Construction Business | April/May 2018

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April/May 2018 Vol. 15 No.3

PM 40063056

3 Civic Plaza

Goran Ostojic, Integral Group | Sustainability Technology | Road Building

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Inside 06 Connections Many of the sustainability goals of Vancouver’s landmark projects are made possible by the expertise of Integral Group.

April/May 2018 | Volume 15 No 3


MANAGING Editor Contributing writers

12 Feature Project Surrey is undergoing a major transformation and 3 Civic Plaza is the latest project contributing to the city’s urban vision. B.C./ALBERTA SALES

Industry Focus

Dan Gnocato Cheryl Mah Liezl Behm Connor Bildfell Rebecca Cleary Cillian Collins Samantha Cunliffe Kevin Kretschmer Susan McCutcheon Fergus McDonnell Steve Rombough Kip Skabar Kamilia Vaneck Gary Vlieg Dan Gnocato Tel: 604.549.4521 ext. 223


16 Technology Transforming Productivity The Transition to Desktop Surveying BIM Creates Better Designs

20 Sustainability Cost-effective Passive House Design Closing the Performance Gap Passive House: a Path to Net Zero

23 Road Building Sustainable Routes The Role of a Traffic Study Unique Bridge Launch

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Departments 04 Message from the Editor 27 The Legal File Construction Trust Claims During Insolvencies Bill 142: What B.C. Contractors Need to Know The Expert Witness

30 Industry News


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3 Civic Plaza is Surrey’s tallest building. Construction Business is British Columbia and Alberta’s construction magazine. Each issue provides timely and pertinent information to contractors, architects, developers, consulting engineers, and municipal governments throughout both provinces. Complimentary copies are sent bi-monthly to all members of the Architectural Institute of B.C., B.C. Construction Association, B.C. Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, Consulting Engineers of B.C., Construction Specifications Canada — B.C. Chapter, Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, B.C. Ready-Mixed Concrete Association, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., Urban Development Institute of B.C. and Vancouver Regional Construction Association.

November 7 & 8, 2018

Editor’s Note

Deep Green


he success of LEED and the continuing demand from both the public and private sectors for sustainable design has turned green buildings into a mainstream idea over the past two decades. I remember writing about LEED when it first became a topic of conversation in B.C. and looking back, the industry has certainly achieved many of the early goals. Today, the pursuit of better, greener, high performance buildings continues to evolve. A host of different rating systems are now available, encouraging environmental design across all building sectors. And the conversation has matured with a new focus on occupant health, Passive House and net-zero energy.

Our feature profile, Goran Ostojic, has a clear understanding of how a high performance green building operates. As the vice president and regional director for Canada West at Integral Group, he leads a diverse and innovative team in Vancouver that has delivered some of the most cutting edge solutions for green projects in city. The company’s goal is to challenge traditional thinking and ensure every project makes a difference to users and ultimately, the planet. Integral Group is involved in the majority of large projects in Metro Vancouver, including 3 Civic Plaza. The mixed-use development is the largest building in Surrey and contains many unconventional design strategies. The project will help drive the transformation of the city into a modern, vibrant community.

Our focus on green buildings continues inside with three articles highlighting the aggressive energy targets set by B.C. and the City of Vancouver, affordable Passive House design, and using Passive House to achieve net-zero. The pursuit of a deeper green future is a worthy one, and the construction industry has a significant role to play in the transition.

Cheryl Mah Managing Editor



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Special Advertising Feature

Ladder safety on the jobsite Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries to construction workers in B.C. Yet, when it comes to being careful and staying safe on the jobsite, working with ladders — especially stepladders — isn’t always seen to be hazardous. After all, it’s a tool that — some assume — almost anyone can use. But using a ladder at work comes with risks just like any other piece of equipment. Falls from ladders can cause serious injuries such as fractures or concussions, even fatalities, and no one should underestimate the importance of ladder safety. From 2012 to 2016, six workers died and there were 4,920 accepted time-loss claims ( including 1,634 serious injuries) as a result of falls from ladders across all industries in B.C. That’s almost one fall, every day, for three years. These falls account for 20 per cent of injuries and 24 per cent of fall-related claim costs in construction, with falls from ladders reflecting the highest proportion of construction-related falls. Sharing information about specific high risk issues such as ladder safety is important for staying safe at work. But the best way to reduce the risk of injury from falling is to plan ahead before using a stepladder. Keeping this in mind and following some simple steps can help everyone on the worksite stay safe and injury-free: Assess the hazards If you do need to use a ladder, ensure that it’s in good condition and is set up on a firm, level surface and at the correct height and length to allow you to work safely. Check the label with the load and duty rating on it and make sure the ladder is the right grade for the industry and the task, typically CSA Grade 1 or better.

Supporting safety awareness Following safe work procedures and using the correct tool for the job are crucial for staying safe on site, but a proactive, positive attitude about safety at work can be just as valuable. Everyone — from top executives, managers, and workers — can work together to make safety a priority at work. Here are a few ways to support safety awareness on your jobsite: •C reate a health and safety program that’s accessible to everyone on site. •D evelop initiatives for improving health and safety at work. • Attend and participate in safety meetings. • Address any safety concerns with a manager or supervisor. Attending safety meetings, following safe work procedures, and seeking alternative tools for the job may seem time consuming at first, but taking a few extra steps can help you avoid serious, sometimes life-altering injuries. For more information on ladder safety, see the Construction Safety Series and our ladder safety videos on

Consider safer alternatives Sometimes, a stepladder isn’t the best piece of equipment for the job. While a ladder may seem like the quick, easy option, consider whether there are safer alternatives available. Would platform ladders, stationary or rolling scaffolding, boom or scissor lifts, or other work platforms suit the task better? Follow safe work procedures Whether you use a stepladder or an alternative, follow safe work procedures every time. Setting up any equipment incorrectly puts you and other workers at risk of serious injury. Using a stepladder correctly If you decide to use a stepladder, make sure you’re using it correctly: • Always follow the ladder manufacturer’s instructions. • Always maintain three points of contact when climbing the ladder — two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand at all times. • Keep both feet on the same step and support your body (knees or chest) with the ladder to maintain three points of contact when you’re doing short duration, light-duty work from the ladder. Make sure a safe handhold is close by and available. • Never stand or sit on the top two rungs of any ladder.

Plan ahead before using a ladder. Falls are a leading cause of injury on B.C. construction sites.

