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Businesses decide geothermal makes cents

Edmonton’s Federal Building gets a massive makeover

Why one organization chose a renovation




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Green Rising 49 storeys, Eighth Avenue Place will be Canada’s first LEED Platinum high-rise office tower PLUS: A really bright idea for indoor lighting


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Tradition of Excellence at Copp’s


opp’s Pile Driving is an oilfield services company based in Red Deer, Alberta, with a proud tradition of operational excellence and customer service. Going forward, that tradition will continue with the purchase of Copp’s by Dennis and Jason Weinberger, who took over Copp’s from Big Eagle LLP in November 2010. The Weinbergers bring a proven business history in the Western Canadian oilfield services industry to Copp’s Pile Driving. “We are service company guys,” says Jason, the new president of the firm. The Weinbergers founded and built Jade Oilfield Service, a family-owned business in Red Deer, which operated a fleet of 30 water and vacuum trucks servicing drilling rigs throughout Western Canada. In 2004, they founded Canyon Technical Services, a pressure pumping company providing fracturing, coil tubing, nitrogen, acidizing and cementing services. Headquartered in Calgary, Canyon operates Alberta bases in Red Deer, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat, and a Saskatchewan location in Estevan. Dennis Weinberger was Canyon’s chief executive officer until he retired in the fall of 2009. Jason was Canyon’s vice president of operations until October 2010, when he stepped down in order to take the helm of Copp’s Pile Driving. The new owners plan to maintain pile driving services as the company’s core business. They also plan to update the equipment fleet, expand product and service lines, and open new bases in strategic areas within the next few years. The company’s long-standing tradition of operational excellence and customer service dates back to 1992, when it was established as a family business by Rodney Copp, with a focus on consistently high performance standards. Copp’s Pile Driving is a leading provider of pile driving and related services for the oil and gas, construction, and infrastructure industries. Its clients are primarily oil and gas producers, including several oilsands operators in the Fort McMurray area of Alberta. The company has grown rapidly from day one, thanks to its innovative service offerings and

industry-leading customer service. Its main focus is pile driving, which is primarily used in oilfield applications. Copp’s also provides all-terrain pile driving services, pre-drilling services, picker services, and pipe sales and transportation throughout the entire Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Copp’s Pile Driving takes pride in being a leader in customer service, with a strong management team, experienced operators, modern equipment, strong industry relationships, an excellent reputation, and the ability to respond quickly to new opportunities. The Weinbergers have retained all of the company’s existing staff and are currently ramping up staffing numbers for winter, in conjunction with adding to the firm’s equipment fleet and expansion into new areas. “There will be employment opportunities in all areas of the business,” says Jason. To take the business forward, Jason will work closely with general manager Andy Attfield, who learned the business from the company’s founder. In addition to its core service, Copp’s Pile Driving will add services related to the pile driving industry, as required by customers. Going forward, the company will continue to focus on diversification throughout the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. “Our forte is customer service whether on smaller daily jobs or large-scale, multi-year projects,” Jason says. “We service a wide range of projects.”

Contact Information: Copp’s Pile Driving | A Div. of Copp’s Services Inc. Phone: 403.347.6222 | Toll-free: 1.866.887.3606

Top grade


Topcon 3D-MC Machine Control – available from Brandt Positioning Technology Division – allows you to complete even the most complex surface grading faster and with more precision than ever before. Every Topcon 3D-MC system includes upgradable Topcon components, and an easy-to-use operator interface. It also has the ability to nearly eliminate grade stakes – significantly increasing jobsite productivity. By integrating the pinpoint accuracy of the rapidly expanding Brandtnet GNSS RTK network – and Topcon’s innovative line of lasers – unmatched productivity and material control has never been easier. That’s powerful value, delivered.

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editor’s note


uildings represent a huge opportunity for the construction industry in the global quest to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Buildings are responsible for nearly half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions overall. They also account for 49 per cent of global energy consumption. We all know about the volatility of energy prices. Energy costs are such an important consideration for property owners and tenants, and buildings provide a wealth of untapped opportunities for increased energy efficiency and advanced energy management. Little wonder sustainable building practices are so top of mind. You’ll learn about some interesting Alberta projects in the pages ahead. Not long ago I came across an executive summary from clean energy consulting firm Pike Research that predicts total commercial and residential floor space around the world will grow by 26 per cent between now and 2020. Pike says the growth in “floor space” within mature markets in North America and Western Europe will be in the 7-8 per cent range. But the big story will be in urban centres of emerging nations—China and India—where the research firm sees building stock expansion of over 50 per cent. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a lot of new construction. The fastest growing building category will be multi-unit housing, which is expected to outpace the growth in single-family detached housing by a factor of 2.5 to 1. In commercial building markets, Pike forecasts that the biggest growth will come in retail space. (Today, the residential building stock is about three times the size of the commercial building stock.) If Pike’s forecast is right, think of the energy that will be needed to heat and cool these new buildings. And think of the opportunities for technologies and practices to make buildings even more efficient. Technologies and practices that will no doubt find their way into future Alberta projects. We’ve seen remarkable progress over the past decade in green building. Initiatives such as LEED have become the price of admission just to land certain contracts these days. And there’s no shortage of environmentally friendly projects. This—our annual Green Issue—is devoted to looking at what’s going on around Alberta, from the distinctive Eighth Avenue Place project (page 42) to what the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association wants to showcase to others in a new feature we’re launching called Reduce, Reuse, Rejuvenate (page 73). Increasing efficiency. Lowering CO2 emissions. Lowering water usage. Reducing and reusing material we would otherwise truck to landfills. All for a greener world and buildings that are better to work in and more efficient to operate.

Coming next issue: The Infrastructure Issue

Alberta Construction Magazine | 7

President & CEO Bill Whitelaw •

Publisher Agnes Zalewski •

associate publisher & editor Chaz Osburn •

assistant editor Joseph Caouette •



Editorial Assistance Laura Blackwood, Janis Carlson de Boer,

Samantha Kapler, Marisa Kurlovich • Contributors Godfrey Budd, Diane L.M. Cook , Nordahl Flakstad, Tricia Radison


Print, Prepress & Production Manager Senior Publications Manager Publications Manager Art Director Creative Services Manager Senior Graphic Designers

Creative Services Contributing Photographers Contributing Illustrator

Michael Gaffney • Audrey Sprinkle • Rianne Stewart • Ken Bessie • Tamara Polloway-Webb • Birdeen Selzer • Cathlene Ozubko • Martha Boctor, Janelle Johnson • Aaron Parker, Joey Podlubny Hugo Dubon


Director of Sales Sales Manager—Magazines Senior Account Representative Ad Traffic Coordinator—Magazines Advertising Inquiries

Rob Pentney • Maurya Sokolon • Della Gray • Elizabeth McLean •

marketing and circulation arketing/Trade Show Coordinator Jeannine Dryden • M Bil Hetherington •

OFFICES Calgary: 2nd Floor, 816-55 Avenue N.E., Calgary, Alberta T2E 6Y4 Tel: 403.209.3500 Fax: 403.245.8666 Toll Free: 1.800.387.2446 Edmonton: 6111 - 91 Street N.W., Edmonton, Alberta T6E 6V6 Tel: 780.944.9333 Fax: 780.944.9500 Toll Free: 1.800.563.2946 SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscription rates: In Canada, 1-year $24 plus GST (4 issues), 2-year $39 plus GST (8 issues) Outside Canada, 1-year C$49 (4 issues). Single copies $8 plus GST Subscription inquiries: Tel: 1.866.543.7888 Email: Alberta Construction Magazine is owned by JuneWarren-Nickle’s Energy Group and is published bimonthly. ©2011 1080550 Glacier Media Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed by contributors to Alberta Construction Magazine may not represent the official views of the magazine. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publisher does not assume any responsibility or liability for errors or omissions. Printed by PrintWest Postage Paid in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada If undeliverable return to: Circulation Department, 800, 12 Concorde Place, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2 Made In Canada GST Registration Number 826256554RT Printed in Canada ISSN 1499-6308 Publication Mail Agreement Number 40069240



Green payback

Okotoks car dealership shows that while geothermal is not cheap, it will pay for itself—and help the environment at the same time

By Godfrey Budd



A new lease on life

Unoccupied since 1989, Edmonton’s art deco style Federal Building gets a massive makeover

By Tricia Radison



Waste not

Diverting waste from the landfill so it can be used again

By Tricia Radison




Finding the right fit through a retrofit Alberta Urban Municipalities Association considered a new building. Here’s why renovating made more sense. By Nordahl Flakstad



Avoiding warranty woes

Roofing warranty program helps roofing contractors attract clients

By Tricia Radison



Reflective roofs

Can this green building technology work in Alberta?

By Diane L.M. Cook



Bright idea

LED technology offers advantages over standard fluorescent lighting

By Tricia Radison

Payback Time cover photo: © Halstenbach

8 | Spring 2011

contents cover story

Volume 31, Number 1 Published Spring 2011



Green giant Rising 49 storeys, Eighth Avenue Place will be Canada’s first LEED Platinum high-rise office tower By Tricia Radison


32 Departments



13 23 49 57 65 89 92

�������������������������������������������������� Nuts & Bolts ���������������������������������������� Around Canada ��������� People, Products & Projects ��������������������������������������������������� ACA Report ��������������������������������������������������� CCA Report ����������������������������������������������������� Legal Edge ���������������������������������������������� Time Capsule Alberta Construction Magazine | 9


GODFREY BUDD, a Calgarybased freelance writer who explored this issue’s story on geothermal energy on page 26, is a veteran writer. Budd has written numerous articles for industry magazines and business periodicals on western Canada’s energy industry and Alberta’s construction sector.

10 | Spring 2011

DIANE L.M. COOK frequently writes for JuneWarrenNickle’s Energy Group publications, including Oilweek, Oilsands Review and Alberta Construction Magazine. She is a freelance writer who lives in Calgary.

Edmonton-based NORDAHL FLAKSTAD wrote this issue’s story about the renovation at Alberta Municipal Place (page 73). Flakstad has worked as a writer and editor at daily newspapers, a wire service and with APEGGA, the organization representing Alberta professional engineers and geoscientists. He also runs his own communications firm.

TRICIA RADISON, who wrote this issue’s features on the makeover at Edmonton’s vacant Federal Building (page 32) and the sustainable features at Calgary’s Eighth Avenue Place (page 42), is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Alberta Construction Magazine and other magazines. She is an avid reader and expert researcher. She lives in Calgary.

AARON PARKER studied music at Grant MacEwan College, graduating in 2003, but went back to school and completed the NAIT Graphic Communications program. He joined JuneWarren Publishing (now JuneWarrenNickle’s Energy Group) as a graphic designer. Three years ago he expanded his skill set by taking up photography and, as it has for nearly two years now, his work appears in this issue of Alberta Construction Magazine.

Calgary’s HUGO DUBON is the illustrator of this issue’s cover depicting Eighth Avenue Place, the subject of our feature beginning on page 42. Born in San Salvador, he emigrated to Canada in January 1987, eventually studying at the Alberta College of Art and Design. In addition to his commercial illustration work, he has been represented as a gallery artist, first with Artspace and also with Axis Gallery. Dubon also teaches.

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nuts & bolts News briefs for the busy construction professional


The Voyageur project, shown here around the time it was mothballed in 2009, is designed for 200,000 barrels per day of synthetic crude oil production capacity.

CHEQUEBOOKS OPEN AS ENERGY PROJECT MOMENTUM BUILDS With stronger oil prices and renewed optimism about the economic recovery, experts say we should watch for increased oilsands activity this year. Recently, the Daily Oil Bulletin, a sister publication to Alberta Construction Magazine, reported that capital spending could rise this year to about $16 billion from just under $13.5 billion in 2010. Some developments worth watching: Suncor Energy Inc. will be one of the most active players as it increases oilsands spending by 30 per cent, from $3.21 billion in 2010 to $4.18 billion this year. A deal late last year between Suncor and Total E&P Canada Ltd. means that construction on the postponed Voyageur upgrader north of Fort McMurray, Alta., is getting nearer to restarting after being in limbo for two years. Suncor is also moving forward on its proposed Fort Hills mine, and will begin front-end work on MacKay River 2 and expand its Firebag in situ facilities. Another big one is Imperial Oil Ltd., where construction continues on the Kearl

project and work begins on its Cold Lake Nabiye cyclic steam stimulation expansion. Although Imperial does not release forecast capital spending, in the third quarter of 2010 it reported capital and exploration expenditures of $1.2 billion, directed primarily to Kearl. The company also indicated it planned total capital spending of $3.2 billion last year but expected to exceed that. Canadian Oilsands Trust, which has a 36.74 per cent working interest in the Syncrude Canada Ltd. joint venture, will spend $907 million, including $176 million on tailings management. That’s up from last year’s estimate of capital spending of about $511 million. Meanwhile, Syncrude plans to add two new mining trains, and several new steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects are expected to break ground. (Syncrude’s total estimated budget for this year is $2.8 billion.) Cenovus Energy Inc. could spend up to $1 billion this year with capital expenditures of $350 million to $400 million each at its Foster Creek and Christina Lake SAGD projects which it shares 50/50 with

ConocoPhillips, with whom it also has 50 per cent ownership in two U.S. refineries. Cenovus also has allocated up to $200 million for emerging oilsands assets such as Narrows Lake, Grand Rapids and Telephone Lake.

