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July/August 2009 | $8.00


TOP PROJECTS of the PAst 30 yeArs 1979 –2009

inside front cover 426199 Firestone Building Products Company

Chaz Osburn

editor’s note


hink about the changes that have occurred over the past 30 years. Consider that the mobile phone in 1979 was pretty much a novelty. Personal computers weren’t available. And there was no Internet, no email, no instant messaging or BlackBerries—tools that, if they disappeared today, would grind business to a halt. Heck, what office had a fax machine in 1979? Or a push-button telephone—did yours? Keep thinking back. Who could have imagined the phenomenal growth that Alberta has experienced over the years? Or that the largest corporation in the world at that the time would be bankrupt? Although I wasn’t here when the first Alberta Construction Magazine rolled off the presses three decades ago, I can tell you we’ve weathered a few changes as well. The magazine has seen its share of recessions and good times (a reminder that the current recession too shall pass), the booms and busts of labour trends, and many of the other challenges you’ve no doubt had to deal with. While this is Alberta Construction Magazine’s official 30th anniversary, this issue really isn’t about us. It’s about you. Specifically, we’re using this issue to recognize and celebrate what you—the construction industry of Alberta—have accomplished the past three decades. Flip through the pages and you’ll see what I mean. We’ve broken with the usual format of the magazine to devote the bulk of this issue to a special feature called “The Top 30 Projects of the Last 30 Years.” The report is meant to be more than a trip back along Memory Lane. We wanted to point out some of the remarkable things that have been done in Alberta since 1979 and show you how far we’ve all come. It wasn’t difficult coming up with projects—with your input we received well over 100 nominations. The difficult part was narrowing the list to 30. In the publishing business, it used to be customary for writers to end their stories with 30. I won’t bore you with the details about how that number was chosen. Suffice to say, it was a way of letting an editor know that he or she had reached the end of the story. I haven’t personally typed “30” at the end of a story for years. Today, however, it seems appropriate to do so—not to mark the end, but to remind us all of the beginning. –30–

Coming next issue: Movers & Shakers We want your help so we can recognize the innovators, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and savvy professionals in Alberta’s construction industry. Nominees will be judged based on a range of criteria, including professional achievements, experience, leadership, and industry and community involvement. You can nominate someone by visiting or by sending a short note, email, or fax to: Chaz Osburn, Editor Alberta Construction Magazine 6111-91 St. NW Edmonton, AB T6E 6V6 Email: Fax: (780) 944-9500 or (800) 563-2946 (toll free)

Alberta Construction Magazine | 1

President & CEO

Bill Whitelaw •


Agnes Zalewski •

associate publisher & editor

Chaz Osburn •


Top 30 projects


of the last 30 years

Stephen Marsters •

Editorial Assistance Marisa Kurlovich, Kelley Stark • Contributors Godfrey Budd, Jacqueline Louie, Tricia Radison, Kelley Stark


Print, Prepress & Production Manager Michael Gaffney • Publications Manager Audrey Sprinkle • Publications Supervisor Rianne Stewart • Creative Services Supervisor Matt Davis • Graphic Designer Cathlene Ozubko • cozubko Creative Services Alanna Staver • Contributing Photographers Jay Im, Aaron Parker, Joey Podlubny


Director of Sales Sales Manager – Magazines Senior Account Representative Account Managers Sales Administrator Ad Traffic Coordinator – Magazines

Rob Pentney • Maurya Sokolon • Della Gray • Michael Goodwin • Bonnie Pigeon • Jane Howat • Alanna Staver •

marketing and circulation

Senior Marketing Coordinator Alaina Dodge-Foulger • Marketing/Trade Show Coordinator Ryan Mischiek • Marketing Designer Cristian Ureta •

OFFICES Calgary – North: #300, 5735 - 7 Street NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 8V3 Tel: 403.265.3700 Fax: 403.265.3706 Toll Free: 1.888.563.2946 Calgary – Downtown: #300, 999 - 8 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2R 1N7 Tel: 403.204.3500 Fax: 403.245.8666 Toll Free: 1.800.387.2446 Edmonton: 6111 - 91 Street NW, 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 $35 plus GST (6 issues), 2-year $55 plus GST (12 issues) Outside Canada, C$69 per year. 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. ©2009 1062807 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

2 | July/August 2009

24 Fly like an eagle: Canada Olympic Park ski jump tower 25 Big impact: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre 26 Skateboard heaven: Shaw Millennium Park 28 Putting the pieces together: Syncrude Upgrader Expansion Project

29 A marvel in Medicine Hat: The Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre 30 Energy efficiency emphasized: Gulf Canada Square 32 The former “Red Square”: Petro-Canada Centre 33 High above it all: Lethbridge water tower redevelopment 34 Music to their ears: Francis Winspear Centre for Music 37 Better known as the Butterdome: University of Alberta’s

Universiade Pavilion

38 On the fast track: Intuit Canada headquarters 39 Where sports rule: Talisman Centre 41 Easy on the environment: Water Centre 42 A shining example: Canmore Civic Centre 43 Shell’s refining moment: Scotford Refinery 45 Reflecting the spirit: Alberta Temple restoration 46 Saddle up: Pengrowth Saddledome 47 Sharing the border: Sweetgrass-Coutts Border Crossing 49 Cementing a place in history: The Bow concrete pour 50 Biggest in North America: West Edmonton Mall 51 Downtown focal point: Calgary Municipal Building 53 Bringing palaeontology alive: Royal Tyrrell Museum of

Palaeontology 54 Out of this world: Edmonton Space & Sciences Centre 57 Big research at the atomic level: National Institute for Nanotechnology building

58 Bright spot: Canada Place 61 Keeping animals—and motorists—safe: Banff animal overpasses 62 Bridging the gap: Dudley B. Menzies LRT Bridge 65 Difficult to damage, easy to maintain: Calgary Remand Centre 66 Flying high: Albian Aerodrome 68 Moving Edmonton traffic: Anthony Henday Drive Southeast 71 Honourable mentions


Volume 29, Number 4 Published July/August 2009

xx Cover Story



Top 30 projects of the last 30 years



Concrete award winners


7 ������������������������������������������������ Nuts & Bolts 19 ��������������������������������������� Around Canada 20 �������������� Concrete Award Winners 73 �������� People, Products & Projects 81 �������������������������������������������������� ACA Report 84 ��������������������������������������������������� Safety Beat 88 �������������������������������������������������� CCA Report 93 ������������������������������������������������� CRIC Report 95 ����������������������������������������� The Legal Edge Alberta Construction Magazine | 3


Calgary-based freelancer GODFREY BUDD, who helped research and report the Top 30 Projects feature, is a veteran writer, contributing many articles for industry magazines and business periodicals on western Canada’s energy industry and Alberta’s construction sector.

TRICIA RADISON, who was also a major contributor to the Top 30 Projects feature, 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.

KELLEY STARK works in JuneWarren-Nickle’s Energy Group’s Editorial Assistance department in Edmonton. She is a graduate of Grant MacEwan’s Bachelor of Applied Communications in Professional Writing program.

This issue marks JAY IM’s first major assignment—numerous photos for the Top 30 Projects feature—for this magazine. Jay, who has four years experience as a photographer in South Korea, is studying at SAIT Polytechnic. He is based in Calgary.

AARON PARKER studied music at Grant MacEwan College. At age 26 he went back to school. Upon completing the NAIT Graphic Communications program, he joined JuneWarren Publishing (now JuneWarrenNickle’s Energy Group) as a graphic designer. In late 2008, Aaron got the opportunity to expand his job description to include photography.


construction financing project management procurement operating

We have earned our reputation for industry leadership in civil, buildings, and utility construction.

• • 4 | July/August 2009






calgary general contractos association


Adler Insulation 2005 Ltd. Alberta Allied Roofing Association Amelco Electric (Calgary) Ltd. Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association Botting & Associates

• • • • • •

Calgary General Contractors Association Chandos Construction Davidson Enman Lumber Ltd. Elan Construction Limited ESC Automation Inc. Ferguson Glass Western

• • • • • •

Harris Rebar ITC Construction Northcal Insulation Services Ltd. Siding Contractors Association SimplexGrinnell Stampede Crane

• • • • •

Stardust Transport Ltd. Stuart Olson TSE Steel Ltd. Westcor Construction Xian Xtreme Metal & Contracting


nuts & bolts News briefs for the busy construction professional


SMART Technology’s new building brings 750 employees under one roof. It also has a bright and colourful day care centre.

a smart idea by Jacqueline Louie

Innovative design that’s good for people and the environment: this is what SMART Technologies’ new corporate headquarters and research centre is all about. A pioneer in designing interactive whiteboards and other collaborative technology, the Calgary-based high-tech firm opened its new global headquarters and research centre in May. Situated within the University of Calgary’s Research Park, the more than $60-million building is the culmination of five years of exhaustive planning by company co-founders David Martin and Nancy Knowlton. With GEC Architecture as prime consultant and project management by Dean Slater Consulting, the building was completed this past spring and brings the company’s more than 750 Calgary employees together under one roof. “We designed the building to meet the needs of our staff and the environment over the long term,” says SMART executive chairman, David Martin. “It’s all about the people, the human factor, and providing a good environment in which to work. Flexibility is the key word.” The approximately 211,000 sq. ft building was built to Leadership in Energy and

Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification guidelines, an international standard for environmentally sustainable design and construction. SMART’s headquarters is expected to become one of only nine buildings in Canada to meet those certification criteria. The building’s many environmental features encompass all aspects of greenfriendly construction. Three multi-storey wings feature high windows, designed to flood all areas of the building with natural light. High efficient lighting and mechanical systems reduce energy consumption throughout the building. SMART says the building produces half the greenhouse gas emissions than a typical office building. Ultra-low-flow faucets with hands-free operation, ultra low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets and waterless urinals dramatically cut water consumption. There are also motion-activated, energy-efficient light bulbs; non-toxic paints, adhesives, and carpets; and a reflective roof that reduces cooling requirements during the summer. All windows are triple-glazed. Also, there are sensors to measure external heat and automatically adjust the blinds to maintain a consistent air temperature. The building features about 90 meeting and collaboration rooms, all equipped with SMART products that are integrated with other technologies.

With good access via car, public transit, bicycle and walking paths, the building is equipped with five levels of underground parking, an underground bicycle parkade, and shower and change facilities. A health club/staff wellness centre, cafeteria, dining area, and day-care centre round out the amenities.

Table of Contents For Imperial Oil, the waiting game pays . . . . . . . . . . . .


More Edmonton ring road funding OK’d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Stuart Olson wins $115M Walmart job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


SAIT students take crack at house design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

12 A positive outlook . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Going once, going twice— gone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


TransAlta wind farm in the works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

15 Stimulus not so stimulating . . . 16 Trouble on the home front . . . 18 Alberta Construction Magazine | 7


For Imperial Oil, the waiting game pays

Development of Imperial Oil’s Kearl project, a mining operation, will occur in three phases.


Some things are worth waiting for. Imperial Oil Ltd.’s decision to wait several months to build its $8-billion Kearl oilsands project may end up saving the company as much as a billion dollars. “I think if you went back to about year earlier, kind of early summer last year, you’d probably be looking at somewhere between a half to a billion more investment,’’ CEO Bruce March was quoted as telling investors in May after announcing the project. ‘‘We didn’t get too mesmerized with the high price environment and we didn’t get too overwhelmed with rushing the project through like others

8 | July/August 2009

did to try to take advantage of this environment.’’ Those extra months reviewing costs and other factors meant that labour and construction costs would be significantly lower now, according to The Canadian Press. Kearl, located north of Fort McMurray, will be a mining project. Development will take place in three phases, Imperial says, with clearing, mining, and progressive reclamation continuing over the 50-year life of the project. Several thousand workers will be employed during construction. Imperial says it has a plan for development of the entire lease that outlines

how all of the recoverable bitumen will be developed and produced. The plan also explains how the landscape will be reclaimed and restored. Highlights of the project: ■ Production will eventually hit about 300,000 barrels per day. ■ Once operational, one external tailings area will be emptied and reclaimed as soon as practical after space is available to process and return the remaining tailings into mined-out areas of the pit. ■ It will include an innovative tailings process and pit lake system with only a small volume of mature fine tailings in the last of the six proposed pit lakes.

nuts & bolts ■

Kearl could begin producing around 110,000 barrels of bitumen per day in 2012. The product, however, will not be upgraded onsite. According to The Canadian Press, Inter Pipeline Fund has reached an agreement to transport up to 60,000 barrels of diluent from the Edmonton area to the Kearl site. Inter Pipeline currently ships diluent, which is mixed with bitumen to make it thin enough to flow through pipelines, along that pipeline to the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, owned by Shell Canada Ltd., Chevron Canada, and Marathon Oil Canada Corp. Imperial’s announcement may mean other producers will also revive projects. Reports from two investment firms in June say the multi-billion-dollar developments could be economically viable at a price of at least US$60. FirstEnergy Capital analyst William Lacey said costs are drifting into a more normal range due to shrinking labour and raw material costs. Steel prices have fallen to levels last seen in 2004, he said. The price of natural gas, which creates steam used to extract bitumen in some oilsands developments is also extremely low, trading at under $4 per 1,000 cu. ft. Throughout much of last summer that fuel was worth well over $10 per 1,000 cu. ft. But the greatest cost savings could be gained from better labour efficiency, Lacey said. ``With a significant pullback in the pace of investment in the oilsands sector, the expectations are for less movements within the labour pool therein improving the effectiveness of the work being undertaken,’’ he said. UBS Investment Research analyst Andrew Potter said the bright side of the economic downturn is that oilsands companies might develop their projects at a more sustainable pace. ``Whereas in the fall of 2008 it appeared that US$80–US$100 per barrel would be required for new projects, we now believe on revised cost expectations that most projects will be viable in the US$60 per barrel range,’’ he said.