Learn how to use ladders and scaffolding safely at



Boundaries By Cheryl Mah

ntegral Group’s projects speak for themselves. With a diverse portfolio that includes an impressive list of highly energy efficient and sustainable projects, the engineering consulting firm has played a major role in many of Vancouver’s landmark buildings. The firm is not afraid to challenge conventional thinking and to break new ground, according to Goran Ostojic, vice president and regional director for Canada West. »

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VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre

“Our focus is on green buildings and being on the leading edge and how we can do things better and different to make the world a better place,” he says. “On every project we always look at how we can push the boundary.” Three projects that illustrate Integral’s innovative thinking and pioneering use of green building systems include Millennium Water (more commonly known as the Olympic Village), VanDusen Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre and Telus Garden. All three projects mark milestones in the evolution of green design in the city and changing how the construction industry works, says Ostojic. The Olympic Village in Southeast False Creek is a world-class LEED Platinum Neighbourhood community that introduced innovative energy efficient systems like solar heating, radiant heating and cooling through capillary mats and sewer heat recovery. Then there’s the VanDusen Visitor Centre, recognized as the first Living Building in Canada and one of the most sustainable buildings in the world. Completed in 2011, the project demonstrates “sustainability on the next level and what can be accomplished,” says Ostojic. And more recently the groundbreaking Telus Garden, a one million square-foot mixed-use redevelopment in downtown Vancouver, that achieved ambitious energy conservation targets 8

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through the building envelope, mechanical and electrical systems. The first office tower to receive LEED Platinum in Vancouver features an innovative district energy system, heat recovery from the data centre (in the existing Telus facility), and a photovoltaic array. “Telus Garden was the first office building in 10 years to be built in Vancouver. It was a change from the typical approach of build it fast and build it cheap. It was a big development with smart design and technologies,” says Ostojic, adding the project is a model for looking beyond just one building to the integration of a whole city block and energy sharing within buildings. Other office tower buildings following Telus Garden have also focused on a high level of performance such as MNP Tower, 745 Thurlow and The Exchange. The 36-storey downtown office tower at 1133 Melville Street will be carbon neutral, the new standard for green building performance. “We can’t build like 20 years ago. Things are changing — codes, expectations of users. Sustainable green buildings that focus on occupant health and wellness are the future,” says Ostojic. The sustainability movement has come a long way in the last two decades and as the conversation shifts towards a net zero future, Integral is committed to leading the way. Having a client base that understands the changing world and are willing to be on the leading edge has given

the firm opportunities to achieve and exceed sustainability goals, says Ostojic. “We have clients that challenge us — that believes in us and trust us to deliver their vision to make a difference for them and the users of the space,” he says. Another key to any successful business is people — having the right talented and passionate people to deliver the services on projects. A big part of


in 2016, overseeing teams in the Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary offices. “When I joined, there were 20 people in Vancouver. Today we are 500 in 15 offices throughout the world,” he says, noting Vancouver is Integral’s largest office with 160 people. With offices in North America, United Kingdom, and Australia, Integral Group is recognized as a leader in deep green sustainable design and setting the standard for best practices in the engineering industry. Integral provides a full range of building system design and energy analysis services to the ICI sector with dedicated teams in diverse areas such as mechanical, electrical, lighting, commissioning, energy modelling and more. Integral’s expertise is also sought after in developing studies, green policies and building codes nationally and locally. The firm worked with the B.C. government to implement the new B.C. Energy Step Code and had a hand in the City of Vancouver’s zero emissions building policy.

A central oculus acts as a solar chimney in the VanDusen Visitor Centre.

Integral provides a full range of building system design and energy analysis services...

Ostojic’s role is mentorship, both inside and outside the office, to ensure the talent pool is there. “Mentorship is very important for us. We want the best people and provide education and opportunities for young talent to create a future for them,” he says. “Consulting job is very demanding. No boring days. Something interesting happening every day.” His own interest in buildings started at an early age which led him to attend the University of Belgrade where he graduated with a Master of Science in 1991. He worked three years for a local HVAC design/build contractor, delivering projects located in different parts of the world including Russia, Africa and Europe. In 1994, he moved to Canada. 10

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“I started as a junior designer because my degree was not recognized here,” recalls Ostojic, who eventually joined VEL Engineering before it became Cobalt Engineering and ultimately Integral Group in 2013. With more than 25 years of experience, Ostojic has been responsible for his fair share of innovative projects in energy efficient design. He was project engineer for Discovery Green, an early project that raised the bar for sustainable commercial buildings and introduced new systems to North America including the use of VRF (variable refrigerant flow) on a large scale. Ostojic moved up the ranks steadily before being named regional director for Canada West

“The targets in the Step Code are really to keep pushing sustainability performance of buildings. The new code is picking up on issues with the building envelope mostly. I think the changes are a very sensible way to train the industry to do better buildings,” he says. The firm also worked with CaGBC and other industry stakeholders to develop the Zero Carbon Building Standard, launched in 2017, which focuses on carbon emissions reduction and defines new levels of building performance. To achieve these new aggressive targets, Passive House has been identified as a good methodology and adoption of the standard has been growing steadily across all sizes and types of buildings. Ostojic says while the principles of the standard are great, “implementation to the required level of insulation needs proper understanding of the local climate.” “Is a net zero carbon future possible? Yes it is,” he says when asked. “How do we do it and what is the premium is an interesting conversation. It has to be financially feasible or it’s not happening.” With Ostojic estimating that the firm is involved in 80 per cent of all the major projects in town, Integral is definitely a key player in the push for more cost-effective and efficient ways to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. And the firm is continuing its pioneering ways with a number of current and “amazing projects changing what’s possible.” The massive


Oakridge Centre redevelopment is set to break ground this summer. It is Vancouver’s largest development at five million square feet and 14 towers. There is also Vancouver House, Vancouver Centre II and the Canada Post building redevelopment. “Another big one is for YVR — a new geoexchange plant that will serve the whole airport,” says Ostojic, adding while their focus is on the local market they have done projects in places like the Middle East and Philippines. They are also able to draw on Integral’s family of offices to share ideas, expertise and knowledge. Over the years, the firm has introduced the use of various innovative technologies into the market, but Ostojic says the important thing to keep in mind is that technology is constantly changing so flexible and adaptable mechanical systems are fundamental to building designs. “Buildings are designed and built to last 100 years now so they have huge value and impact,” he says. “We have to focus on doing the fundamentals right: good envelope, massing and form and systems that are flexible and adaptable to change.” As for the future, the firm is focusing on growth and not necessarily in size but in the quality of projects and clients. “We want to do the best projects in the world,” he says. “We’re always trying to make sure each project is better, greener, more energy efficient and making the difference not just for the client but the planet.”

Millennium Water

Ostojic also keeps busy in the industry, often as a speaker at conferences discussing building systems, innovation and industry trends. He devotes time to APEGBC, urban design panels and community involvement.

