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Top award from ACEC-BC goes to guide for making schools safer

It's not a bridge ... it's not a building ... it's not an environmental remediation. This year the kind of engineering that goes on largely in the background rather than having a big physical profile has won the Association of Consulting...


Engineers work on the new seismic guidelines for retrofitting B.C. Schools which won the 2013 Lieutenant-Governor Award for Engineering Excellence from ACEC-BC.
Engineers work on the new seismic guidelines for retrofitting B.C. Schools which won the 2013 Lieutenant-Governor Award for Engineering Excellence from ACEC-BC.

It’s not a bridge … it’s not a building … it’s not an environmental remediation. This year the kind of engineering that goes on largely in the background rather than having a big physical profile has won the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – British Columbia (ACEC-BC) top award. The gala dinner celebrating the awards was held at the Vancouver Convention Centre on April 6.

Ausenco won the 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence for a technical guide for structural engineers to assess the seismic risks of public school buildings and for producing cost-effective retrofits. The report, formally titled, “Seismic Retrofit Guidelines for the Performance-based Seismic Risk Assessment and Seismic Retrofit Design of BC School Buildings,” was commissioned after the Ministry of Education initiated a $1.5-billion seismic mitigation program for public school buildings in 2004. The Ministry asked the Association of Professional Engineers of B.C. (APEGBC) to manage the guidelines, and the result is a 300-page manual and a companion web-based “Seismic Performance Analyzer.”

The guide was a collaboration of Ausenco; Bush, Bohlman & Partners; Genivar; Read Jones Christoffersen; David Nairne & Associates, John A. Wallace Engineering,  APEGBC; the University of British Columbia, and the B.C. Ministry of Education.

Besides the Lieutenant Governor award, nine other projects were honoured. 2013 Awards for Engineering Excellence Awards of Excellence went to the following:

• UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, Vancouver by Glotman Simpson (buildings category). With its combination of state-of-the-art laboratory, teaching, research and public exhibit space, the UBC Pharmaceutical Building is able to bring the entire Pharmaceutical Sciences department under one roof for the first time.

• Bridgeview Sewer System, Surrey, B.C. by AECOM Canada (municipal). To replace a 40 year-old vacuum sewer system, AECOM developed a replacement strategy combining conventional sewer installation with GPS based trenchless technology.

• South Fraser Perimeter Road, Eastern Section, Surrey, B.C. by Stantec Consulting (transportation). Stantec led a design team to create cost-effective infrastructure that removes truck traffic from commuter roads in the greater Vancouver area, while minimizing environmental impacts and improving adjacent communities.

• Wilson Farm Habitat Enhancement, Coquitlam, B.C. by Kerr Wood Leidal Associates (natural resources, energy and industry). The project involves a self-regulated tide gate system that enables full tidal exchange and easy fish passage, restoring habitat while at the same time providing a simple, low-maintenance means of flood protection.

Awards of Merit went to:

Tsingtao Pearl Visitors Centre, Qindao, China by Fast + Epp (buildings)

Harvest Energy Garden, Richmond, B.C. by Opus DaytonKnight (municipal);

202 Street Bus Rapid Transit Project, Langley, B.C. by Hatch Mott MacDonald (transportation);

Gibraltar Development Plan 3, McLeese Lake, B.C. (natural resources, energy and industry) by Ausenco;

Deh Cho Bridge, NWT by Associated Engineering, Burnaby, B.C. (soft engineering).

In the awards for individual engineers, the 2013 Meritorious Achievement Award went to John Watson, P. Eng., FEC. After graduating in civil engineering from UBC in 1963 Watson worked on high-profile projects with Wright Engineers (now Fluor) and H.A. Simons over 24 years. He is a past-president for both ACEC-BC and APEGBC.

The 6th Young Professional Award was given to Selena Wilson, P. Eng., of McElhanney Consulting Services. She has been involved in major transportation projects and has worked with the ACEC-BC and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Young Professional groups.

The panel of judges was led by Sarah Clark, P.Eng, president and CEO, Partnerships BC. Other jurors were Ken Elwood, associate professor, Faculty of Applied Science, UBC; Noel Mankey, chairman, BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association; Mike Bapty, P. Eng., vice-president, APEGBC; Frank Margitan, vice-president, Peter Kiewit Infrastructure Co.; David Yustin, president, AIBC; Dave Rutherford, AScT, BCLS, CLS, vice-president, ASTTBC; Willy Yung, P. Eng., director of engineering, Port Metro Vancouver; Patrick Livolsi, regional director – South Coast, Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure.