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For professional engineers in private practice



University of Waterloo


Toronto’s New Skyscrapers

UNDER PRESSURE Liability and Engineers

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December 2013 Volume 54, No. 7

Cover: Environment 3 Building, University of Waterloo, Ont. Photograph by A-Frame, courtesy Pearce McCluskey Architects. See story page 12.

features Environment 3. The engineers for a new building at the University of Waterloo explain strategies they used to achieve LEED Platinum certification. By Nigel Thompson, P.Eng., WalterFedy


HVAC and Noise. Four scenarios where building design has to be carefully attuned to overcome acoustical problems with HVAC equipment. By Brian Chapnik, P.Eng, HGC Engineering


Growth Spurt — Toronto’s new Skyscrapers. A host of new condominium towers in downtown Toronto stretch to heights above 70 storeys. By John G. Smith


Under Pressure. Clients are expecting consulting engineers to assume legal responsibility for a growing number of risky areas in construction projects. By Bronwen Parsons


Weather Beating — Engineering Outdoor Comfort in Hot Climates. Computer-aided analysis helps with urban planning in some of the most extreme climates on earth. By Duncan A. Phillips, P.Eng. and Ryan Danks. P.Eng., RWDI


Under Pressure. See story p. 24.

departments Comment


Up Front


ASHRAE Conference Preview




Advertiser Index


Next issue: Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability at UBC - What are we learning? Restoring power after the Calgary Floods. ASHRAE’s latest energy standard.

on topic ENGINEERS & THE LAW A “Perfect” Project. Lessons in how engineers can avoid claims on a construction project. By Owen Pawson, Miller Thomson LLP 30 December 2013

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CONVERSATIONS Anne Poschmann. One of the few women who has attained a top position as a consulting engineer in Canada discusses how she got there. 34 Canadian Consulting Engineer


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Bronwen Parsons E-mail: (416) 510-5119 Senior Publisher

Clients are loading new liability onto engineers

Maureen Levy E-mail: (416) 510-5111


Rosalind Cairncross, P.Eng.

t was during the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC) summit in June that I began to hear a lot about consulting engineers being pressured by clients to sign unreasonable contracts. Clients are attempting to load engineers with liability in areas far beyond their traditional professional responsibilities. The obligation to ensure safety on the construction site, for example, or to provide warranties for materials and products, has traditionally fallen to the contractor, but these responsibilities are also creeping into engineers’ contracts with clients. Then there are new expectations such as that the consultant will warranty that the project will reach a certain level of LEED certification — scary stuff! During interviews for writing the article “Under Pressure” (p. 24) I had some interesting discussions about what could be driving this legal juggernaut. “How have we moved from 20 years ago, when things were much more trustbased?” wondered one engineer. “Contracts used to be based on a handshake and short-form agreements. Now we have multi-page legal documents.” One theory I heard was that clients, especially government clients, are young and lacking experience. Evidently the demographic predictions of Generation X staff shortages have come home to roost. With few managers in their 40s and 50s available, young men and women in their 20s are often put in charge of projects. They sometimes mistakenly think, for example, that they can simply use the same contract for procuring widgets as they use to hire professional services. Several interviewees also talked about the influence of wider social changes. Construction projects figure high in the media spotlight these days and with the internet and social media, any activist with a cause has an easy platform for complaint. Consequently politicians and bureaucrats are much more leery of projects hitting technical snags and going over budget, and so they are keen to cover all their legal bases in their contracts with the consultants. While many clients and municipalities are willing to negotiate the terms of their contracts, I also heard that others are virtually blackmailing their consultants to agree to unreasonable terms. As for remedies, there is only so much that consulting engineers can do. Any attempt by firms to stand together as a group and refuse to work for a particularly demanding client could be taken as collusion and therefore is illegal. But consulting engineering associations such as ACEC-BC and CEO have been able to issue general advisories to clients about different contractual issues as they come up. Another tactic they have taken is to visit individual clients and try to persuade them to drop their demands. The best advice I heard was to try to convince clients to use ACEC contracts, pointing out that they are an industry standard. Failing that, consulting engineers have to keep on plugging for higher fees to cover any new risks, or simply turn down work where the liability demands are too precarious. And finally they need to train, train, and train all their staff in contracting and to be careful about what they agree to. Bronwen Parsons 4

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80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9 Tel: (416) 442-5600 Fax: (416) 510-5134 CANADIAN CONSULTING ENGINEER is published by BIG Magazines LP, a division of Glacier BIG Holdings Company Ltd. EDITORIAL PURPOSE: Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine covers innovative engineering projects, news and business information for professional engineers engaged in private consulting practice. The editors assume no liability for the accuracy of the text or its fitness for any particular purpose. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Canada, 1 year $60.95; 2 years $91.95 + taxes Single copy $8.00 Cdn + taxes. (HST 809751274-RT0001). United States U.S. $60.95. Foreign U.S. $60.95. PRINTED IN CANADA. Title registered at Trademarks Office, Ottawa. Copyright 1964. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in part or in full without the consent of the copyright owner(s). ISSN: 0008-3267 (print), ISSN: 1923-3337 (digital) POSTAL INFORMATION: Publications Mail Agreement No. 40069240. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Circulation Dept., Canadian Consulting Engineer, 80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9. USPS 016-099. US office of publication: 2424 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14304-5709. Periodicals postage paid at Niagara Falls, NY. US Postmaster: send address changes to Canadian Consulting Engineer, PO Box 1118, Niagara Falls NY 14304. PRIVACY: From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us. tel: 1-800-668-2374, fax: 416-510-5134, e-mail:, mail to: Privacy Officer, BIG, 80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9. Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Member of the Canadian Business Press

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) for our publishing activities.

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up front




Bibliothèque Guy-Bélisle in St-Eustache, Quebec The library was one of several projects to win design awards of excellence from the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC-ICCA) at a gala held in Laval on October 8. The award went to SDK et associés, structural engineers, ACDF Architecture, Sofab and Opron Construction in the commercial-institutional category.


Waterloo bridge spans Grand River Construction was recently completed on the Fairway Road Grand River Bridge, which connects Kitchener and Cambridge in the Region of Waterloo, southern Ontario. The crossing is the largest bridge ever constructed by the

Stark questions posed to Elliott Lake panels On November 18-21 roundtables were held in Ottawa as a follow-up to evidence given at the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry. Justice Paul Belanger called for the roundtables to seek expert advice on subjects related to public safety that had arisen during the hearings. into the collapsed mall. The panelists considered questions such as: • Should the term “prime consultant” be defined and the roles and responsibilities be clearly enunciated? • The Algo Centre Mall included an open air parking lot over occupied space. Are you aware of other commercial buildings in Canada of similar design and construction? Are there problems with this kind of structure which need to be addressed by consultants? • Should Professional Engineers Ontario adopt a system of mandatory continuing education as do other professional engineering licensing bodies? • Should PEO adopt guidelines for structural engineering practice and independent reviews similar to those now

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Fairway Road Grand River Bridge, Waterloo, Ont. photographed under construction.

Region. It consists of a four-span, highlevel, variable depth, post-tensioned, cast-in-place, twin-box girder segmental structure measuring 237 metres long. It has a main span of 95 metres over the river and carries four lanes of traffic with multi-use sidewalks. MMM Group was the prime consultan for both the design and construction administration.

continued on page 8 6

Sunnybrook hospital helps stabilize Ontario grid Large electricity consumers in the Toronto area have joined a network to help balance the Ontario power system. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Collingwood Public Utilities, Walmart, McMaster University, and Atlantic Packaging are on the Enbala Ontario Grid Balance network. It automatically fine tunes their power needs second-by-second in real time. The system is designed to give a 4-MW demand response. MATERIALS

Wood First questioned At the CONVERGE 2013 conference held in Vancouver in October, members of the National Coalition for Fair Construction Practices expressed concerns with the wood industry. Members are upset over a campaign to have governments mandate the use of wood over other materials for public projects. TOOLS

Free app from Vancouver engineers Fast + Epp, structural engineers in Vancouver, have developed a free iPhone app that allows architects and engineers to assess the feasibility of a project before they do more detailed design. http://fastepp. com/index.php/en/concept-app


F December 2013

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continued from page 6


Wood Centre under way In downtown Prince George, B.C., work is under way on the tallest contemporary all-wood building in North America. At over 29 metres high, with seven stories, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre will use 1,800 cubic metres of wood and wood engineered products manufactured in B.C. It will include research and classroom space for the University of Northern BC’s new master degree program in wood engineering and science. Consultants are Michael Green Architecture, Equilibrium Consulting (structural), B.R. Thorson, RDH Building Engineering, MMM Group and Opus DaytonKnight.