“Vancouver is a great market, it’s very international, it’s open minded so I think there is good opportunity to do even better buildings and creating a better future for everyone. We’re really excited about what’s possible,” says Ostojic.

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April/May 2018

construction business


Feature Project

A Towering Achievement By Cheryl Mah

urrey is taking a huge step forward with 3 Civic Plaza, a dynamic mixed-use development that stands out for more than just being the city’s tallest building. Rising 52-storeys, 3 Civic Plaza is comprised of 353 residential units (starting at level 15) adjacent and connected to a 144 room signature hotel, set above a podium of 50,000 square feet of office space, two levels of recreational amenities and meeting rooms with retail and restaurants at grade. There are also five levels of underground parking.

The project brings the desired mix of uses that will animate the city’s downtown core, already surrounded by two important institutional buildings: city hall and the public library. Over the next decade, City Centre will become an established downtown core where people live, work and play. ZGF Architects was challenged to deliver a design that would respond to Surrey’s bold urban vision for its burgeoning new city centre. “3 Civic Plaza required taking risks to deliver a very aggressive, complicated and large building,” says Patrick Cotter, managing partner at ZGF Architects. “The design is absolutely unique to the site. It wouldn’t make sense anywhere else. It truly reflects its context and the role that it had to play on the site.” The architecturally striking tower is a development by Century Group in partnership with the Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC). ITC Construction broke ground in May 2014 and completion is scheduled for summer 2018 with phased occupancies. The hotel opened in early April and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, occupying all five office floors, will open its new urban campus to students in September. “As the tallest building south of the Fraser, it is a landmark that visually establishes Surrey City Centre, Metro Vancouver’s second downtown,” says Michael Heeney, president and CEO of the SCDC. “Despite its height, 3 Civic Plaza’s modulated and stepped massing sensitively meets the ground and complements the adjacent public plaza and lower civic buildings.” Located on the eastern edge of the civic centre, one of the key design considerations was to be mindful of bringing such a large scale building next to two prominent public buildings. »


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Feature Project

April/May 2018

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Feature Project

“We wanted to be sensitive and pay respect to the hierarchy of those three buildings around the plaza,” says Cotter, explaining the podium is intentionally lower in height than city hall and the library so as not to overpower them. “This building yielded in terms of height at the podium level.” The podium also engages directly with the plaza, featuring a transparent glass lobby as the entrance for all the different users of the building. “We made a concerted effort to bring all the amenities down to grade to allow social interaction between all the different users through a very grand central lobby,” says Cotter. “We wanted a space that opens up onto the plaza that would be inviting for the public to come in.” Structurally addressing the different uses of the building cost-effectively was a main design challenge, requiring a non-traditional solution. 14

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“When designing the building’s structure, we knew we couldn’t use a rigid core design typical of other concrete residential towers. We had to keep our costs comparable to simpler and traditional market residential towers,” says Cotter. “We had to accommodate for different occupancies in an efficient way where no space’s needs were compromised by the other.” The structural concept for the tower is a significant departure from the traditional concrete core approach employed on most highrise towers, according to Paul Fast, founder and principal of structural engineers Fast & Epp. Instead of having a concrete elevator stair core in the middle of the building for seismic and wind resistance, a concrete shear wall frame was chosen to support the building externally. “The final result is a structure that was according to the contractor approximately 3-5 per cent less expensive, provided the architect with great-

er planning flexibility and gives the building a unique architectural expression and identity,” says Fast, noting that partially buttressing the taller mixed used tower with the shorter hotel tower also resulted in some structural efficiency. The frame ultimately became a signature part of 3 Civic Plaza, with guitar pick shaped window openings that make for a distinctive design. “It’s a very creative solution. It’s a very unusual structural approach. And in doing so, we removed many of the structural complexities that otherwise would have driven the costs up,” notes Cotter. Another major challenge was the narrow site adjacent to the SkyTrain guideway, with the building’s eastern elevation only 18 inches away. Matcon had to complete the challenging excavation (55,000 cubic metres of excavation) and shoring work without hitting the city’s geothermal structures or the foundations of the guideway.

Feature Project “We had to provide a full canopy over the guideway along the length of the building to protect the tracks,” says Cotter, adding that the retail even extends below the guideway on level one. The tower design also focuses on sustainability and human comfort strategies, featuring passive natural ventilation, hydronic heating and cooling, operable windows and heat recovery (up to 65 per cent of the heat energy delivered to the building will be recovered to be used elsewhere). The building is also connected to Surrey’s District Energy Utility. “The building features are quite unique compared to most market residential buildings,” says Cotter. “We made a commitment to base the design on energy use and efficiency but most importantly, human comfort.” For example, with a tall building, stack effect is a challenge. The traditional approach to combating stack effect is blowing air downward through the building by using fans or creating undercuts in doors to draw in air from the hallway. “We took an opposite approach,” he states. “The unique feature we introduced is vertical shafts through the building that let the air exhaust. Because hot air rises naturally upward, we don’t need as much mechanical equipment… saving money and energy.” A hydronic heating and cooling system will help cut down on long-term energy costs, in-

crease energy efficiency and make the living environment more comfortable. The building also takes advantage of offsetting demand cycles from the different uses. “We tried to use natural passive measures more than mechanical systems wherever possible,” says Cotter. “All the spaces receive constant fresh air supply. There is no re-circulated air. Operable windows, controllable roller blinds and passive natural ventilation act as solutions to the western heat exposure.”

In the end, the city will receive a landmark building that is “truly ahead of its time” and that will remain relevant as the area continues to transform into a more modern, vibrant and complete community. “This building has an important role to play in establishing the new civic centre of Surrey and I think it has done that,” says Cotter. “It took commitment of everybody on the project team to see it through to the end, overcoming some considerable cost and constructability challenges.”

April/May 2018

construction business



Transforming Productivity By Susan McCutcheon

collaboration by providing increased visibility and streamlines communications. Mobile devices (phones and tablets) are the main form of communication in the field, and technology specifically built for mobile makes it easy to connect labour in the field with each other, and with the office, in real-time. The most upto-date plans are available and the people you need to connect with, whether that’s a project engineer in the trailer or an electrical sub, are only a button-push away. By reducing communication gaps, more can be done with the workforce you have.


or those in Canada’s construction industry, the nationwide labour shortage is concerning. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), almost 362,000 jobs across the country will go unfilled. The situation is even more severe in certain provinces like British Columbia where 90 per cent of construction companies struggle to find field labour. Just a year ago, only 60 per cent of companies were challenged with filling their skilled positions. This dramatic increase is but one way to demonstrate there’s no quick fix in sight. There are several key reasons for Canada’s labour shortage. For one, the country’s workforce is currently aging rapidly with Baby Boomers eagerly retiring. Fewer younger generations, such as Millennials, are no longer choosing trades for their careers. Further, there are not as many foreign workers as previously available to help fill the gaps. All in all, a combination of these factors has diminished the field labour pool. What’s not slowing down, however, is new construction. Despite the labour shortage, construction in Canada continues to boom. Heavy engineering construction alone is experiencing some of the highest surges in recent years. How do construction companies continue to meet the growing demand of infrastructure development without sufficient workers to complete jobs? While construction recruitment should be a priority, it tends to be a long term strategy that might not necessarily provide companies the immediate help they need today.