Table of Contents Melting away construction waste problems���������������������������������� 14 Help for the little guy������������������������ 14 Green side to industrial park �������� 15 Take this job and�������������������������������� 16 Oilsands lodge under construction �������������������������� 16 Economic prediction for 2011������ 16 Cows put you in control of costs���������������������������������������������������� 19 China’s message is to go green���� 20 $25 million�������������������������������������������� 20 Something to cheer about������������ 20

Alberta Construction Magazine | 13

nuts & bolts

illustration: © Rakocevic


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Number of stop-work orders issued by Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety department last fall during inspections of commercial construction sites. That figure represents 18 per cent of the sites inspected.

HELP FOR THE LITTLE GUY Some new legislation in California, where unemployment is still a huge problem, opens the door to business for the little guy. A law that took effect on Jan. 1 requires state departments and local agencies to provide at no charge an electronic copy of the project’s contract documents to a contractor plan room service upon request from the plan room. The view from the industry is that it will be especially beneficial to smaller companies bidding on public projects in that state. The legislation had the backing of the Associated General Contractors of California.

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Here’s something to put on your wish list: the Electro-Thermal Densifier. While it sounds like something from Back to the Future, it’s actually designed to help ensure the planet has a future. The machine melts polystyrene and polypropylene Styrofoam products and turns them into dense, recyclable planks. It takes 50 cubic metres of Styrofoam to produce one cubic metre of planks for re-manufacturing into new plastic products like CD cases. The densifier costs about $69,000. The planks are brokered by EPS Molders Inc. in Alberta Beach and sold to a partnership in Japan for about $330 per/tonne. Payback is about a year if you have enough Styrofoam to keep the machine running eight hours a day, five days a week. “This is a true closed-loop recycling initiative,” explains Jim Donaldson, waste diversion consultant at Waste Reduction and Recycling Consultants Inc. in Alberta Beach. Waste Reduction and Recycling Consultants sells or leases the machines to businesses or others interested in a green business opportunity. The company also runs a temporary Styrofoam recovery facility and service where the construction industry can set up an account to deliver waste Styrofoam for a fee that is less than the cost of dropping it off at the landfill. Accepted products include wall and roof insulation, under-slab and subfloor insulation. Material must be clean and dry and can’t have other material attached to it, such as paper or plastic film. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design documentation and documentation for other programs is available on request. The recycling service is only available in Edmonton, but at least one major client is transporting Styrofoam from another location to keep it out of the landfill. Donaldson hopes that the ability to turn waste Styrofoam into cash with a closed-loop business opportunity will result in the recycling service being available across the country. “In Japan, they’ve been recycling Styrofoam for over 30 years, because they don’t have the land space we have in North America,” he says. “Until the past decade, we had a wasteful culture because we had the land space to dispose of waste. But that’s changing.”

nuts & bolts Coverall’s 20,000-plus square foot facility in TaigaNova.

PHOTOS: Wood Buffalo Housing & Development Corporation

P-Ban Enterprises’ building takes shape last year.

Stony Valley Contracting’s new building.

GREEN SIDE TO INDUSTRIAL PARK You don’t have to run a multinational corporation to be green. Three local businesses in the Municipal District of Wood Buffalo—Stony Valley Contracting; Coveralls, Linens, and Mats; and P-Ban Enterprises—have moved their operations into three of the greenest buildings in Fort McMurray, Alta. The three were among the first businesses to purchase land in the TaigaNova Eco-Industrial Park just outside Fort McMurray. The industrial park is billed

as a development that aims to “support the business needs of the resource sector and the local economy” while “minimizing environmental impacts and enhancing quality of life.” Each of the new buildings in the park incorporates a variety of low-impact and employee-friendly features, according to TaigaNova. Those features range from the grey water reuse system used for industrial laundry at Coveralls, Linens, and Mats, to the natural daylighting in P-Ban’s office.

Getting the businesses to make TaigaNova home marks an important milestone for the Wood Buffalo Housing & Development Corporation, which has been developing the project over the last few years. The eco park is the corporation’s first foray into industrial development, and it’s a landmark project not only because of the sustainability components, but because proceeds from the land sales will directly support low-income housing in the region.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 15

illustration: © Milutinovic

nuts & bolts



By now you might have heard that the worst job to have is that of a roustabout (a term used for rig worker), according to CareerCast. com. But what you may not have heard is that roofer and construction worker also made the top 10 worst jobs list. The jobs website bases its assessment not so much on the working conditions of construction workers as on the fact that the economic meltdown, particularly in many U.S. markets, blew a big hole in hiring opportunities. Still, either is better than being a rig worker, CareerCast. com says. “As the key providers of maintenance for oil rigs and pipelines, roustabouts routinely perform back-breaking labour at all hours of the day and night in conditions that can range from arctic winters to desert summers to ocean storms,” according to The site surveyed 200 different jobs and ranked professions according to five core criteria: work environment, physical demands, outlook, income and stress. So what’s the best job to have in 2011? Software engineer.

Construction of another workforce lodge for oilsands workers in Fort McMurray, Alta., is underway. SNC-Lavalin has won a contract to design, build, operate and maintain the lodge last December. It did not reveal the value of the deal but did say it will be used “during the construction phase of a major oilsands project.” The contract includes site preparation, pilings, water and waste water treatment facilities and backup power generation, as well as the provision for catering and support services at the lodge over the construction period. “An important element of this contract is that SNC-Lavalin Operations and Maintenance and Christina River Enterprises, of the Fort McMurray First Nation, intend to perform a significant amount of the operations and maintenance contract working in partnership,” says Charlie Rate, executive vice-president of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

ECONOMIC PREDICTION FOR 2011 Canada’s economy will rely less on homebuilding, debt-financed government spending and consumer purchases for growth this year, according to the latest forecast from CIBC World Markets Inc. While Canada’s economic news this year will look a lot like it did in 2010—the year starting with solid growth, a mid-year rate hike and year-end performance a little less than consensus—the growth drivers will be fundamentally more sustainable this year than last, CIBC says. “Canada’s economic mix has been the polar opposite of the U.S., with last year’s winners featuring debt-financed booms in consumption and homebuilding,” says Avery Shenfeld, chief economist and managing director at CIBC, in his new forecast, entitled Not Yet Heaven in Twenty-Eleven. “But policy-makers now have that credit buildup in their policy gun sights, and will use higher rates and regulatory changes to bring spending

Commercial Contracting Ltd.

into better line with income, and cool mortgage demand. “Canadians aren’t on the verge of a U.S.-style default crisis—not at these interest rates, and not with debt having been granted to stronger hands than was the case before America’s crisis, when subprime mortgages and credit cards were given out like candy. But maintain this diet of borrowing for five more years and debt obesity would indeed weigh down the household sector’s momentum. It’s time to start the borrowing diet now.” Shenfeld notes that the slower buildup of government and private debt will cut into Canada’s gross domestic product growth in 2011, which would otherwise see solid— and more sustainable—growth from a strengthening export market in the U.S. and increased business investment. As a result, he has raised his projection for Canada by about half a point but expects growth will still be just shy of 2.5 per cent.

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nuts & bolts


Portable cell towers can be used on construction sites where coverage does not exist.


Companies working anywhere in Canada can take a COW along to help them manage communication costs. AirSecure is an engineered solution that provides a private communication network system on construction sites or in remote areas where cellular or two-way radio coverage does not exist. Cellular sites on wheels —(COWs)—are 110-foot towers that can be transported to your site to provide phone service, allowing employees to connect instantly with co-workers, share information, coordinate projects and make quick decisions privately as a group. Airtel Wireless Ltd. in Calgary provides the service, saying it has all the benefits of your own private radio network but is less expensive. “From a cost perspective, it’s less than half of the typical cellular cost,” says Merle Isaacson, president of Airtel Wireless. Handsets that operate as cellular phones and two-way radios are available. They are intrinsically safe and ring in at less than $100. Traditional two-way radio handsets can cost over $1,000 each. Using AirControl, any computer can also be used as a two-way radio with numerous features such as call alert, private or group calling, and text-to-speech messaging. Additionally, monitoring support and technical assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The big benefit of having a COW is that companies can take full control of their communication costs. A flat rate of $45 per user is charged and you can customize who has access to what features on a user-by-user basis. Large companies can consider having two or three permanent towers built and becoming private cellular dealers. This allows them to meet their own communication needs and establish another profit centre that doesn’t require any extra effort.

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 19

nuts & bolts

of subsistence farmers to one of workers increasingly trading bicycles for cars and buying energy-hungry home electronics. Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian said in a report that construction projects that fail to meet environmental standards will not be approved or suspended, according to The Canadian Press.

set a target to cut emissions of major pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxide by 1.5 per cent in 2011 compared to last year, The Canadian Press reports. China is the world’s largest polluter, with energy demands growing sharply every year. The consumption boom reflects the country’s transformation from a nation

China has a message to its construction industry: be green. The country’s Ministry of Environmental Protection plans to cut emissions this year by rejecting construction projects that pollute too much. The Ministry of Environmental Protection

million Value of contract that Bird Construction Company awarded to Aecon Group Inc.’s Lockerbie & Hole mechanical unit to complete upgrades at the water treatment plant in Fort McMurray, Alta. Among other things, the deal includes construction of a new operations building and demolition of the existing administration building. Lockerbie & Hole Contracting Ltd. will provide the mechanical services for a new pre-treatment building, filter building, raw water transfer station and a filtered water transfer station, along with upgrades to existing plant processes and chemical systems. Work is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2012.

SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT There’s an Alberta connection to Winnipeg’s new $190-million football stadium—and it’s not the fact that the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders will play there someday. Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd. been awarded a $44-million contract to Structal-Heavy Steel Construction, part of the Canam Group Inc., for steel work on the stadium. The work includes “designbuild, detailing, business information

modelling and project management services as well as the fabrication and erection of the steel components.” So here are the Alberta connections: Stuart Olson Dominion Construction is a unit of the Calgary-based Churchill Corp., and the Canam Group’s plant in Calgary will handle some of the fabrication of some of the steel components for the stadium. Once completed in 2012, the stadium will have capacity for 33,000 fans. It will serve as the home field for the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the University of Manitoba’s Bisons football team.

INSURANCE BONDING RISK MANAGEMENT Garth Lane: 780.930.3812 Mark McKinley: 780.930.3828 20 | Spring 2011

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2015 The year that Northland Power Income Fund expects its wind farm in Frampton, Que., near the south shore of the St. Lawrence River to begin commercial operation. Northland announced a deal to build and operate the 24-megawatt wind farm in December 2010.

$284 million Gross auction proceeds generated by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ Edmonton site in 2010.


The Toronto Transit Commission has awarded a $279-million contract to a joint venture consisting of McNally Construction, Kiewit Construction and Aecon Constructors to extend the city’s subway system. Specifically, the deal is for completion of the first leg of the TorontoYork Spadina Subway Extension. The project consists of 2.6 kilo­ metres of twin tunnel subway track from the north end of Downsview station, through the new Sheppard West station, to the new Finch West station. The twin tunnels will cross underneath Allen Road, several commercial/industrial properties and Sheppard Avenue West. Work started in December 2010 and should be finished by April 2014.

$16. 2


Contract amount awarded to Aecon Group Inc.’s Infrastructure division by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to upgrade Highway 11, north of New Liskeard, Ont.



NEW FOURSTAR HOTEL Delta Hotels is building a new flagship hotel in downtown Toronto. The 45-storey Delta Toronto, set to open in 2014, “will provide 566 well-appointed, generously sized guest rooms, including 24 extended-stay suites for travellers who are in the city for a longer period of time,” Delta Hotels says. The hotel will feature the latest in sustainable design including heat-recovery ventilation, low-flow fixtures, smart cards to control room lighting and air based on suite occupancy, and green roofs throughout the building. The hotel will be located in the Southcore Financial Centre, near the nearly completed 650,000-squarefoot PwC Tower at 18 York Street. That will be the new home to accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and is scheduled for occupancy next fall. EllisDon is the contractor.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 23

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payback Okotoks car dealership shows that while geothermal is not cheap, it will pay for itself— and help the environment at the same time By Godfrey Budd

Go green—or save money, time and worry? It’s a decision increasingly faced by businesses today as they ponder a choice between the tried and true and the uncharted waters of new or unfamiliar technology. But the recent experience of Keith Pontiac Buick GMC Ltd. of Okotoks, Alta., with a geothermal-based heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system suggests that may in some instances be a bogus dilemma, and that, in fact, the green option can help the bottom line. The total cost of the system, which includes geothermal heating and air conditioning, supplementary insulation, solar panels and water-conserving technologies, was about $500,000 and should take about 10 years for payback. “It lowers our cost of doing business,” says Marc Rachiele, the dealership’s general manager. “Our utility expenses are reduced by about $15,000 a month.” And, he adds, the system lowers the dealership’s carbon footprint at the same time. For set-up and installation of the geothermal system, which provides heat from the ground in winter and cooling in summer, 60 wells were drilled to a depth of about 300 feet for the 60 vertical loops of high-density polyethylene pipe that carry the liquid used for heating and cooling. The ground source heat pump used to move the liquid is similar to the heat pump in a refrigerator or air conditioner except that it can provide either heating or cooling. The system relies on the fact that subsurface ground has a relatively constant year-round temperature. In summer, the ground acts as a heat sink to cool the 36,000-square-foot dealership building slab. In the winter months it provides heat. The 22-service bay shop benefits from in-slab heating. “There’s no cold air at the bottom or floor level,” Rachiele says. In winter, the electric-powered heat pumps are run at night, when electricity is often cheaper due to lower demand, to super-heat the slab, says Rachiele, who adds, “I don’t understand why more businesses don’t do this.” Besides better cash flow as a result of lower utility bills, he says the record shows that this kind of system requires less maintenance than conventional roof-top HVAC units.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 27

commercial 1

1. Tubing transports energy to and from the ground from the geothermal room at Keith Pontiac Buick GMC. 2. One of the 19 heat pumps used at the dealership. 3. S olar panels help heat water for the dealership’s car wash. 2