Wood Innovation and Design Centre, Prince George, B.C. PROFESSION

Problems in bill to amend Quebec Engineering Act The Association of Consulting Engineers of Quebec (AICQ) submitted a brief to the National Assembly on November 12 regarding hearings on Bill 49. The bill proposes changes to Quebec’s Professional Engineers Act, Architects Act and legislation for geologists, chemists and agronomists. AICQ said that overall the association is “satisfied” with the bill and its long-awaited revisions to the legislative framework. However, AICQ also has concerns, such as that the proposals seem to exclude engineers from doing work on the building envelope. AICQ would also like the law to specify that engineers have a role in the field of sustainable development and supervision. And whereas the bill recommends that engineers should keep docu-

ments related to a project for its entire life cycle, AICQ recommends this period should be limited to 10 years. POWER

Timiskaming Dam complex first phase opens Repairs to the Quebec portion of the Timiskaming Dam complex have been completed. Located in the Ottawa River 65 kilometres northeast of North Bay, the complex consists of two structurally independent dams, one in Quebec and the other in Ontario, joined by an island in the river. An interprovincial roadway runs along the top. The dams were built in 1909-1913 by the Government of Canada and PWGSC

published by APEGBC and which resulted from the inquiry into the Station Square collapse in Burnaby, B.C. in 1988? • Should PEO, OAA and OACETT provide guidelines with clearer standards for the inspection of an existing building? The roundtable participants included representatives from Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), the Ontario Architects Association (OAA), the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), the Ontario Buildings Officials Association and organizations representing insurers and building owners.

MGA Michael Green Architecture

up front

Quebec dam at the Timiskaming complex.

consist of concrete structures with sluices and removable stop logs. CIMA+ SENC of Gatineau were consulting engineers on the $800,000 Quebec Dam repairs, which included installing new steel supports under the existing concrete slab. Meanwhile Hatch of Niagara Falls has a $1.9 million contract from the continued on page 10

At Ca

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Paul (227)

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up front

continued from page 8

federal government to do engineering design for the larger and more complex work of entirely replacing the Ontario Dam. An environmental effects evaluation was due this fall. PEOPLE

Martin Roy is LEED Fellow Martin Roy, ing., has become the first Quebec engineer to be designated a LEED Martin Roy, ing. Fellow. The tribute was given at the Greenbuild conference in Philadelphia on November 21 by the U.S. Green Building Council. Seven Canadians have been made LEED Fellows so far. The designation honours expertise, leadership, innovation, and dedication to green building. Roy was one of the first LEED-certified professionals and a member of

the Canada Green Building Council. His firm, Martin Roy et Associés, is near Montreal.



The 2014 Winter Conference of the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is from Saturday, January 18 to Wednesday, January 22 in New York City. Not surprisingly in a city of almost 600 skyscrapers the conference focuses on tall buildings. Sessions are held at the New York Hilton hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. The conference technical program has eight tracks. • Tall Buildings: Performance Meets Policy. Sessions will look at opportunities in the design, development and operation of tall and super-tall buildings. Others present the measured and measurable use of utilities, envelope (infiltration and exfiltration), building pressure, waste handling, elevators, carbon and adaptive reuse. • Building Information Systems. Sessions will investigate how building control technologies are integrated for operational efficiency. • Hydronic System Design. • Building Performance and Commissioning. • International Design. Sessions will address innovative design strategies to meet environmental elements, geography and cultures. • Environmental Health through Indoor Environmental Quality. • Systems and Equipment. • Fundamentals and Applications. For more information, visit http://

50 years at Crossey Engineering Crossey Engineering celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The company was founded by Ted Crossey, a mechanical engineer, on Charles Street in downtown Toronto. After being joined by Ron Firman, an electrical engineer, the office expanded quickly and moved to north Toronto. In 1992 Wally Eley and Clive Lacey took over the leadership and in 2000 the company established Consullux Lighting and other specialist groups. . The company’s portfolio includes the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Four Season Opera House, Toronto; and Palm Island, Dubai.

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The BEHLEN commitment… “BEHLEN’s involvement early in the process allows us to design with knowledge and confidence. They are highly committed to the vision of our projects and collaborate to provide solutions that are both functional and visually pleasing.” Jeff Penner Principal/Architect, Stantec Winnipeg, MB

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By Nigel Thompson, P.Eng. WalterFedy

Environment 3 A-Frame Photography


or its third building on campus, the Faculty of the Environment at the University of Waterloo wanted one of the most environmentally responsible buildings on a university campus in Canada. Design on Environment 3 (EV3) had started in October 2009 based upon LEED silver expectations, but soon afterwards the faculty raised the expectation to LEED Platinum. Our design had to be both green and innovative, while still meeting the request-for-proposal requirements. The building also had to be constructed within the original time frame in order to receive government funding. In the end, a total of 53 LEED credits were achieved; 52 credits were required for LEED Platinum status. In December 2012, EV3 became the first structure to earn this top green building certification on an Ontario university campus, and only the second on a campus in Canada. Located close to two other Environment buildings in 12

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the southwest area of the campus, the $23-million, fourstorey, 5,295-m2 building was completed in 2011 by a design-build team of Cooper Construction, Pearce McCluskey Architects, and WalterFedy. WalterFedy were the civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and LEED consulting engineers. The building has a 150-seat auditorium, cafe and four-storey atrium on the ground floor, and a studio, seminar rooms, common areas and two courtyards on the upper floors. Using run-off water from the roof The site strategy emphasized water reuse and management, a reduction in the heat island effect, and the creation of natural habitat for wildlife. To achieve these goals, the site includes constructed wetlands, cisterns, green roof-storage, permeable pavers, catchbasin goss traps, and deep sumps in the stormwater treatment train. Cisterns

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A-Frame Photography

Eye Fly Aerial Photography

Far left: main entrance. Above: aerial view of the Faculty of Environment complex in the southwest corner of the campus; the four-storey EV3 Building straddles EV2, an existing two-storey structure in the foreground. Inset above right: columns support the new building over the old. Left: living wall in the main atrium acts as a prefliter for return air from classrooms.

A-Frame Photography

totalling 87 cubic metres collect 100% of the site run-off during a 25-mm storm event and provide on-site storage to attenuate peak flows during larger storm events. Inside the building, rainwater run-off captured in cisterns below ground is distributed for non-potable uses such as in low-flow toilets, urinals, hose bibs, and to provide make-up water for a living wall in the atrium. As a result, the potable water consumption of EV3 is 87% less than the LEED reference building. A 280-m2 green roof further reduces stormwater runoff by capturing precipitation in the soil matrix. Building over a building A major obstacle for the expansion was the limited space available, so the design locates a major portion of the building expansion directly over an existing faculty building, EV2, which dates from 1981. This decision made sense from

the perspective of environmental responsibility, but created significant engineering challenges. A north access road was realigned so that a new fourstorey building could be constructed with a floor area of approximately 2,895 m². The additional 2,400 m² is provided by extending the third and fourth floors of the new structure over the top of EV2. The south end of the two extended floors is supported on four columns located 1 metre south of EV2. EV2’s two-storey, reinforced concrete structure was not designed for additional floors, so the upper two floors of EV3 had to be designed to span over the existing building. In order to achieve this, we designed two 10-metre-deep trusses (two storeys high) to span the 46.7 m over the top of the existing building. Located at each side of the building addition, these trusses in turn support five 5-m deep by 30-m long trusses located within the fourth floor, onto which the third continued on page 14 December 2013