Bridging the Labour Gap with FieldFocused Construction Software An improvement in productivity — building more with less — is the only way that companies will be able to fill the gaps of the field labour shortage in the short term. For the last several decades, 16

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construction productivity has remained stagnant. This is primarily due to a lag in digitization. While the construction industry failed to adopt new tech and processes, sectors such as manufacturing embraced automation and software, and in turn experienced a doubling of productivity. If its productivity were to catch up with the progress made by other sectors, the construction industry’s value would increase by $1.6 trillion a year — equivalent to the GDP of Canada. Software should be considered another tool of the jobsite, but one that allows foremen and superintendents in the field to get more done with less. Construction software can help companies run a more productive project in several key ways: 1. Get Off the Paper Trail If your company continues to work off of paper blueprints and documents, you’re wasting serious time and money, and increasing your risk. Communicating changes with your team when you’re working from paper is ineffective: every change and every person responsible for implementing the change has to wait for blueprints to be updated, paper to be printed and new sets delivered. Re-work is almost certain to occur, increasing costs and yes, labour needs. When contractors ditch paper for digital documentation — particularly when this digital documentation is easy for the field to use — they are eliminating the risk of workers building from outdated blueprints. A digital system allows for one up-to-date record set and gives no room for the miscommunication that happens when different copies of documentation are available on jobsites. As a result, lean teams can complete construction faster. 2. Improve Communication and Collaboration Construction productivity software improves

3. Enhance Recruitment and Retention with a Tech-Friendly Culture It often feels like construction workers can be divided into two major groups; those who embrace technology and those who run from it. Industry veterans typically tend to shy away from new tech solutions. On the other hand, Millennials are eager to jump on the tech bandwagon, and unfortunately are finding construction firms failing to deliver. If you want recruit an up-and-coming workforce, now is the time to reach out to them and demonstrate they can continue to use latest tech as they learn the construction business. While the departure of Baby Boomers leaves a big gap, many of these older craftsmen didn’t trust the innovative (and powerful) technology being introduced to the field. Incorporating field software can make your company more appealing to younger workers and in turn, empowers your Millennial labour to perform as efficiently as possible on your site. But it’s not all one sided: Millennials are likely to help older employees ease into new tech — and established workers can share their wealth of industry knowledge and experience in return. Overall, adopting new technology in the workforce is a win-win for employees and firms alike.

Empower Leaner Teams with Software The benefits of construction software are endless. From increasing communication and collaboration, eliminating an inefficient paper trail and even adding to new worker recruitment, Canadian companies can face the skilled labour shortage head-on with the right technology. At the end of the day, it will allow teams to build more with the time and resources they have — working smarter, not harder. Susan McCutcheon is the Canada country manager at PlanGrid, a leader in construction productivity software.


The Transition to Desktop Surveying Steve Rombough


echnological disruptors are having significant impacts on the construction industry and survey firms will have to transform in order to keep pace. The latest reality capture techniques shift the bulk of the survey effort from the field to the office and this new workflow is altering the make-up of these firms. In addition, survey deliverables must become digital and far more detailed to complement the emerging methodologies of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design & Construction (VDC). As we transition to 3D model deliverables, it is quite conceivable that traditional survey layout will no longer be required as machine control and mixed reality become commonplace throughout the construction process. The art of surveying may never be completely lost but technological developments are changing the way surveys are conducted, processed and delivered, particularly in the construction industry. Conducting an existing condition survey is one of the initial steps to any AEC project with the field effort being typically guided by a scope of work developed by the design team. This effort in the field traditionally represents the bulk of the cost for these types of surveys as deliverable production is straight-forward if the data is collected in the proper manner. If the scope changes due to design considerations, which is often the case, the field crew re-mobilizes to site to acquire the additional data and the deliverable is revised to include this added information. This is the standard workflow which will sound familiar to most survey firms, but the latest reality capture techniques are turning this workflow on its head. Reality capture can be achieved using a range of tools and there is new capture equipment being developed all the time. The many forms of LiDAR and the range of photogrammetric tools are changing the discipline of field surveying. Surveying is now conducted by a single techni-

cian from the comfort of an ergonomic chair in a climate controlled environment and they are surveying from the point cloud. This generally results in a higher quality survey as the office technician is better able to make decisions without all the pressures that come in the heat of a field survey. Decisions can be considered and, if need be, changed, without having any serious impact on budget or schedule since the point cloud can be returned to at any time should revisions need to be made or if scope changes arise. This impacts the entire office schedule as unforeseen re-mobilization affects all projects on the schedule and not just the project at hand. Another advantage to surveying from the point cloud is the ability to attribute point data and features in a cost-effective manner. Compiling meta-data through attribution is critical to the evolving survey deliverable as projects demand data accessibility via GIS and/or BIM. Data needs to be digital and this is cumbersome to the outdated survey workflow of field crews booking metadata on field notes so that information can be shown as text on the face of the site plan. Moreover, field sketches and photos to further explain the data being collected becomes unnecessary with a comprehensive point cloud that captures the site in such greater detail than the field crew could ever convey. The ability to convert a point cloud into data rich elements that can be relied upon throughout the project lifespan will be a requirement to the new generation of AEC projects. This new generation of projects will demand that survey deliverables take the form of 3D models as opposed to 2D vector drawings which puts additional pressure on the office staff. Field to finish survey techniques with automated linework generation based on survey field codes did a lot to reduce the drafting effort required to produce a site plan but those techniques will soon be obsolete. Automated point cloud extraction tools and algorithms based on machine learning

that scan through the point cloud to automatically model recognizable features are currently being developed in earnest. While these new tools will certainly alleviate some of the manual effort required to convert a point cloud to a 3D model, there will always be clean up necessary to produce a model that can be relied upon by the design team and this duty will fall on the office technician producing the deliverable. This shift to model-based design will surely transform the construction process and will likely eliminate the need for survey layout as design models are uploaded into platforms for machine control and mixed reality solutions. The expectation is that these models will be perfectly reliable so long as they were designed off the survey model that accurately represents existing site conditions and verified using clash detection techniques to ensure that there would be no costly on-site surprises. This is the essence of VDC and, as one can see, surveyors have a big role to play in this process, albeit a very different role than they have been used to playing. If an issue is to arise during construction, it will likely be the office technician who will deal with it as opposed to the field crew. All this additional effort required by office staff to complete a survey has implications for the firm who might typically staff only a few people in the office to handle the workload of many field crews. Firms who could get by with a relatively small office space will need to look at larger spaces to accommodate the increasing number of workstations needed to keep up with project workload. Alternatively, and more likely considering rising property costs across the country, firms will establish digital offices where staff will model point clouds remotely from their virtual workstations with unlimited cloud computing power. Surveyors are at the forefront of industry change as comprehensive data capture techniques are providing the opportunity to create the model deliverables necessary to the latest design and construction workflows that are transforming the AEC industry. These changes are not only impacting the way that surveys are conducted and delivered but they are altering the nature of survey firms. This is not to say that the art of survey will be lost forever as it is unlikely that this technology will assist with cadastral boundary resolution, but, perhaps cadastral boundaries will no longer need resolution in the digital future. Steve Rombough manages high definition survey projects at McElhanney Associates Land Surveying Ltd. He also leads their research and development division and is the chair of their CAD Standards Committee. April/May 2018

construction business



BIM Creates Better Designs By Kevin Kretschmer

Exterior View Concept Hotel Rendering by MTa — Visualization using BIM tools


t our firm, we consider in the early stages of design how BIM can enhance the design process and create better design and architecture, providing tangible benefits to clients, end users and contractors. BIM (Building Information Modeling) is rather ubiquitous because it can apply to many different processes at almost any point in the lifecycle of a building from programming onward. Using BIM on a project provides an opportunity to use an expanded tool set for design analysis, collaboration, performance and cost management. 18

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The early stages of design are crucial for overall success of a project when considering design quality, constructability, schedule and budget. Creating a basic BIM model for each design project provides an essential container for data to which more layers of information can be added through the design process. Density calculations, energy analysis, shadow studies, HMAX calculations are a few types of analysis that can be done on relatively basic BIM models. Computational BIM tools process the data contained within the model to provide feedback on design solutions in the early stages

of design. Scripts and algorithms are used to perform data and geometric calculations useful to resolve complex geometric challenges and design analysis. Early feedback is valuable to clients and the design team when considering various design concepts and their ability to meet budgets and exceed programmatic requirements and performance criteria while maintaining design integrity. In a BIM system, every component of the building is a piece of data which could be read, analyzed and manipulated based on certain inputs or predefined rules. By combining this system with computational design techniques or


Porte Cochere Column Concept Hotel Rendering by MTa — Using design tools to simplify complex geometric features

parametric approaches, a wide range of possibilities for better architecture and more control over design becomes accessible. With this tool the architect has a lot of information and knowledge about all different aspects of a project and has the possibility to explore more iterations, which optimizes the design decision making process. Imagine a design system where the ideal design relationships are set, the geometrical moves of the project are generated from the elements within the project, and the performance of the design, including environmental performance, functional program, spatial relationships, economical efficiency, material efficiency, etc. is evaluated at any given moment. Now the design team sees a broader perspective and has a more coherent understanding of the design problems, which makes an architectural project creative, efficient and successful. Using BIM models and computational BIM tools help refine design concepts for constructability by resolving geometry and working within the parameters of fabrication to achieve minimal waste and lower production costs for building components. Detailed information, added to model from all disciplines of the consultant team, is updated continually throughout the development of a project providing a greater understanding of the relationships of architectural elements in conjunction with structural, mechanical, and electrical systems. Having this amount of data and the power to analyze various design concepts promotes a higher level of

refinement to keep projects on schedule and budget, reducing value engineering in later stages of the project. For consultant teams to work together seamlessly, virtual collaboration is essential to the development of a design model regardless of project size. We use internal BIM servers to collaborate internally between teams, remotely between studios, or with international external collaboration design teams. This level of collaboration allows us to include team members with specialized skill sets to be involved in a project regardless of geographic location. For more collaborative projects, external cloud services allow for real-time collaboration with consultants or specialty consultants. Our largest projects in the office consist of teams that span across the country. Virtual collaboration enhances consultant coordination and allows for clash detection reducing unforeseen costly changes to the project during construction. Virtually collaboration also enhances how clients can review and experience the development of a project. Externally, cloud collaboration tools make it possible for clients to review projects remotely or on mobile devices without requiring special software. In our offices we can provide clients with an immersive first-person point of view using virtual reality software. Information built into BIM models throughout the design process is used to create construction documents and can be used by the construction manager and contractors during

construction to enable paperless construction and document the construction process. During construction additional details are added to BIM models, for example, data is added to generic equipment placed within the design model that contains information about the real equipment such as make, model and serial number. Some data created in the design phase can be carried forward into construction for off-site manufacturing of building components. At the end of the construction process a construction BIM model should be a virtual replica of the physical building. As the use of BIM continues to evolve, models created in the design and construction phase will be more relevant for use in facilities management. The many layers of information added to BIM models throughout the design and construction process make BIM models valuable to clients for use in facility management throughout the remainder of the lifecycle of a building. It is important for clients to understand the value of these virtual assets and understand how BIM models will be used post-construction. Defining clear objectives for and selecting the proper consultant and construction teams will ensure that clients maximize the value of BIM. Kevin Kretschmer is an associate and information systems manager at Marshall Tittemore Architects. He has been working with Virtual Buildings and BIM for more than 20 years. April/May 2018

construction business



Cost-effective Passive House Design By Cheryl Mah

Air tightness and ventilation are keys to Passive House homes and require the use of HRV heat and energy recovery ventilation units, said Studer. Another important element for success is an integrated approach — integrating design and construction improves the process and cost efficiency. “We want to get trades, planners, architects, engineers, builders together before the project even starts,” said Picciano. “It is a lot easier and things go more smoothly.” Designing for cost-effective a Passive House prototype includes: • an integrated approach, • modern and compact design, • utilizing standard construction methods, • specifying quality off the shelf finishing materials, •m onitoring performance continuously for accurate feedback.


assive House construction is growing in popularity in North America. In B.C., there is a push regionally and provincially towards this type of building. With the implementation of the new B.C. Energy Step Code and the City of Vancouver committed to be a 100 per cent renewable energy city by 2050, Passive House has been identified as a methodology to assure future building code compliance and beyond. While the benefits of Passive House buildings have been well touted, a common challenge cited by owners and builders is the high costs. How can Passive House buildings become more efficient and still be affordable? Two architects provided some insights at Buildex Vancouver 2018. Marcel Studer of Econ Group and Lucio Picciano of DLP Architecture shared their experience and strategies to date for achieving costeffective passive house certification for singlefamily buildings. “Passive House started in our region with a small house renovation in 2006 and has grown very slowly since then. In the last couple of years, Passive House has really exploded,” said Picciano. Given that single family houses with RS-1 zoning covers about 72 per cent of the land mass in Vancouver, it is an important starting point and a number of homes have already opted to pursue the Passive House standard. “But it’s the most difficult building to achieve certification because of the small size area to volume ratio,” noted Picciano.