INITIAL NERVOUSNESS Although this type of geothermal system has been around for decades, Rachiele admits “there was some nervousness” about the project. The first commercial geothermal/ground source heat pump system in the United States was installed in the Commonwealth Building in Portland, Ore., in 1946. The type of geothermal system used at Keith Pontiac is often called geo-exchange to avoid confusion with geothermal power, which, as in Iceland for example, uses underground sources of very hot water to power steam turbines for generating electricity. The less costly geo-exchange is used in about 70 countries. Geothermal power, which requires good access to very hot rocks and/or water deep underground for the economics to work, provides some electricity in about 20 countries. “The total economic activity of the Canadian geo-exchange industry in 2009 was likely in excess of $500 million,” 28 | Spring 2011

WHY GO GEO? Data from governments in both Canada (Natural Resources Canada) and the United States (Environmental Protection Agency) indicate that geoexchange systems are the most benign space conditioning technology on the market today in terms of environmental impact. Here’s why. By transferring solar energy from the ground into a building, there is: ■ A reduced need for generation

and transmission of electricity ■ Less need to drill and transport

fossil fuels ■ An accompanying reduction in the

emission of pollutants at all stages SOURCE: CANADIAN GEOEXCHANGE COALITION

according to a 2010 market study from the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition. Besides the vertical or horizontal underground loops to carry the heat-transfer fluid (often a mixture of water and glycol, methanol or ethanol), the other main components of a geoexchange system are the heat pump and distribution. Excluding the loop system, the cost of geothermal hardware is about the same as for a conventional system. “The ground loop then about doubles the cost of the hardware, so the incremental cost is about 100 per cent,” says Alex Lewoniuk, in charge of business development at Geothermal Utilities Inc. “Right now, payback is often 11-13 years in Alberta. It depends partly on the price of natural gas.” Although the heat or energy output from geo-exchange is about four times the input, with resulting efficiency gains, payback in Alberta can be slower than in other provinces because of current low natural gas prices and higher

commercial electricity costs than elsewhere—in British Columbia, for example, where it is about 30 per cent less. This could change if gas prices rise or if Alberta’s electricity prices drop, in which case payback time would shrink. Geo-exchange can also draw heat from water in lakes or underground water sources. A project of Geothermal Utilities is a case in point. The Happy Valley Estates affordable housing project in Hinton, Alta., has a total of 52 units in five buildings, with about two-thirds of the project site sitting roughly 100 feet above an abandoned coal mine that’s filled with water. The Hinton project doesn’t use the actual source water. Instead, it has a closed-loop system of three-quarter inch high-density polyethylene pipe that runs to a depth of about 250 feet and passes through the water in the mine. The project was commissioned last fall. Since it was launched in 2003, Geothermal Utilities has done work in the commercial, residential and institutional sectors for a total of more than 200 projects, Lewoniuk says. WHERE SAVINGS COME FROM The efficiency gains with geothermal are ubiquitous but the environmental benefits can vary, depending on how electricity is generated in a region. Greenhouse gas reductions are significant in hydroelectric regions such as Quebec and British Columbia, but rather less where coalfired generation is used, as in Alberta. With geo-exchange and electrically powered heat pumps, one can expect about 25 per cent higher electricity bills, with savings coming from reduced natural gas/ oil consumption for heat, lower maintenance costs and better input/output ratios. In some cases, the geothermal option can even entail reduced capital costs— especially if you’re a developer faced with a price tag of $550,000-plus for a gas line to your new subdivision. “And that’s before hookups to individual houses,” says Ben Wemhof, a partner in Tanglewood Ridge Inc., which is working with Landrex Developments on a new subdivision near the Town of Athabasca and adjacent to the river. With no alternative natural gas retailer in the region, Wemhof took a hard look at the geothermal alternative

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for the multi-phase project, which could have up to 273 houses. “Each lot can use [a] horizontal or vertical loop [system],” he says. “Each home will have its own system.” Unlike some provinces, Alberta has no specific incentives for geothermal, but Tanglewood Ridge homeowners could access up to $10,000 under the Alberta government’s EnerGuide 86 rebate plan for homes. “With good insulation and geothermal, it should be achievable,” Wemhof says. Despite the sector’s growth across Canada and some significant projects around the province, Alberta has been slow to embrace the technology, observers say. “Out of all the provinces, we are the weakest,” says Chris Mitchell, an industrial engineering technologist and veteran geothermal specialist at CleanEnergy Developments, which has done geoexchange projects across the country, including schools, colleges in Ontario and a retail store in Whitehorse. “Some oil and gas executives are using geothermal systems for their houses, but, with others, well, it can be a tougher sell.” Last summer, CleanEnergy received a GeoExchange Excellence award from the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition for its engineered geothermal heating system at the Upper Banff Hot Springs spa. The spring’s flow has been intermittent in recent years, drying up in winter. The geothermal solution involves an openloop system in which heat is recovered from the site’s natural geothermal source and pool water discharge. “The system was designed to provide approximately 90 per cent of the required pool heating under peak heating conditions with the existing natural gas boilers as backup,” according to the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition. “After several

commercial Keith Pontiac Buick GMC in Okotoks.

years of operation, the natural gas boilers have yet to be used for pool heating even during the extremes of Banff winters.” One of Alberta’s biggest geothermal projects is still in design but will be part of a huge expansion at the Calgary International Airport. The new international terminal will almost double the size of the airport with a total of about 1.4 million square feet of floor space on four or five levels including mezzanines. Some 600 boreholes will accommodate 600 loops to a depth of about 400 feet as part of a geothermal HVAC system for the new terminal. With other energy-saving features included in the design of the terminal, “it’s difficult to quantify the energy savings from geothermal,” says Chris Himsl, manager of the mechanical engineering department at Aecom Canada Ltd. Pending a detailed analysis later, he estimates energy savings will be in the range of 25-30 per cent. A five-year, $3.5-million research project into geothermal energy at the University of Alberta could eventually involve much bigger savings. As part of the Helmholtz Alberta Initiative, a Canadian-German collaboration, a team of researchers is investigating using geothermal sources about five kilometres below the oilsands as a replacement for natural gas, currently the main source of heat for bitumen production and processing. “Both previous studies and current ones suggest it could be feasible,” says Martyn Unsworth, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alberta and lead researcher on the project. While it is likely to be some time before geothermal’s potential in the oilsands is fully understood, you can be sure the technology will continue to make inroads in oil and gas–rich Alberta.

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lease on life Unoccupied since 1989, Edmonton’s art deco style Federal Building gets a massive makeover By Tricia Radison

32 | Spring 2011



Canada’s ornate coat of arms is still quite recognizable over the front entrance of the Federal Building in Edmonton.



Alberta Construction Magazine | 33

institutional Built in the 1950s for what would be $340 million today, Edmonton’s Federal Building was an impressive sight when government employees moved in. Designed in the 1930s—World War II interrupted the project—it includes a lobby with six types of marble and is considered a stellar example of the art deco style. “I’m told its one of the best representations of art deco design in Canada,” says Cam Munro, senior sustainable innovation specialist at Clark Builders. Clark Builders is the prime contractor on the renovation project. The 10-storey building has been empty since 1989, its beauty hidden and its space wasted. Now, Alberta Infrastructure is giving the Federal Building a more than $150-million makeover, returning it to its former splendour and showcasing Alberta’s commitment to sustainability. (The entire project also includes construction of a parkade and area known as Centennial Plaza, estimated at around $110 million, according to Alberta Finance and Enterprise.)

The Federal Building is being restored to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification standards, meaning it will use 40-50 per cent less energy than a building that meets code, produce fewer emissions, use less water and be a healthier place for the people that work there. “That does add an element of complexity that normally wouldn’t be there,” says Paul Verhesen, president of Clark Builders. “In heritage projects in the past, the first premise for design and construction was the historical designation and the second was practical: Get it built.” HEAD START On this project, maintaining history and getting the building finished must be done while keeping sustainability top of mind. But there are some advantages to starting with a building designed in the 1930s. “The building inherently has maybe 10-12 points because of the way it was designed,” Munro says. Dayl ig ht i ng is one exa mple. Incorporating natural daylight so that

energy use through lighting can be reduced is a key factor in the LEED program. It was also important when the building was designed and constructed, for a different reason. “They didn’t have energy-efficient lights that would give as much light,” Munro says. “They built with a small floor plate so you would get the natural daylight to come in and filter deep into the building.” There are more than 1,680 windows in the building and the offices from the third floor up are along the exterior walls. Originally, transom windows above the office doors spilled light into the single corridors that run down each floor. Glass blocks on staircases at either end of the building brought daylight into those spaces. Those features will remain. Other elements that would have gotten the building a few points will be replaced. For instance, each office had its own radiator under the window allowing the user of the space to control the temperature— a LEED principle.

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institutional Clockwise from top: The project includes an underground parkade and a plaza. This photo, taken last November, shows how close the Federal Building is to the Alberta Capitol.


The Federal Building design included more than 1,680 windows to take advantage of natural daylighting to help light the interior.



The radiators also threw off a lot of heat that was then retained by the thick wall of Tyndall stone that makes up the exterior of the building. Although the building envelope had no insulation, the Tyndall stone acted like a heat sink, heating up so well that it radiated heat back into the building. While efficient for its time, the radiator system isn’t so by today’s standards. After the renovation, the Federal Building will boast highly energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. Thermal research

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institutional shows that the heating system won’t have quite the same effect on the Tyndall stone, so insulation will be put into the envelope. But, says Munro, it won’t have as high an R-value as one would expect because of the thermal mass of the stone. BREATHE EASY Occupants will breathe significantly better air in the revamped building. When it was constructed, the building had the required ventilation system of the time— operable windows. The windows are being replaced with low-emissivity, argon-filled windows and will no longer be operable. Instead, fresh air will be continuously pumped into the building. A heat wheel recovery system will use the heat of exhaust air to warm air coming into the building during winter—outside air will be chilled the same way in the summer—to reduce energy use for heating and cooling. Air quality will be maintained through the use of things like no- or lowVOC (volatile organic chemical) finishes, recyclable carpets that don’t off-gas, and

separate ventilation systems in rooms where chemicals such as photocopier toner are used. Because this is a heritage project and a LEED Gold project, sustainability and look are important when choosing finishes. The original plaster, which contained asbestos and has already been removed, will be replaced with mouldresistant drywall, an inert material that won’t off-gas. “After it’s finished, I would be able to tell the difference,” Munro says. “You won’t be able to, unless you have a longstanding plaster-drywall history.” Back in the 1950s, there wasn’t a lot of office equipment that the average civil servant had to plug in, so each office had just one electrical outlet. An upgrade of the electrical system, which will include energy-efficient lighting, will give new occupants needed power as efficiently as possible. As demolition of areas of the project progresses, Clark Builders is arranging for very few trips to the landfill. To date, approximately 97 per cent of demolition

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and construction waste material has been recycled. Alberta Infrastructure may reuse the oak wood trim and doors that were in the building, either in this building or in another project. Wood that couldn’t be salvaged is recycled to be used for fuel. The clay block walls have gone to the City of Edmonton to be used for underroadway granular crush fill. Metal, glass and drywall will continue to be reused and recycled. Clark Builders is also racking up LEED points during the demolition and construction process by carefully monitoring and maintaining air quality. Activities such as choosing to work with low-VOC materials, isolating work areas to prevent contamination and daily housekeeping help keep the air in the building safe for those working in it today and those who will occupy it in the future. “This has been a challenging project, but it’s been successful and rewarding,” Verhesen observes. “As Albertans, we’re going to be very proud because it is going to be a fabulous facility.”

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Thanks to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and environmental awareness in general, industry is achieving remarkable waste diversion rates. Avoiding the landfill wouldn’t be possible without innovative ways to recycle and reuse materials that would otherwise have nowhere to go. Armstrong World Industries Inc. offers building owners an easy solution for ceiling tile. The company runs the Armstrong Recycling Center and takes back dry mineral and fibreglass ceiling tiles free of hazardous materials. “Recyclers save on landfill, tipping and transportation costs,” says Cindy O’Neill, Armstrong’s assistant marketing communications specialist, from the company’s office in Lancaster, Penn.

Diverting waste from the landfill so it can be used again By Tricia Radison

Waste The old tiles provide recycled content to make new tiles, so there’s a double benefit. Armstrong offers two types of ceiling panels that have the Ceiling2-Ceiling designation, meaning they contain recycled content from reclaimed ceiling tiles. Armstrong, which started the program in the United States in 1999, covers the cost of taking back the material on projects with at least 30,000 square feet of tile. If the project is smaller, contractors are advised to locate one of the company’s certified ceiling recycling contractors.