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Canadian Consulting Engineer


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continued from page 13

A-Frame Photography


Left: fourth floor corridor; visible is one of the five trusses that span over the existing two storey building below.

floor structure is hung. Diagonal truss members are visible within the fourth floor space at certain locations, and various members of the two main support trusses can be seen through the vision glass on each side of the building. The existing reinforced concrete roof of the EV2 building was not strong enough to support the snow drift pile-up resulting from the two-storey structure of EV3 above, so a new flat steel roof was built 1 metre above the existing concrete roof of EV2, with posts located over the concrete columns below. This solution caused the least disruption to the occupants and also served to support the green roof. To support the large column loads of the two-storey structure spanning the existing building we had to explore various options owing to the soil conditions and close proximity (1 metre) off the existing building. Along with Cooper Construction, we finally opted to use continuous flight auger piles (CFA piles). The CFA piles are 600 mm in diameter and provide relatively high resistance, which results in the least amount of piles and, accordingly, the smallest possible pile caps. Under the four most heavily loaded columns, the pile caps measure 9.25 m x 1.35 m x 1.37 m, with 9 piles at each location.

tral air-handling units. These have low-temperature supply air (48°F) and low flow characteristics, features which reduce the fan energy requirements, reduce air distribution material costs (they need smaller ductwork since they move less air), and improve humidity control in summer. The air distribution systems are variable flow with a low pressure drop to reduce fan energy further. Carbon dioxide levels are monitored throughout to provide demand control of the ventilation systems, which reduces the need to bring in outside air into spaces when they are not occupied at their design density levels. We developed an energy simulation model which calculated that EV3’s design energy cost was 45% less than the LEED reference building, thanks to the above strategies. A unique feature of the building’s ventilation system is the two-storey living wall in the main atrium. The wall acts as a pre-filter for the return air from the classroom air-handling unit. One of the added environmental benefits of obtaining LEED Platinum was that the university was required to make a commitment to remove their last chiller on campus that contains CFCs within five years.

Low-temperature and low flow air supply The university required us to feed all the primary mechanical systems for EV3 from the campus’s central energy plant, which supplies steam, chilled water and softened water. Using the central plant was a disadvantage from the point of view of acquiring LEED points since the efficiencies of the central plant equipment are not very high, and there was no opportunity to install a modern high efficiency plant for EV3 for heating and cooling. The remaining systems therefore had to be as efficient as possible. Building ventilation and cooling is provided by two cen-

Electrical services for old and new To merit the “measurement and verification” LEED credit, all branch electrical power and lighting circuits have a separate digital meter connected to the building automation system. All the mechanical services into the building and all mechanical equipment electrical loads are also sub-metered. This information is used to display the real-time energy consumption of EV3, and the faculty is using the information as part of its studies. Because EV3 is joined to the existing EV2 building, their services had to be interconnected. The load analysis had to


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December 2013

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buildings consider both buildings, and the required interconnections and shutdowns had to be coordinated to minimize disruptions to the building operations. The campus 13.8 kV primary supply loop serving the area had to be re-worked to accommodate the new EV3 substation installation. After the building was completed the University had a photovoltaic system installed on the roof that generates 67,000 kWh per year. Lighting orchestration For the general lighting in EV3 we selected 28-watt T5 lamping, along with direct/indirect style lighting fixtures in offices, meeting rooms, studio spaces, the lecture hall, and corridors. Compact fluorescent downlights accent select areas. Lighting fixtures within offices, meeting rooms, and the lecture hall were provided with addressable, dimmable ballasts and linked to the building lighting control system. The four-storey atrium space is lit with linear wall mounted fixtures installed at the second floor that include both down-light and up-light components. At the living wall, which requires 1000 Lux maintained on the entire wall for a 12-hour duration daily, 400W metal halide fixtures mounted on 1-m extension arms are installed at the midway point and above the top of the wall. These lights have a separate control system to Owner: University of Waterloo, Faculty of Environment Design-build: Cooper Construction; Pearce McCluskey Architects; WalterFedy (civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, LEED) (Scott Oliver P.Eng., Nigel Thompson, P.Eng., Ed Fowler, P.Eng., David Buck P.Eng., Kevin Henry P.Eng.) Other key players: Conestogo Mechanical (mechanical subcontractor); Electricomm (electrical subcontractor)

allow them to operate independently from the building lighting. The lighting control system provides local user control in individual spaces throughout the building. The management hub and dedicated system server for this system are installed in the pent-



house and distributed controllers are provided for each area. CCE Nigel Thompson P.Eng. is a structural engineer and partner at WalterFedy in Kitchener, Ont. He was the project manager on the EV3 project.


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Canadian Consulting Engineer


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By Brian Chapnik, PhD, P.Eng, HGC Engineering

Here are four scenarios where building design has to be specially adjusted to overcome acoustical problems with HVAC equipment.

HVAC and Noise


hen reviewing HVAC systems in a building, the acoustical engineer is typically faced with some common design aspects that need to be considered: the sound insulation value of the walls and floorceiling assemblies of the mechanical room; the noise transmitted through ventilation ductwork; and ensuring that appropriate vibration isolation devices are applied on installed source equipment. There are, however, more unusual cases in which the design of the HVAC system may have other less obvious impacts on the design of the building.

CASE 1 | Quiet or Silent Distribution Systems In most commercial buildings, conditioned air is distributed on tenant floors through ductwork, with airflows regulated by adjustable or variable terminal devices. Air moving through these devices creates a certain amount of “bland” background sound. The sound, referred to as “masking” sound or colloquially as “white noise,” generally has some beneficial effect, as a minimal amount of steady background sound is essential to creating a comfortable acoustical environment that allows for privacy of speech and freedom from distraction due to occasional spurious noises. Some newer HVAC systems do not rely on ductwork distribution to deliver conditioned air. In the context of green building (LEED) designs, for example, convection-based systems such as passive chilled beams or other radiant finned-tube water distribution systems may be installed to provide


heating and/or cooling. With no forced convection elements, these systems are generally silent and thus do not produce the bland steady background sound needed for masking. While these systems may achieve energy-efficiency objectives, they can require that consideration be given to providing electronic sound masking. This technology essentially consists of loudspeakers installed in a grid-like pattern in or above the ceiling, and a method of controlling their output to produce “white noise” at specifically engineered volume levels. Similarly, some new office buildings have raised flooring throughout, which can be configured as a sealed supply-air plenum for distributing conditioned air. While the air from the plenum is released from terminal diffusers set into the access floor, the pressure in the plenum is so low that any sound produced by the diffusers is negligible. Thus except at locations near the building core where the compartment unit that pressurizes the plenum is typically located, back-

ground sound levels generated by the HVAC system tend to be very low. Again, such designs often require consideration of supplementary electronic systems for sound masking. In both of the above cases there are additional complexities that may arise when a local air-conditioning device (e.g. a fan coil unit) is installed in one area of the floor, as the masking sound generated in that area is noticeably different than in other locations on the floor. However, the technology of electronic sound masking systems has improved to the point where it can readily address such complexities, incorporating computer-based algorithms for loudspeaker placement and wireless-based equalization to achieve consistent coverage throughout. CASE 2 | Common General Exhaust Systems In most hotels and some residential condominiums, exhaust air from the washrooms is evacuated through a common duct riser. This collected exhaust air is sometimes passed through a heat-recovery ventilator to reclaim some of the heat energy that would otherwise be lost by evacuating the riser directly outdoors, thereby achieving LEED performance targets. The exhaust grille in each washroom is connected to the common exhaust riser, creating a path through which sound may be transmitted between the spaces. In some situations, sound transferred via this path can be significant; past acoustic field testing of some of these conditions has indicated effective sound transmission class (STC) values that are approxicontinued on page 18 December 2013