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There is one integrated, progressive reclamation plan for the whole lease area that optimizes direct placement of forest floor material.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 9


nuts & bolts

More Edmonton Ring Road funding OK’d The Government of Canada will contribute up to 50 per cent toward the cost. The province will provide the rest of the funding. No cost estimate has been given. “The new interchanges at Callingwood Road and Lessard Road will improve safety for motorists and relieve congestion on the southwest section of Anthony Henday Drive,” says Alberta Transportation Minister Luke


Snarled traffic on Edmonton’s ring road should become a thing of the past in a few years now that a decision has been made to build interchanges at two major pinch points. Construction will begin later this year on the Callingwood Road and Lessard Road interchanges. Both are on the southwest portion of the Anthony Henday Drive.

Ouellette. “By starting construction this year, the two interchanges will open alongside the Stony Plain Road interchange and the new 21 km northwest leg of the Henday in fall 2011.” The interchange designs for the Callingwood Road and Lessard Road interchanges have been completed. The two projects could be tendered together. The province wants the ring road finished

Stuart Olson wins $115M Walmart job

Walmart Canada’s new distribution centre in Balzac will provide produce and frozen food to stores.

10 | July/August 2009

Stuart Olson Constructors Inc. of Edmonton has begun construction of a $115-million, 400,000 sq. ft grocery distribution centre for Walmart Canada in Balzac, a hot growth area just north of Calgary. According to Stuart Olson, the centre will: ■ Be “a state-of-the-art facility utilizing the latest in [radio frequency identification] and logistics technology to receive, store, and distribute fresh produce and frozen products.” ■ Sit on 30 acres. ■ Employ 600 people once construction is complete.

nuts & bolts

A traffic backup at the Callingwood Road intersection on the Anthony Henday.

by 2015, which includes the removal of all traffic signals. Design work is also underway for an interchange at Cameron Heights Drive, the final traffic signal on Anthony Henday Drive to be removed. Around 40,000 vehicles per day use Anthony Henday Drive in the area where the interchanges are located, the Transportation Ministry says.

Walmart Canada said the building would have a number of green features, including: ■ Highly efficient insulation; coloured concrete floors instead of chemical intensive tiling in all office areas; concrete supplemented with fly ash instead of cement; substantial roof and wall insulation; and environmentally preferable paint finishes. ■ A white roof to reflect sunlight and reduce cooling needs, high-efficiency motors, variable speed fans, cooling equipment, and air doors between different temperature zones to minimize heat transfer. ■ Motion-detecting LED lighting and chemical-free water treatment to allow grey waste water to be used for site irrigation. About 800 construction people will be needed to build the centre. Stuart Olson says the award of the contract adds $80 million to its backlog.

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 11

nuts & bolts PHOTOS: SAIT

Here are two designs by SAIT students.


SAIT Polytechnic’s Architectural Technologies program and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association—Calgary Region recently joined forces to hold a best house design competition for first-year students of the program. The completed house was to be a 2,500 sq. ft, single-family home complete with separate studio. The family that the house was designed for consists of a professional couple who plan to have two children. The students were able to photograph the actual site, as well as study

12 | July/August 2009

wind, sun paths, topography, and the view from the site. Winners shared a prize of $2,000 in scholarship money from the Home Builders’ Association. The winners are: Tiffany Lam, Robert Gairns, Gloria Juric, Steve Doiron, and Marina Taratina. Finished designs ranged from “country versus city”—with a view of the city to the east and a more spectacular view of the mountains to the west—to a modern Asian-influenced house to a courtyard setting where all the rooms were arranged

around an outdoor courtyard that provided shelter from the elements while still providing access to the views. A panel of experts, consisting primarily of architects and architectural technologists, judged the projects. The designs were judged on uniqueness, creativity, space relations, traffic flow patterns, graphic presentation, and accuracy of drawings. Designs were also required to meet building codes and site guidelines. The Home Builders’ Association has sponsored the contest for over 30 years.


nuts & bolts

High-Rail Hydro-Vac Flusher Truck

“Servicing the Underground Infrastructure” Commercial • Industrial

A POSITIVE OUTLOOK Calgary-based Enterprise Oilfield Group Inc. believes the long-term outlook for its construction services remains positive. Responding to the challenging economic times, management said it has stepped up its marketing strategy, increasing the company’s marketing team, and turning corporate attention towards marketing all aspects of the organization, according to the Daily Oil Bulletin (DOB), a sister publication of Alberta Construction Magazine. The DOB reports that Enterprise’s strategy continues to be directed towards producers whose assets are in western Canada and are oil weighted. In addition to the oil and gas industry, the company is diversifying its oil and gas pipeline construction to include transportation infrastructure. The season for utility and transportation infrastructure begins in the spring and winds down in the fall, making this an excellent complement to oil and gas pipeline construction, Enterprise said.

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 13

nuts & bolts PHOTO: RITCHIE BROS.

An aerial view of the more than $93 million in equipment put up for auction.

Going once, going twice —gone

14 | July/August 2009

According to Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, what is being called the largest auction of construction equipment in Canada attracted more than 8,500 bidders. The auction, held in Edmonton in late April, brought in $93 million, says the company. Besides the large take, Ritchie Bros. says the auction was notable for other reasons because it: ■ Included the most equipment buyers at any Canadian auction (more than 2,000). ■ Resulted in the most equipment sold online at a Canadian auction (more than $20 million).

Attracted bidders from 24 companies. One of the companies that had its equipment sold was Top Notch Construction of Calgary. According to Ritchie Bros., Top Notch decided to cease operations after its founder died. “Since we were winding down our operations, we needed a way to sell about 95 per cent of our equipment fleet,” said Steve Hilton, Top Notch’s COO. “It was tough to see all our iron being sold to new homes, but for the most part we are feeling positive about the experience.”

nuts & bolts

TransAlta wind farm in the works

Business Insurance


TransAlta plans to construct a $135 million wind farm in southern Alberta next year The Ardenville wind farm will be located about eight km south of Fort Macleod. It will have 24 three-megawatt wind turbines. Once the full 72 MW are in production, the wind farm will provide an annual average of 228,000 MW hours per year—enough to serve about 28,000 homes, TransAlta says. Commercial operation will begin by early 2011.

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1-888-446-3276 | Alberta Construction Magazine | 15

nuts & bolts

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Stimulus not so stimulating

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16 | July/August 2009

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When the recession first reared its ugly head, the idea of spending more on infrastructure found immediate favour with nations scrambling for ways to stop the downward economic spiral. Thus a number of governments—Canada included— adopted stimulus packages that put a heavy emphasis on such spending. Now that it’s been a few months, though, are those stimulus packages as, well, stimulating as we might have been led to believe? Not when it comes to infrastructure projects south of the border. At least that’s the sentiment of some top construction and design firm CEOs who were questioned this spring by the Construction Industry Round Table and FMI Research. When these CEOs were asked whether they had begun to see the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—that’s the official name of the

nuts & bolts

Road projects are a big target of stimulus money. U.S. stimulus program—62 percent of the respondents said no, with only 38 percent answering in the affirmative. “While still early in the process, the initial reports are mixed at best and belie uneasiness about the timing, focus, and effectiveness of the estimated $100 billion, which will go directly to infrastructure design/construction,” said Mark Casso, president of the Construction Industry Round Table. The Round Table is a national business trade association composed of more than a 100 CEOs from major architectural, engineering, and construction companies doing business in the United States. There is a positive side, though. Said Casson: “The dollars flowing in from the stimulus package are seen as a short-term lift, helping some states to balance their budgets thereby maintaining the flow of work into the pipeline thus stabilizing backlog levels for the companies.” Like many other things in life, only time will tell what works. Alberta Construction Magazine | 17


nuts & bolts


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Trouble on the home front THE CANADIAN PRESS If housing starts are bellwethers of where the economy is going—and they are—it might be some time before things pick back up in Alberta. Starts are expected to tumble 53 per cent in Alberta this year, which would be above the national average of 32.8 per cent. Alberta is not alone in predictions that starts will be worse than the national average. They’re expected to be down 50 per cent in Saskatchewan and 42.5 per cent in British Columbia, compared to the national average of 32.8 per cent. Across Canada, it will likely be at least four years before home construction returns to the level experienced earlier this decade during the boom, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says. The agency figures that starts will come in at 141,900 this year from last year’s 211,056, the last of several years of 200,000-plus starts. Then it will rise to 150,300, 162,650 in 2011, 163,450 in 2012, and 176,800 in 2013. “As the economy picks up, so will starts,” the market outlook report says. While indicative of an economic slowdown, Canada’s housing market has not experienced the kind of collapse that has characterized the U.S. market, which has seen starts fall to about a quarter of previous levels. “The decline in housing starts in 2009 can be attributed to several factors, including the current economic climate, increased competition from the existing home market, and the impact of strong house price growth between 2002 and 2007,” chief economist Bob Dugan says. “However, housing market activity will begin to strengthen in 2010 as the Canadian economy recovers, bringing housing starts more in line with demographic fundamentals over the forecast period.”


around canada




Atco Structures, the Calgarybased maker of those modular housing units well known to construction workers in Alberta’s oilpatch, has expanded into Manitoba with a sales and distribution centre located in Winnipeg.



Number of members in the Canada BIM Council

Amount of low-cost loans available to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure projects under Canada’s Economic Action Plan

2 9 9 $152,517,000 Number of Tim Hortons

restaurants that had existed before No. 300 was built in


The company says the move returns the division to Winnipeg after a 14-year absence.


Calgary in February 1987.

Today there are more than 3,400 Timmies in Canada


and the United States.

Cash that Aecon Group Inc. ended up paying Lockerbie & Hole Inc. shareholders (it also issued 5,510,942 Aecon shares to Lockerbie shareholders) in its purchase of the Edmonton-based construction company

Sources: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Armtec Infrastructure Income Fund, Tim Hortons, Aecon Group Inc., Canada BIM Council


Construction is underway in Hamilton, Ont., on a $30-million state-ofthe-art coffee bean production and roasting facility for Tim Hortons. The iconic Canadian restaurant chain says the 74,000 sq. ft plant will produce hundreds of millions of cups of coffee a year through an advanced processing, roasting, and high-speed packaging system. And if you thought nothing else could be done to preserve Tim Hortons’ coffee blend, think again. The plant includes an R&D centre. The plant is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter. Around 80 workers will be employed during construction.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 19


concrete award winners

o r t u t p g Ju m p i n Each trout on this wall is cast in pigmented concrete.

The Glenmore Elbow 5th Street interchange project in Calgary—if you’ve seen the jumping trout on the retaining wall you know what we’re talking about—is a double winner in this year’s Alberta chapter of the American Concrete Institute awards competition. The event, held every other year, recognizes the outstanding efforts of design and construction members within Alberta’s concrete industry. Projects illustrate innovation, creativity, and excellence in the use of concrete and concrete products. The project features a repeating pattern of 144 fish that appear to swim and jump along waves in a river. Each trout is approximately 14 feet long and cast in pigmented concrete, according to the City of Calgary. The fish sculptures are bolted into panels representing water and sky. The project won awards for special concrete applications as well as advanced concrete construction. Here are details on it and the other award winners. 20 | July/August 2009

BUILDINGS ❚ Eagle Ridge Condominiums Owner and contractor: Centron Residential Corp. Consultants: Gibbs Gage Architects, Kassian Dyck & Associates, trl & Associates Concrete supplier: Lafarge Canada Inc. SPECIAL CONCRETE APPLICATIONS and ADVANCED CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION ❚ Glenmore Elbow 5th Street interchange project—Jumping trout Owner: City of Calgary Consultants: Stantec Consulting Ltd., Kassian Dyck & Associates; artists were Violet Costello and Bob Thomasso Contractor: Graham Construction & Engineering Inc. Concrete supplier: Lafarge Canada Inc.