38 | Spring 2011

Drywall companies are getting in on the recycling action too, particularly for LEED projects. Neal Pollock, president of TDL Drywall Inc. in Calgary, says his company sends waste drywall to New West Gypsum Recycling, a Langley, B.C., company with recycling plants around the world. New West Gypsum recycles wallboard and gypsum from new construction and demolition, processes it and ends up with a product that drywall manufacturers can use to make new wallboard. The paper, which is separated from the gypsum during processing, is also recycled. New West Gypsum has a plant in Calgary and there are other drywall recycling facilities throughout the province. There isn’t one in Fort McMurray,

Alta., however, making it a little more challenging to hit high diversion rates. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is building an approximately $20-million fire station and is targeting LEED Gold certification. The 4,000-square-metre station will be two storeys high and include an operational fire hall, fire administration office, fire fleet maintenance shop, training classroom, training tower, support facilities and an emergency operation centre. It will have all the usual features found in LEED projects, such as highly efficient


not illustration: Š

Alberta Construction Magazine | 39

industrial Clockwise from right:


Armstrong World Industries says that once old ceiling tiles are removed and taken to a recycling centre, such as this one in Pennsylvania, they can be recycled. Some of that material is then used to make new tiles.

electrical and mechanical systems and on-site storm water management, and construction waste diversion will be important. “We’re reusing everything we can, but there are issues with the transportation of drywall,” says Joseph Zachariah, project manager for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Sending the drywall to Edmonton may be too costly and result in a bigger carbon footprint than would be desired. A study is underway to determine what should be done with waste drywall. One option is to grind it and use it as a soil amendment on the site. According to Darcy Edison, chief administrative officer and site manager of the Bow Valley Waste Commission in Canmore, Alta., that’s becoming quite a common practice. The drywall waste is ground and put through a screen. Magnets are used to remove nails and screws. The ground drywall is used in compost because it brings the pH level of manure down. Which just goes to show that with a bit of ingenuity combined with entrepreneurship, there’s no limit to the industries that can take root once the need arises.

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Green isn’t just a colour. Sustainable building practice is here to stay and EllisDon is committed to being a leader in the field. The push to “go green” has never been more pronounced. It is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The quality of our environment and our quality of life depend on it. That’s why EllisDon is applying all our experience and knowledge to become good at sustainable building…really good.

40 | Spring 2011

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Rising 49 storeys, here’s what makes Eighth Avenue Place a LEED Platinum hit

Giant By Tricia Radison

If all goes as planned, the 49-storey Eighth Avenue Place in downtown Calgary will soon become the first LEED Platinum (Core & Shell) high-rise office tower in Canada. It’s one thing to become LEED— short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—certified. But reaching the highest level, Platinum, is much more difficult in the internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of a highperformance green building. So what does it take to reach such a high level of sustainability? Here’s a look. AN EFFICIENT CURTAIN WALL SYSTEM “The glass curtain wall system is a huge part of the overall energy efficiency of this building,” says Brenda Morawa, president and principal of BVM Engineering Inc. in Atlanta.

42 | Spring 2011

“The whole objective is trying to find that sweet spot among having glass that gives you access to not just the daylight but the full views from floor to ceiling, being able to mitigate the heating load from outside to inside with that glass, and then the cost.” The solution is a unitized curtain wall system with dual-pane glass that has solar screening coatings. Within this system, the interior and exterior aluminum mullions are thermally separated to prevent heat transfer. The mullion system was custom-designed and fabricated for the building. “It is a fully thermally separated system,” explains Avi Tesciuba, vice-president of Hines Interests Limited Partnership, the company developing the project, from his office in Toronto. With very little air coming in through the curtain wall, baseboard heating wasn’t required around the perimeter of the building.

IMAGES: Pickard Chilton


Here’s what Eighth Avenue Place will look like when completed this year. Designed by Pickard Chilton, the new addition to Calgary’s skyline consists of a 49-storey tower, a two-storey retail podium spanning a city block that features a dramatic atrium winter garden and a parking garage. Work began in late 2007. EllisDon is the construction manager.

FEATURES Among the features of Eighth Avenue Place: ■ Innovative

curtain wall system with doubleglazed glass

■ High-efficiency

mechanical systems ■ Building

management and control system

■ Green


■ Winter

garden opening into a green plaza

■ 300-stall

bicycle parking with adjacent showers

■ Ultra

low-flow urinals

■ High-efficiency


Alberta Construction Magazine | 43

feature “You have glass all the way to the floor,” Tesciuba says. “You can literally walk up all the way to the glass and use all of that space.” Heating and cooling the perimeter space can now be done using the same overhead air delivery system used for interior spaces instead of installing a second system.

Longer-range plans are to build a second tower next to the existing one.

CAREFUL MONITORING Another important aspect of energy efficiency is reducing the amount of outside air brought into the building. Again, it’s about the sweet spot, the perfect balance between providing high-quality air to breathe and not having cold air to heat. “We are doing a combination of different things to optimize the amount of outside air and then very efficiently heat that outside air to reduce the operating costs,” Morawa says. One of the most innovative aspects is that the building management and control system monitors the CO2 level in the building and the carbon monoxide level in the parking garage. When levels go higher than

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44 | Spring 2011

feature desired, air is brought in just until the level reaches the right point. The system also monitors temperature and lighting. It will make automatic adjustments to ensure air quality and operators can make adjustments from a computer, in the building or remotely. GREEN ROOF “A green roof is one of the features that impacts the most credit categories,” Morawa says. First, green roofs mitigate the heat island effect in summer, absorbing heat so that it’s not absorbed into the building. Second, they retain and treat stormwater and reduce the amount of water discharged into the municipal stormwater system. They also provide habitat for creatures like birds, bugs and butterflies. The garden atop Eighth Avenue Place is thought to be the largest in Canada at 30,000 square feet. WASTE MANAGEMENT Managing new construction waste is one thing. Managing demolition waste is

“We look at what’s important to the tenants and then design around that. If we do the things that matter to the tenants, then we end up getting the points that the Green Building Council has on their list.” — Avi Tesciuba, Vice-President, Hines Interests Limited Partnership another. But even with demolition, those involved in building Eighth Avenue Place were able to divert approximately 80 per cent of waste from the landfill. “It’s easier to achieve a higher diversion percentage when you’re demolishing a building the way that they demolished the old Penny Lane [shopping centre] complex,” says Kim Rishel, manager of Sustainable Building Services, western Canada, for EllisDon

Construction Services Inc. EllisDon is the project manager. Murray Demolition of Quantum Murray LP performed the demolition, dismantling the old complex instead of just knocking it over. Everything was examined to see if it could be reused or recycled. For example, the ceiling tiles were sent to Armstrong World Industries, which runs a recycling program and uses old ceiling tile in some of its new products.

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 45


COMMITMENT Sustainable building practices are common in today’s industry. The LEED program promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: ■

Sustainable site development

Water efficiency

Energy efficiency

Materials selection

Indoor environmental quality

46 | Spring 2011

Rishel credits the effort exhibited by Hines, BVM Engineering, the design team and consultants, EllisDon and the subtrades for the sustainability of Eighth Avenue Place. “It’s that collaborative, integrated design process where you have everybody working together all the time,” she says. Designed by Pickard Chilton Architects, Inc., Eighth Avenue Place will feature a two-storey retail podium spanning a full city block. It will also have an atrium winter garden and a 1,143-car, below-grade parking garage. Construction began in December 2007

and should be completed this summer. Future plans include construction of another tower. For Hines, protecting the environment is actually a secondary goal. Eighth Avenue Place has been built for the people who will occupy it. “We look at what’s important to the tenants and then design around that,” says Tesciuba, pointing out things like lots of natural light, great views, high-quality air and thermal comfort. “If we do the things that matter to the tenants, then we end up getting the points that the Green Building Council has on their list.”


How we made a 26-million-gallon/day How we made a 26-million-gallon/day

Sewage Bypass Sewageeasier Bypass to handle T T

easier to handle

he JAMES Wastewater Treatment plant in Abbotsford, B.C. wanted to upgrade its solids contact tank with a Sanitaire fine-bubble aerator he JAMES Wastewater Treatment plant in Abbotsford, B.C. wanted from ITT. The contractor, Westport Construction Group from Burnaby, to upgrade its solids contact tank with a Sanitaire fine-bubble aerator B.C. called on us to do the main work of draining the tank and handling from ITT. The contractor, Westport Construction Group from Burnaby, the sewage bypass. B.C. called on us to do the main work of draining the tank and handling Westport, had to present a primary and backup sewage bypass the sewagewhich bypass. plan for approval by the authorities before commissioning, needed a Westport, which had to present a primary and backup sewage bypass foolproof plan. And we delivered. plan for approval by the authorities before commissioning, needed a We provided ourAnd technical expertise and the necessary rental equipment foolproof plan. we delivered. including: 12" engine diesel pumps, steel piping,and discharge hose. All We provided our technical expertise and the necessary rental equipment pumps were supplied with an automatic priming system that assures including: 12" engine diesel pumps, steel piping,and discharge hose. All prime, without filling the casing with water. pumps were supplied with an automatic priming system that assures The bypass system operated flawlessly and at the finest levels forecasted. prime, without filling the casing with water. Within four weeks, Westport was able to replace the aerators and was The bypass system operated flawlessly and at the finest levels forecasted. thankful to ITT Water & Wastewater for proposing this practical solution. Within four weeks, Westport was able to replace the aerators and was My conclusion? It pays&to talk to the for experts. thankful to ITT Water Wastewater proposing this practical solution.

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& projects



Carolyn Cheetham

Carolyn Cheetham of Red Deer, Alta., is the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2011 national secretary. The association represents nearly 40,000 kitchen and bath professionals. Cheetham, a certified master kitchen and bath designer, is one of six members of the executive committee. She will work with more than 70 local National Kitchen & Bath Association chapters across Canada and the United States, and will serve as an ambassador to companies, associations and other organizations in the building and design fields. Cheetham became an architectural technologist in 1984, a certified kitchen designer in 1995, a certified bathroom designer in 1996 and a certified master kitchen and bath designer in 2006.



Norman H. Collin & Associates (1984) Ltd., which has offices in Calgary and Edmonton, is the new sales agency for Lynden Door Inc., responsible for promoting Lynden Door’s products for the commercial and architectural sector in Alberta.

EonCoat is a new type of ceramic coating being marketed as not only free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but it also has a finish that’s resistant to abrasion, corrosion, high temperatures and chemicals. It can be applied by a licensed contractor in a high build, single coat with no primer. The coating does not come premixed. Instead, it consists of two, non-hazardous ingredients that do not interact until applied by a plural component spray gun like those used to apply polyurethane foam or polyurea coatings. Since the components are not mixed and do not meet prior to application, the need for VOC-generating ingredients is eliminated. The product is from Wilson, N.C.-based EonCoat LLC. Check out to learn more.

STEELS NEW DEAL Steels Industrial Products Ltd. has been appointed a dealer of foam insulation products supplied by Owens Corning Canada LP. The products are used for exterior wall and roof insulation for commercial and industrial applications. Steels has nine locations across Alberta and British Columbia.

Through her business, Design Works By Cheetham, she uses her skills as an architectural technologist and certified master kitchen and bath designer to design complete house plans and renovation projects. Her experience as a volunteer leader with her national organization began in 1993 as a chapter officer. Since then, Cheetham has served as a national leader on the Advisory Council of Designers, Board of Chapter Representatives, Board of Directors, Canadian Ad Hoc Membership Parity Committee, International Task Force, and Sustainability Task Force. She has also been a judge in two National Kitchen & Bath Association design competitions.

HOW TO submit items Does your company have news about personnel changes or new products? Or did it just land a new project in Alberta? We want to know about it. Here’s how to get your news to us. Email items to: or send it to: Editor, Alberta Construction Magazine, 6111-91 St. NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 6V6 or fax to: (780) 944-9500 Please include the full name and location of the company.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 49

people, products, projects

SILVER CERTIFICATION FOR AD VALOREM PLACE Ad Valorem Place, which houses the City of Calgary’s Assessment business unit, has been certified Silver under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Commercial Interiors rating system. Enermodal Engineering Ltd. provided LEED consulting and building commissioning services. The interior designer and project manager was the city’s Corporate Properties & Buildings, Building Infrastructure department. Some of the green features include: ■ An energy-efficient lighting retrofit,

including occupancy sensors.

■ T he

diversion from landfill to recycling facilities of one ton of light bulbs and three tons of data cabling. ■ A kitchen and cafeteria-composting program combines with a full recycling program to divert 33,492 kilograms of waste annually. ■ Open-concept offices with low partitions, plentiful windows and atrium create ample daylighting. ■ Demand-controlled ventilation in meeting rooms. ■ A new boiler that uses 15 per cent less energy than previous boiler system.

■ Repair of building envelope and roof.

The projected payback of the changes to the three-storey building is 5.3 years. Payback is calculated based on the incremental cost of the green renovations or materials and the associated utility cost savings.

■ An on-site fitness facility and caf-

eteria, which reduce the need for employees to create carbon emissions driving to these services. ■ Furniture made form 50 per cent recycled materials.

SAVING ENERGY Here’s a green fact from Owens Corning Canada LP: Every pound of its glass fibre insulation annually saves 12 times more energy than was used to produce it. Owens Corning also says its commercial and residential insulation products now contain an additional 10 per cent recycled content, resulting in at least 70 per cent recycled glass content. It calls that the highest recycled content for fibreglass insulation in Canada. To make its point, the company says that customers insulating their attic to R-50 or topping up their attic insulation to 15 inches can save half a ton of greenhouse gases per year, year after year. To learn more about Owens Corning’s sustainability efforts, check out

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people, products, projects


This door is of standard height but wider than normal.