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mately 10 points lower than the relevant building code requirement, with voices and other ambient sounds being clearly communicated through the exhaust grilles. This issue is typically resolved by introducing some acoustically lined ductwork between the exhaust grilles and the vertical duct riser. This treated ductwork may take several different forms, including rigid ductwork with a neoprene-coated fibreglass blanket fastened to the inside of the duct walls, flexible metal ductwork with perforated walls and acoustic material behind, or flexible non-metallic ductwork with acoustic material wrapped around it. However, if not carefully implemented, these measures can lead to excessive restrictions of the airflow, resulting in washrooms not being adequately ventilated. While this difficulty can sometimes be overcome by including an additional “booster� fan behind the exhaust grille, small washroom exhaust fans are generally not designed for operating under any significant restrictions, and noisy operation can result. The overall net energy efficiency is also reduced. Careful consideration in design is required to achieve an optimal solution from all perspectives. CASE 2


CASE 3 | Lightweight Ceiling Structures Generally, mechanical room floors are designed to be somewhat heavier than other floors in a building to support the increased loads associated with the equipment. The more robust floors also allow better vibration isolation between the equipment and the structure, using standard springs or other isolation mounts. However, it is less common for the ceiling of a mechanical space to be upgraded structurally, despite the fact that some heavy equipment and piping may be suspended. Even good vibration isolators installed between the relatively lightweight ceiling and the suspended equipment or piping may not be sufficient to prevent transmitted vibrations from being perceptible on the floor above, as the effectiveness of the isolators is reduced by the dynamic reactivity of the structure. In some cases, the ceiling structure is considered inadequate to support heavy piping loads, and the pipes must be supported on independent stands back down to the floor. In these instances, noise/vibration from the pipes may be transmitted into the floor, and it is less straightforward to ensure that good vibration isolation is

achieved. Additional isolation pads are sometimes included below the base plate of the support stands, a solution which can be expensive when there is a significant amount of lateral offset piping to be supported. The pipe stands also create obstacles within the mechanical room, making access for maintenance and repairs more difficult. CASE 4 | Curtain Wall Buildings In the past, noisy mechanical rooms for HVAC equipment generally included heavy concrete floors, sometimes with a secondary isolated slab above the structural slab, and masonry walls. In recent years, however, the amount of glazing in the building envelope has been increasing, so that even smaller institutional and commercial buildings include glass curCASE 4

tain wall features. These features often extend into the mechanical and electrical room areas that contain noisy equipment. High noise levels can easily excite a glass curtain wall, and the resulting vibrations can be transmitted through the curtain wall system to adjacent continued on page 23


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he sky above Toronto is scraped by an array of instantly recognizable buildings. First Canadian Place, at 72 storeys and 335 metres, was once counted as the tallest structure outside Chicago and New York. And no local postcard would be complete without the punctuation of the 553-metre CN tower, described by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Now the city’s skyline is in the midst of another growth spurt. Toronto has more tall structures under construction than any other city in the western hemisphere. These days, however, residential condominiums are the signature projects, whereas it was banking towers that dominated 20

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tall orders in the late 1960s and 70s. Recently completed near the bottom of Bay Street is the Trump International Hotel and Tower, with 65 floors and measuring 277 metres at the tip of its spire. It will be joined by the 272-metre, 75floor Aura tower at Yonge and Gerrard streets, Tridel’s 224-metre Ten York project, and Great Gulf’s 257-metre One Bloor. The dramatic curve of the L-Tower will arch skyward by 205 metres when it’s complete. And by 2015, the surrounding skyline will boast 44 buildings taller than 150 metres, up from 13 in 2005, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Theatre impresario and developer David Mirvish hopes to reach even higher with a trio of condos along King Street West designed by

zeidler partnership architects

Engineers are helping to design a host of condominium towers in downtown Toronto that stretch to heights above 70 storeys.

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Above: 10 residential skyscrapers under construction or completed in the last two years in Toronto's downtown core (south of College Street). Several more condominium skyscrapers are in the planning stages, and there are already more just to the north.

Canada’s famed architectural son Frank Gehry. With levels skewed like the individual blocks in a massive game of Jenga, each tower would be more than 80 storeys high. Such high-density in the theatre district has come up against resistance from city planners, but if it is approved Gehry’s creation will be what CTBUH calls “supertall.” Towering heights represent exciting prospects for engineering teams. “Designing skyscrapers is a positive experience because you know that once the building is complete, you will have contributed to the skyline of downtown Toronto,” says Balázs Farkas, P.Eng., principal of mechanical engineering at Hidi Rae Consulting Engineers, a firm that worked on Toronto’s Trump project. Structural engineering for height Advances in engineering have made such projects possible in the first place. Structural engineer Fazlur Khan focused the eyes of the world ever skyward in the 1960s when he first began to replace steel frames with his “framed tubes” – a series of interconnecting exterior columns that could stand firm against strong winds

at high heights. The various tubes and buttresses which followed pushed higher yet. Concrete became stronger, and now the world has three buildings soaring more than 500 metres. Still, the demand for ever-taller structures represents no small feat, even in a city like Toronto where there is a healthy layer of low-lying shale bedrock for the footings. Engineers need to control the shrinkage, creep and elastic shortening of structural elements that shoulder the burden of any tall building’s added weight, says Jeff Stephenson, P.Eng., managing principal of structural engineering at Halsall Associates. High-strength concrete and steel, along with thin post-tensioned slabs, can all help to shed unwanted structural mass while increasing strengths. A typical 10-storey office building might be made with 30 MPa concrete, but Toronto’s L-Tower (structural engineers are Jablonsky, Ast & Partners) features 55 MPa concrete from B3 up to the 16th floor, with the strengths decreasing in 5 MPa increments until the 36th floor, after which 25 MPa concrete is used. There are seismic design re-

quirements to consider, as well as wind loads and the tendency of tall buildings to sway. Excess amplitude will introduce stress on the structure, while acceleration can be discomforting for the occupants inside. The latter issue may be less noticeable when walking around an office, but it is decidedly unsettling for condo residents who are lying in bed. While shorter structures can be stiffened around a central elevator and stairs, taller buildings require approaches such as a “tube-intube” concept with a frame extending around the perimeter. “They get even more sophisticated than that where they start to link that exterior tube to the interior tube with outriggers,” Stephenson says. The motion that remains can be offset through the help of a tuned mass damper, such as a massive water tank that acts like the end of a pendulum. “When the building moves, it [the damper] lags behind the building, and then you’re connecting that to some sort of shock absorber or baffles to control the flow of the water,” Stephenson explains. “It effectively pulls the building back continued on page 22

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Staying cool and quiet — mechanical design “The biggest challenge from an HVAC perspective is dealing with the stack effect, especially with heights that reach above 60 to 65 stories,” Farkas says. “If a building enclosure is insufficiently sealed, an exchange of air will take place between the indoor conditioned space and the outdoor environment. This stack effect in combination with high winds will create havoc.” If the problem is left unaddressed, during the heating season air would surge through the lobby, up the elevator shaft and into the surrounding suites. “The lobby is a critical area where you can enable or disable the stack effect,” Farkas says. The solution depends on what type of tower it is. Revolving exterior doors work well in commercial settings, but developers of residential buildings tend to prefer multiple doors and an elevator that is separated from the lobby. Vestibules and weather-sealed doors can help to seal the elevator machine rooms at the top of a building, containing any rising air. Inside the suites, exhaust systems for range hoods, washrooms and clothes dryers must be strong enough to feed air to the outside. “The wind pressure at the top of these tall buildings is so high that without proper 22

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© Graziani + Corazzi

in the opposite direction.” Ensuring a building stands tall and still is just the beginning. The valuable space inside must be maximized despite the need for added strength and features like extra elevators. “The columns, walls and everything else gets much larger at the lower levels,” Stephenson says, which means that "the amount of floor space or rentable space left behind gets smaller.”