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Part of the problem is many homes are craftsman or neo-style, he describes, which are complicated forms that are not conducive to Passive House. Passive House design requires smart use of simple materials. “Simplifying everything makes everything easier,” he said, stressing a compact modern design is key for performance and efficient construction.

How can Passive House buildings become more efficient and still be affordable? According to Studer, Passive House is a proven and tested standard. It’s simple in its approach but powerful and it is performance base — applicable to any building type and any climate, he said. “Passive House assembly in our climate performs much better than a standard code assembly,” added Picciano. To make a project viable and Passive House, money normally spent on the interior and exterior finishes has to be shifted into Passive House measures such as the envelope and mechanical systems. For a Passive House project, financial considerations include higher designer fees, windows have to be high performance and the use of more insulation.

The architects highlighted a few projects with lessons learned. Studer discussed Cheakamus Crossing, a single-family home in Whistler that achieved Passive House Plus, a higher rung than the classic certification. To achieve the higher certification, the project had to increase the underslab insulation, reduce the heating load with improved HRV efficiency, use efficient appliance selection and incorporate a 140m2 PV array located on the roof. Studer stressed it is difficult for singlefamily homes to achieve the Plus category and this project saw a 3.5 per cent increase (over classic) in the overall construction costs. The third class of premium is impossible to achieve, he said, also noting that it is important to optimize Passive House components and details with the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) modeling software to minimize cost premium. In 2017, both architects saw demand for Passive House single-family projects from clients, but now interest in multi-family projects is increasing as municipalities are rezoning to denser neighbourhoods. “For me, the biggest barrier to doing Passive House is zoning in every city — restrictions make it hard to maximize FSR and achieve Passive House,” said Picciano as he highlighted the four-unit Lilac Passive House project currently under construction. “This owner wanted to distinguish himself in the market by size and Passive House certification — I think we’re going to see more of these smaller compact multi-unit projects.”


Closing the Performance Gap By Cillian Collins


he construction industry has undergone technological and process advancements over the past few decades — from software tools, big data, and digitization to modularization and the use of lean concepts. Although these advancements have improved building in many ways, the industry currently ranks among the poorest performing sectors. Buildings, through construction and operational life, contribute up to 30 per cent of our global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and in Canada account for 12 per cent of total GHG emissions. There is also significant evidence to suggest that there are inefficiencies within the status quo — often buildings do not perform as well as anticipated when they were designed (what is known as the performance gap). Until the signing of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, the role of the construction sector in affecting GHG emissions has not been understood well at the policy level, and there has since been a radical shift to reduce emissions substantially in this sector. Federal, provincial and municipal levels of government in Canada are now implementing performance targets with a roadmap to achieve near zero energy buildings aimed to dramatically reduced carbon emissions. For example, the new British Columbia Energy Step Code charts a common path for how all B.C. municipalities can achieve net-zero ready buildings by 2032 in a series of incremental steps — the first code of its kind in North America. Setting the bar even higher, the City of Vancouver has implemented its Zero Emissions Building Plan and updated its green building requirements for rezoning projects. Both the Vancouver Building Bylaw and B.C. Building Code adopt increasingly stringent performance requirements over the next 12 years, with the highest tiers realizing 80-90 per cent energy savings. Ambitious time frames are set out of necessity as building performance is locked in for decades once built. A shared methodology for achieving these policy goals is to place absolute limits or thresholds on the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of a building and a specific limit on the requirements for heating or cooling the building — the Thermal Energy Demand Intensity (TEDI) target. The International Passive House standard advocates this approach, which is emerging as a new industry benchmark. Embedded in the higher tiers of performance of both provincial and municipal frameworks, this standard serves as a mechanism to achieve deep energy reductions. The prime driver within the Passive House standard is occupant comfort, and the focus on the TEDI target results in a ‘fabric first’ approach. This involves increasing the performance expectation of the building envelope and measures inherent in the design to achieve the energy targets, as opposed to complex mechanical systems that require energy input and have a shorter lifecycle. Performance targets such as those set by Passive House, and now being adopted by the BC Energy Step Code, can be described as SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely —that can spur innovative solutions as design and construction teams determine how to meet them based on local climate and methodologies. Example solutions include: •A n integrated design approach, as opposed to disciplines working in silos and sequentially. Achieving a thermal bridge free design and a stringent airtightness test requirement necessitate more emphasis on upfront collaboration, meetings, and design effort between design and construction disciplines. • Accurate energy modelling as a design tool and on-site commissioning and testing as important quality assurance mechanisms and tools for regulatory compliance. • Prefabrication for more controlled assembly, better quality assurance, and reduced time on site. • Mass timber as a new structural solution with lower embodied carbon, better thermal performance, and quicker construction times. • Post occupancy monitoring to create a feedback loop to validate design decisions and construction methodologies.

Designed in 2007, a decade prior to the City of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Policy, Marine Gateway achieved LEED Gold Certification and an EUI of less than 120kWh/m2a.

• The retooling of individual components of the building such as glazing systems, heat recovery systems, and thermal performance of cladding attachment clips. Forward-thinking companies are reconsidering how to build in the next 10-15 years. Manufacturers are stepping up to innovate alongside the design teams. There are now at least three Lower Mainland window manufacturers offering locally made Passive House certified windows. There can be challenges to realizing innovative solutions, particularly when it comes to construction. There are often concerns regarding increased costs, code equivalencies, and market readiness to support new building practices, as well as misconceptions, particularly around airtightness, ventilation, and overheating. Education will play an important role in meeting these challenges and transitioning the design and construction industry. The new Zero Emissions Building Centre of Excellence established in Vancouver will be key in building capacity within the construction sector. In Europe, where similar policy has been implemented, the trend is towards cost parity as the regulatory baseline improves, the risk of the unknown is overcome, industry capacity expands among design and construction professionals, and the supply chain for high-performance components improves and regulatory barriers are removed. The City of Vancouver has already implemented policy to remove regulatory barriers to Passive House Buildings, and proposals are being brought to council to aid pioneering projects in overcoming initial cost hurdles in order to increase capacity and help accelerate change. Beyond upfront capital costs, economic lifecycle analysis shows net present value benefits to building owners, in particular for rental and affordable housing, institutional and commercial projects. Only through the connection of design and performance, we can bridge the performance gap. Through the exploration of massing, orientation, form factor, and glazing ratio, the design team can develop a building that is more cost effective through wall assemblies requiring less insulation, easier thermal bridging and airtightness detailing. Architects and design teams will need to work together in order to create well-designed comfortable, healthy buildings with a minimal environmental footprint. This shared interest in solving even the trickiest of details or constraints can only spur on overdue innovation within the construction industry. Cillian Collins is a senior architect at Perkins+Will Architects, Vancouver and chair of the Passive House Canada education committee. April/May 2018