A project that started out as a custom exterior door for an Alberta home has led to a new offering from JELD‐WEN Windows & Doors Canada. As the Canadian-based company explains, standard residential exter­ ior doors offer a height of 6 feet 8 inches and a width of 2 feet 6 inches to 2 feet 8 inches. But the com­pany’s new custom wood and Aurora fibreglass exterior door collections allow the creation of a door with a standard industry height, but with a width of 3 feet 6 inches. The option, the company continues, is great for those renovating an existing entryway or adding wheelchair accessibility to a building. Previously, you could only go wider if you had enough clearance for the height. For more information, check out

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 51

people, products, projects


NOW AVAILABLE IN CANADA The new Samsung Rugby II—a mobile phone built for challenging environments such as those construction workers find themselves in—is now available in Canada. It’s available from Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications Inc. and TELUS Corporation. The Rugby II features a keypad and rugged design that meets military specifications for resistance to blowing rain, high humidity, dust and submersion in water. In addition, the phone supports global roaming and GPS, and has a twomegapixel camera and user expandable memory (up to 32 gigabites via MicroSD card). It also features a dual-speaker design that offers an internal speaker for regular wireless calls and a large exterior speaker for hands-free conversations. There is a top-mounted lanyard connector, making it easy for users to carry the device on a strap or lanyard—so the device is always within reach—and it has Bluetooth capabilities for connection with other devices, including a wireless headset.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN GROWING Rocky Mountain Dealerships Inc. continues to grow, completing its acquisition of certain assets of AgriTrac Equipment Ltd., a Case IH dealership with locations in Westlock, Vegreville and Barrhead in Alberta. The acquisition was funded with cash and 55,066 common shares of Rocky Mountain Dealerships. For the most recent fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2010, AgriTrac had revenues of approximately $47 million. The AgriTrac locations will operate under the Hi-Way Service Ltd. division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rocky Mountain Dealerships.

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people, products, projects



Who says you can’t have flush toilets and running water on a construction site? You can with Premium Portable Washrooms Ltd., which is new in Alberta and provides a much-needed service by adding comfort in a place where we need it most. The units are self-contained with male and female sides, have quart flush toilets and auto shut-off faucets, mirrors and high-output ventilation. The washrooms are made of steel instead of plastic and can be heated so they won’t freeze up in the winter. The units have large holding tanks for fresh water and waste, resulting in roughly 1,000 uses before a septic pumpout is needed. They are easy to hook up to a 110-volt outlet or two outlets in the winter. The units have been used on 75 construction sites in Saskatchewan. Clients include EllisDon Corporation, Carson Energy Services Ltd. and Norwest Corporation. The units are easily moved with forklift and crane lift points and are certified for top-of-building flight. Set-up is quick and straightforward. To learn more, email or visit

These units have male and female sides.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 53


people, products, projects

CrossIron Mills, located just north of Calgary, opened in August 2009.

SUPER SHOPPING CENTRES GRAB SILVER The International Council of Shopping Centers—the global trade association of the shopping centre industry—has recognized three Alberta shopping centres for outstanding achievement in marketing and design/development of retail properties and retail store design. The three are Edmonton’s Kingsway Mall, Calgary’s Southcentre Mall and Rocky View’s CrossIron Mills. According to DIALOG, a firm that specializes in architecture, engineering,

Mobile Offices Workforce Camps Storage Products Modular Buildings

interior design, and urban design and planning which worked on the three projects, Kingsway Mall was awarded Silver recognition in its renovation/expansion category. The $70-million renovation was redesigned to be lighter and brighter. More natural light was directed to the mall’s lower level to create a brighter shopping space. The owner is Oxford Properties Group Inc. Southcentre Mall was recognized with a Silver award for its contemporary renovation, dramatic newly expanded food

court, “unparalleled amenities,” themed play area and distinct comfort zones, DIALOG said. The owners are Ivanhoe Cambridge and Commerz Real. Receiving a Silver in the innovative design and development of a new retail project category was Ivanhoe Cambridge’s CrossIron Mills, Alberta’s first enclosed shopping centre built in over 20 years. With over one million square feet of retail space, CrossIron Mills is home to 17 anchors and 200 stores.


Offices in Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray 54 | Spring 2011

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Quality, honesty, and integrity remain corporate cornerstones of amalgamated Ketek Group

lISS _II11II It.

We’re now all part of


n January 1, four companies amalgamated to form Ketek Group Inc: a dewatering and water transfer company, Groundwater Control Systems Inc. (GCS); an oilfield equipment rental and service company, Ketek Industries Ltd.; an incinerator manufacturing and sustainability consulting company, Westland Environmental Services Inc.; and a safety consulting company, Alltek Loss Prevention Inc. A quick glance at the amalgamating companies that will constitute Ketek Group may leave some wondering why four so seemingly diverse businesses have found common purpose under one corporate roof. For Ketek Group’s President and CEO Rick Abel, it was a vital move to make in the interest of continuing the highest practical level of service to the clients of each individual company. “Certainly, the amalgamation has internal administrative advantages,” says Rick, “but it also allows us, as a group, to draw on a wider range of expertise, draw from a larger pool of employees and equipment, and manage increased financial flexibility.” Ketek Group will operate five divisions—Groundwater Control Systems, Ketek Industries, Ketek Manufacturing, Westland Consulting, and Alltek Loss Prevention. Rick explains: “The divisional names have a close resemblance to the legacy companies that made up Ketek Group because we felt that it is important for industry to recognize that the amalgamation will not result in a deterioration of the key values that made GCS, Ketek, Westland, and Alltek successful client service–driven companies.” Ketek Industries and Groundwater Control Systems’ catalogue of equipment is quite diverse and made up of approximately 6,000 pieces including brand products, such as ITT Flygt submersible electric pumps and Selwood diesel pumps. Other equipment consists of electric generators, transformers, light towers, matting, water and sewage treatment and storage, fluid handing units (tanks, aluminum piping, rubber hose, boosters, floats, various custom buildings), mobile fitness centres, recreation buildings, geo-labs, and environmental bins. Ketek Manufacturing designs and builds solid- and liquid-waste incinerators for sale domestically and internationally. Westland Consulting provides auditing, consulting, and training services for corporate sustainability. Alltek Loss Prevention delivers industrial safety inspection, supervision, consultation, incident investigation, and training services. Ketek Group’s home base consists of a combined 50,000 sq. ft. of offices and shops situated on approximately 20 acres of adjacent lots in Edmonton. Both Ketek Industries and Groundwater Control Systems divisions have local representation in branches in Fort McMurray, Wabasca (lay-down yard only), Fort St. John, and Fort Nelson. Plans are currently underway to expand in Fort McMurray and to open a Grande Prairie location. Under the new corporate alignment, Ketek Group expects to expand its already sizable portfolio of equipment and services. For Ketek Group’s team and Rick, just what the future holds will depend on “whether we can add value for customers from a service and quality point of view. Predicting and managing change is the intrigue of business.”


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aca report

A LOOK BACK AT 2010 ACCOMPLISHMENTS By Ken Gibson ACA Executive Director

GOVERNMENT ADVOCACY Given current market conditions, now is the time to purchase construction, the Alberta Construction Association (ACA) conveyed in 2010 its advocacy campaign with governments. Further, governments need to continue to provide predictable, sustainable and adequate investment in infrastructure to meet the needs of Alberta’s economy and growing population. The campaign involved letters to all MLAs and follow-up meetings of ACA executives with cabinet ministers as well as presentations to Alberta Infrastructure and to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA). ACA is pleased to report that the province’s latest $20-billion, three-year capital plan shows the government has heard the association’s message. Infrastructure Minister Ray Danyluk called industry leaders together in July to hear from Premier Ed Stelmach and

the minister. They were seeking industry views on how to ensure that Alberta has the most advanced infrastructure in North America, and to learn what the Alberta government could do to foster industry competitiveness. Led by chairman Roger Dootson, ACA board members offered a number of recommendations, which were provided in a follow-up letter to all government caucus. Key ACA recommendations include: • Government can assist industry through ongoing dialogue to ensure clear and consistent plans and policies to enhance the business environment and industry competitiveness. Early and accurate announcement of upcoming projects are critical. Move forward on announced projects and in developing a timetable to respond to the growing backlog of deferred maintenance.

• The government should partner with local construction associations for electronic procurement of construction services. • Explore, where appropriate, awarding of design and construction services based on value received, not just lowest price. • In order for Alberta companies to be given a fair opportunity to compete against foreign competition, ACA recommends a dialogue to understand owner’s perspectives as to capabilities of foreign firms. ACA believes that when a foreign firm is awarded work in Alberta, the vast majority of the work will be performed by Alberta subs and Albertans. ACA played a leadership role in organizing the inaugural Infrastructure Partners Conference in November to

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 57

section aca report discuss issues of common interest across public owners, the design community, and contractors, to develop in Alberta the most advanced infrastructure in North America. ACA has spearheaded a recommendation through the Institutional Infrastructure Partners Committee that Alberta Infrastructure commission a case study to examine the potential to refurbish and repurpose existing public infrastructure to meet the needs of a community for the next several decades. ACA also provided significant input to Alberta Infrastructure’s draft terms of reference for a Business Information Modelling (BIM) Implementation Task Group. The task group will provide a forum to develop, define and determine practices for Alberta Infrastructure’s implementation of BIM. WORKFORCE A key consideration in responding to future challenges and opportunities is preparation of the future workforce. ACA recommendations to Alberta Education include: • The immediate outlook of looming skill shortages is symptomatic of an

58 | Spring 2011

ongoing need. Alberta’s construction labour market is highly cyclical, and a long-term, sustained response is necessary to ensure an adequate labour supply to address future needs. In the past, the system has allowed training capacity to lapse during cyclical downturns, only to create greater shortages and a more expensive response to address the shortfall when the market revives. • These recommendations urgently require implementation now, as the challenges they are intended to address require resolution now. • Trades and technology education form a critical (mandatory) part of a student’s education. Trades and technology education should comprise a significant part of student learning each day. An approach of simply offering one or more optional courses is not acceptable. In addition, every student should be given the opportunity to experience the trades through specific trades courses in career and technologies studies (CTS). ACA further

recommends creation of a “tradeawareness” course for students in late elementary. • That a student’s educational experience includes developing an understanding of the career limitations of drug and alcohol use. The inclusion of this in Grade 11 career and life management (CALM) curriculum is too late for part-time workers or early leavers and should be part of late elementary or early junior high. • Options to attract potential teachers of trades and technology education include a significant bursary or grant system to offset foregone income while attaining the necessary teaching certifications and advanced credit for trade or technical credentials. • A strong, focused trades and technology education program in post-secondary teacher education, as well as support for trade- and technology-specific professional development opportunities with industry, including short-term work

acasection report exposure, intermediate term work placements and partnerships to assist certificated teachers in gaining the work experience required to achieve formal trade or technical credentials. • Sustained funding to address the specialized requirements of trades and technologies education. Operational funding must include the true cost of the learning process, including an appropriate student-teacher ratio, materials and maintenance. An evergreen funding model that ensures equipment is current with industry is critical. ACA officially launched the Public Infrastructure Database, an online collection of public vertical infrastructure project schedules for projects planned up to three years in the future. Alberta Infrastructure, the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, as well as other municipalities belonging to the AUMA across the province currently contribute project schedules to the database. The project data in the database enables industry to better plan for

upcoming work. By seeing projects planned for the next three years, contractors can ensure they have sufficient capacity. The database is available online and is searchable by region and by project type. It will convert project values into demand for specific construction trades.

Construction Sector Council (CSC). BOI will develop safety-training posters and a train the trainer manual that will complement a national training program developed by CSC. CSC has agreed to disseminate the BOI work as an addendum to their training once the

A key consideration in responding to future challenges and opportunities is preparation of the future workforce. ACA is supporting the Building on Investment (BOI) project of the Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES) Society. The project’s goal is to enhance industry safety training materials to assist workers with limited literacy skills. A partnership agreement has been signed with the

BOI safety posters and training manual are completed. Key partners include ACA, the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA), Merit Contractors, Construction Labour Relations, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada and the Christian Labour Association of Canada.

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 59

section aca report The revised website (www.tradeup­ will be launched early this year as part of a campaign featuring promotional materials for youth. SAFETY/WCB ACA’s focus this year was on the development of a number of joint committees to address safety concerns of the membership.

services can and will continue to utilize measures of safety performance in their pre-qualification process to determine eligibility to bid work. Hence, it is vital to the success of ACA members that the data that procurers may access is correct. Alberta’s construction industry continues to have concerns that the employment and immigration

It is vital to the success of ACA members that the data that procurers may access is correct. A number of the committee members met with Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk in February to express concerns about two issues: The ministry’s decision to publish on a publicly accessible site data for all employers in regards to the lost-time claim rate. Procurers of construction

department utilizes source data from the Workers’ Compensation Board never intended for this purpose. ACA supports the development of a new, appropriate measure. ACA’s second concern relates to the lack of ministerial authorization for the imposition of administrative fines.


Safety is a shared responsibility of employers and all personnel, and Alberta has yet to use this tool. Our industry has supported the concept of administrative fines, specifically along the lines of the apparently successful program in place in Ontario, to apply to any personnel at the job site, whether supervisory or worker. The concept also received near universal support of the Minister’s Advisory Committee, WorkSafe Alberta 2009-2012 Strategic Plan. This year ACA will continue to advocate on both issues. In response to ACA advocacy in 2009, Workplace Health and Safety established a third industry-government working group, to assist implementation of the Employer Review policy of Workplace Health and Safety. ACA was able to achieve substantive changes to the policy in light of its concerns about the potential impact on the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program. On Dec. 14, the Ministry of Employment issued a news release and report entitled Occupational Health and Safety Focused Inspection Project: Commercial

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60 | Spring 2011

acasection report Construction. Minister Lukaszuk expressed his disappointment with the results of the focused inspection project, and the need for the commercial construction sector to respond. ACA responded with a well-received press release, in which ACA indicated that: • ACA shares the minister’s concern. • ACA members are committed to worker and public safety and that construction employers spend millions of dollars and train almost 100,000 individuals each year in safety training. • The association would like to better understand the findings of the Focused Inspection Project, as overall safety performance for construction has shown steady improvement. (Disabling injury rates decreased from 5.48 per 100 person-years worked in 2005 to 4.13 in 2009.) • Consequently, ACA and our training partner, the ACSA, met with ministry staff to review the findings as a first step in determining appropriate responses.

ACA also successfully partnered with ACSA in responding to the challenge from major project owners in their decision to give limited to no weight to the COR in pre-qualifying contractors based on safety performance. ACA coordinated meetings in 2010 that led to a favourable response from an owners group to a joint proposal from ACSA and Enform to add a voluntary addendum to their audits to address issues specific from the owners’ group. A follow-up meeting will be held in 2011 once the owners react to the ACSA/Enform proposal. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT The Alberta Construction Materials Management Association Board continued to meet in 2010, developing policy in anticipation of government approval of a province-wide waste stewardship program. Late in 2010, the government advised ACA that it would not implement the program in the near future. Further consultation is underway about the prospect of a regulated code of practice, designed with strong industry input. ACA offered a number

of suggestions, chief of which included seeking industry’s help in designing the code, recognizing that less recycling infrastructure exists outside major cities, ensuring a level playing field and measuring recycling at the landfills and recyclers, rather than for individual employers and job sites. STANDARD PRACTICES ACA’s board of directors accepted the following Builders’ Lien Ad Hoc Committee recommendations: ACA support in principle annual progressive release being mandatory for both owner to general contractor, general contractor to subcontractors and suppliers, and subcontractors to subsubcontractors and suppliers, on large multi-year projects. This progressive release will allow for funds to flow into the contractual chain without detracting from the security provided to participants in the construction of the project. The progressive release of holdback would also reduce the costs that must be borne by keeping funds in abeyance for substantial periods of time.

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section aca report ACA will also advocate for the provincial Crown being bound, with appropriate qualifications, to provisions of the Builders’ Lien Act. The objective would be to standardize industry practices and procedures to the maximum practical extent, regardless of whether work is performed for the Crown or not. It is proposed that sections 14-19 of the Public Works be repealed and appropriate amendments made to the Builders’ Lien Act. There would be significant benefits of having the same “rules” determining the rights and obligations of owners (e.g. with respect to holdback retention and release), the rights and obligations of lienholders/ claimants, and the procedures to follow in registering a lien/claim. Such benefits would include greater simplicity and consistency, reducing the risk of potentially severe financial consequences from failure to follow the “rules” correctly, and would contribute to improving the overall efficiency of the construction industry in Alberta. ACA is pleased that the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has

implemented ACA’s recommendation to develop a version of standard documents suitable for student photocopying. This step will help educate new entrants to the industry to recognized industrystandard documents. As a result of ACA advocacy, Alberta Infrastructure has f inalized formal adoption of CCDC2, with other Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) standard documents as appropriate. Through t he Institutiona l Infrastructure Partners Committee, ACA has assigned representatives to an Alberta Infrastructure committee to develop a best-practices guide and supporting documents for the procurement and management of construction management projects. ACA is pleased to learn that Alberta Infrastructure agreed with industry reps on this committee to adopt the new CCDC5 as the basis for this work. ACA facilitated meetings in 2010 of the Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Alberta and the Mechanical Contractors Association of Alberta to examine proposed changes to trade definitions 57-61.


NEW DIRECTIONS The CCA invited the chief elected and chief operating officers of all member associations to a two-day Non-Residential Construction Industry Summit. The summit, held in January, had three purposes: • To identify the major trends and developments that will impact the industry going forward. • To determine how the industry will be impacted by these trends. • To determine what industry associations need to do to assist their members in response to these trends. The summit considered six themes: • Recent economic downturn • Environmental sustainability • Public-private partnerships • Global competition • Workforce • Technology ACA’s board held a special meeting in mid-April to respond to directions from the summit. After a careful review, the ACA board confirmed that its mandate and business plan are useful guides


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acasection report in responding to the future directions. The board noted that a number of key initiatives for the six themes discussed in Toronto had a number of common points, namely: • The role of associations to gather and disseminate information and best practices. • Virtually every initiative touches on human resource development. • There is a strong desire to develop leadership capacity by engaging the future leaders. The board recognized and reconf irmed t hat many existing ACA activities and initiatives in advocacy, standard practices and workforce promotion address a number of themes and confirmed ACA’s current approach. Some of the ACA initiatives identified for future development and subsequently approved by the board in 2010 include: • Investigating and gathering information on industry best practices and what is coming next in environmental sustainability

• Establishing a Research and Technology Committee and task it to recommend best means to assist ACA to develop, maintain and disseminate knowledge of leading-edge technology in areas of communication, information technology,

Research Congress, held for the first time in Canada. A list of member priorities was shared with the congress delegates, including: • Communication and information technologies • Productivity

ACA has assigned representatives to an Alberta Infrastructure committee to develop a best-practices guide for the procurement and management of construction management projects. productivity and construction techniques. • Playing a leadership role through Institutional Infrastructure Partners Committee to respond to Alberta Infrastructure draft BIM Implementation Plan. Subsequently, ACA and the CCA sponsored the 2010 Construction

• New techniques including prefabrication and modularization • New environmental technologies At the end of 2010, the board approved a partnership with Productivity A lber ta, par t of t he Ministr y of Finance and Enterprise Alberta, to focus on indust r y work shops to improve productivity.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 63



ecently, Edmonton-based Beaver Plastics launched Terrafoam Platinum 3000, providing Western Canada with new polystyrene insulation technology. Company President Todd McCarthy says the silver-grey platinum colour for this unique polystyrene insulation is not for product identification, but for something far more important. McCarthy explains that the new colour is a result of incorporating graphite into polystyrene resin. This technology was developed by the chemicals giant BASF, which discovered how to increase the thermal effectiveness of foam polystyrene without using complex chemical gases. BASF began offering the product to Canadian expanded polystyrene (EPS) producers after it was fully developed in Europe’s construction marketplace. So how does it work? Robert Vasseur, Beaver’s Senior Technology and Research Associate, explains: “The graphite integrated into the closed cells of EPS increases R-values through radiant energy reflection and absorption. Compared to conventional EPS, this results in thermal resistance values that are up to 20 per cent higher, while requiring as little as 50 per cent the amount of raw material. Doing as much or more with fewer raw materials translates into less environmental impact through reduced natural resource consumption and lower transportation costs.” But eco-advantages don’t end there. The international community— with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in hand—has been requiring insulation manufacturers to modify their products to protect the earth’s ozone layer. Polystyrene producers responded, eliminating CFC and HCFC by adopting HFC as the new “Zero ODP” blowing agent in January 2010. However, while HFC originally seemed to be a good choice, an undesirable side effect was eventually recognized with its disproportionate greenhouse gas (GHG) properties. BASF’s development with graphite looks to be a simple, safe and competitive alternative to products that use potent offgassing materials.

Beaver Plastic’s production methods offer additional benefits to insulation specifiers. Because EPS is moulded into very large blocks and then processed into project-specific profiles with CAD/CAM manufacturing, Beaver manufactures Terrafoam Platinum 3000 in virtually any dimensions in order to meet customers’ requirements for precise thermal values and fit, in up to 30-inch thicknesses and virtually any profile. Terrafoam Platinum 3000 is attractive for those wanting local manufacturing sources. The product has superior moisture-handling characteristics, is non-toxic and hypoallergenic, with a positive GHG profile, plus it has other eco-environmental advantages. Vasseur adds: “All this make it especially desirable for those with both economic and environmental purchasing philosophies.” “Beaver’s vision has always been to lead in development of new products in our core technologies,” says McCarthy. “For example, Beaver has developed the most extensive range of EPS geotechnical products. These will mostly remain in conventional white because R-value is often not a consideration. However, as seen in European EPS facilities, ‘graphite’ will likely become the principal EPS thermal insulation.” Vasseur admits that overcoming industry inertia when introducing new and unfamiliar products can often take time. But he remains confident that Terrafoam Platinum 3000 will become an important option for the design and construction of buildings in Western Canada.

cca report

Newly elected mayor Naheed Nenshi.

NEW MAYOR’S TASK WON’T BE EASY Only 92 days after the Calgary mayoral election, representatives of the Calgary Construction Association (CCA) met with the mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, and offered belated congratulations. Nenshi, a passionate Calgarian with a track record of getting things done, wasted no time in commencing the discussion. CCA’s 2010 president Ian Reid of Bird Construction opened the discussion with the controversial contract that the city signed with MERX. While CCA and its seven partner associations in Alberta have the most advanced electronic plans room in the country, Reid emphasized the need for the City of Calgary to continue to utilize COOLNet Alberta services, a service with no charge to an owner. Outlining the benefits of a system designed and driven by industry, Nenshi was dismayed, though not surprised. It was understood that before taking on the mayor’s job of overseeing a city with 14,000 employees, that at times one may go off the rails. Nenshi quickly went to his iPad and nodded to his chief of staff, Chima Nkemdirim, to take

action with the procurement department. It was on to the next issue. Past CCA president Bob Robinson of Westcor Construction Ltd. and current co-chair of the Construction Industry Safety Committee, gave credit to Kevin Griffiths of the building regulations division, his co-chair, in the development of the On-Site Construction Safety: Best Practices guide. Nenshi was impressed with the guide, and he noted that this is the type of action needed if we wish to accomplish zero incidents in the construction industry. Robinson pointed out that earlier in the day, 30 contractors met at the Calgary Construction Centre to discuss the development of an advanced weather forecasting system that will be the best in the world. While city representatives have gone to New York City to learn first-hand what is happening there, the system being developed by consulting firm RWDI will be much further advanced in assisting the construction industry in reducing incidents for both the workforce and citizens of Calgary.

CCA executive vice-president Dave Smith indicated that the University of Calgary is working on a $1.5-million CCA research project on enhancing construction productivity, and may well be called upon to assist RWDI in the development of the AWFS. While this issue may not have been in the city’s “100-year vision” document that Nenshi primarily authored, he certainly liked the forward thinking of the CCA and its 870plus members. Longtime CCA volunteer Kees Cusveller, vice-president of business development for Graham Group Ltd. noted that “the city is risk-adverse.” Chief of staff Nkemdirim grimaced at the statement, being a lawyer himself. While realizing his profession is always targeted by everyone but his learned friends, he listened intently to what Cusveller had to say. As the CCA chair of government liaison for all three levels of government, Cusveller noted that utilization of standard forms of contracts would certainly lower bid costs, as the national Alberta Construction Magazine | 65 section cca report


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Canadian Construction Documents Committee ensures that risk is equitable amongst the signing parties of such contracts. Nenshi liked what he heard. Cusveller also noted that the Alberta government recently endorsed the utilization of the standard forms available to owners, architects, engineers and contractors. Nenshi’s election campaign during the months before election day promoted to Calgarians the need to build the Airport Trail Underpass, which many of his opponents were against. Nenshi’s forward thinking was greatly appreciated, Smith noted, and in turn the building of the tunnel now and not later is fully endorsed by the association. It is imperative for the economic success of any great city that goods and services along with people must move freely without impediments. The mayor rightfully noted it is much easier to build a tunnel now with the airport runway expansion proceeding at a cost of $200 million to $250 million in today’s market versus spending $1.5 billion or so after the fact. CCA will be writing to council, encouraging the city to move forward, even with the current tight municipal budget. Cusveller noted that “now is the time to build,” as construction pricing will not get any lower. Reid and 2011 CCA president Jim Clement of Graham Construction gave high marks for the city for its buildingpermit process. This raised the eyebrows of the mayor; however, his broad smile took over when he realized that the issue here lies in the application process for development permits and not building permits—quick for a guy that has just taken office. CCA offered its expertise in overhauling a much-needed bureaucratic process. The mayor commented, “I may just take you up on that offer!” Last but not least, Smith noted that the CCA Youth Employment Program (YEP), a one-of-a-kind program in Canada, has the unwearied support from industry stakeholders in building tomorrow’s workforce in these uncertain economic times. With the joint venture on a career fair/expo going sideways from an earlier proposal by CCA to the city’s Youth Employment Centre, Smith requested assistance and a second look at the proposal that would be a “win-win” for both

ccasection report the public and private sectors. Nenshi once again gave the nod to Nkemdirim to assist in resolving the issues, as the efficiencies and the effectiveness of one career fair/expo is of greater value.

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CCA executive vicepresident Dave Smith indicated that the University of Calgary is working on a $1.5-million CCA research project on enhancing construction productivity. Smith also gave an overview of the national Gold Seal Program and the benefits of such, noting that the Calgary contracting community has more Gold Seal–certified individuals per member firm than anywhere else in the country. With Gold Seal–certified individuals known for their level of expertise, the CCA asked the city to consider Gold Seal as a condition of contract. CCA representatives reinforced this initiative. With Nenshi’s credentials of holding a Bachelor of Commerce degree (with distinction) from the University of Calgary and a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he studied as a Kennedy Fellow, there is little question that the City of Calgary is in excellent hands as we move forward in these times of world economic uncertainty. With a quick photo of the CCA representatives and the mayor, the next group that will oversee city operations was called into the mayor’s office. These young, energetic and restless public school students were anxiously waiting to see their new idol. One might wonder what will their issues be in the coming years, and maybe, just maybe one of them has a dream to be mayor of Calgary, “the heart of the new West.”