AURA By Tibor Kokai, Ph.D., P.Eng. Aura is the tallest residential tower in Canada. Located at Yonge and Gerrard Streets in downtown Toronto, it has 78 residential floors and a rooftop penthouse. The complex (under construction but with its lower levels occupied) has a large mixed-use podium accommodating retail spaces, a fitness club and restaurant, over five levels of underground parking. Designing the structure of buildings that have vertically layered different uses is a challenge as the occupancies require different column and wall spacings. Aligning the structure vertically is therefore an optimization process of balancing cost and the maximum use of architectural spaces vs. speed and simplicity of construction. A process like this is complex and time consuming. The Aura tower’s basement is a reinforced concrete flat slab construction commonly used in the Toronto area. The tower core and eight mega columns supporting the tower structure and the podium transfer slab extend straight to the bedrock. The podium structure under the tower footprint had to follow the large column spacing requirement of the retail areas. Therefore most of the tower columns and all shear walls, except the core, had to be transferred out; this was achieved by a 2.5-m thick post-tensioned transfer slab that was poured in two stages to reduce the shoring requirements. The tower structure sits on the 5th-floor transfer slab and it consists of the large residential core with radiating walls that are coupled to the core with overhead coupling beams and columns supporting the typical floor slabs. The column spacing and locations were established to suit the marketing requirements and to allow for the tower setback without transfers. The tower’s “slenderness ratio” (approximately 1 to 8) is such that at this height, dampers were not required. It is interesting to note that with special visco-elastic dampers the same wall thicknesses could have been used to build a 92-storey tower with the same wall layout – this however did not happen. Developer: Canderel. Architect: Graziani + Corazzi. Structural: Halcrow-Yolles. Structural engineering peer review: Reed Jones Christoffersen. Mechanical-electrical: Smith and Andersen. Wind: RWDI.

control it can actually overcome the exhaust fans,” Farkas says. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows that are characteristic of these condominium towers bring their challenges for the cooling systems. The highest floors are less likely to be overshadowed by surrounding buildings, so the glazing is exposed to high solar gains. Window coverings help; however, the cooling sys-

tems must be designed to handle peak loads. Then, in a large building that has mixed uses there’s the need to isolate the mechanical systems. In the Trump project, the emergency generator was installed on the 32nd floor to allow the hotel to run independently of the residential units above it. “Large silencers were installed in the generator room to

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buildings provide proper acoustic isolation and silencing for the generator intake and exhaust,” Farkas explains. Features such as a floating floor, an acoustically insulated ceiling and walls, and mechanical services suspended from the slab above using spring isolators, helped to further reduce the noise level. Farkas is confident that developers will continue to push residential towers ever higher. When they do, he expects that residential projects will have to embrace features traditionally reserved for commercial buildings. “The use of a mid-level mechanical room, which was used in the Trump tower, allows developers to consider staged occupancy, where the time lapse between the first and last occupancy dates might evolve

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areas “flanking” the floor system. In some cases, it is possible to protect the exterior wall with an additional internal partition located right behind it, designed to block noise. However, installing a large wall has a cost and it can create aesthetic issues. It can also create condensation concerns depending on the thermal design of the building envelope. Some curtain wall suppliers have developed alternative solutions, in which the curtain wall elements immediately above the mechanical room floor slab are framed and supported independently of those below, with an isolation joint between. Such solutions tend to be more cost effective overall, although they may not be 100% effective in all cases, and supplementary treatments may still be needed in very noisy areas. The above cases outline several areas in which special acoustical considerations may be warranted during the design of a building HVAC sys-

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from months to years. Depending on market conditions, a developer with plans for a 150-storey tower could build the first 75 storeys, place a mechanical room at that level, occupy the first part of the building, and resume construction at a later date,” he says. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is equally as optimistic that developers will continue to scrape the sky. “The need to create efficient, high-density districts for people to live and work is pushing skylines higher,” the group concludes in a recent annual report. “There is no evidence that those factors will subside any time soon.” CCE John G. Smith is the president of WordSmith Media in Ajax, Ont.


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tem. These considerations often arise from initiatives presented by a multi-disciplinary design team to achieve LEED green building goals related to energy efficiency, sustainability, or reduced subsystem costs, or to achieve a desired modern design aesthetic. However the design implications related to acoustics (and the costs to address the resulting issues) are not often well understood. Fortunately, it is more and more common to include an acoustical engineer on the multi-disciplinary team, to seek out and address these issues during design and help to develop the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions. CCE

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Brian Chapnik, Ph.D., P.Eng., is a principal acoustical engineer with HGC Engineering of Mississauga, Ont. He has been involved in the design of HVAC systems in commercial, residential, and institutional buildings throughout Canada.

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pressure CLIENTS ARE

we’re expected to provide David Kozak, P.Eng. takes a EXPECTING unreasonable and unrealisdeep breath and reads: CONSULTING tic insurance coverage.” "Proponents shall protect, ENGINEERS TO Across Canada consulting defend and save the city engineers are facing the harmless against any deASSUME LEGAL same dilemma. Their clients mand for payment for the RESPONSIBILITY are expecting them to sign use of any patented materiFOR A GROWING contracts that make the engial, process, article or device NUMBER OF RISKY  neers legally responsible for that may enter into the AREAS IN  an untold range of the situamanufacture, construction tions that commonly plague or form of the work covered CONSTRUCTION construction projects. by either order or Contract. PROJECTS. Engineers are so conProponents further shall incerned that Consulting Endemnify and save the city gineers of Ontario, for exharmless from suits or acample, has formed a comtions of every nature and mittee to look at these new description brought against business risks. Peter Malloit, for or on account of injury, P.Eng., of CH2M HILL, ries or damages received or and a member of the CEO sustained by a party or parboard, chairs the committies by or from any of the tee: “Most of our clients acts of the Proponents, now are insisting on their and/or agents, employees, own agreements, which successors or rights or astend to be one-sided. And signs of the Proponents." they’re written by the cli“That’s an example from By Bronwen Parsons ent’s lawyers without much a proposal call we had earliflexibility for negotiation. er this summer,” says Kozak, who is manager of engineering for GENIVAR in Moncton, So we formed a new business risk committee at CEO and our number one priority is the increasing liability that cliNew Brunswick. “So you see, Kozak explains, “We’re getting more and ents are asking us to take on.” more proposal calls and contracts where we are being asked to certify, guarantee or warranty virtually everything Risk is part of doing business under the sun. We are being asked to indemnify clients In certain situations, such as design-build and public-private against losses that are not caused by negligence. We’re partnerships where the consulting engineer is an equity partbeing exposed to indirect and consequential damages, and ner and will share in the profits of a development, it might