construction business



Passive House: a Path to Net Zero By Kamilia Vaneck


n British Columbia, the provincial government has announced the intent that new buildings will be net-zero energy ready within 15 years. Net-zero energy ready means that a building’s modelled energy consumption is up to 80 per cent below current typical designs. With this performance, a building’s energy use could feasibly be offset with the addition of on-site (or near-site) renewable energy production. The province aims to achieve this goal by increasing energy-efficiency requirements in the B.C. Building Code using the BC Energy Step Code. Although it seems ambitious, the province’s goal to reach net-zero energy ready new construction buildings by 2032 is actually two years behind the Government of Canada’s stated goal that provinces and territories adopt a net-zero energy ready model building code by 2030, a commitment which is part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. How will the building industry respond to this? It is well-known that there are three key steps to achieving high-performance, net-zero buildings. Achieving net-zero energy ready buildings would require following Steps 1 and 2 below without the renewable energy generation in Step 3. • Reduce loads through passive design by choosing the most appropriate massing and orientation; considering glazing ratio, placement, and shading; and designing a well-insulated building envelope with reduced thermal bridging. • Choose high efficiency lighting, heating, cooling, and hot water systems. • Generate energy with renewable energy systems to offset the remaining energy demand. Although this approach is simple in principle, design teams may find it daunting to get to an 80 per cent reduction. Since net-zero energy ready buildings are not yet the norm, finding efficient, elegant, and cost-effective design solutions to achieve such dramatic energy savings generally requires intensive analysis beginning at the earliest stages of a project. This actually means predesign analysis, which does not happen on the vast majority of projects. One proven process that could be a solution comes from Germany — Passive House certification.

Passive House The Passive House standard provides a framework that guides projects to achieving ultra-low energy performance. It is a standard developed from the fundamentals of building science and thermodynamics, and has a proven track record of delivering high energy savings. There are three key performance limits that Passive House projects must meet: 22

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• S pace Heating Energy Demand must not exceed 15 kWh/m2-yr A software model of a project in the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) must demonstrate that the performance limit is being met. This metric is similar to the Thermal Energy Demand Intensity (TEDI) performance limits increasingly being implemented in building codes. It is a measure of the space and ventilation heating that a building requires. Ventilation air volumes, heat recovery efficiency, and the thermal performance of the building envelope are key factors which determine performance under this metric. • Primary Energy Renewable (PER) is not to exceed 60 kWh/m2-yr PER can be thought of as source energy which imagines a future grid powered by renewable power. It is akin to Total Energy Use Intensity (TEUI) of the building with factors applied to account for grid losses. • Airtightness of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals or better Projects wishing to certify under Passive House must demonstrate a highly airtight envelope with testing at the end of construction which meets or exceeds this limit.

Passive House is a small fraction of that in a typical building, creating robust operational savings throughout the life of a project.

In Canada, we live in a heating-dominated climate with 64 per cent of residential building energy use attributed to space heating in 2014. Achieving the heating energy performance requirement of Passive House would represent approximately a 90 per cent reduction in space heating energy over the Canadian residential average. Although Passive House is not prescriptive, there are five key strategies to achieving Passive House levels of performance: • Use high levels of continuous thermal insulation in the building envelope. • Install higher performance triple-glazed windows. • Design and build an airtight envelope. • Eliminate thermal bridges through the building envelope where possible. • Install high performance heat recovery ventilation.

Perhaps most importantly, Passive House buildings are resilient. Experts believe that climate mitigation efforts (reducing carbon emissions) are not enough. Communities must also pursue climate adaptation and resiliency. The highly-insulated, airtight envelope in a Passive House means that comfortable indoor conditions can be maintained for several days in the event of a power outage during extremely hot or cold weather. Pursuing Passive House is certainly not the only solution to achieving net-zero energy ready buildings, but it does provide one proven approach. The B.C. Building Code has already been amended with the addition of the BC Energy Step Code to allow projects to demonstrate net-zero energy ready performance using the Passive House standard. With climate change forecasts including hotter, drier summers; more extreme rainfall events; and increased forest fires, Passive House provides a way for our buildings and communities to serve the needs of today, while being “future ready” to tackle the challenges of tomorrow’s less predictable and more extreme climate.

While the upfront design and construction cost of a Passive House envelope is higher, the additional investment in insulation and air tightness results in a dramatic reduction in the size of heating and cooling systems required to condition the building. Passive House buildings are designed and built to such a high standard of passive efficiency, that solar gains and the heat radiated by occupants and equipment can meet a significant portion of the total heating demand. Furthermore, the cost of energy in a

Challenges There are several challenges in applying Passive House to new projects in our region. The Passive House standard is currently tailored for European energy consumption patterns and primarily developed to support residential building types. Trying to pursue Passive House on a commercial kitchen project or a modern residential high-rise will present additional design and cost challenges. Furthermore, as Passive House is still relatively new to the North American market, it can be difficult to source high-performing components and equipment at competitive prices, not to mention experienced design and construction teams. However, these challenges and others are slowly eroding as more projects than ever are taking the leap and pursuing Passive House. In the second half of 2017 alone, 20 per cent of projects submitting rezoning application in the City of Vancouver indicated that they are choosing to pursue Passive House.

Future Ready

Kamilia Vaneck is a project manager with WSP’s sustainability & energy team. She is also a Certified Passive House Consultant and a LEED AP BD+C.