BRIDGES ❚ Glenmore Trail Legsby Road pedestrian bridge Owner: City of Calgary Consultants: Cohos Evamy, Bluerock Engineering Ltd. Contractor: Graham Construction & Engineering Inc. Concrete supplier: Lafarge Canada Inc. CIVIL ❚ Bearspaw Water Pre-treatment Facility Owner: City of Calgary Consultants: Associated Engineering Alberta Ltd., Goodfellow Architecture Ltd. Contractor: PCL Construction Management Inc. Concrete supplier: Lafarge Canada Inc. Cellular concrete supplier: Cematrix (Canada) Inc.

concrete award winners

proje c t

cements a couple of wins PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY

RESTORATION PROJECTS ❚ Whyte Avenue (over Mill Creek) bridge rehabilitation Owner: City of Edmonton Consultant: Cohos Evamy Contractor: Concreate USL Ltd. Concrete supplier: Rolling Mix Concrete Ltd. GREEN SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS ❚ Child Development Centre Owner: University of Calgary Consultants: Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning, Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. Contractor: EllisDon Construction Ltd. Project management: RC Peterson Concrete supplier: Burnco Rock Products

The Child Development Centre. Alberta Construction Magazine | 21

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projects of the last 30 years

Ask 30 people to choose the top 30 construction projects in Alberta in the last 30 years, and you’ll get 30 different answers. We asked you to help us come up with nominations, and you submitted well over 100. On the next 47 pages, you’ll find a sampling of the diverse projects built, renovated, or added onto in the past three decades. Some are big. Some are small. One thing is certain, though. Each is remarkably unique in its own way. (We didn’t rank them, though we did number them to make each project easier to find.) As an added bonus, we included 30 projects deserving of honourable mention. Alberta Construction Magazine | 23


like an eagle

24 | July/August 2009




Canada Olympic Park ski jump tower Built for the 1988 Winter Olympics for $5 million, the ski jump tower at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park remains the best place to take in awesome views of the city skyline and the Rocky Mountains. Designed by Stone & Webster Inc., a Massachusetts engineering, design, construction, consulting, and environmental services company that is now part the Shaw Group, the concrete structure rises 90 m off the ground and is equipped with a glass elevator. An observation area at the top includes an outside deck. Only the best of the best were brave enough to zip down the steep slope and fly into open air. (Who can forget Britain’s first ski jumper, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards?) Today, the tower is no longer used for skiing, but visitors can ride a zipline from the jump deck to the bottom of the hill. Cana Management Ltd. finished construction of the structure, including the finished interior spaces, in 1986, before detailed databases were kept. Ed Stern, VP of construction services at Cana,

doesn’t remember all the facts, figures, and names—Cana was extremely busy at the time, undertaking numerous projects as the city geared up to host the Olympics—but does remember the excitement and challenge of building the tower. Although building the structure was much like building a concrete elevator shaft, the Cana’s 14-person crew had to work without the benefit of the surrounding floors of a high-rise. “All the wind coming over that hill made it difficult to get the forms up there safely,” he says. “There were only windows of time you could actually raise those forms. At 295 feet, it was a long way up for the boys on the hill. But everyone was excited and eager to participate and get the job done.” Two smaller ski jumps were built at the same time, and Cana has been working at the park off and on ever since. But the 90 ft ski jump remains one of its most interesting projects. Says Stern: “It was one of a kind.” ●







Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre The interpretive centre at HeadSmashed-In Buffalo Jump outside of Fort Macleod is recognized here and through many prestigious awards for not sticking out. Built for a summer opening in 1987 at a cost of $10 million, the 24,000 sq. ft centre is built into a cliff, blending with the sandstone and allowing history to take centre stage. “Essentially, the exposure was kept to about 20 per cent,” says Terry Malone, manager of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. “What that means from our point of view is that the building has very little visual impact on the nature of a 7,000-yearold archaeological site.”

The inside of the long, narrow, concrete building is divided into five levels providing open galleries. As visitors climb from the entrance at the base of the cliff, they can truly understand the height from which the buffalo fell. Some challenges arose during construction, including location. General contractor Cana Management Ltd. had to set up a camp on site and transport equipment, including a tower crane, from Calgary. The nature of the site itself, which is an important archaeological resource and link to the past, also presented a few problems. “When we started excavating, there were so many artifacts, arrowheads,

and pieces of bone that it slowed down the beginning of construction,” says Ed Stern, VP of construction services at Cana in Calgary. The late start led to significant snow accumulation in the walls that had to be hauled out with buckets before the crew could get to the construction itself. The interpretive centre was designed by the LeBlond Partnership Architects & Planners and built by Cana with major subcontractors Simpson Lester Goodrich Engineering Partnership, Keen Engineering Co. Ltd., Grice Nash Williams Engineering Consultants, and Carson-McCulloch Associates Ltd. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 25

Skateboard heaven

Shaw Millennium Park

26 | July/August 2009

Shaw Millennium Park is less than a 10-minute walk from Calgary’s downtown business district and includes basketball courts, four sand volleyball courts, and a grass-covered strolling area with a fountain. But we doubt you’ll see park users carving or slamming or grinding in those particular areas. These are, of course, skateboarding terms. And there can be no doubt that the most commented-upon feature of the $4.5-million park is the concrete area—about 75,000 sq. ft— dedicated to skateboarding. Shaw Millennium Park has been variously described as “the largest skate park in the world,” “a full pipe and two football fields’ worth of concrete euphoria,” and “Canada’s most expensive skate park.” And while enthusiasts might throw in a term like “gnarly,” the City of Calgary is a bit more conservative, calling it “North America’s largest free, outdoor, 24-hour skate park.” EllisDon Corp. built the park on 10 acres of city-owned land just west of downtown on the site of the former Mewata Stadium for the City of Calgary and Calgary 2000, an organization set up in the late 1990s to find ways to mark the millennium. The park was to have maintained a link with the past by keeping the name Mewata, which is a Cree word that means, “O be joyful.” But Shaw Communications Inc. had given $1.5 million towards the park’s construction, and a City of Calgary policy offers naming rights to prime donors to city projects. City Council wrestled with the issue, but resolved in favour of Shaw. In addition to its awesome skateboarding layout, the park, which is adjacent to the 91-year-old Mewata Armoury, is the site of a reggae music festival each summer. ●





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Putting the pieces together Syncrude Upgrader Expansion Project PHOTO: PCL

When it comes to multi-billion-dollar oilsands construction projects, few things are done on a small scale. Consider the Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Upgrader Expansion Project (UE-1). Part of a $7.8-billion expansion and upgrade, more than 6,500 workers were involved at the peak of construction. Simply put, it was one of the biggest construction projects in the world at the time. About 1,500 contractors were involved in the project, which began in 2004 and was managed by KBR. A major player, PCL Industrial Constructors Inc., executed what was at the time Canada’s largest-ever process plant module assembly contract. Other players that had key roles were Lockerbie & Hole and Bird Construction Co. The project illustrated the important role technology plays in oilsands projects. In concert with the University of Alberta, PCL developed module simulation planning software with a view to providing a long-term solution to some of the planning challenges of 28 | July/August 2009

a large module contract. PCL built 276 pipe rack modules and 40 process equipment modules at its fabrication facility and module assembly yard in Nisku. At the peak of construction, PCL shipped 100 modules in 78 days. UE-1 modules often measured more than 20 by 20 ft and over 80 ft in length. The scope of the module construction was considerable. It included the erection of structural steel, as well as fabrication and installation of pipe spools. Also, before each module was shipped, instrumentation and other equipment, insulation, cable trays, heat tracing devices, and fireproofing had to be installed. Another noteworthy element of the project was its safety record—no small feat when you consider the amount of people and equipment on site. Daily briefings with workers helped identify potential hazards and concerns. As well, risk assessments were held before critical tasks were undertaken. The project was completed in 2006. ●



A marvel in Medicine Hat

PHOTOS: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. © Tim Griffith

The Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre In the old downtown district of Medicine Hat, is a 60,000 sq. ft arts complex that houses a museum, a 700-seat theatre, art galleries, an archive repository, and meeting rooms. EllisDon built it in 2005. The cost was $32.1 million. With a design (the architect was Diamond + Schmitt Architects Inc.) and structure that uses plenty of exposed architectural concrete, it is a state-of-the-art centre. Its mechanical and electrical systems provide precisely controlled humidity and temperature values that can accommodate high-quality and/or fragile travelling exhibits. The Esplanade’s building envelope technology is another part of the solution for protecting valuable exhibits, and includes a dynamic buffer zone. This is a good fit for the southern Alberta city’s weather—winters are cold, while summers are among the province’s hottest—and typically involves forcefully ventilating the envelope cavity with dry pre-heated air in winter for the prevention and control of condensation. When plans for the arts complex were first hatched, Medicine Hat already had its Museum and Art Gallery, located in an industrial zone, beside the Trans-Canada Highway. The Esplanade might never have been thought of, much less built, but for a malaise that has afflicted so many North American towns and cities, including Medicine Hat. As towns and cities grow and sprout new shopping malls with acres of parking space on cheaper land at the perimeter, the downtown can start to wither. In Medicine Hat, city fathers, and, no doubt, some business folk, took notice. They also learned that the existing arts/museum facility was not attracting the desired numbers of visitors. The City of Medicine Hat sponsored surveys of both tourists and local residents and found that a large, centrally located arts complex would do the trick—and so, voilà, the Esplanade. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 29

ENergy EFficiency EMphasIzed

30 | July/August 2009




Gulf Canada Square In 1978, plans for Calgary’s Gulf Canada Square called for the proposed two million sq. ft office complex to be one of the most energy-efficient such structures in the country. Canada Square Development Corp. Ltd. won the contract for the project on the coattails of its recent success in cutting energy consumption with Ontario Hydro Place in Toronto. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, the issue of energy costs, as today, loomed large. A study had found that heating requirements for buildings of over 100,000 sq. ft and less than 15 years old were, on average, 182,000 British thermal units (BTU) per square foot per year. Canada Square Development had built the Ontario Hydro building in Toronto with a guarantee that it would consume no more than 60,000 BTUs per square foot per year.

The western project, however, was to prove more difficult because Calgary’s climate is more extreme than Toronto’s, with higher winds and colder temperatures. The Gulf complex, completed in 1979, would require improvements if it were to match the energy performance of the Ontario Hydro building. Accordingly, Canada Square Development constructed a mock-up of the proposed curtain wall system, which included heat-reflective glazing, for the Gulf complex at a testing facility in Florida and exposed it to high winds at a range of temperatures in a wind tunnel. The Calgary design also included water storage tanks, located in the basement and containing about one million gallons of water, for storing excess eanergy to be fed back into the system as required. Although company headquarters remained in Toronto for the time being, the Gulf project marked the start of a trend that saw senior management—and eventually headquarters—of Canada’s biggest oil companies move west from Toronto and Montreal. ●




The former “Red Square”

Petro-Canada Centre A quarter of a century after its completion in 1984, the Petro-Canada Centre ranks among the most elegant and striking office tower complexes in downtown Calgary. But it began life mired in controversy. It was the new headquarters for the country’s national oil company, launched as a state-owned enterprise in 1976 by the federal Liberal government, headed by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. The company had been set up in response to the oil crisis of the 1970s to promulgate a Canada-first energy policy. Although the policy for Canada’s energy security, embodied in the government’s National Energy Program, and the company, were popular among most Canadians, some in Alberta’s oilpatch resented them. The Canadianization project especially infuriated management at the Calgary offices of some Texas-based oil companies, who promptly dubbed the new Petro-Canada headquarters the “Red Square.” 32 | July/August 2009

Regardless of one’s attitude to the longdefunct energy policy, the sobriquet was perhaps not entirely without merit in that both towers of the 2.1 million sq. ft complex feature a cladding of pink Taivassalo granite imported from Finland. Construction of the Petro-Canada headquarters, undertaken by Cana, also marked something of a comeback for a company that, five years before, had been slated for dismemberment. One tower is 32 storeys and the other is 54, and, at 706 ft, will be the tallest

structure in Calgary until The Bow skyscraper is completed. Cana was the contractor. The twin towers are connected by a four-storey atrium that features landscaping, pools, sculpture and a bronze cast commemorating the Olympic Torch relay of 1976—the year the summer Olympics were held in Canada. The Noorduyn Norseman, a famous Canadian bush plane, is suspended in the atrium and provides a focal point for visitors and office workers alike. ●





above it all

Lethbridge water tower redevelopment This is certainly one of the most interesting reno jobs in Alberta in the past three decades. When the City of Lethbridge decided earlier this decade to demolish its decommissioned 125-ft steel water tower, developer Douglas Bergen stepped in with another idea: Why not recycle the tower instead, and turn it into the kind of high-rise restaurant typically found in big cities? An architectural technologist who grew up in a welding shop, Bergen knew the tower was strong enough to hold a crowd. After all, it easily kept 1.9-million litres of water from crashing onto the town. “We really wanted to preserve this landmark that people had used as a point of orientation in the city for the last 50 years,” says Bergen, of the tower originally constructed in 1958. “We could allow this very prominent, odd-shaped structure to remain as a landmark for people to navigate the city and give it a new life.” Bergen’s own company, Douglas J. Bergen & Associates Ltd., acted as general contractor for the 18-month renovation, completed in 2004 with the help of Sebring Construction, Petersen’s Welding, First Technicall Systems, and Charlton & Hill. Building a three-floor restaurant and lounge high above the ground presented the expected logistical challenges, but financing and finding a tenant were the real difficulties on this project. “What banker has a tab in the binder that says water tower financing?” Bergen asks. “It was so bizarre that I got turned down from every institution I went to.” The upscale Ric’s Grill now operates a 120-seat restaurant on the main floor, where guests find a personal window at every table and booth. The lounge is on the first floor. For those truly above it all, there’s a 50-seat private floor with custom-designed skylights above the restaurant. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 33




Music to their ears Francis Winspear Centre for Music The Francis Winspear Centre for Music became the home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra a dozen years ago. Until then, the orchestra lacked a dedicated facility, and instead shared the Jubilee Auditorium with opera, ballet, political rallies, college convocations, and touring country music vocalists. The orchestra’s home, of which the centrepiece is the 1,932-seat concert hall, was built by PCL for $38 million and completed five months ahead of schedule in 1997. The price tag, for anyone considering the cost of concert hall construction, is noteworthy. Nine years before the 34 | July/August 2009

Winspear was built, Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, which has a similar seat count and no rehearsal hall, was built at a cost of $80 million. The Winspear Centre was designed and built with a single purpose—to concert music of unsurpassed acoustical excellence. Because of this concern with acoustical excellence, the centre was in fact designed and built as four separate buildings, consisting of the concert hall itself, a rehearsal hall, the lobby, and a structure housing the mechanical systems. A two-inch space with rubber to dampen the sound separates each building, ensuring that

non-musical noise and vibrations don’t interfere with the acoustics. The concert hall itself is an 85 ft tall rectangular structure shaped in the traditional shoebox design of many prestigious 19th century concert halls like the Tonhalle in Zurich and the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna. Seating wraps around the sides and the back of the hall on four levels. The curved concrete balconies have an austere look, but they serve a purpose, like everything else in the building. Each balcony surface, like every hard surface in the hall, is designed to ensure that music has the best sound possible. ●

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Better known as the

Photos: Aaron Parker


University of Alberta’s Universiade Pavilion

Its bright yellow exterior colour and location on a main thoroughfare make the Universiade Pavilion one of the most visible and best known structures among the 90 or so buildings on the 101-yearold campus of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Its yellow colour also gave it the name by which it is best known— the Butterdome. EllisDon completed the building in 1983, in time to host the Universiade (better known as World University Games) of that year and also to mark the 75th anniversary of the university, which was founded


in 1908—three years after Alberta became a province. As host venue for the World University Games, the Butterdome scored a continental first: 1983 was the first time since the founding of the Universiade in 1947 that the games were held in North America. The 5,500-seat multi-purpose arena accommodates a six-lane rubberized 200 m indoor track, a 60 m sprint straightaway, and a climbing wall that is one of the highest in the country. It also has facilities for numerous other sports including volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton, gymnastics, soccer, and European handball. The Butterdome, home to the Golden Bears basketball team, can accommodate four basketball games at once. It is also used for track and field events, including the long jump and pole-vaulting. The size of the Butterdome is one factor behind the building’s versatility. But its seating system also has a role in this area. Of its permanent complement of 5,500 seats, the upper 2,500 seats have fixed mountings, while the lower 3,000 are retractable bleacher seats that can be collapsed to increase floor space. At the University Games, seating was increased to 11,000 using temporary bleachers. Besides sports, the Butterdome hosts other events, including giant craft sales. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 37

On the fast track

Intuit Canada headquarters

38 | July/August 2009

The benefits of building green are all around us. Not only are sustainable buildings more durable and adaptable, they generally save money—at least in the long term. Then there’s the PR benefit, which is difficult to put a price on. Turn the clock back nine years. Intuit Canada wanted a new building for its headquarters—and wanted it fast. A twostorey building the size Intuit Canada wanted (more than 90,000 sq. ft) typically

takes around six months to design and about a year to build. In this case, however, design preceded construction by only one month with the overall project taking slightly more than five months. The owners put a high priority on the building’s energy efficiency. Manasc Isaac Architects incorporated large operable windows and solar shading into its design. This was all to maximize Alberta’s plentiful sunshine. Large windows, coupled with the way the Edmonton building is situated, lets in ample sunlight during those long winter months, and the shading devices keep the light from hitting the offices directly. As well, Clark Builders, the contractor, points out that the heating, ventilation, and air conditional systems include fan-coil units around the perimeter of the floors and a high-efficiency gas fired boiler plant. The building, completed in November 2000, houses a large call and data centre. It also includes engineering, research, development, and marketing offices; a complete commercial kitchen/cafeteria; fitness/recreational facilities; change rooms; and a gymnasium. “The whole project was about having the right people, people with the right attitude, able to think outside the box,” Clark Builders said in its nomination. “There was a real sense of synergy and a big team effort with everyone taking ownership for success.” ●

Photo: JAY IM

Photos: Aaron Parker



Photo: JAY IM



Where sports rule Talisman Centre Built in 1983 for the Western Canada Summer Games, Calgary’s Talisman Centre for Sport and Wellness is purportedly the second largest sports and wellness facility for public use in North America and it’s the training ground for Olympic and world-class athletes. The facility has undergone expansions, the most significant in 2003. Today, it has four Olympic-size pools, a dive tank, two running tracks, and five gymnasiums. Additionally, 14,000 sq. ft is devoted to a physiotherapy and sports medicine area, designed to keep athletes in top shape. Another 25,000 sq. ft is used for cardio fitness and weight training. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exterior of the centre is its triangular

roof made with a steel spine and a Tefloncoated fibreglass skin that gives the building architectural interest while reportedly reducing interior lighting needs. The roof, referred to by some as iconic, will be replaced in an expansion taking place in 2010. According to the Talisman Centre’s website, the new roof, which will still look the same, will have a titanium dioxide coating that repels dirt and cleans the air by removing nitrogen oxide. The City of Calgary has approved $41.5 million for the roof replacement. The centre was once called Lindsay Park Sports Centre. Piggott Construction was the original prime contractor for the project. The construction value at the time was $28 million. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 39

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Easy on THE environment Water Centre One of the most impressive structures built in Alberta thus far this century has been the Water Centre in Calgary. Not only does it have stunning design features, it’s an example of how a building can be both functionality and eco-friendly. First, a little background. In 2003, Calgary became the first Canadian municipality to adopt a sustainable building policy. Since then, all new city buildings and major renovations to existing ones are designed to meet or exceed the silver level rating of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Located on 25th Avenue SE and Spiller Road, the Water Centre was built on a brownfield site. Since opening in 2007, it has been home to the city’s Water Resources and Water Services’ staff of around 800 workers. The Water Centre was designed to save water, conserve energy, and reduce the human impact on the environment while providing workers with a comfortable and healthy place to work. Designers chose recycled, non-toxic, and locally available materials wherever possible. There’s a lot

of reliance on things like natural daylight for lighting and, as a result, the building is expect to pay for itself in 15 years and operate for another 35 years with minimal maintenance. Environmentally friendly features include dual-flush toilets that save an average of 26 per cent more water than singleflush, six-litre models; low-flow faucets; and non-flushing urinals that require no water at all. Water from the on-site water meter testing facility is reused to flush toilets. Outside, rainwater from the main roof and the green roof is treated in bio-retention ponds and stored underground. Manasc Isaac Architects, in collaboration with Sturgess Architecture, designed the $43-million Water Centre. Dominion Construction Ltd built the 183,000 sq. ft steel and glass structure. For a building that’s only a couple of years old, the Water Centre has pulled in its share of awards. It was an Alberta Construction Magazine Top Project runnerup in 2007. This year, it took home a prestigious Alberta Steel Design Award in the architectural category. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 41




A shining example Canmore Civic Centre The first building in the province to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, Canmore’s landmark civic centre is a paragon of environmental sustainability. Completed in 2004, the $4.2-million building is loaded with green features that weren’t as commonplace as they are today. That includes features such as highefficiency boilers, a heat recovery system, access to natural daylight, and exterior sunscreens to keep the heat out. And, of course, energy efficient lighting and lowflow water fixtures abound. The civic centre was general contractor Stuart Olson Construction’s first LEED project. Although the company had 42 | July/August 2009

already started to incorporate waste recycling and other environmentally friendly techniques and materials into projects, following LEED requirements proved challenging. “It was one of the first projects where you had to document and submit everything required for LEED,” says Chris Bardell, project manager at Stuart Olson in Calgary. “There’s so much documentation and training the subcontractors and trying to think green with all the products and managing all that was quite a challenge.” The company was also working with new concepts that required different ways of thinking and doing things. For example, in the civic centre, fresh air comes in under

the access floors, providing better air quality than systems that bring in air at the top of the room. Building mechanical systems from the floor up was a different experience. The building uses a reported 40 per cent less energy and 55 per cent less water than similar facilities. Marshall Tittemore Kristina Pompura Architects also designed it to fit in with the surrounding mountains. Says Bardell: “It just has that atmosphere of being in the mountains, and all the elements of the building seem to work really well within that community.” Keen Engineering Co. Ltd., Bel-MK Engineering Ltd., and Landplan Associates Ltd. were the other major subcontractors on the project. ●




Shell’s refining moment Scotford Refinery

Royal Dutch Shell’s 98,000 bbl/d Scotford refinery near Fort Saskatchewan, is the smallest of three operating in so-called Refinery Row, which supplies crude to much of western Canada. But when PCL-Braun-Simons Ltd. completed construction of the refinery in 1984, the entire $1.4-billion project, which included a $300-million petrochemical plant, must have seemed to some like an ill-timed addition to Shell’s debt load. The early 1980s had seen the company battle perceptions about debt and sagging profits. Over the refinery’s construction period, which ran from 1980 to 1984, Canadian demand for petroleum products dropped 28 per cent, and 10 of the nation’s other 34 refineries ceased operations. Those that shut down included two of Shell’s own refineries—near Toronto and Winnipeg—and one operated by Texaco Canada Inc. in the immediate vicinity of Scotford.

Between 1980 and 1984, Shell Canada more than tripled its long-term debt from $300 million to about $1 billion, thanks to the new refinery. The project’s cost, first pegged at $350 million in 1979, had almost quadrupled. Also, oil and natural gas prices continued south in 1985 and 1986, bottoming out at around US$10/bbl of oil. But management at Shell maintained that going ahead with the refinery—the first to be built in North America in five years—was the right decision. It was said that Scotford’s technological superiority gave it better economics than most other refineries. It had been specially designed to process synthetic crude from the oilsands and was the most modern, efficient refinery in Canada. Shell’s strategy paid off. By mid-1985, the company was on track to more than double its income for the year over 1984— thanks in large part to the new refinery. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 43

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Reflecting gnitcelfeR the spirit

Alberta Temple restoration A careful mix of ingenuity and historical knowledge was required to restore the stately Alberta Temple, the first Canadian temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located in Cardston, and built between 1913 and 1923, the temple was almost entirely gutted in 1988 so Calgary architectural firm Gowling & Gibb Architects, along with project manager Sunrich Contracting, could refurbish the interior, update the mechanical and electrical systems, and add a new entryway/lobby—all while retaining the distinguished historical characteristics of the building. “We did extensive research through archival information and old photos and drawings and talking to people to find out what

it was like in 1923, and attempted to bring it back to that character,” says Michael Gibb, principal at Gowling & Gibb. Some things were done more easily than others. Wrought iron and light fixtures were custom-made and the stained glass windows, designed in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright by original architects Pope & Burton from Salt Lake City, Utah, were removed, recaned, and replaced in a new, weather-tight window system. Other parts of the job were more difficult. The new entryway/ lobby area, created for visitors, needed to reflect the spirit of the building and fit in with the original structure, which was constructed of hand-hewn white granite. But the quarry in British Columbia that supplied the granite was no longer operating. Nord International Inc., an architectural precast concrete supplier in Lethbridge, saved the day, providing a precast concrete made to look like the granite. The solution received the American Concrete Institute’s Award of Excellence in Design and Construction in 1991. The $18-million project was completed in three years. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 45

Pengrowth Saddledome By the late 1970s, Calgary’s lack of a large, domed stadium was the subject of ongoing debate—and a sore point with hockey fans. A study was done in 1979, which recommended a multi-purpose sports complex be built in the city’s northwest, near the university and Foothills Stadium. But when the city won its bid to host the 1988 Winter Olympics, the sports complexconcept was dumped in favour of a plan tobuild a covered stadium at the site of the Calgary Stampede, just southeast of the downtown. With Cana Construction as the general contractor, the project was completed in 1983. 46 | July/August 2009




up Saddle Today, the structure is officially called the Pengrowth Saddledome, but it’s also been known as the Olympic Saddledome and the Canadian Airlines Saddledome. It was originally built for a maximum capacity of about 20,000, but major renovations in 1994–95 reduced capacity to its current configuration of 19,289 for hockey. The first event at the Dome was a Battle of Alberta faceoff between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 15, 1983. At the 1988 Winter Olympics, the Saddledome served as the venue for figure skating and hockey events. The distinctive sadd le-shaped roof, giving the structure its name, is

an inverted hyperbolic paraboloid. Constructed using pre-cast concrete panels suspended by post-tension cables, the roof has an unobstructed 122 m span covering 12,000 sq. m, but is only 60 cm thick. The stadium, did, in fact, acquire its name well before it was built. As soon as the design was unveiled, the proposed structure was referred to as saddleshaped. Of 1,270 entries submitted in a contest to name the arena, 735 included the word “saddle.” The winning name, Olympic Saddledome, was drawn from a hat filled with several similar saddlethemed names. ●



the border

Sweetgrass-Coutts Border Crossing

According to the U.S. General Services Administration: • No potable water is used for irrigation. • About one-quarter of the water normally used was reduced by installing low-flow and water-efficient fixtures and appliances. • Low-emitting paints, carpeting, and composite wood were used. The project took 34 months to build. The dedication was in September 2004— nearly a decade after Prime Minister Chrétien and U.S. President Bill Clinton signed an agreement calling for the creation of shared border crossings. ●


The border crossing at Coutts, Alta., and Sweetgrass, Mont., is anything but ordinary. Located on Highway 4, which turns into Interstate 15 in the United States, the crossing is one of the busiest in North America, handling well over one million visitors and more than 400,000 commercial shipments annually. But the border crossing is different for another reason: it’s the first shared border crossing facility between Canada and America. Staff from both sides do more than just work together closely. They share lunchroom facilities, locker rooms, conference rooms, and other areas. Bird Construction was the primary contractor on the $39-million project; the architect was Kasian Kennedy Architect. Tendered and constructed using a designbuild approach, the contract included five main buildings totalling over 100,000 sq. ft and a 25-acre site redevelopment that consists of six northbound and five southbound inspection lanes. Considering that in 1890, there was only one building and a white line drawn in the road between the two countries, the crossing has come a long way. Design and construction work required input and coordination with over 30 primary stakeholders, Bird said, adding that excellent communication was required to coordinate the construction of all the buildings over four phases. A number of features enabled the project to achieve a bronze level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating. Engineers Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. pointed out it was one of the first projects in Alberta to receive LEED certification.





Alberta Construction Magazine | 47






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Cementing a place in history

Pouring a foundation isn’t usually a project in itself, but when it’s the biggest continuous concrete pour in Canada’s history and the third biggest in the world, it becomes one. The pour at The Bow was the first record-setting portion of a project that will set many other records, such as tallest building in western Canada. Lehigh Inland Cement Ltd., Dynamic Concrete Pumping Inc., Newway Concrete Forming Ltd., Harris Steel Services Ltd., and construction manager Ledcor Construction Ltd. were responsible for the success of the giant pour, which began on May 9, 2008, and didn’t stop for 36 hours. Approximately 1,300 truckloads of concrete totalling 13,778 cu. m went into the six-storey hole in downtown Calgary to form the foundation of what will be a 58-storey addition to the city core. The 4,600 sq. m slab is approximately 3 m deep, providing a wide base for the innovatively designed tower. Over 500 people were required to get the massive job done, and significant project management and planning went into ensuring proper consistency throughout the pour. Due to heavy traffic during the day, up to 95 mixer trucks had to be cycled in and out of the site. Drivers were brought


The Bow concrete pour

in from Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Red Deer, and Medicine Hat. Risks had to be managed in advance. For example, equipment prov ider Dynamic Concrete Pumping ensured extra pumps were on hand, which quickly allowed them to replace two

concrete pumps that broke down during the pour. The job was so big that even competitors joined forces, with Burnco supplying trucks and one of the four concrete plants needed to make the required volume of concrete. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 49

Biggest in North America




West Edmonton Mall When it comes to world records, what in Alberta even comes close to West Edmonton Mall? For two decades, the mall held claim to being the world’s largest shopping mall. It has also been recognized by Guinness World Records as having the world’s largest indoor amusement park, indoor triple-loop rollercoaster, indoor lake, indoor wave pool, parking lot, and tallest indoor permanent bungee tower. With more than five million square feet on 121 acres, the mall also has 800 stores and other services, including a hotel. There’s also an impressive NHLsized ice arena, casino, multiple restaurants, movie theatres, themed areas 50 | July/August 2009

such as Chinatown, and other entertainment facilities. (Hey, what other mall offers you the chance to watch performing seals?) Construction began in June 1980. Built for Edmonton-based conglomerate Triple Five Corp. by construction giant PCL, construction took place over four phases that spanned 19 years. The first phase opened in September 1981. When the last phase was finished a decade ago, the total cost exceeded $1 billion. While it’s still the largest mall in North America—far ahead of the 2.8 million sq. ft Mall of America in the United States—a mall in China now holds the No. 1 spot. The 7.1 million sq. ft South China Mall in Dongguan, China, was completed four years ago, according to Eastern Connecticut State University, which tracks such things. In the world rankings, West Edmonton Mall is No. 5. ●




Downtown focal point Calgary Municipal Building

Formally known as the Municipal Building, the structure often referred to by Calgarians as city hall was built over three years and completed in 1985. A modern addition to the old sandstone structure that served as city hall since 1911, the hard-to-miss structure is an important focal point in the downtown core. The 778,470 sq. ft, 14-storey building has a triangular design and features an abundance of mirrored glass. The design, created by architect Christopher Ballyn of the Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership, was the winner of a citysponsored competition that resulted after city residents voted in favour of the city constructing its own government building as opposed to renting office space in privately owned buildings. Ballyn’s design beat out 73 others and won due to

appearance, cost, ability to meet the needs of the users, and energy efficiency. Built by EllisDon under a construction management contract, the $97.9-million building has limestone veneer panelling covering the lower vertical walls of the exterior while the podiums and interior floors and walls in public areas are granite or granite veneer. According to Calgary Public Library documents, construction required 30,000 cu. m of concrete, 4,000 metric tons of reinforced steel, and 650 tons of structural steel. Open outdoor space for the public was part of the requirements for the design and the building has plenty of it. Inside, an atrium runs 12 storeys up, bringing the outdoors in with natural light and greenery. Calgary’s Light Rail Transit trains travel beneath the building. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 51

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Bringing palaeontology alive Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller won’t be going the way of the dinosaurs any time soon. The 120,000 sq. ft building built in 1985 was simply designed to allow for maximum flexibility when arranging exhibits, a concept that’s proven highly successful. The Royal Tyrrell—Canada’s only facility exclusively for the study of palaeontology—boasts an impressive collection of fossils and world-class exhibits. “So many of the newer museums today are really architectural statements that I think compromise the flexibility of the exhibits within,” says Kathryn Valentine, director of exhibits and communications. In contrast, the founding director of the museum, Dr. David Baird, worked with architectural firm Boucock Craig and Partners to create what Valentine calls a black box, with huge walls and high ceilings, and no windows to work around. “It feels like a theatrical backdrop for the science and subject matter,” she says.

General contractor PCL-Maxam and major subcontractors such as Simpson Lester Goodrich Partnership and Barker and Associates constructed the building in 24 months. While the facility is extremely functional, its long, linear design also complements the unique surrounding landscape, reflecting the strata visible throughout the Alberta badlands. A recent redevelopment of the grounds has returned the landscape to native plants and will reduce water use as well as complement the subject matter within the facility itself, taking the museum experience outdoors. The design of the building has been such a giant success that the museum space hasn’t been altered since construction, although a series of classrooms was added. This year, an elevator—booted from the original plans due to budget constraints— is finally being installed to make the space more user-friendly for people with disabilities and families with young children. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 53



Out of this world

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photos (bottom): Bird Construction

Edmonton Space & Sciences Centre Now called the Telus World of Science— Edmonton, the Edmonton Space & Sciences Centre was out of this world in terms of its unique design and the major challenges faced by general contractor Bird Construction Co. Designed by Douglas Cardinal, the futuristic facility resembles a spaceship— it’s even clad in steel—and is considered a landmark building in the province. But back in 1982, an extremely tight construction schedule and strict budget threatened to send the project into a black hole. Having chosen the centre as its flagship project to mark the province’s 75th birthday, the City of Edmonton needed construction 54 | July/August 2009

to start before drawings were complete and wrap in about nine months without going over the budget of $7.995 million. Richard Turchinetz, Edmonton branch manager for Bird at the time, fondly recalls the excitement of all stakeholders throughout the challenging process: “It was the kind of project that you just couldn’t stop thinking about or working on. Everybody was energized.” Working on a design-build basis, Bird and subcontractors including Westeel Rosco Ltd., Empire Iron Works, and Crystal Glass worked closely with Cardinal’s firm, the City of Edmonton, and the end-user, the Edmonton Space

& Sciences Foundation. A photocopier on site allowed architects to hand-draw solutions immediately. Photocopies were sent back to the office to be incorporated into working drawings while work went on using the hand drawings. The result of the intense collaboration was a building done on time and on budget and a more space-efficient design; 10 to 15 per cent more space was added because the main stair was designed as a structural slab, opening up space below. Turchinetz credits the entire team for the success. He says, “We were looking for results, not for excuses, and this whole philosophy kept going from start to finish.” ●

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National Institute for Nanotechnology building Those who see the future of Alberta’s oil and gas industry curtailed by low prices, high costs, or concerns about CO2 emissions can perhaps draw hope for the province’s future from the National Institute for Nanotechnology in Edmonton. At least if the prediction of a former University of Alberta president is correct. When the national research facility for the University of Alberta campus was announced in 2001, the university’s thenpresident, Dr. Rod Fraser, said that within five years it would have an impact on the province equal to the discovery of oil at Leduc in 1947. He wasn’t alone in his optimism. The president of Canada’s National Research Council predicted that Canada would soon be among the top five nations in the emerging field of nanotechnology. While oil and gas continue to be the economic drivers of the economy, nanotechnology is nonetheless important. Nanotechnology involves the development of new materials and processes by manipulating matter at the molecular and atomic level. The technology is becoming increasingly commonplace in health, energy, manufacturing, computing, and other fields. (To give you an idea of how tiny things are, a nanometre—the standard unit of measurement in nanotechnology—is one billionth of a metre or 1/80,000th the diameter of human hair.) The Nationa l Institute for Nanotechnology building is probably

the quietest research centre in Canada. Nanotechnology uses electron microscopes that are capable of viewing tiny particles, but they are a bit like old vinyl record players that skip if someone jumps nearby. Talking, even standing, too close to one of these microscopes can cause enough vibration to blur an image. The $52.2-mi l lion bui lding is seven storeys high and 180,000 sq. ft. Constructed by PCL at the height of Alberta’s construction boom, the centre opened in May 2006. The building won the 2008 Canadian Consulting Engineering Award of Excellence and the 2006 Consulting Engineers of Alberta Award of Merit ●

Big research at the atomic level Alberta Construction Magazine | 57



Bright spot


Canada Place In 1986, Canada Place was one of the few bright spots for an industry struggling in the wake of an unexpected economic recession. It remains a gleaming example of this industry’s ability to tackle complex jobs nearly a quarter of a century later— something we should all keep in mind as we wade through the current recession. With a value of $73 million, the project was pretty much the only big thing going on in Edmonton at the time. Construction manager EllisDon and the more than 100 labourers and carpenters employed on the project were glad to have the work. And work it was. Built for two discerning tenants—the Government of Canada and the City of Edmonton—Canada 58 | July/August 2009

Place is really two buildings in one. The 500,000 sq. ft of space was divided due to the differing building standards of each tenant for things like column spacing, traffic toppings on the floors, and parking stall width. The building, designed by WZMH Group Architects, is also split by a glass atrium running from roof to ground, presenting a challenge to those on site. There’s a gap of a whole bay wide where the floor plate isn’t continuous,” remembers Paul Forgues, operations manager for EllisDon in Edmonton. “It was hard for us to go with materials from one side to the other. If you were working on one floor, you couldn’t just go from one end to the

other. You actually had to go to the stairs, up one floor, cross, and then down.” EllisDon worked around the problem by doubling up on materials. “We basically needed two of everything,” Forgues says. Unlike most of today’s high-rises, Canada Place is also a cast-in-place concrete structure, requiring 80,000 cu. m of concrete, which was supplied by Lehigh Inland Cement Ltd. Subcontractors such as Arpi’s North Inc. and Harris Rebar helped build the office and retail complex, which has a 1,000-stall parkade and is clad in pinktoned metal and glass with a four-storey brick-clad podium. Construction wrapped up in 1988. ●





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Keeping animals—and motorists—safe


Banff animal overpasses

Drivers on the Trans-Canada Highway between Banff and Lake Louise can look up to get a glimpse of Banff National Park’s wildlife. Since 1997, animals have been able to wander across the busy road safely using two bridges designed just for them. The bridges, each 52 m long with twin arch structures 17 m wide, were designed and developed by Cohos Evamy Integrated Design, Lafarge Construction Materials, and general contractor Bremner Engineering and Construction Ltd. in a design-build contract with Public Works and Government Services Canada. “It was an experimental project because nobody knew whether it would actually work,” says Jim Montgomery, principal, Cohos Evamy Integrated Design. “It was interesting from the construction point of view because it was put out as a

design-build project, allowing Cohos Evamy and Lafarge to attack the project using creative ideas.” Peter Yurkiw, precast general manager for Lafarge in Edmonton, says that concrete was specified for aesthetic reasons—it has a solid appearance that gives a feeling of permanency, and because animals aren’t fond of metal structures. Getting to use the product for one of the more unique applications in western Canada was a highlight for the engineer. “We are taking technology that is typically used for more industrial applications like mine sites and using it to do something very interesting with animals in an environmentally friendly application,” he says. The bridges were fabricated from precast concrete arch segments that could be put up while traffic was on the highway. “It was a unique solution for this part of the world,” says Montgomery, adding that it was also an economical way to meet the owner’s requirements and create structures that will last at least 70 years. Cast-in-place concrete walls were built at the ends of the structures to retain soil. Rock facing gives the bridges a natural appearance. ● Alberta Construction Magazine | 61



Bridging the gap


Dudley B. Menzies LRT Bridge Owned by the City of Edmonton, the Dudley B. Menzies LRT Bridge is more than an important public transit link between the downtown and the city’s south side. Named after an Edmonton civil engineer and politician, the bridge also happens to be the first segmental concrete bridge built in western Canada. Built by PCL-Maxam, a joint venture, and The Engineers Collaborative Inc., the 530 m bridge spans the North Saskatchewan River, supporting trains travelling in both directions on its 10 m wide top deck and providing a beautiful 62 | July/August 2009

view of the river valley for the pedestrians and bicyclists who travel the walkway that hangs beneath. Spiral ramps join the bridge to walking trails beneath. Running parallel to the High Level Bridge, the LRT bridge is designed as a box girder with the main bridge girder taking the form of a hollow box about 4.5 sq. m. Crews constructed the structure by casting 200 segments in another location and trucking them to the site where they were joined with epoxy adhesive and posttensioning steel cables. Another 16 segments were cast in place. Each segment

is eight ft long and weighs approximately 60 tonnes. Holes in the sides of the girder and the bottom slab allow for ventilation and drainage and ensure the temperature inside the box adjusts rapidly to exterior temperatures. The Dudley B. Menzies LRT Bridge is a past winner of the American Concrete Institute’s prestigious Award of Excellence for Design and Construction in Concrete. Construction of the $29,235,500 bridge began in 1988 and wrapped up in 1990. ●


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Difficult to damage

Easy to maintain Calgary Remand Centre The Calgary Remand Centre was one of the most state-of-the-art institutions of its kind in Canada when it was constructed, providing security without casting an architectural pall on the environment. Designed by C.J.M. Architects and built over 27 months in the early 1990s by Bird Construction Co., the centre is home to maximum, medium, and minimum security prisoners of both genders. The 183,000 sq. ft of space is divided into separate wings for different security levels, each with its own facilities and furnishings. To achieve high security levels without a traditional prisonlike appearance, the cell wings were constructed of a combination of precast concrete, cast-in-place concrete, and masonry.

According to the website of structural engineer Read Christoffersen Jones, using precast modular cells also made the 350 housing units hard to destroy and easy to maintain. The structure was designed to hold 704 prisoners. Lighting, communication, and plumbing were integrated into the concrete to prevent them from being damaged. Galvanized steel security window frames were also cast directly into the concrete. The Calgary Remand Centre also includes medical facilities for on-site health care, a large gymnasium, and outside courtyards. Alberta Public Works Supply and Services owns the facility, which cost $30 million to construct. â—? Alberta Construction Magazine | 65






Albian Aerodrome Remember back to those go-go days of oilsands expansion and how companies were tripping over each other to attract skilled labour for their projects? Granted, it wasn’t all that long ago—the recession just makes it feel that way. Flying workers in and out was considered the price of admission for doing business in the oilsands region near Fort McMurray. And nowhere was that more visible than with the Albian Aerodrome near Fort McKay. Noramac Ventures Inc., a joint venture between North American Construction Group and Fort McKay First Nation, built Albian Aerodrome. At about 2,400 m long and 45 m wide, the airstrip ranks among the largest private airstrips in Canada and can 66 | July/August 2009

handle an Airbus 319 or Boeing 737, which are capable of carrying more than 120 workers. There’s also a terminal building with a capacity to handle 150 people, and a place on-site to store maintenance equipment. The aerodrome was built to support expansion of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project—a joint bitumen-producing venture involving Shell Canada Ltd., Marathon Oil Canada Corp., and Chevron Canada Ltd.—which is only a short distance away. Construction began in January 2007, with the project moving into full swing after spring breakup. Crews worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week for most of that summer. The first planeload of visitors landed in November 2007. ●


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Moving Edmonton traffic Anthony Henday Drive Southeast

68 | July/August 2009

Alberta’s first transportation infrastructure project built through an innovative publicprivate partnership (P3), the southeast leg of the Anthony Henday Drive ring road in Edmonton, is an award-winning project that’s changed the way Alberta builds its major urban roadways. Perhaps more importantly for those who are frustrated with the area’s clogged streets and highways, it offers 124 km with no traffic lights. The project included 11 km of 6- and 4-lane highway, 20 bridge structures, 5 interchanges, 4 f lyovers (including Alberta’s first third-level flyover), 7 rail grade separation structures, and a signalized rail level crossing. Construction required nine million cubic yards of excavation, 1.7 million tons of granular material, 44,000 cubic yards of concrete and, 350,000 short tons of asphalt. The $493-million project, completed in the fall of 2007, was designed, financed, and built by Access Roads Edmonton Ltd., a partnership that includes Macquarie Essential Assets Partnership; PCL Construction Management Inc.;

PCL-Maxam, a joint venture; Stantec Consulting; Lafarge Canada Inc.; MMM Group; Sureway Construction Management Ltd,; and Transportation Systems Management Inc. It took 30 months from start to finish and was completed on time and on budget—a major feat considering the challenges industry faced during those extremely busy years. Thanks to the P3 arrangement, the province and public were protected from cost overruns, and the project was completed two years faster than it would have been under a conventional arrangement. Access Roads Edmonton will maintain the road for the next 30 years while receiving payments from the government for the construction and maintenance of the road. On-time delivery saved the province more than $100 million. Among its many recognitions, the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships awarded the Anthony Henday Drive Southeast ring road its Award of Merit for Project Financing in 2005. ●

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of the last 30 years

Suncor Energy Inc.’s Millennium Coker Unit South Fish Creek Recreation, Education and Library Complex Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel renovation Lethbridge City Hall CP head office relocation McDougall School heritage renovation Strachan Gas Plant - Liquid Sulphur Containment CNRL Horizon Oil Sands Project University of Calgary Information and Communication Technology Building Destination Africa at the Calgary Zoo Manulife Place Ronald MacDonald House (Calgary) Dragon City Mall Canmore Nordic Centre Edmonton and Calgary airport expansions, improvements Alberta Construction Magazine | 71

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Table of Contents Keeping it quiet ������������������������������������������ Decks and patios—all in a box ������������� Screening out pollens ������������������������������ Promising better manoeuvrability ����� Corner space-saver ������������������������������������

74 76 77 78 79

people, products

& projects



Ron Berg has been promoted to president and CEO at Winalta Inc., succeeding Artie Kos, who becomes chairman of the Calgarybased company. Kos in turn replaces Mel Benson, who continues to remain on the board of directors as lead director. Berg joined Winalta in October 2008. A 32-year veteran of the oil and gas industry, Berg was a senior VP at Precision Drilling Trust before joining Winalta in October 2008. “Ron’s first priority will be to streamline operations and explore both organic and acquisition growth opportunities in the energy service sector,” Kos says. While Winalta is known for its modular and custom site-built homes and developments, it also has an industrial division. That unit operates a portable accommodation rental business and a construction services operation, which provides earth moving and excavation-related services, gravel and crushed aggregate sales and delivery, asphalt paving, and concrete finishing.

Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corp. has awarded construction of a $3-million sanitary lift station in the TaigaNova Eco-Industrial Park in Fort McMurray, to Alpha Construction Inc. The lift station, designed specifically for the site by Associated Engineering, has been designed to use less aggregate, concrete, and rebar compared to a traditional lift station. Construction should be completed in September.

NEW DIGS FOR STEELS INDUSTRIAL Steels Industrial Products Ltd. has opened a new 100,000 sq. ft warehouse and distribution centre in Edmonton to better serve contractors, builders, and architects. The building is located at 12959 156 Street NW. The building was designed by Boucock Craig Wong Architects and includes a 2,000 sq. ft showroom.

STUART OLSON LANDS AIRPORT CONTRACT Stuart Olson Constructors Inc. parent Churchill Crop. says the Edmonton company has been chosen as the lead construction company of the Central Utilities Plant project as part of the Edmonton International Airport expansion. The project is part of a $1-billion construction plan that should be completed in 2012.

FOREVERLAWN OPENS IN EDMONTON Barry Kowalski has become the owner of ForeverLawn Edmonton. ForeverLawn Inc. provides synthetic grass solutions that require little maintenance and no water. Kowalski became interested in ForeverLawn because he saw a need for an alternative to natural grass due to the City of Edmonton’s ban on lawn fertilizers and weed killers for residential, commercial, and sports field use. The Edmonton area uses its football fields six to eight months out of the year for various sports and community events. Rain and snow have negatively impacted the fields. ForeverLawn products are comprised of recycled and sustainable components. In areas where real grass is difficult to grow or maintain—due to high traffic or poor conditions—ForeverLawn offers a naturallooking alternative that the company says is beautiful, functional, and durable.

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 | 73

people, products and projects PHOTOS: GREEN GLUE

Green Glue's Noiseproofing Clips (above) and joist tape (right).

KEEPING IT QUIET Mechanically separating two sides of a wall can improve sound transmission by allowing one side to vibrate independently from the other. Such is the principle behind a North Dakota company’s new product, the Green Glue Noiseproofing Clip. Unlike older technologies like resilient channel, the Green Glue Co. says its product’s design prevents malfunction—most commonly from screws hitting a stud and creating a short circuit—that can happen with older technology.

The company says the clips can be installed by screwing them into wall studs in new builds. Hat channel is then snapped into the clips and drywall is screwed into the channel, completing the installation. Green Glue has also begun marketing noiseproofing joist tape that can be

installed between floor joists and subflooring to cut down on squeaky floors. The joist tape comes in three standard width sizes—1 7/16", 2 1/4", and 3"—for common joist sizes in new construction projects. To learn more, check out

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74 | July/August 2009

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people, products and projects

A Calgary company has developed a new component decking system that quickly and easily allows a deck to be built with few tools and fasteners. The system uses specially shaped, lightweight components that click together, which reduces the amount of time, cost, and skills required to build a deck. The company, SigmaDek Ltd., will focus primarily on the manufacturing and distribution of decks and patios. The company hopes decks will be distributed through a bulk program,

This deck simply clicks together.

where a retailer would stock the various parts in store. SigmaDek expects the first patio-in-a-box to be produced by October 2010, and the first decks to be produced and sold by September 2011. Check out

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Volvo Rents. Alberta Owned. Globally Supported. When you work with Volvo Rents, you can expect: • The expertise of local owners • A full range of top-quality, name-brand rental equipment for homeowners and businesses • On-time delivery of your equipment • Emergency service that’s there for you whenever you need it It all adds up to one very special thing that no one else can offer: More care. In every rental. Independently owned & operated by Bonus Rentals, Inc.

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76 | July/August 2009

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people, products & projects

SCREENING OUT POLLENS A new screen product that its makers say will keep nearly all pollens out of buildings is now available online. Screens Inc. of Phoenix, Az., says that testing by the European Center for Allergy Research Foundation has verified that 100 per cent of grass pollens, 99.71 per cent of birch pollen, 93.1 per cent of Stinging Nettle-pollen, and 90.9 per cent of ragweed pollen were captured by its PollenTec screen. Information is available at

A closeup of the PollenTec screen.

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SASKATOON WINNIPEG Alberta Construction Magazine | 77 BSH ad 7.0625x4.625 V2.indd 1

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people, products and projects

PROMISING BETTER MANOEUVRABILITY Bergkamp Inc. says its new M216 trailer-mounted slurry seal and microsurfacing paver is its largest self-contained slurry seal and microsur­ facing paver. The M216 offers improved manoeuvrability when used with a shortwheelbase truck, and allows contractors to achieve higher truck utilization—since the truck can be used for other applications in the off-season. The M216 can carry 12.2 cu. m of aggregate, 5,678 L of asphalt emulsion, and 3,780 L of water. The water tank is located at the front of the trailer to provide better weight distribution and handling. It also has a 200 L stainless steal additive tank. The pugmill, conveyor, and all-liquid material tanks are removable. As well, all tanks are bolted in rather than welded, adding extra durability and easy maintenance. The asphalt emulsion and water tanks are separate components, eliminating rust-through and cross-contamination of products. For more information, see

Bergkamp's new M216.

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This certificate program explores the critical ideas and developments that affect your organization’s environmental performance. The ERM program examines several areas, including: air, water, and soil processes, environmental monitoring, biotechnology, instrumentation and experimental design.

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To register: 780.492.3109 or 780.492.3116 Toll Free 1.800.808.4784 78 | July/August 2009

people, products & projects PHOTO: BLANCO


The Metra corner sink.

Sink manufacturer Blanco has introduced a new corner kitchen sink model in Canada. The Metra corner model features a contemporary European style with two square bowls and an integrated drainer board for food preparation. Designed and manufactured in Germany by Blanco, it is made of Silgranit, a highly durable composite material composed of 80 per cent natural granite and premium acrylic. Silgranit is scratch-proof, exceptionally durable, and highly stain-, heat-, and chip-resistant, making it possible to cut vegetables right on the sink drainer surface. The new Metra adds to the more than 100 sink models available in Silgranit and will initially be available in the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most popular Silgranit colour, anthracite, as well as a new colour, silk grey. Check out

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aca report

ACA continues focus on three priorities by Ken Gibson ACA Executive Director

Alberta Construction Association (ACA) advocacy in 2009 is focused on helping the industry adjust to the levelling off of demand in the short term, while maintaining a focus on the long-term challenges that are likely to re-emerge with an improvement in the economy. To execute this plan, ACA continues to pursue three priorities: 1. Enhanced project planning through dialogue with stakeholders from across the industry. 2. Acting on a workforce strategy. 3. Promoting industry leadership for environmental sustainability. I n e a rly Apr i l, AC A he ld a Construction Summit with industry leaders drawn from the ACA Board, the Canadian Construction Association, Construction Sector Council, and senior executive drawn from Alberta Infrastructure, Alberta Transportation, A lber ta Adva nced Educat ion/ Apprenticeship, Alberta Employment and Immigration, Alberta Environment, and the Workers’ Compensation Board. The three-day summit began with an economic outlook, project outlook, and labour market outlook. Industry and government shared views on workforce supply issues and initiatives, trends and issues in

procurement, technology, and the legislative outlook. The dialogue identified a number of areas to explore, and ACA has engaged in a number of initiatives as follow-up.

for careful consideration of economies of scale, bundling, risk transference, and end-user requirements, in order to maximize cost efficiencies and value to the taxpayer.