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make sense for the engineers to agree to make sure it meets the intent of the design, accept more legal responsibility for but who knows what is happening in the THE CLIENT things that could go wrong during the background? On some municipal CAN JUST POINT construction. John Gamble, P.Eng., projects, we may not be on site durAT A CLAUSE IN A president of ACEC, says: “We have ing the construction.” to recognize that risk is part of Mallory agrees all-inclusive liaCONTRACT AND SAY, doing business, and in fact is a busibility clauses are a problem: “You “LISTEN THE PROJECT ness opportunity.” will get a contract that says the WAS $100 MILLION But Gamble quickly adds that consultant is responsible for anyOVER BUDGET, first of all the engineers must rething and everything, regardless of AND YOU HAVE A ally understand the type of risk they whose fault it is. What we are asking SHARE IN THAT.” are taking on. “Secondly,” he says, for is negligence-based liability to “they need to have the expertise and hold us responsible for the things we contractual authority to manage and mitihave control over.” gate the risk. And thirdly, they should be fairly Clients are also making engineers liable for compensated for taking on the risk.” “consequential damages.” “This is where you can end up Not all clients are trying to pass down more liability. responsible for something that happened that wasn’t due Ask Anthony Pagnanelli, P.Eng., director of design and directly to your own efforts,” says Mallory. “An example construction with the City of Toronto, and you get a dif- would be if a client, or even a third party, had a loss of ferent perspective. “I can assure you the wording in the profit because of something that happened on the project. agreements between us and our consulting partners has For example, a contractor hits a power line and he takes out not changed.” the power to a city block. On that block there are some in“But,” he continues, “maybe our expectations have in- dustries that lose income because they’re shut down. If you creased. Maybe we’re looking more closely now than we as the consulting engineer sign the wrong contract, you can used to. As far as the city is concerned, when we contract end up liable for those third party losses. Some clients are out work, specifically design and contract administration asking us to take all that responsibility.” services, we expect our consulting partners to look after Traditionally liability for that kind of incident would fall our interests.” to the contractor, but now, says Mallory, “clients are using the same clauses for the contractor and the consultant. Where’s the crunch? Clients are trying to shed as much responsibility as they No consulting engineer would disagree with Pagnanelli that can to others.” it is their duty to look after the owner’s interests and work Lateness has been a perennial problem with construcdiligently for the project to be successful. Nonetheless, aside tion projects. But now clients are holding engineers responfrom any situation in Toronto, the weight of evidence is that sible even when the delays are beyond their control. For clients are expecting consulting engineers to assume new example, Mallory explains, it could be the contractor who areas of liability. did a poor job of getting things done on time, or it could be Client-engineer contracts have catch-all clauses covering the client who didn’t review the drawings fast enough. Or it all and sundry possible impacts, as seen in the labyrinthine could be that the environmental approvals were tied up with clause Kozak cited above. “Part of the struggle we have with the regulator. “If the delays result in some kind of cost ima clause like that,” says Kozak, “is that it involves indemnify- plications to the client, they’re passing that on to us in the ing and saving the city harmless against patent materials, contract," he says. Unfairly, the contract won’t include a processes, and other devices that enter into the construc- clause such as “to the proportionate extent” that would limit tion. That’s not an aspect of the work that as consulting the engineer’s liability to the activities for which they were engineers we’re even undertaking. We’re not actually the actually responsible. Sometimes clients even try to impose “liquidated damagones doing building.” “For example,” Kozak continues, “If we specify a manhole es” i.e. financial penalties for the engineer if they don’t make on site, we verify that it meets the intent of the specifications, a deadline, says Mallory. Again, these are features that were we review the shop drawings, and to the best of our ability we very common in the clients’ agreements with contractors, but continued on page 26

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now are creeping into their agreements with engineers. Steve Panciuk, vice president of ENCON's insurance program for architects and engineers, sees problems from the insurance side. He sees, for example, engineers signing contracts where they agree to be responsible if a project goes over budget. “Traditionally, from a professional liability insurance policy point of view the duty would be on the contractor to prove an error or omission that led to the damages. But with contractual relations, the client can just point at a clause in a contract and say, ‘Listen the project was $100 million over budget, and you have a share in that.’” Like Gamble, Panciuk isn’t always against the engineers taking on more risk of liability if it’s a sound business decision: “There are two conditions: Number 1, you should get paid for it, and Number 2, you should have the capacity to control and manage that risk," Panciuk says. But he sees engineering companies signing contracts without taking enough care, and then finding out too late that their insurance policy might not cover them for the situations they’ve agreed to. Taking on responsibility for unforeseen site conditions is an example. “This baffles me,” says Panciuk, because historically owners have absorbed that risk. He recalls an engineer’s insurance claim in the Maritimes. The engineers had done a thorough Phase 1 environmental review of a developer’s site and found nothing at all that would possibly indicate a problem. However, during the excavations contaminated material that had migrated from an adjacent property was found. In such a case, Panciuk says: “You’ve done your homework, you’ve done your preparation, you’ve appropriately reviewed the site to the industry standard, then — boom! Out of nowhere comes a problem.” And yet, “The only way to absolutely guarantee that a site is not contaminated is to remove all the fill and replace it, and noone would do that.” In other words, the engineers were being held allegedly responsible for a project issue that was not under their control. Then there’s the troublesome clause requiring a completed project to be “fit for its intended purpose.” That is a very broad expression, says Panciuk. He points out that a bridge’s purpose is to convey traffic from one side to another. “To take an extreme example," he says, "if a meteor hits the bridge and takes it out, is it ‘fit for its intended purpose’? No. But under this clause an owner could try to pursue the consultants because they didn’t design for a meteor strike.” Most clients don't have that intention, but lawyers could have a field day in certain situations. What the clause should say, Panciuk argues, is more precisely that the bridge was designed according to the current codes and standards and to be “fit for its intended purpose as laid out in the original design intent.” This kind of wording is what at least one municipality has agreed to. Gamble cites other common examples where some clients are pushing the envelope. They are asking engineers to 26

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sign contracts that make them responsible for workers’ safety on the construction site — again something that is clearly outside the design engineers’ realm. They are asking engineers to warranty that regulatory approval for a project will be granted in a certain timeframe. Most recently they expect engineers to warranty that a project will receive a certain level of LEED certification: “This is an emerging trend,” Gamble says. Society’s expectations have changed Why has the industry gone from what 20 years ago was often just a handshake and a short-form agreement of a few pages between owner and engineer, to the detailed, elaborate, multi-paged legal contracts of today? “There is a cultural change in what clients expect,” says Mallory. He continues: “I think one of the drivers is that municipalities, provinces and governments are under financial stress, often with high debt, and that is driving more focus on costs, to the detriment of the projects,” he says. Transparency is also an issue today, with governments increasingly being held to account for their actions. So there is much more media coverage of projects that have gone over budget or have hit technical snags, which means bureaucrats are anxious to cover all the legal bases. And some engineers have a simpler explanation. Municipalities are suffering from a shortage of staff with construction experience. It is young people in their 20s who are often in the driving seat and without realizing their mistake they use the same contract for hiring consultants as contractors, and even the same one for purchasing widgets. Hence, for example, “Every now and again we will see a request for proposals where they are looking for bid bonds and performance and materials bonds for an engineering engagement, which is completely ludicrous,” says Kozak. Most clients are willing to discuss issues,” he continues. “We haven’t met any client groups who are challenging us and saying, “This is the only way it is. The vast majority of public sector people are very willing to learn.” He finds that it’s helpful to bring ACEC’s standard documents to the table, pointing out that these are an industry standard prepared by many organizations. “They respect that,” he says. (Kozak is vice-chair for ACEC-Canada.) Others don’t think it is so easy to escape the pressure. They hear about municipalities adopting a “take it or leave it” mentality, even “bullying” consulting engineers into signing contracts that make them unfairly liable for problems beyond their control. Small firms might be especially vulnerable and in a shrinking economy, companies can’t always afford to say no. “It’s a bit crazy,” says Mallory, “but depending on the size of your firm and where your office is located, when a large client says, ‘This is our standard contract,’ and you look at it and see problems, you can’t just suddenly stop working for CCE them or you could be out of business.”

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By Duncan A. Phillips, Ph.D., P.Eng., & Ryan Danks. P.Eng., RWDI

WEATHER BEATING ENGINEERING OUTDOOR COMFORT IN HOT CLIMATES Canadian engineers RWDI are helping to shape new urban developments in some of the most extreme climates on earth.

Airport City, Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar. Courtesy the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).


n many newer communities in the Middle East and Far East, designing for outdoor thermal comfort is becoming one of the “must-have� considerations during the master planning process. The enthusiasm for ensuring outdoor comfort is coming from developers, governments and regulatory bodies who see outdoor comfort as key to healthy lifestyles, lower automobile use and increased economic viability. Indeed some of the sustainability rating systems (e.g. Estidama of Abu Dhabi, GSAS of Qatar) have points awarded for the outdoor microclimate. continued on page 28 December 2013

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Sky Visibility

Image 2. Sky View Factor. Yellow areas indicate increased exposure to the sky and sun; darker red indicates more shady areas. Image 3. Average Annual Wind Speed at Pedestrian Level generated from multiple CFD simulations.

