Canadian Consulting Engineer

What’s New… (January 01, 2008)

January 1, 2008
By Canadian Consulting Engineer


Spadina Slip begins changes to Toronto’s waterfront

Work on the revitalization of Toronto’s Central Waterfront has begun with the construction of a 620-sq. m undulating wooden pedestrian deck that stretches over the water at the foot of Spadina Avenue. Called the “Spadina Head of Slip,” the deck is one component in a scheme to redesign a three-kilometre stretch of Queen’s Quay Boulevard between Bathurst and Parliament Streets. The redesign of this section of the waterfront is by West 8 and DTAH.

Construction of the Spadina Slip deck involves repairs to the dock wall and creating fish habitat. Halsall Associates (Shah Sagharian, P.Eng.; Matt Humphries) is the civil and structural engineer. Somerville Construction is the contractor.

Meanwhile, the city and Waterfront Toronto — the agency supported by the federal, provincial and city governments to oversee the entire waterfront revitalization — are doing an environmental assessment study for creating a scenic drive along Queen’s Quay. They are also holding a design competition for the public space at the foot of Jarvis Street on the water’s edge.

Plans are in various stages of development for revitalizing almost the whole length of Toronto’s lakefront, stretching 10 kilometres from past Exhibition Place in the west to Coxwell Avenue at the start of the Beaches area in the east. The total area being redeveloped is 800 hectares, and when completed it will have 300 hectares of parks and 40,000 new residences. The area is divided for planning purposes into five sectors: the Central Waterfront, East Bayfront, West Don Lands, Lower Don Lands and the Port Lands.


Departures hall at Montreal’s Trudeau airport

The expansion of Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport continues with a new $250-million transborder departures hall scheduled for completion later this year.

The new hall will have 124 check-ins to 21 U.S. boarding gates. Besides a customs clearance hall and baggage sorting area, it has 1,500 square metres of retail space and 500 new underground parking spaces. The shell of a rapid link train station to downtown Montreal is also incorporated within the complex.

Engineering companies on the project include SNC-L/NCK as structural engineer, Dessau and BPR as mechanical-electrical engineers, and Dessau as civil engineers. The project manager is ADM. Architects are Provencher Roy, Cardinal-Hardy and Jodoin Lamarre Pratt.


Minneapolis errors found

The National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. has found that design error was a critical factor in the collapse of the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis last August 1. Investigators found 16 fractured gusset plates in the centre span that were roughly half the thickness they should have been. The bridge collapse killed 13 people and injured 100.

The bridge opened in 1967. The company that designed the bridge was bought by Jacobs Engineering in 1999.


Putting a price on emissions

Canada needs to impose a monetary penalty on carbon emissions throughout the entire Canadian economy, said the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in a report released January 7. Only through such a sweeping and general economic policy will Canada achieve meaningful reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions, said the roundtable. They also said the tax should be combined with regulatory controls in some industries.

The roundtable’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2020.


Environmental consultants lose appeal in New Brunswick

An Appeal court in New Brunswick has upheld the conviction of an environmental consulting firm on the grounds that violated the Fisheries Act. Late last year, the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench confirmed the conviction of Gemtec and the project director at the firm on two charges of violating section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

The consultants’ “crime” was to recommend and implement a landfill closure plan for the city of Moncton that allowed leachate to continue to flow from the landfill. The consultants recommended and installed a pipe that deposited the leachate into a small creek.

Tony Crossman and Daniel L. Kiselbach of Miller Thomson LLP advise that this court decision has “serious” implications for consultants and their employees. They say that consultants who fail to comply with the Fisheries Act could find themselves facing corporate and personal liability and penalties.

The Appeal court confirmed the penalty amounts, namely $25,000 for the company and $3,000 for the project director.

Part of the reason given by the courts for the conviction was that the consultants had been warned by a peer reviewer that the closure plan may have contravened the Fisheries Act, but the consultants took no action to submit the plan to Environment Canada or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for review.

