadrangle Architects, and Andrew Yip, the lead engineer with Masongsong Associates Engineering, made the presentation.

Intended to provide a focus for what is now a sprawling municipality northeast of Toronto, Downtown Markham is being built on 240 acres of farmers’ fields north of Highway 407. The Rouge Valley lies to the north, and Warden and Kennedy Roads bound it to the west and east. Altogether the community will be home to 9,500 residents housed in 3,900 condominiums and townhouses. The first mid-rise condominiums are already under construction.

The built-up area is to be relatively dense, leaving 72 acres for park and open space. The Rouge River that bisects the site north to south is to be re-naturalized within a wide green strip. Yip explained that presently the river is channeled through a straight farmer’s ditch. There will be stormwater ponds around the edge of the housing developments adjacent to the Rouge Valley. A rapid transit dedicated bus-way runs east to west through the community.

One of the development’s core areas, “Markham Centre,” is to be heated by a district energy system. While such a system is very environmentally friendly, Levitt and Buczolitz pointed out that ironically it doesn’t contribute to having individual buildings certified by LEED since they don’t benefit from the energy credits. A person in the audience suggested a solution might be forthcoming if the LEED for Neighbourhood Development rating system comes to Canada. It is currently being piloted by the U.S. Green Building Council.


Steel in B.C.

Winners in the 2006 Canadian Institute of Steel Construction B.C. Region awards were: Pine River Crossing (Buckland & Taylor), Texada Quarrying Shiploader (Westmar Engineering), the YVR Chevron Expansion (Stantec, Bush Bohlman), and the Electronic Arts Phase 2 Studio Building (Musson Cattell Mackey, Glotman Simpson).


A tunnel and a prayer

A service honouring St. Barbara, the traditional protector of those working underground or with explosives, was held December 4 at the Seymour shaft of the Seymour-Capilano twin tunneling project in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Such ceremonies are widely practised on construction projects in Europe. This one was hosted by the prime contractor, Bilfinger Berger Canada. A shrine to St. Barbara greets workers at the bottom of the Seymour shaft on the rock face where the twin tunnels diverge.

Two 3.8-metre diameter tunnel boring machines are now moving from Seymour towards the Capilano reservoir, seven kilometres away. The tunnels will bring water to and from a new filtration plant.

The Seymour-Capilano project is just one component of the GVRD’s $600-million plans to upgrade the region’s water supply. The need for water upgrades became obvious at the end of last year when a million people in the region were placed on a boil water advisory. Storms had caused landslides that resulted in unacceptable levels of turbidity in the reservoirs. — Tonia Jurbin, P.Eng.


$12.8 billion for oilsands

Development in the Alberta oilsands proceeds apace after a federal provincial review panel gave the go-ahead to Albian Sands Energy to expand its operations on the Muskeg River. The $12.8-billion project includes plans to build a bitumen extraction plant 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.

Suncor sues e

Suncor Energy is sueing engineering companies led by Bantrel and Bechtel Group for $630 million over a fire at its Millennium oilsands project. The fire closed down one of the project’s two upgraders. The suit alleges that the fire in January 2005 began because a nozzle had not been clad and lined with stainless steel.

Payrise in Alberta

Consulting Engineers of Alberta has released its 2007 salary and fee guidelines. Recommended salaries range over six levels from $55,000 to $136,000, up from $48,767 to $123,218 last year. Recommended fees for 2007 range from $105 to $260 per hour for professional services.


Ontario and municipalities agree

Ontario has a new standardized “Agreement for Professional Consulting Services, 2006” for use by municipalities. The document was developed by the Municipal Engineers Association and Consulting Engineers of Ontario. Geoff Pound, P.Eng., a former chair of CEO, noted that the last such agreement dates back to 1989 and since then there have been changes in commercial law and technology.


Harper government goes green

The Canadian government announced in January it will spend $300 million over the next four years on wind, solar, tidal, geothermal and biomass energy projects. It will also help fund homeowners to do energy retrofits.

Wearing his new “green” hat Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also announced he will be the honorary president of Americana 2007, an environment conference and trade show in Montreal to be held March 20-22.


City folk

In 2008, half of the Earth’s population will live in urban areas, marking the first time in history that humans are an urban species. — Worldwatch Institute


Deep computing recreates Montreal Street

A life-size, interactive recreation of Lower St-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal was demonstrated at the Carleton Immersive Media Studio in Ottawa last November. The visualization of 10 city blocks took engineers, architects and programmers more than two years and $1 million to create, using IBM’s Deep Computing Visualization technology. The 360-degree image was also transmitted from Montreal to Ottawa over CAnet 4, a network that has a capacity of 40 gigabits per second. Canada’s Department of Canadian Heritage helped fund the Montreal recreation.


March 3 — Consulting Engineers of B.C. Awards Gala, Vancouver. Convention and Exhibition Centre, Parkview Terrace. Tel. 604-687-2811.

March 7-8 — 5th Annual GTA Transportation Summit, Toronto. Holiday Inn on King. Held by Strategy Institute. Tel. 416-944-8833, e-mail

March 20-22 — 7th Biannual Americana Environmental Technology Trade Show and Conference, Montreal. Convention Centre. Tel. 514-270-7110,

March 22-23 — 11th Canadian Building Science & Technology Conference,Banff, Alberta. Alberta Building Envelope Council (ABEC). Tel. 403-560-2551,

April 4-5 — Healthcare Construction Certificate Program, Toronto. At Delta Chelsea Hotel. Canadian Health Care Engineering Society (CHES) and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering. Tel. 613-531-2661

April 15-17 — Water Environment Association of Ontario Annual Conference, London. Convention Centre. Tel 416-410-6933,

April 16-17 — CANECT 2007, 15th annual Canadian Environmental Conference and Trade Show, Toronto. Metro Convention Centre. Tel. 905-727-4666,

April 18-21 — NASCC Steel Conference, New Orleans. Sponsored by Canadian Institute of Steel Construction and AISC. Tel. 312-670-2400,


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