The challenge with maintaining outdoor comfort is that in many of these cities the ambient temperature and humidity conditions are extreme in the summer. In winter, the conditions could be described as idyllic. However, during May through September when daytime temperatures can exceed 45°C at lower humidity levels (e.g. Riyadh), and when temperatures of 35°C exist at relative humidity levels of 70% (e.g. Doha), maintaining outdoor thermal comfort is challenging. Measuring and scoring outdoor thermal comfort is a necessary starting point. In Canada, we use the systems of wind chill in winter and the humidex in summer to describe the impact of certain conditions on temperatures These are useful measures for a quick reference. The drawback is that neither acknowledges the impact of solar insolation. The warmth of the sun improves comfort in winter, but in summer it can make uncomfortable conditions unbearable. These measures also do not account for the combined effects of wind and humidity: low humidity levels can make an individual “feel” cooler, but without adequate air movement this effect is reduced. A windy, humid space in the sun can be much more comfortable than a stagnant dry space in shade. The other drawback is that one cannot use humidex and wind chill to rate the beneficial design of an outdoor space. While other measures of outdoor thermal comfort exist, RWDI prefers to use an indoor measure adapted for 28

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Average Wind Speed (m/s)

outdoor use. We call this SPMV* and calibrated it during work for a project called Masdar in the United Arab Emirates several years ago. Similar to the Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) scale promulgated by ASHRAE, SPMV numerically scores the comfort of a space where a value of 0 represents thermally neutral conditions. Higher positive values indicate warmer conditions, and negative values are cooler. To compute this metric we first conduct a series of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to assess the built environment’s influence on local wind conditions for the relevant wind directions found on site. These simulations are combined with a proprietary solar analysis engine to allow for an hour-by-hour computation of thermal comfort. If, therefore, one is able to predict annual wind and solar conditions throughout a master plan, then one can predict the thermal comfort everywhere. Furthermore, if one is able to score the thermal comfort for one configuration, then beneficial changes to massing, or other interventions, can be assessed to generate a climate-aware master plan. RWDI has used city orientations, massing adjustments, building topologies (e.g. colonnades), shading devices and other strategies to passively manipulate the climate within cities. The relative performance of one adjustment over another can be weighed against other parameters that are of interest. Strategies, including material choice and selective wind enhancements, can also lead to

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Image 4. Prediction of Average Thermal Comfort (spring afternoon). Green and blue areas indicate comfortable conditions; yellow indicates warmer than desired. Results are a combination of CFD simulations, solar analysis and historic climate conditions.

improvements in comfort. While the analysis of thermal comfort is one aspect of city planning, other important factors such as the energy demand of buildings, daylight availability and natural ventilation potential can also be assessed using similar tools during the master planning process. The positioning of buildings relative to one another, their heights and massing, can be used to augment each of these parameters to arrive at a “sweet spot” for all of these design aspects. Image 1 (p. 27) shows a master planning project in Doha, Qatar called Hamad International Airport (HIA) Airport City, developed for the Airport Steering Committee. It is intended to be a link between the new airport in Doha and the surrounding community, which will be mixed-use with integrated business, logistics and residences. Public transport, low energy demands and a comfortable microclimate were key elements of the planning. Image 2 shows the solar impacts within the community through a measure called the “sky view factor.” The yellow, orange through black colouring quantifies the degree to which each point in the master plan is exposed to the sky and thus solar radiation. The building massing, canopies and trees were included in the analysis. Image 3 shows the average annual wind speed within the city. This is calculated by (a) simulating winds from all relevant directions, and then (b) weighting the results by speed and frequency to generate the annual prediction.

The hourly solar calculations, coupled with the wind predictions, can be combined to provide a prediction of thermal comfort, using the climate record containing temperature and relative humidity too. A sample is provided in Image 4. In this case, the calculation is presented for spring afternoons, but any period of the year or statistic can be generated. Having generated estimates of thermal comfort, the beneficial impact of different adjustments can be weighed. Image 5 shows the before and after consequences of adding a wind tower to ventilate a city courtyard. This is one means to improve thermal comfort. There was a time when cities would be designed over the course of decades and centuries. During that time, architects and planners could tweak the design based on observations of performance. Today, we move faster. The ability to analyze potential performance in advance and find strategies to improve conditions can lead to lower energy demand, more comfortable cities, and better spaces for people. CCE Duncan A. Phillips, Ph.D., P.Eng. is a principal with RWDI of Guelph, Ont.. He consults on projects that involve optimizing the interaction of buildings within various climates. Ryan Danks. P.Eng. is a research and development engineer with RWDI. He specializes in creating tools and methodologies to simulate the interaction between the built and natural environments. December 2013

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Image 5. Mitigation Measure. Improvements in local air speed associated with the inclusion of a wind tower. Results are from a CFD simulation illustrating local wind speeds with and without tower.

Canadian Consulting Engineer


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engineers and the law

By Owen Pawson, Miller Thompson LLP

There are several basic strategies that engineers should adopt to avoid claims in a construction project.

A “Perfect” Project


n numerous areas of project delivery, problems can arise. Many involve the project engineer, and in some cases they lead to claims or disputes that require resolution by arbitration or litigation. Following are some strategies and suggestions that may be useful in typical problem areas that arise during the course of a project.

more accurate budgeting information at design milestones.

Planning and design The engineer should ensure that there is enough time in the schedule not only to develop the detailed design and specifications, but also to ensure the contract documents are complementary. Full and proper design requires the The retainer engineer to put together a good team of sub-consultants Having a good relationship with your client is fundamental — selected on the basis of prior good quality design work for a successful project. Ideally, you should be selected on and with a history of meeting time and budget constraints the basis of your qualificafor similar projects. Amendtions through a QBS (qualifiments made to the design or “Amendments made to the design or cations-based selection) procontract later on typically result in claims contract later on typically recess rather than low price. sult in claims for “extras” and for ‘extras’ and delays by the contractor, delays by the contractor, This will help your client accept you as a “trusted adviwhich increase the cost of the which increase the cost of the project.” sor.” The appointment of a project. Such a situation reasonable and knowledgeable client representative to pro- could adversely impact the engineer-client relationship. vide you with instructions and approvals is important to ceFinally, the client should review the design at key milement this relationship. An even handed client-engineer stones and provide timely approval. This strategy avoids reagreement with a fair allocation of risk (ACEC Document design. Continually updating the client’s budget based on 31, for example) forms the basis for mutual trust and re- such milestone reviews will help ensure there are no budgetspect. Needless to say, proper remuneration for the scope of ing surprises or funding concerns. services will be part of that agreement. Also, you should ensure you have professional liability insurance coverage Procurement appropriate to the scope and complexity of the project. Fi- Typically, the engineer will be asked by the client to particinally, thorough discussions and analysis with the client will pate in the procurement process to select the best propohelp to establish the best method of procuring and deliver- nent to deliver the project. Caution must be exercised ing the project (e.g. design-bid-build; design-build; P3; throughout the procurement phase. The tender documents construction management, etc.). (RFQ, RFP, RFEI, etc.) are legal documents that should be vetted or authored by legal counsel well in advance of their Programming and feasibility issuance to avoid claims of unfairness during the procureA detailed program of the client’s requirements is necessary ment process. to prepare the design and specifications for the project. EiOther documents in the procurement package besides ther the client must provide that program, or the engineer the drawings and specifications for which the engineer is must undertake that work (with appropriate compensa- responsible, such as the contract between the client and tion). If the engineer prepares the program, the client contractor (stipulated price, construction management, deshould be involved in the preparation and should approve sign-build, concession P3) should be complementary with the program before starting the design work. the engineer-client agreement (e.g. the role and authority of The client should also confirm (often with assistance of the engineer during construction). Dispute resolution is the engineer) that the project is feasible in terms of plan- another area where the contractual matrix for the project ning, design and construction and, most importantly, in should be consistent. This is in order to avoid, for example, terms of budgeting. For the financial feasibility of major a situation where one of the participants has recourse to projects, the client should consider retaining a quantity sur- court, while others must proceed to binding arbitration. Fiveyor who has a track record and can provide progressively nally, a fair contract between the client and the contractor 30