An article on the original trial written by John Tidball of Miller Thomson, LLP was published in the January-February 2007 issue of Canadian Consulting Engineer, entitled “Held Responsible,” (p. 47).


Engineers Nova Scotia vote for continuing education

The Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia (APENS) has adopted a new logo — Engineers Nova Scotia — and will use that name in its dealings with the public and members.

The association’s official and legal name remains the same.

The association also voted at the end of 2007 to accept a mandatory professional development program. Almost 70% of voters were in favour.

Aside from Alberta, other provinces do not require their licensed professional engineers to adhere to continuing professional development programs. Such programs require licensed professionals to undertake education activities and upgrade their skills such as by attending conferences, reading articles, writing articles and making presentations.

The architectural associations in all the Canadian provinces made continuing education programs mandatory for their licensed members several years ago, and they are now moving towards establishing national standards.


UMA and Stantec win in Saskatchewan

Consulting Engineers of Saskatchewan announced last November that four projects had received CES 2007 Brian Eckel Awards of Excellence. UMA Engineering won two awards of excellence for the Marquis Industrial Trunk Sewer, in the infrastructure and project partnering categories. The project is one of the largest single underground infrastructure contracts undertaken by the city of Saskatoon and involved the installation of 1,200-mm to 3,050-mm diameter concrete pipes at a depth of up to 12 metres.

Stantec Consulting won two awards of excellence for the Circle Drive Pedestrian Bridge in Saskatoon, in the technology innovation and building science categories. To expand the bridge’s capacity, the engineers converted existing pedestrian walkways into vehicle lanes, and suspended a new pedestrian walkway from the space between the parallel twin spans.

Stuart Middleton, P. Eng. technical director of AMEC Americas in Saskatoon, received the 2007 Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan Meritorious Achievement Award for his services to the consulting engineering industry and the community.


LEED certification is not equal with P. Eng.

Following is a response to an article posted on the CCE Website November 23, 2007:

Reading the article on LEED certification in the U. S., I feel compelled to voice my strong objection to the Canadian and U. S. Green Building Council’s use of the term “Professional” when referring to those that have met their accreditation standard.

The PEO licensing process for Professional Engineers in Ontario generally requires the successful completion of a four-year university degree, four ye
ars of additional work experience under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer, and the successful completion of a number of professional practice exams.

The Green Building Council’s “professional” accreditation process, on the other hand, requires applicants to pass one exam that most find requires about one week of study. In my opinion, this is an insufficient threshold to support the use of the term professional. More importantly, this devalues the accomplishments of all practising professional engineers and erodes the credibility of the PEO as the sole licensing body for professional engineers in Ontario.

It is important to remember that the work of the Green Building Councils in both Canada and the U. S. is built on the foundations of professional engineering fostered and upheld by licensing bodies across North America.

LEED is just the latest in a long list of so-called required accreditations for engineers (remember when we all had to be ISO certified?). While LEED caught the imagination of many in the industry and has helped to bring “green buildings” into the mainstream consciousness, I was already a professional before the Green Building Council came along.

I believe the PEO should take a stand against the use of the term “professional” in reference to the LEED accreditation process and strongly discourage members from presenting the “LEED AP” designation with equivalent standing to P. Eng. on business cards and C. V.’s.

John L. Moore, P. Eng.

Director, Chief Engineer (Mechanical)

J. L. Richards & Associates, Ottawa.


Acquisitions and Partnerships

Genivar has acquired Transenco, an Ontario-based transportation planning firm with 20 employees in Toronto, Bancroft and Ottawa.

SNC-Lavalin of Montreal has acquired Minerconsult Engenharia, a mining engineering firm in Brazil with 1,000 staff. SNC-Lavalin has also acquired DTI Telecom, a Montreal telecommunications firm of 65 professionals.

Stantec has bought two civil and environmental engineering companies in the U. S.: R. D. Zande in Ohio; and Fuller, Mossbarger, Scott & May in Kentucky, Ohio and several other states.

MMM Group of Toronto has formed a corporate partnership with H. W. Lochner of Chicago to pursue P3 transportation projects.


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