ENHANCED PROJECT PLANNING In mid-May, ACA and its partners on the Institutional Infrastructure Partners Committee met to explore efforts to speed approvals of stimulus projects for the immediate term and for the longer term enhanced planning tools. ACA wrote Minister of Western Economic Diversification Rona Ambrose to urge continued efforts to ensure approvals of stimulus projects move forward as quickly as possible to counteract the effects of the recession. The committee is also a key forum for ACA to advance industry’s desire that owners adopt standard CCA and CCDC documents in place of their own contracts. ACA and Merit Contractors also presented to the ministers of infrastructure and transportation recommendations regarding the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) in mid-May. Associations conveyed that P3s should supplement, not replace, traditional levels of funding. Recommendations focused on the need

WORKFORCE STRATEGY The release in late May of the Construction Sector Council’s (CSC’s) latest 10-year labour market outlook has prompted considerable work by ACA and other industry stakeholders to adjust their workforce strategies for the short term. All stakeholders are concerned that the change in shortterm prospects might diminish industry and government efforts to continue to plan for the return to very tight labour markets. As the CSC notes: “Industry and government must sustain the traditional support systems for construction over the years to come. This support is essential to meet the challenges of volatile markets, increasing mobility, replacing skilled workers as they retire, and improving skills.” ACA is positioned to bring industry expertise to these challenges, playing a leading role in a number of initiatives, including: • Promoting solutions through the ACA industry workforce strategy outlining actions needed to increase the supply of skilled workers in the medium and

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Alberta Construction Magazine | 81

aca report PHOTOS: ACA

145 golfers hit the links The Alberta Construction Association hosted its 41st Annual Golf Tournament at the Alberta Springs Golf Course outside of Red Deer on May 28. For many of the 145 golfers, it was the first round of golf this season, made especially enjoyable by the warm sunny weather. ACA chair Kees Cusveller (left) recognizes low net winner Gerry Edgecombe (Keystone Excavating).

From left: ACA vice-chair Colin Ward, Kirby Maronda, Lethbridge Construction Association 2nd vice-president Darrell Bohle, and Lethbridge Construction Association director Tom Caruso.

ACA chair Kees Cusveller (left) recognizes low gross winner Trevor Uyesugi (Wesbridge Construction).

From left: Travis Paterson (Atlantic Industries), Darrell Ewaskiw (Bruce Steel Fabricators), ACA senior vice-chair Roger Dootson (PCL), and ACA chair Kees Cusveller (Graham).

long term. Key areas of focus include temporary and permanent immigration, encouraging inter-provincial mobility, providing additional financial incentives to complete apprenticeship, enhancing the skills of the existing workforce, and tapping into underutilized sources of our own sources of labour. • Leading stakeholder discussions of the construction contributors to Alberta’s Building and Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce strategy, the Construction Sector Council Labour Market Symposium, and the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum examining the impact of temporary foreign workers on apprenticeship. 82 | July/August 2009

• Chairing the Construction Careers Promotion Committee to update Trade Up! to engage youth more effectively. • Acting as a sponsor of WorldSkills 2009 in Calgary. • Continuing financial support for apprentice scholarships, with a total of 30 ACA/Thygesen annual scholarships. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY ACA has ensured that the industry has been heard with regard to the proposed provincial stewardship program for diverting construction and demolition waste from landfill. Regional focus groups of ACA contractors have led to significant

modifications to the draft stewardship proposal, which were to receive further discussion through public consultations in June. ACA continues to advocate industry’s position that industry leadership is critical to the success of such a stewardship program. ACA’s effectiveness in serving industry relies on the generous contributions of expertise from its volunteers, drawn from the membership. Partners such as Alberta Infrastructure, Alberta Environment, Alberta Employment and Immigration, Workers’ Compensation Board, and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association continue to praise the value of the input industry provides them through ACA. With your continued support, we will share continued success.

safety beat

WORkers not immune to job-related asthma by Joanna Byers Director of Communications, The Lung Association, Alberta

What do construction workers have in common with hairdressers or cleaners? They are all at risk of getting work-related asthma, the most common lung disease on the job. “It’s estimated that 25 per cent of working adults with asthma have symptoms that are work-related,” says Dr. Susan Tarlo, a medical professor at the University of Toronto and a respirologist who specializes in work-related asthma. “It’s believed that up to 10 to 15 per cent of new asthma cases in adults can be blamed on something in their patients’ workplace.” Many things can cause work-related asthma, including dust, mould, fumes, and chemicals. There are two kinds of work-related asthma: occupational asthma and work-exacerbated asthma. Some people develop asthma for the first time because of something at their workplace (for example: paint, detergent, or latex). They didn’t have asthma when they started the job, but something at work gave them asthma. This is known as occupational asthma. In some cases, occupational asthma develops slowly, over many months or years. In other cases (for example, if there’s a chemical spill), it can develop asthma quickly—in a few days.

Anyone can get work-related asthma, but some jobs put workers at higher risk.




Some people who already have been diagnosed with asthma find that their symptoms are made worse by something at work, such as exercise or extreme temperatures. This is known as work-exacerbated asthma (also known as work-aggravated asthma). People may notice work-exacerbated asthma their first day on the job. It doesn’t need time to develop. Anyone can get work-related asthma, but some jobs put workers at higher risk. There are hundreds of substances that have been proven to cause work-related asthma, such as cleaning products, wood dust, dyes, smoke, and diisocyanates, which are chemicals found in polyurethane products including flexible and rigid foams, molded parts, paints and varnishes, and building insulation materials. For more information on work-related asthma, visit or call 1-866-566-LUNG (5864).



84 | July/August 2009

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Vets completed HVAC work on several buildings for Husky’s Tucker Lake project.

An e the Vets

Vets job in train and Supe a ver The job h of th build expe


“ E

xperienced people make the difference when it comes to customer service, quality products and excellent installation work,” says Sean Rayner, President of Vets Sheet Metal Ltd. “It’s a team atmosphere here. We all rely on each other, whether it’s in the shop or in the field.” Since 1921, Vets has consistently earned repeat customers because the company’s expertise is trusted, whether it’s custom sheet metal work, or design, manufacturing and installation of HVAC systems. A big part of the Vets team is an experienced field crew of journeymen and apprentice sheet metal workers. “Our journeyman-to-apprentice ratio is among the highest in our industry,” notes Sean. “This means we have more journeyman experience in the field during an installation, plus our apprentices are fully supervised at all times.” The voice of experience also speaks loud and clear back at “the shop,” adds Sean. “The field guys often get the credit when an installation goes well, but the shop crew has to get things right and ‘to spec’ in the first place. Our production quality is second-to-none for HVAC fittings, rectangular ducts and other HVAC components.”

The Vets reputation for excellence is also built on doing custom sheet metal work of all kinds. “We’re known for taking on challenges that others won’t,” says Sean. “For example, we do custom steel manufacturing and assembly on the Vicci brand of mall directory kiosks.” Two members of the shop production staff have 30plus years of experience with Vets. Numerous other “long-time” staffers—in the field, in the shop, in sales and in other areas of the company—add to the company’s credibility and solid reputation. “Across the company, our people pay attention to detail,” notes Sean. “We’re able to work closely with each customer and successfully meet or exceed the requirements for the job, each and every time.” Dave Schroeder, an Estimator with Vets, is a member of the “30-plus” club. He suggests that recent clients appreciate the experience Vets can bring to the job. “For example, we did some recent work for EPCOR on a ventilation system at a water treatment plant. They were more than happy with the quality of the installation work, and they appreciated our experienced field crew.” Dave adds that the Vets client base includes many long-term clients. “We earn repeat

neW An example of industrial HVAC work by Vets; showing work in progress as part of the expansion of Syncrude’s Aurora Heavy Duty Maintenance Shop.

business and new business because of our diversity in fabrication and installation. Plus, our investment in our long-term employees pays off. When I go out to meet a customer, I have complete confidence in our shop work and installation teams. Our customers have the same confidence because they have gotten to know our crews over the years and know they are in good hands.”

IndustrIal and CommerCIal HVaC Work On the industrial side, Sean notes that Vets does a significant amount of work in process industries, the oil and gas sector, and for oilsands-related projects. “For example, we did extensive HVAC work on the Husky Tucker Lake project. It was a big job involving intricate work, heavy lifting of HVAC components and other challenges; the customer was well-satisfied with our performance.” Sean suggests that the Vets track record in the industrial sector gives the company even more know-how and savvy that can be applied to the commercial sector, including HVAC installations on commercial buildings or other construction projects.

Vets sout pres and Sean bend and Dave of an tack

ng ude’s


An example of Vets superior custom work: the customer provided the part, and Vets re-built it out of copper.

Vets recently completed a particularly complex job installing a fume extraction system for a training facility owned by Local 488—Plumbers and Pipefitters, reports Keith Erickson, a Field Superintendent with 18 years at Vets. “This was a very tricky job involving a lot of tight spaces. The fittings, duct work and all aspects of the job had to be perfect, partly because some of the work is viewable in public areas of the building. I believe we exceeded all of the client’s expectations and requirements.”

neW FaCIlIty, more CapaCIty Vets has recently moved to a larger facility in southeast Edmonton and added a new 250-ton press break. “We have improved our work flow and production capacity significantly,” states Sean. “Plus, the new press break gives us more bending capacity for heavier steel plate items and heavier custom products.” Dave suggests that Vets is up to the challenge of any industrial or commercial HVAC job. “We’ll tackle almost any job. If the customer isn’t

sure what to do, we can help them assess their HVAC systems or problem areas. Often we can realign, rebuild or rework a system to improve functionality. Where replacement is necessary, we’ll explain why and work with the customer towards the best solution.” For new installations, Dave suggests that Vets’ increased capacity will help them tackle a wider variety of projects, including larger ones. “We’re up for any challenge. We have done a lot of work in many sectors, including industrial process plants, power generation facilities, commercial buildings, pharmaceutical firms, food and beverage processing, and the petrochemicals industry.”

CommItted to saFety Vets has spent years developing a comprehensive safety program that puts people first and meets or exceeds all regulatory requirements, reports Sean. “We value our employees and their families. When our team is safe, they have the freedom to focus on the job and meeting customer requirements. We work hard to ensure our people work in a safe environment and share in taking responsibility for safety.” “All of our people are trained in safety before an installation job begins,” notes Dave, who has played a leadership role in building the company’s safety program. “Depending on the job and the individual, this may include areas such as fall protection training, confined space training and basic construction safety training. We emphasize safety supervision and looking out for each other at all times.”

the o ey

Exterior components of the assembled filtration system installed by Vets during construction of the Local 488 training facility.

Into tHe Future Given the Vets tradition of customer service is almost 90 years old, Sean suggests that keeping up with the times is critical. “What that means is keeping up with our customers. We have always done so, or we wouldn’t have been in business, or so successful, for so long. The challenge is to keep things moving forward, which is part of the reason why we have expanded our production capacity and added newer technology.” But it all comes back to a focus on people and customer service, says Sean. “We will continue to invest in and rely upon our people. After all, it’s our people who work with and for our customers each day. If we keep this kind of focus, we will be in a good position to celebrate our 100 th anniversary in 2021.” ●



did ake ork,

en lied


Inside ductwork for the filtration system installed by Vets during construction of the Local 488 training facility in Edmonton.

EstablishEd 1921

6111–56 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6B 3E2 Phone: (780) 434 - 7476 Fax: (780) 437 - 6130

cca report

ANNUAL CAREER EXPO DRAWS 2,000 STUDENTS by Amy Smith Communications Coordinator, Calgary Construction Association

Two thousand students, 50 exhibitors, and over 60 volunteers shared the 50,000 sq. ft space at the Calgary Roundup Centre for Calgary Construction Association’s (CCA’s) third-annual Construction Career Expo held April 29. The expo was open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., welcoming students from 35 high schools from Calgary and the surrounding area. The goal was to expose today’s youth to construction trades and let them witness the diversity the industry has to offer. Upon entry into the expo, students received an environmentally friendly tote bag and a black T-shirt both adorning the

message “Just Build It” and the Calgary Construction Association logo. School groups received complimentary bussing and reimbursement for substitute teachers, and all guests received a complimentary lunch on site. The exhibitors were made up of CCA member firms along with trade and affiliated associations that showcased handson interactive displays for students to get involved and try a trade. The expo is about participation and giving high school students the opportunity to experience firsthand what many trades people do on a daily basis.