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 67

section cca report


YEP coordinator Ryan Hagen, right, hangs a sign with Steve Rokosh, owner of Wrap it UP!!

YEP’s Ryan Hagen with program partner Debra Mercer from Alberta Employment and Immigration at the Connections 2011 conference at the BMO Centre in Calgary.

With a new year comes a new sense of optimism for the Calgary Construction Association’s (CCA’s) Youth Employment Program (YEP). After a positive year in 2010, which saw many young men and women placed into a work experience position, YEP is hopeful to ride last year’s momentum to an even stronger year in 2011. The program strives to get more companies on board to utilize the benefits that YEP provides. While the hiring process for any company can be time consuming 68 | Spring 2011

and sometimes gruelling, YEP helps alleviate some of the stress by taking care of the preliminary steps. Companies will still have the final interview with each candidate; however, each prospective employee will already have been filtered through YEP by the process of the first interview, as well as completed a construction safety-training course called the Construction Safety Training System. As the calendar pages keep turning, there is a growing need for young workers

to start building a career in construction to replace those who will inevitably be retiring in the next 10 years. Currently, 51 per cent of the population in Canada is working. Ten years from now, only 49 per cent will be as the baby boomers begin to retire. It might seem like a small percentage, but the impact that that two per cent will have on the economy is immense. As we stand, the average age of a construction worker in Canada is 41, so it is vital to start grooming youth to fill these positions in the future.

ccasection report

Aside from keeping a constant pool of motivated workers ready to enter the workforce, YEP profiles its top prospects in the CCA’s weekly newsletter. The profile includes a picture, skills, strengths and experience, and gives employers a first-hand look at a potential new employee before committing to an interview. The YEP program has received great support from large established companies such as Botting & Associates Alberta Ltd., Concept Electric Ltd. and Kidco Construction Ltd., as well as smaller companies like Highwood Interiors and Wrap it UP!!

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Steve Rokosh, owner of Wrap it UP!!, a high-end renovation company, has committed to hire a youth as well as hang a YEP sign on one of his projects. He is happy to support the program and believes it is great to give young people a chance at exploring a career in the trades. “A lot of the time it takes the handson experience for these guys to realize that this is something they want to do for the rest of their lives,” said Rokosh. “And when you see a young guy really enjoying his work and giving it his all, it’s a really fulfilling feeling.” YEP also understands some of the financial hurdles that young people face and offers a chance for youth to apply for eight different $500 scholarships towards success in their new position. For more information on the YEP program, please visit or email

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 69

section cca report


National CCA chairman Wayne Morsky, left, flanks representatives from the 24 CCA member firms with CCA president Ian Reid, right, as they display their new Gold Seal clocks.


Recipients of Gold Seal certification, from left: Gerry Brophy, superintendent, general contracting (PCL Construction Management Inc.); Blair Buchan, superintendent, roadbuilding and heavy construction (Standard General Inc.); Daryl Campbell, superintendent, general contracting (PCL); Jason Montpetit, construction safety coordinator (Giffels Westpro), Bradley Robertson, estimator, general contracting (Genesis Building Corporation); and Cameron Willms, project manager, electrical contracting (Ledcor Construction).

The Calgary Construction Association (CCA) hosted the national Chairman’s Tour Breakfast Meeting on Nov. 3, 2010, at the Calgary Stampede BMO Centre. Wayne Morsky, 2010 CCA chairman from Regina, came to outline the activities of the national association and priorities for 2011 to a full house of 250 members of the CCA. In mid-2010, CCA president Ian Reid of Bird Construction launched the “It’s 70 | Spring 2011

Time to Get Gold Seal Certified” campaign and decided on the theme of the national chairman’s tour event: a Gold Seal affair. With this initiative the CCA recognized 24 CCA member firms that have made it a part of the company’s human resources policy that their staff members become Gold Seal certified. Chairman Wayne Morsky assisted Reid in presenting each of the noted 24 companies with a custom-made Gold

Seal clock in honour of the theme. The CCA also presented Gold Seal certificates to eight of the most recently certified individuals. The number of Gold Seal–certified personnel in Calgary continues to grow, and over the past year a record 100 applications were submitted—60 per cent more than in the next leading city. Contractors in Calgary recognize the importance of an educated and skilled workforce and

ccasection report

with that have been encouraging their staff members who are in one of the four designations to seek Gold Seal certification. The four designations include construction project managers, superintendents, estimators and construction safety coordinators. In order to become Gold Seal certified, candidates must combine what the association refers to as the three E’s—Experience, Education and Examination—to qualify them as a professional with many years of experience in their position. The application fee to become Gold Seal certified is $400 plus GST and is expected to increase another $100 in 2012, so it would be worthwhile to encourage companywide certification this year. Gold Seal information and application forms can be found at The companies that have made an exceptional effort to support the Gold Seal program are (in alphabetical order): Alpine Drywall Ltd. Bird Construction Co. Botting & Associates Alberta Ltd. CANA Construction Co. Canem Systems Ltd. Clark Builders Ltd. Concept Electric Ltd. Custom Electric Ltd. Devitt & Forand Contractors Inc. Elan Construction Ltd. EllisDon Construction Services Inc. Executive Millwork Inc. Ferguson Glass Western Ltd. Genesis Building Corp. Graham Construction & Engineering Inc. Hurst Construction Management Inc. Ledcor Construction Ltd. Lockerbie & Hole Co. Ltd. North American Caisson Ltd. PCL Construction Management Inc. Pockar Masonry Ltd. Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd. Trotter & Morton Building Technologies Inc. Westcor Construction Ltd.


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Finding the right fit through a retrofit Alberta Urban Municipalities Association considered a new building. Here’s why renovating made more sense. By Nordahl Flakstad The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association’s (AUMA’s) new headquarters at 8616 - 51 Ave. in Edmonton is more than just an appealing workplace for about 50 employees. It also serves as a model for how to retrofit an existing building and bring it up to current energy-efficiency and sustainability standards. In fact, lessons learned during renovation and operation will be shared with the association’s 284 member municipalities. An Energy Demonstration Centre and Municipal Climate Change Action Centre within the headquarters, known as Alberta Municipal Place, will allow the association to lead by example and provide municipalities with insight on projected energy savings, payback periods and potential carbon offsets. Energy upgrades are expected to save the group more than $200,000 a year. “One of the main intents of the design and our investment in this building was to help municipalities see how alternative energy technologies can be implemented,” says Brian Jackowich, the group’s senior director of energy services and business development.

The association was formerly located on Saskatchewan Drive. While it afforded a spectacular view of downtown Edmonton, quarters were cramped. The group considered a fresh start in a brand-new structure, going so far as to acquire land for that purpose. But, upon weighing options, it decided that renovation was more cost-effective. In 2009, the association acquired a three-storey, early 1980s–era building, which formerly had an engineering firm as anchor tenant. Through the renovation, the building has been transformed into an up-to-date structure in which the group occupies the third floor (12,000 square feet) and leases out 30,000 square feet on the two lower levels. With the Wolski Design Group Ltd. as architects, Stantec Inc, as engineering consultants, and Emcee Construction & Management Ltd. as general contractor, the renovation began in August 2009. Upgrading encompassed just about every aspect of the building, including mechanical, lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, the building envelope, fire alarm and pneumatic-controls systems.

RETROFIT MADE SENSE Retrofitting may not always offer the right option. It was right, however, in this instance. “There is an increasing number of aging buildings around that need some serious work,” points out Emcee general manager Mark Lindquist, “and it is much more environmentally friendly to keep what is already there and upgrade it than continuing to build new and abandon old. While this building needed a lot of work, it also had a lot of positive features. The structure was sound. The location is great. And it was much, much quicker than building new.” Of course, a three-decades-old building had deficiencies. Graham Hogg of Humford Management Inc., the landlord rep for the project, lists a deteriorating roof with leaking skylights as a serious shortcoming. Roof improvements (along with skylight removal) involved adding four inches of depth throughout. A higher solar-reflective index helps reduce the roof’s heat island effect. A new vapour barrier and foam insulation reduces heating and cooling requirements. A rooftop patio adds new useable space. The roof Alberta Construction Magazine | 73

Improvements are calculated to lower CO2 emissions by 1,130 tons a year

Lighting upgrades involved installing 1,700 40-watt light tubes

Alberta Municipal Place will serve as a model for municipalities looking for ideas on how to lower energy costs

New windows minimize heat buildup and glare, eliminate 99 per cent of ultraviolet rays and improve air conditioning and heating efficiency

Occupancy sensors determine which offices are in use. If unoccupied, area heating is set at 18 degrees Celsius


All removed aluminum and copper wiring was recycled

80 per cent of building material removed during demolition was recycled

Carpets, ceiling tiles, divider panels, solid-surface countertops and even the reception desk contain reused or recycled materials

also supports a vertical-axis wind turbine, which provides visible evidence of a commitment to renewable energy. An adjacent array of solar panels is projected to supply 6,390 kilowatts of electricity a year. Plans call for unused power from these renewable sources to be fed into the grid. Hogg ranks the various roof renewals as among “the most important efficiency upgrades.” Renovators also had to deal with mould that was uncovered during pull-down of portions of the building. Despite such challenges but given the overall soundness of the structure, Hogg observes, “it was still cheaper than building from scratch.” WHY NEW WINDOWS? Besides building-wide insulation improvement, other major exterior upgrades entailed installing new customized widows throughout. Sourced through All Weather Windows Commercial, the replacements have high-insulation and high-reflective values. They minimize 74 | Spring 2011

heat buildup and glare, eliminate 99 per cent of ultraviolet rays and improve air conditioning and heating efficiency. The glare-reducing windows lessen the need to close blinds and therefore help with deeper daylight penetration. Glass interior walls allow 80 per cent of building occupants to enjoy direct daylight and outside views. Supplied by DIRTT Environmental Solutions of Calgary, the inside walls move easily to reconfigure to meet changing needs. While the original building employed baseboard heaters, office space heaters now are located in ceilings. Additional energy savings are being realized through replacement of the building’s two original steel-tube boilers with new 90 per cent efficient units. They have the same capability but are expected to save $36,000 annually. Also, substituting three original chillers with a single high-efficiency unit will halve chilling costs. The direct-fire hot water boiler generates domestic water kept at

a constant 60 degrees Celsius to prevent growth of legionella bacteria. Insulating all heating pipes reduces heat loss. The building’s three original rooftop ClimateMaster air conditioning and handling units were replaced by scroll compressors. Variable-frequency drives on fan motors optimize the amount of air circulated to required levels, thereby minimizing electrical consumption. From a 24/7 operating schedule, heating and cooling has been adjusted to a 12-hour daily, five-day-a-week schedule matching the building’s normal use patterns. This alone is expected to translate to annual savings of $39,000. A microgeneration and natural gas cogeneration will serve an electrical generator and backup generator supplementing heat and electricity during the winter. Occupancy sensors permit light and heat sweeps of the entire building determine which offices are occupied. If unoccupied, area heating is set at 18 degrees Celsius.

restore, reuse, rejevenate Where possible, local sourcing was employed, including for interior walls and millwork. By value, 19 per cent of material was sourced within 800 kilometres

The building’s two original steeltube boilers were replaced with new 90 per cent efficient units that are expected to save $36,000 annually

Plumbing employs low-flow, automatic dual-valve systems

Environmental enhancements extend to the parking lot, where pole-mounted, high-pressure sodium lamps provide light. Timers and ground-moisture sensors combine to reduce water consumption and excessive watering of outside green spaces. Parking lot runoff is gathered for irrigation. Further water conservation occurs inside the building with plumbing that employs low-flow, automatic dual-valve systems. Emcee’s Lindquist calls the project the most interesting one he has worked on. “The products and systems specified were innovative and unique,” he says. “It involved some scopes of work that we had never been involved with before, including the solar, cogen and windmill pieces. It was a great experience to work with a client that wanted a very specific end product. AUMA was great to work with. They were reasonable and quick with decisions and change, which makes a retrofit project go much better.” Alberta Construction Magazine | 75


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Avoiding warranty woes Roofing warranty program helps roofing contractors attract clients By Tricia Radison Building owners want roofs that will last. Unfortunately, some manufacturers offer them all the proof of durability they might think they need in the form of warranties covering decades. “But if you read the fine print, some warranties really don’t have any value,” says Stephen Teal, technical manager at Flynn Canada Ltd., from his Calgary office. Teal provides an example from China: “It was a 10-year warranty but it was non-assignable and non-transferable. If you wanted to claim on it, you had to go to Beijing.” Flynn Canada takes advantage of the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association (ARCA) Warranty Ltd. Warranty Certificate Program. Teal points out

that while good design, quality materials, good workmanship and preventive maintenance result in durable roofs, an ARCA warranty ensures that the first three items are covered. The association has provided warranties covering the workmanship of the roofing contractor since 1967. In 2009, the program expanded to five-, 10- and 15-year workmanship warranties against leaks. The expanded warranties apply to low-slope commercial roofing, steepslope and architectural standing seam metal roofing. Systems and materials must be ARCA-accepted. “This is a third-party, liability warranty,” explains Trevor Sziva, marketing manager at ARCA. “The roofing contractor is obligated to repair defects due

to workmanship in the roof assembly for the first two years.” If the contractor does not fulfill that obligation, the organization arranges for another contractor to do the repair and, as the underwriter, covers the cost. ARCA Warranty Ltd. covers the remaining years of the warranty term against leaks. Roofing contractors are able to provide clients with a warranty they can trust. In addition, Sziva says, manufacturer warranties typically cover proprietary materials only, even though the workmanship of the entire assembly plays a role in the future performance of the system. An ARCA-accepted roofing inspector, hired by the building owner, conducts regular inspections throughout Alberta Construction Magazine | 77

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installation to ensure that the contractor is following the standards ARCA has set for the different types of roof systems. These standards have been designed specifically for roofs in Alberta, providing peace of mind for contractors and their clients that the roof will perform in this province’s conditions. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the benefits of ARCA’s warranty program, you will have to prove that your company meets specific criteria in order to become an ARCA member. Roofing contractors must be licensed, employ journeymen roofers, and have a Certificate of Recognition for safety from the Alberta Construction Safety Association and a safety program that is routinely audited. As well, contractors have to be bondable and ensure that employees are trained and understand ARCA’s installation standards.