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engineers and the law that has even-handed risk-sharing and liability clauses will encourage bidders to submit bids that otherwise might be inflated because of the unfair transfer of risk. Contract administration The role of the engineer, the approval process for claims management (initial findings) and certification of payment and completion should be clearly described in both the client-engineer agreement and the owner-contractor contract. Those contracts should also be clear as to whether the engineer fulfils the role of “payment certifier” under applicable lien legislation. A smooth project requires all the participants to be reasonable and cooperative — including the engineer’s representative. Proper communication protocols should be followed, and regular site meetings and agreed forms of site instructions, change orders, payment applications, completion certificates etc. are important. Finally, the parties should issue clear and timely written communications for all key decisions, RFIs and responses, claims, disputes and any agreed resolution of significant disagreements. Claims avoidance and resolution A successful project requires the proper management of claims (“extras” and delays). There should be a clear process described in the contract documents for submitting

and processing claims from inception through to resolution, and that process should be conveyed to all participants. There should be a requirement for prompt written notice of a claim and, if such claims are not quickly resolved through discussion, the engineer should be requested to prepare an initial finding. The finding will be important information in subsequent dispute resolution proceedings. The engineer must render a fair and unbiased finding in accordance with its legal and professional obligations, even though the client may think otherwise. The key participants on a project should adopt a claimsavoidance and claims-mitigation mind-set and they should keep detailed records of all significant matters. Prompt notification of any claim should be followed by speedy on-site resolution. The quick resolution of issues as they arise will avoid the aggregation of numerous small claims into one large claim at the completion of the project. It is important that the participants adhere to the dispute resolution procedure and the timing requirements stipulated in the contract documents. Finally, the parties should recognize that middle and senior management are often better able to make “business” decisions to resolve a claim or dispute than representatives “on the ground." CCE Owen Pawson is a partner with Miller Thomson, LLP in Vancouver, e-mail

products HVAC & CONTROLS

The winning products in the 2014 AHR Expo Innovation Awards have been selected. A top winner will be announced on January 22 at the AHR exposition in New York City. The winners are: Belimo Air Controls' BAS Data Logging Energy Valve (image above) (building automation); Emerson Climate Technologies’ Copeland Scroll Variable Speed compressor (cooling); Lafert High Performance Metric Motors (green building); WaterFurnace International 7 Series 700A11 Geothermal Heat Pump (heating); NEPTRONIC SKD Direct Multi-Steam Injection Humidifier (indoor air quality); Rheem Prestige Series Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater (plumbing); Danfoss ADAP-KOOL System Manager AK-SM 800 Series (refrigeration); HVAC Solution Revit Connection 2.0 BIM Software Add-in (software); Imperial iManifold ((tools-instruments); Big Ass Fans' Haiku Ceiling Fan (ventilation) (image at right).

professional directory Experts in Measurement, Analysis & Control


For information on placing an advertisement in the Canadian Consulting Engineer Professional Directory, contact Maureen Levy, Senior Publisher, 416-510-5111, email:, or Vince Naccarato, Sales Manager, 416-510-5118, email:

December 2013

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Canadian Consulting Engineer


13-11-28 4:22 PM

Specifier’s Literature Review

BEHLEN Industries’ CORR-SPAN® building system uses engineered steel panels, roofing, and other steel components for a durable, long-lasting performance and quick, easy construction. CORR-SPAN® delivers spacious facilities with no structural columns and clear, unobstructed space up to 300’. Its lightweight structural components allow CORR-SPAN® buildings to be more energy efficient than traditional buildings with unobstructed interiors improving airflow and aiding the energy performance of HVAC systems. SUPPLIER: BEHLEN







The Canam InfoTech Express bulletin, aimed at the consulting engineering community, is intended to keep decision-makers informed about the various products Canam fabricates. By consulting Canam InfoTech Express, designers will learn how to make optimum use of Canam products for the benefit of their customers. Registration is free of charge at For more information, contact us at SUPPLIER: CANAM

Designed specifically for the Canadian HVAC market, Mitsubishi Electric’s City Multi watersource system provides optimum occupant comfort while substantially minimizing installation and operating costs with its 2-pipe VRF technology, now available in 575 volts.  Energy efficient, flexible design, compact, and quiet, City Multi water-source is an effective alternative to geothermal systems and is best fitted for high-rise applications. Find out more at SUPPLIER: MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC

TA Pressure Independent Balancing & Control Valves are designed and manufactured to provide energy efficient hydronic balancing of heating and cooling systems. The TA Series TCP, Pressure Independent Balancing & Control Valve, ensures accurate hydronic control and optimum throughput over a long lifetime and includes a shut-off function that ensures straightforward maintenance procedures. Victaulic is the exclusive North American representative for Tour and Andersson products. For more information, see Victaulic publication 08.39 or visit: for our full line of balancing solutions. SUPPLIER: VICTAULIC

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If you were planning to rout and seal your asphalt joints after they fail, think about the added costs of repairing what you’ve already done. Denso Re-instatement Tape is a polymer modified bituminous strip that is cold applied and designed to seal the joints between asphalt, concrete and steel, the first time. Re-instatement Tape seals around catch basins, manholes, utility cuts and next to concrete curbs prior to paving. Do it right the first time with Denso Road Products. For more information contact: Blair Slessor at 416-291-3435, email:, or visit our website at SUPPLIER: DENSO NORTH AMERICA INC.

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Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine provides high quality editorial coverage of the most pertinent and timely issues that affect engineers across Canada. The magazine reaches the consulting engineers who make the critical decisions on building and construction projects. This is exactly the audience you need to reach. Advertise your product or service with us. Be seen and be specified! To order your 2014 media kit, please send along your request to Maureen Levy at (416) 510-5111 or email:

13-11-28 4:22 PM

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December 2013

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Canadian Consulting Engineer



13-11-28 4:23 PM


One of the few women who has attained a top position in the consulting engineering industry in Canada shares some of her history.

Anne Poschmann


ext June, Anne Poschmann, P.Eng. will become the first female chair of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada. She was chair of Consulting Engineers of Ontario in 2005, and as a principal of Golder Associates in Mississauga, Ontario, she is also one of the few women to attain a top position in a Canadian consulting engineering company. Q. Tell us about your early career. I graduated from Queen’s University in 1978 in what they called geological engineering. Then I spent the next three years “playing” with a pottery clay mine out in Nova Scotia. My father, when he came to Canada, started up a business called “Pottery Supply House.” It was a business that supplied clays and glazes and wheels, and everything to do with making pottery to Canada, and the U.S. as well. His dream was always to have a source of clay that was his own and he found a deposit in Nova Scotia. I was just graduating so it made sense for me to go out and do the testing that was required. So my first boreholes were drilled on this clay deposit in the Musquodoboit Valley, northeast of Halifax. We were having trouble getting grants that we needed in order to turn the clay deposit into a functioning mine, so after three years I decided I needed to find a job and I put in an application to Golder Associates. Q. What made you go into geotechnical work? I have two older brothers, two younger brothers, and a younger sister. My two older brothers always told me as I was growing up, "If you're going to university, you must go into engineering." I guess I listened to them — and I did like math. Q. Were there very few women in geological engineering at the time? It was a small class, and the benefit of the program was that you took a lot of courses with the sciences stream in geology. So there was a relatively large percentage of females in the class, even though they weren’t going through the engineering side of things.


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Q. Are you a member of any associations for female engineers? No, not directly, although I am now on the board of the Women in Transportation Seminar Toronto chapter. And I have continuously given to the memorial after the Montreal Massacre. That was a hard event — a shock. But I have to admit that I’ve never really been one for promoting women in engineering events, although I do feel those organizations are needed. My plate was full and I thought that as long as I participated and could show accomplishments in other organizations like Consulting Engineers of Ontario and ACEC-Canada, then other women can see that you can do well in the industry. Q. How has your role at Golder Associates evolved? It’s amazing, but as of September I have been 32 years with Golder. I have been in varying roles over the years. Recently I was on the board of the Canadian company and I have been transportation sector leader in Canada. But looking back, it was seven-and-a-half years after I joined Golder that I became an associate — which is very fast. And it was only five years later, in 1994, when I became a principal. It’s amazing to think that as a young person like that I was on a committee searching for a new president for our global operations. I think back and I think, “How on earth did I get myself on that?” CCE

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Canadian Consulting Engineer December 2013