Students had the opportunity to pick up a trowel and try bricklaying, exercise their minds and hands making electrical light hookups, write their name in metal at the welding station, learn the tricks of pipe bending, and witness multiple cement pours. The students also had an opportunity to get their hands on drills and other power tools, learn about geomatics and surveying, and take a ride up an aerial scissor lift. To encourage booth participation, answers to a construction quiz were dispersed throughout the expo that encouraged students to ask questions and learn

Students from 35 high schools around Calgary got a chance to try their hand at a variety of jobs at the CCA’s Construction Career Expo. Not only did they come away with a better grasp of what construction workers do, but they also received T-shirts with the “Just Build It” message.

88 | July/August 2009

cca report


about the industry. For example, they learned that one out of nine people in Canada is employed directly or indirectly within the construction industry. The students eagerly sought after the answers to the questions, because if they completed the quiz correctly, they had the opportunity to enter a draw to win one of four Nintendo Wiis that were generously provided by expo sponsors. Again this year, an expo highlight was the opportunity to assist in building one of two fully insulated and wired sheds that were completed the day of the expo. The Calgary General Contractors Association decided to donate the sheds to charity. They will be delivered to the Mustard Seed and Kamp Kiwanis.


Calgary leads the nation with the most Gold Seal applications. These are the most recent individuals to become Gold Seal certified professionals.

Twenty-four professionals received their Gold Seal certification at the Calgary Construction Association’s (CCA’s) annual general meeting on March 4. The national Gold Seal Certification Program promotes higher learning and recognizes skilled professionals in their trade. Recognized were: › Richard Allan, Project Manager, Fire Protection, Simplex Grinnell › Terry Bateman, Project Manager, General Contracting, Bird Construction › Tyler Bungay, Project Manager, Mechanical Contracting, Botting & Associates Alberta Ltd. › Cheyenne Coulton, Construction Safety Coordinator, Cana Construction › Mike Donnelly, Construction Safety Coordinator, Graham Construction › Patrick DuMont, Estimator, General Contracting, Cana Construction › Scott Ebner, Project Manager, Electrical Contracting, Iconic Power › Neil Elford, Project Manager, General Contracting, Ledcor › Sean Farnum, Project Manager, General Contracting, Farnum Construction Management & Consulting Ltd. › Bonny Hull, Construction Safety Coordinator, PCL › Shawn Jungwirth, Project Manger, Foundation Systems, North American Caisson Ltd. › Tyler Majcher, Project Manager, Mechanical Contracting, Botting & Associates › Nathen Nagie, Project Manager, General Contracting, Ledcor › Brad Neufeld, Construction Safety Coordinator, EllisDon › Darcy Pearson, Superintendent, Mechanical Contracting, Cord Projects › Steven Pletch, Superintendent, General Contracting, Stuart Olson › Amanda Randall, Construction Safety Coordinator, Caliber Systems › Diana Rude, Construction Safety Coordinator, T.I. Services › Brad Rusk, Superintendent, Masonry, Pockar Masonry › Al Schlunzen, Estimator, Masonry, Pockar Masonry › Gordon Tones, Project Manager, General Contracting, Dominion Construction › John Van Es, Construction Safety Coordinator, Ledcor › Dwayne Wilson, Project Manager, Mechanical Contracting, Trotter & Morton › David Wunsch, Project Manager, Mechanical Contracting, Lockerbie & Hole The CCA encourages you to apply in the Gold Seal designations of estimator, superintendent, project manager, and construction safety coordinator. The next Gold Seal exam will take place Oct. 9, so it’s best to apply now to ensure your application is reviewed in time. For more information about the program or to obtain an application, visit or contact the Calgary Construction Association at (403) 291-3350.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 89

cca report

Barry Young (left), 2008 Calgary Construction Association president, and former CCA Education Fund chair Ken Trueman and CCA Education Fund chair Les Laroque (far right) congratulate scholarship recipients Anthony Ferrise (Northcal Insulation Services Ltd.), Travis Vince (Troy Sprinkler Ltd.), Kelly Dickson (Graham Construction & Engineering), Evan Schjefte (Viking Fire Protection Inc.), and Darren Metcalfe (Gateway Mechanical Services). Missing was David Furgeson (Ferguson Glass Western Ltd.).

SCHOLARSHIPS BUILDING FUTURES IN CONSTRUCTION The CCA’s Education Fund was proud to present $1,000 scholarships to six individuals who are pursuing post-secondary training in a construction-related field. The CCA’s Education Fund was developed 10 years ago with a goal to raise $1 million, which will assist individuals pursuing a career in construction. Thanks to the annual fall “FUND”raising golf tournament and generous donations from CCA member firms. The CCA’s Education Fund Committee is well on its way after raising in excess of $500,000. The CCA now offers over 30 scholarships annually through the CCA Education Fund.

The CCA wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to all participants of the 2009 Construction Career Expo, as it was a funfilled and rewarding day. Thanks to all the exhibitors (trade and affiliated associations and member firms) that provided valuable and unique activities to entertain and enlighten the students. Thanks to expo sponsors for donations that will go towards rewarding enthusiastic youth who accurately completed their construction quiz and those who participated in the garden shed exercise prior to the expo by submitting a bill of materials needed to construct the garden sheds. The expo ran smooth with the help of 60 volunteers

90 | July/August 2009

Former Calgary Construction Association Youth Employment Program (YEP) coordinator Tracey Graham and YEP chair Dave Kinley (far right) flank the 2008 YEP scholarship recipients.

ONE OF A KIND YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM The CCA’s Youth Employment Program (YEP) gives youth ages 16 to 24 the opportunity to gain work experience with a CCA member company with the goal to obtain full-time employment and commence building a career in construction. “YEP is a unique program,” says YEP chair Dave Kinley of Concept Electric, as the CCA is the only construction association across the country to facilitate work experience placements for the construction industry. Kinley was pleased to present eight young gentlemen with a $500 scholarship for successfully completing their work experience in 2008: Ahmad Al-Hammuri (Trimen Electric Ltd.), Jarod Henry (DCM Mechanical Ltd.), Eric Heyland (Great Northern Plumbing Ltd.), Nathan Klooster (Botting & Associates Alberta Ltd.), Owen Morris (Concept Electric Ltd.), Chad Pettit (Botting & Associates Alberta Ltd.), Taylor Soles (Moli Industries Ltd.), and Dominic Zak (Austerman Mechanical Ltd.).

who donated their time and energy to make it a great success. Thanks also to the vivacious expo planning committee, and our chairman Grant Symon of ITC Construction Group, who you may have seen on Shaw TV highlighting the activities of the expo. Ed Pawliw, a construction teacher from Bishop O’Byrne High School, wrote to the CCA after the event: “I would like to pass on a big thank you to the Calgary Construction Association for putting on the Career Expo again this year. The career exploration component of our curriculum is enhanced by the great people and companies that devote their time to this event. Many of the students

have come back with an appreciation and a greater awareness of various career possibilities in the building trades.” Ken Watson from Centennial High School and Lana Allen from Bow Valley High School also shared their sentiments with the CCA, noting what a great time their students had at the expo and how excited they were after visiting the show. CCA encourages all association members to promote the 2009 WorldSkills competition that will take place Sept. 1 to 7 at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede grounds. Over 80,000 sq. m of park space will be used in this unique world-class trades competition. Don’t miss it.



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cric report

A boost for collAbOrative construction research by Andrea Hasenbank As part of its ongoing commitment to building networks within the greater construction research community, the Hole School of Construction Engineering (HSCE) was pleased to host a distinguished visitor, Dr. Ric Jackson of Fiatech, in May. Jackson was a participant in the CIB Task Group 58: Clients and Construction Innovation meeting and workshop at the University of Alberta, and he extended his visit to include a tour of HSCE facilities and projects. Jackson is the director of Fiatech, an industry consortium of leading capital project industry owners, engineering construction contractors, and technology suppliers based at the University of Texas at Austin. Fiatech is active globally in identifying and accelerating the development of technologies to improve the design, construction, and maintenance of capital projects. Jackson oversees the consortium’s technical strategy, research program, and development initiatives. The University of Alberta is a member of the Fiatech consortium, as are major institutes such as the National Research Council of Canada (Institute for Research in Construction), software developers, and industry giants such as DuPont, Intel, Chevron, Procter & Gamble, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In his workshop presentation, Jackson discussed the potential opportunities offered by mass collaboration and information-sharing

techniques like Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter for the building and construction industry. He has identified four key principles from these forms of media that can be transferred to other industries: openness, peering, sharing, and global action. By applying these principles, researchers can leverage their knowledge to identify critical industry standards and accelerate their development. Fiatech has been active in working with ISO 15926, the leading interoperability standard for the process and power industry. This standard for industrial systems and integration of life cycle data for process plants, including oil and gas production facilities, regulates data integration, sharing, transfer, and exchange between computer systems. Through this project, Fiatech plans to use the collaborative social principles of “Wikinomics” to further develop and connect ISO 15926 to other emerging standards in building information modelling to improve the operation and maintenance of large facilities. At the HSCE, Dr. Simaan AbouRizk’s research team has been implementing aspects of Fiatech’s vision for collaborative research through its Capital Projects Technology Roadmap. This plan for a fully automated and integrated process of project management extends across all phases of a facility’s life cycle, uniting construction processes, equipment, and systems of planning and

control into a single, sustainable environment. The HSCE’s method of simulation modelling for construction employs elements of scenario-based project planning and automation as researchers migrate simulation developments to the new Construction Synthetic Environment platform. The HSCE has developed close partnerships with capital project planners, including the City of Edmonton, by linking local development with an integrated vision such as Fiatech’s, and remains committed to embodying these collaborative principles. The next stage of progress in the construction industry will depend on collaboration and knowledge sharing. Construction projects continue to expand in scope and in their impact on communities, the environment, and an interlinked economy. A healthy industry encompasses researchers, public bodies, government, and practitioners and is based on partnership to enhance the industry’s collective security and sustainability. The temporary downturn in the economic situation thus offers an opportunity to re-orient the core values and relationships within construction; with a focus on collaboration and innovation, we can look to a stronger future. As the market recovers, this solid foundation will ensure a smooth transition, with improved processes, systems, and skills at the ready. As researchers, practitioners, and representatives of the construction industry, developing and strengthening personal networks of exchange may provide the momentum to propel this change. For more information about visiting the Hole School of Construction Engineering or about industrial research projects, visit irc. or contact Brenda Penner at the University of Alberta at brenda. or by calling (780) 492-5120.

Alberta Construction Magazine | 93

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the legal edge

taking it off by Tim Mavko Reynolds, Mirth, Richards, & Farmer LLP

Builders’ liens tend to attract attention. When someone files a builders’ lien against a construction project, the owner of the land gets a notice telling him that his real estate is now encumbered. If the owner is smart (and if he follows the law), he stops all payments on the contract that gave rise to the lien. Moreover, if he is mortgaging the land, his bank will refuse to advance any money in the face of the lien. And if he is trying to sell the property, the purchaser likely won’t close the deal until the lien is removed. This explains why some owners move quickly to remove liens. Liens freeze their funding and strangle their sales. And if a subcontractor or sub-subcontractor files a lien, a contractor (who now isn’t getting paid by the owner) can be equally eager to clear away the lien sooner rather than later. But how to take it off? Paying the claim is an option, but not usually a viable one. A lien most often arises because there is a dispute over payment, and it would be unfair to force an owner to abandon a bona fide defence before a court sorts out the claim. On the other hand, waiting the months or years it takes the legal proceedings to wind their way through the system does not solve the immediate problem of getting the title clear. To solve this, Alberta’s laws have a couple of ways to have liens taken off quickly, before the underlying claims are adjudicated. The first way is to use the holdback. The Builders’ Lien Act requires an owner

to hold back 10 per cent from each payment, and then continues to hold that money for 45 days after the contract is completed (which, coincidentally, is when the time for filing builders’ liens expires). If liens are filed during that period, the owner can pay the holdback, plus any other money due and owing on the contract, into court. This is called the “lien fund.” The idea is to hand over to the court the money left owing on the project. The court discharges the liens, holds the money, and the owner steps out of the picture. The various lien claimants then carry on, proving their claims in court (or settling among themselves), and eventually sharing in the lien fund as they are due. This works fine, so long as everyone agrees on the amount of the lien fund. But that’s not the case if the very dispute that gives rise to the lien is over the amount the owner owes to the contractor. Nor does it work if liens are filed early in the project, or if there are unresolved changes or extras unrelated to the lien. If there is any uncertainty, the court won’t be able to decide the size of the lien fund, and this option won’t work. So the second way to remove a lien quickly is to replace the land with something of equal value—namely, money. To do this, the owner (or contractor, if a subcontractor files the lien) pays into court the amount claimed in the lien, plus a little more to cover potential legal costs. This has nothing to do with the amount owing under the contract; rather, it is determined by the amount of the lien itself.

… Alberta’s laws have a couple of ways to have liens taken off quickly, before the underlying claims are adjudicated. This money then sits in court as security for the claim in place of the land. The lien claimant still has to prove his claim, and the owner can still dispute it. All that has changed is that the lien now attaches to the money being held by the court, rather than the land itself. But when liens are large, or numerous, or both, the owner might have to tie up hefty sums for extended periods. That could be difficult or impossible. In that case, courts sometimes accept bonds or other forms of security instead of cash. Neither method for removing liens quickly—paying the lien fund or posting security—is perfect. But both try to strike a balance between protecting a lien holder, and giving an owner room to breath. Alberta Construction Magazine | 95

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