“The ARCA warranty has credibility. From a contractor’s point of view, that’s the biggest benefit.” — Stephen Teal, Technical Manager, Flynn Canada Ltd. Another selling feature contractors can use when talking to clients is ARCA’s two-year anniversary inspection. “ARCA Warranty Ltd. covers the cost of an evaluation of the system’s performance and ensures that the workmanship is performing the way it should,” Sziva says. An independent roof inspector conducts the inspection and prepares a report for ARCA. Any roofing workmanship problems are reported to the roofing contractor who initially did the job; the contractor is responsible for fixing them. “The ARCA warranty has credibility,” Teal says. “From a contractor’s point of view, that’s the biggest benefit.”

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building blocks

Reflective roofs Can this green building technology work in Alberta? By Diane L.M. Cook Reflective roof systems are touted around much of North America as the latest technology in green building construction to combat global warming. When the sun’s radiation hits a roof’s surface, some heat is absorbed by the roof and transferred to the building. Solar reflectance is the fraction of solar energy that is reflected by the roof. Thermal emittance is the relative ability of the roof’s surface to radiate absorbed heat. As the name implies, a ref lective roof system reflects and emits the sun’s heat back to the sky instead of transferring it to the building. Reflective roofs have high solar reflectivity and thermal emissivity. The roof can either have a coating applied over an existing roof system or a new single-ply waterproofing membrane. Reflective roof systems are credited with reducing energy consumption, reducing consumers’ power bills,

reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing what’s known as the urban heat island effect (why cities are generally hotter than rural areas). But can reflective roofs keep buildings warm in cold climates such as Alberta’s? Jon Peat, general manager at IRC Building Sciences Group Alberta Inc., says a reflective roof system has a low slope and satisfies the requirements for solar reflectance of 0.80, thermal emittance of 0.85, or a solar reflectance index of 78. The Cool Roof Rating Council, a

U.S.-based authority on reflective roofs, typically sets these values. In Alberta, Peat says reflective roof systems might not perform as well in cold climates as they do in warm climates. “While reflective roofs can reduce energy consumption in the summer months, they can actually increase heating costs during the winter months,” he says. “A black roof, or a non-reflective roof, will transmit solar radiation into a building, which reduces energy consumption in cold temperatures.

COOL CALCULATOR The U.S. Department of Energy has a calculator that can help you figure out whether you can save cooling and heating costs for flat roofs with reflective surfaces—and believe it or not the agency includes Canadian cities. Check out

Alberta Construction Magazine | 81

building blocks Energy calculators show that, in cold climates, reflective roofs have a heating penalty in terms of costs and energy consumption.” Peat further explains, “For example, Calgary has approximately 9,885 heating degree days and 1,167 cooling degree days. Aside from winter days, where roofs are snow-covered and perform similar to a reflective roof, the remainder of the heating degree days use energy to provide heat. “A typical building can experience a reduction in energy usage if a roof transfers solar radiation instead of reflecting it. It might be more beneficial to increase the thermal value of the roof to maximize energy savings rather than install a reflective roof.” The Cool Roof Rating Council says it’s important to understand your climate zone and the actual energy your building will save when selecting your roof.

“While reflective roofs can reduce energy consumption in the summer months, they can actually increase heating costs during the winter months.” — Jon Peat, General Manager, IRC Building Sciences Group Alberta Inc.

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82 | Spring 2011

In the United States, the Department of Energy mandated last year that all its offices install reflective roofs when constructing new roofs or replacing old roofs. Power companies in 14 U.S. states offer rebate programs for installing reflective roof systems. While each program is unique, the main purpose of each is to reduce the amount of energy houses and buildings consume and the amount of emissions they emit. The only city in Canada to offer a rebate program for reflective roof systems is Toronto. Toronto’s Eco-Roof Incentive Program promotes the use of reflective roofs on existing commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. Since the program came into effect in 2009, the city has approved over 50 applications for funding.


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finishing touches

illustration: ©

Bright idea LED technology offers advantages over standard fluorescent lighting By Tricia Radison Fluorescent lighting has long been used in commercial settings thanks to its energy efficiency and bright light. But there’s a new bulb in town that promises all the benefits of the fluorescent tube— and more. Scintillights are LED—short for lightemitting diode—lights made to look like fluorescent tube lights. Designed for today’s fluorescent fixtures, they’re something of a revolution in lighting. “The technology has been around for a long time,” says Joseph Tsui, president of Bright Green Technologies in Nisku, Alta. “But because of a number of issues, including the mechanics of LED, the need to convert from AC to DC current, and managing heat dissipation, we haven’t

been able to use LED to replace fluorescent tube lighting with a high-quality option. Until now.” Unlike fluorescent tubes, which need to be replaced after 5,000-8,000 hours, Scintillights are guaranteed to have a

useful life of more than 30,000 hours. Running them 24 hours a day seven days a week, bulbs last about 3.5 years. Reduce the amount of time they’re turned on, Tsui says, and they could end up lasting for 10-12 years.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE Even our parking lots are getting greener. LED street, roadway and parking lot lights can save owners 50-80 per cent in operating costs while reducing maintenance expenses. LED Roadway Lighting Ltd. in Nova Scotia designs and manufactures LED fixtures and control systems. Users are benefiting from better lighting, energy saving and a reduction in the amount of light we throw into the sky. Visit to learn more.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 85

finishing touches

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LED tube lights use about half the energy of a traditional fluorescent tube— one distributor suggests that they’re more than 80 per cent more efficient—making them very cost-effective on an operational basis. Payback on Scintillights, for example, is generally within three or four years. Additionally, LED tubes don’t have the problems of fluorescents. There’s no annoying flickering, which can lead to headaches, even when they’re first turned on. And mercury isn’t used in them, alleviating a growing environmental concern.

“Because of a number of issues...we haven’t been able to use LED to replace fluorescent tube lighting with a high-quality option. Until now.” — Joseph Tsui, President, Bright Green Technologies

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Flawless from Fabrication to Finish 86 | Spring 2011

Dean Ruptash, president of Enerline Inc. in Nisku, installed Scintillights in his front office about eight months ago and is pleased with their performance. One of his staff members had been experiencing headaches attributed to fluorescents; the headaches are now gone. “I like to try new stuff,” says Ruptash, who quickly adopted LED technology for his home when it first came on the market. “Plus, I’m cheap. I don’t like to pay the big power bills.” Ruptash, an electrician, also converts fluorescent light fixtures for clients so that they can use LED tubes. An electrician typically does initial installation, although handy people can just follow the directions. After that, anyone can pop in a tube, but they shouldn’t need to very often. Laughs Ruptash: “I’d better not be in business when my bulbs burn out. I’d better be retired.”


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the legal edge

Sometimes it’s personal By Tim Mavko Reynolds, Mirth, Richards & Farmer LLP

Missing government laptops make headlines. We’ve all heard the uproar when computers loaded with personal information are lost or stolen. Similarly, we’ve seen the news articles about organizations that collect and then share personal information about visitors, customers or subscribers. Search and social networking websites come to mind. One fear is that sensitive information, such as the names of individuals, perhaps their health care data, or even their financial details, will get into the wrong hands and be used for the wrong purposes. At the very least, we’ve grown to value privacy, and expect those with whom we share our personal information to respect and protect it. This concern over protecting personal information clearly extends to the construction industry. Contractors,

owners and suppliers collect all sorts of personal information, such as names, addresses and phone numbers. Often there are birthdays, social insurance numbers and family details. Sometimes, there is insurance, WCB or even healthcare information. There might even be bank accounts, credit card numbers and income information. Some of this information comes from employees. Other information comes from suppliers. More still comes from customers. Since 2003, Alberta has had a law that specifically addresses what personal information businesses and organizations operating here can collect and use. This law is the Personal Information Protection Act, often referred to simply as PIPA. (The federal government has different but similar laws addressing businesses

and organizations that are subject to federal regulation.) PIPA should be required reading for anyone running a construction business. It creates serious obligations, and can lead to equally serious consequences. One of the fundamental themes of PIPA is that organizations can collect the information they need, but must protect the information they collect. To ensure this, PIPA requires organizations to develop and follow reasonable privacy policies and practices. These policies should specify what personal information the organization collects, explain the reasons why and describe what happens to it. Ideally, the policies should be in writing. This is because an organization must provide written information about its policies and practices, when requested.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 89

the legal edge Simply put, when a customer or employee asks, a business must answer—and in writing. This leads to the second fundamental theme: consent. An organization must have the consent of individuals when it collects and uses their personal information. To give that consent, an individual

or potential employees. PIPA specifically protects employee information. An organization can certainly collect and use personal information needed to establish and manage an employment relationship, but must use it only for those purposes. Sometimes an organization must, for proper and legitimate reasons,

PIPA (Personal Information Protection Act) should be required reading for anyone running a construction business. It creates serious obligations, and can lead to equally serious consequences. must be able to learn the organization’s policies and practices. Not surprisingly, much of the personal information that organizations collect is about their current, former

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90 | Spring 2011

share personal information with someone, somewhere else. This might be, for example, an insurance company (for employee benefits), a hotel chain (for contractor accommodation) or a potential

Edmonton – April 12 Calgary – April 14

customer (with employee bios). But other countries have different rules, and organizations operating in those other countries may treat personal information differently. Indeed, some foreign organizations may be required to disclose information in ways we would find surprising. To protect against this, PIPA requires a local business to notify individuals when personal information is transferred to service providers outside of Canada. Under PIPA, a privacy commissioner has been appointed. The commissioner receives complaints, investigates breaches, and addresses disputes over privacy issues. The commissioner’s comments are in the news from time to time. Let’s return to that lost laptop. Or imagine a hacked hard drive or missing file folder. A construction company faces the very real risk that improperly disclosed personal information might lead to harm. When this happens, PIPA requires the organization to notify the privacy commissioner. That’s one thing that cannot be kept secret.


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McCall Field Terminal


92 | Spring 2011

In 1956 you could walk right from your car to your flight if you had a ticket.


ong before it was called Calgary International Airport, those flying to and from the city used McCall Field. While the name may be different, the site hasn’t changed since 1938. McCall Field was named after Fred R. McCall, a World War I flying ace and member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. McCall enlisted in the military in 1916 at age 18. Two years later, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and before his combat duty finished, had shot down 37 enemy planes and two reconnaissance balloons. Among his awards: the Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross and Bar and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1940, the federal Department of Transport took control of the airport to serve the war effort, returning it to the city in 1949, according to the Calgary Airport Authority. During those nine years, the airport grew to include four runways and five hangars. As the city grew after the war, it became apparent that a new terminal was needed. In 1956, the McCall Field Terminal opened. Its reputation as Canada’s most modern air terminal didn’t last long, however, as jets began to replace the slower, propellerdriven aircraft. Lacking the funding to upgrade the facility, in 1966 the city sold the airport to Transport Canada for $2 million, along with a commitment to spearhead the airport’s ascension into the jet age, according to the airport authority. That same year the airport’s name was changed. Transport Canada launched an ambitious program of land acquisition and airfield construction and in November 1977 the $130-million terminal building still in use today opened. Of course, the airport has grown immensely since that time. The airport authority says more than $1 billion has been invested to renovate and expand airport infrastructure since it took control in 1992. And it has now embarked on a $3-billion expansion plan that includes a new international runway—at 14,000 feet it won’t be hard to miss—and a new international concourse to accommodate the increasing number of passengers who use the airport.

time capsule

Construction progresses on the McCall Field Terminal in September 1955.

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wr bennett bridge

Airport Facts ■

Calgary’s first airport wasn’t located in Calgary. It was established 10 kilometres from the city in 1914 in Bowness, which has since been amalgamated by Calgary. The original airfield was comprised of a grass airstrip and a hut, which served as both hangar and terminal building.

■ The airport has been located at its

current site since 1938. For years it was called McCall Field, after WWI flying ace Fred R. McCall.

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Materials Materials Engineering Service Life Modeling Structural Rehabilitation

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country’s fourth busiest airport, serving over 12.6 million passengers in 2010 and contributing an estimated $6 billion annually to the region’s gross domestic product. SOURCES: Glenbow Museum, Calgary Airport Authority 203 - 6919 32 nd Avenue nw, Calgary, Ab t3b 0K6 t: 403.247.1813 f: 403.247.1814 12323 - 67 th street, edmonton, Ab t5b 1n1 t: 780.438.0844 f: 780.435.1812

Alberta Construction Magazine | 93

advertisers’ index

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Commercial, Industrial Ventilation, Fabrication, Manufacturing 94 | Spring 2011

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Alberta Construction Magazine | Spring 2011  
Alberta Construction Magazine | Spring 2011  

GREEN GIANT | Rising 49 storeys,Eighth Avenue Place will be Canada's first LEED Platinum high-rise office tower. PLUS: A really bright idea...