Road Building

Sustainable Routes

Enhancing the sustainability of B.C.’s multimodal transportation corridors By Kip Skabar Low Level Road project, designed by Stantec for the Port of Vancouver / City of North Vancouver and their stakeholders. (Accredited Envision Platinum)


esigning infrastructure projects involves careful planning and the coordination of multiple engineering disciplines, usually under tight schedule timeframes and budgets. Managing risks and developing solutions to resolve site constraints is inherent in our business, and it is what clients/ owners expect us to do as engineers; however, the expectations are growing. Recently, we have experienced an evolution of sustainable practices, catalyzed by regulatory authority requirements and political pressures, though also due to voluntary interest in ‘doing it better’. These trends have driven the need for greater consideration of environmental and community impacts. In today’s design world, the success of a project is also highly dependent on meeting and collaborating with local First Nations to develop the right solution and build partnerships throughout project development. The days of paving new roads through communities with minimal stakeholder engagement are gone, and we train our designers to take the time to think about how a project may affect our neighborhoods and surrounding ecological communities. While some may view the trend toward higher standards of sustainable design as somewhat prohibitive in developing new infrastructure in the region, this increased level of thoughtfulness is imperative during the planning and implementation of a project — not just to protect the environment as required by law, but to create a legacy in the community that we can call our own. To build new infrastructure that will be embraced by local residents for the long term is now largely measured by the ability of project teams to consider and appropriately address stakeholder concerns. As our communities have become more aware and informed about our industry, the bar of expectations has been raised. How will we respond? In British Columbia, we are currently on the cusp of another significant uptick in infrastruc-

ture development that will change our transportation network — not just for us, but also for our kids. We have two major rapid transit projects, three container terminal port expansions, multiple highway interchanges, widening of a major highway connection to Alberta, at least one major bridge crossing, twinning of an existing major oil pipeline, an iconic bikeway/greenway, a potential LNG plant, multiple rail network upgrades, and a major hydroelectric dam development — just to name a few. This is well over $20 billion of new infrastructure investment planned for our region over the next few years. None of these projects will move forward without political support, which of course requires the business case objectives and environmental regulations to be met, but it will also require support from the community to some degree. And all of these projects involve moving people and goods/services to where they need to go — safely and efficiently. Goods movement is the pillar of our B.C. economy, so nearly any infrastructure project planned in coming years that addresses mobility along road and rail networks could potentially carry significant economic weight in terms of bringing products to market faster and more cost effectively. Therefore, these projects have incredible potential to influence our communities, and how they are designed and built will immeasurably impact the quality of life for B.C. residents for decades. The processes for obtaining these major project approvals are well under way and the projects are already nearly fully designed in some cases. The question remains - how can we document or measure the relative level of sustainability that will be achieved by these projects? How can we demonstrate to taxpayers and local residents that each project has been designed and constructed in a thoughtful manner with respect to the existing ecosystems and our current way of life? LEED has provided a solid platform for measuring sustainability of building projects;

though it is not easily applied to infrastructure. One promising method that is being used by many public agencies in B.C. is called Envision, which was originally developed by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a non-profit agency known as the Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). Envision was created to provide a holistic framework for evaluating projects at the design and construction phases of infrastructure development. The great part is that we as an industry are already applying best practices that are consistent with many of the sustainability standards contained within Envision. Using Envision gives us opportunity to better document design decisions made, highlight our successes, learn from other jurisdictions and project teams, and identify areas for improvement within our own standards of practice. Many infrastructure projects already require technical studies to consider environmental, economic, and social impacts. Since we need to do these studies regardless, why not go one step further and utilize this valuable project data to document how our efforts measure up against best practices within the Envision sustainability framework. This will support awareness of how key aspects of the completed infrastructure have benefited the environment and enhanced the experience for members of the community. We have found that Envision is also well-structured to serve as a central organizing platform for continual learning and innovation around sustainable design choices. Take the extra time during planning and design to document the work you are already doing on your projects. What isn’t measured can’t be managed, and if we are serious about properly managing risks associated with stakeholder sustainability concerns, appropriately tracking what we are doing is the first step. Secondly, create an environment where your teams have the opportunity to adequately consider and reflect on feedback gathered from public and stakeholder engagement and to think creatively about addressing sustainable design principles in practice. Tools like Envision can help, and owners will love the opportunity to advertise the success of their project to the community. Those in the infrastructure planning, design and construction industry are encouraged to complete the training to become a certified Envision practitioner (ENV SP) — it is just good practice. Kip Skabar, P.Eng., P.E., ENV SP, is senior associate, transportation at Stantec Consulting Ltd. April/May 2018

construction business


Road Building

The role of a traffic study Undertaking an early study can potentially avoid approval delays by Gary Vlieg


t comes as no surprise that traffic in urban areas is becoming more congested every year and everyone blames the new developments. Let’s face it, if you are opposed to a particular development (and it doesn’t have to be in your neighbourhood) one of the easiest flags to raise is traffic. But are the problems as bad as some people make them out to be? Developers can overcome potential approval challenges with a traffic study. Traffic engineers provide independent traffic engineering analysis that uses locally, provincially, nationally and internationally accepted methods and data to determine the effects of development on the transportation network.

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Traffic studies used to focus on the automobile and occasionally public transit. Fast forward to this century and while the main focus is still on the automobile, there is much more attention paid to public transit, bicycles, walking and car sharing. Whether or not transportation problems associated with a development are as bad as some people make them out to be depends on a few factors. It depends on where the development is located and it depends on how effectively the development has integrated other modes of transport into the design. If developing purely residential in a location that is removed from commercial or retail

development and transit service is sparse, then the development is going to generate many vehicle trips. If the development is, however, located where commercial/retail development is within walking distance (500 metres) and there is good access to frequent transit service (bus or rail) then you will be generating the same number of person trips but substantially fewer automobile trips. Regardless of the type of development, have preferential parking and access for car share/car pool vehicles been provided? Are there well lit, well designed pedestrian and cycling corridors to allow people direct and convenient access to public transit? What about bicycle parking (both short and long term)? All of these elements are key to reducing the number of vehicle trips. In my industry, we are seeing more and more development applications being required to complete a transportation study — even if the development is completely consistent with the municipal plans for the property. This can be frustrating but looking at it from another perspective, undertaking the study from the outset has the potential to save the developer money in the form of time. Given the cost of land, particularly in metropolitan areas, each week that a project is delayed represents thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The last thing that a developer needs is to have the project go to public hearing, have a number of people stand up in opposition, based in part on traffic and then have city council defer the project until a traffic study is completed. These studies are not completed overnight — there is data to be collected, reviewed and analyzed and then written up in a report. Depending on the size of the project, this can take three to six weeks to complete, and remember time is money. So now the whole project is waiting on the traffic study instead of having the study being undertaken concurrently with all of the other consultant work at the onset of the project. Are there projects that are denied because of traffic concerns — certainly. But more often than not, when there is a traffic study completed by an independent traffic consultant, the project, if rejected, is turned down for reasons other than traffic. A traffic study will point out how to rectify deficiencies in the transportation network so that the project can be successfully integrated into the community, so it’s an important consideration when seeking development approvals. Gary Vlieg, MSc, PEng., is engineering group manager at Creative Transportation Solutions.

Road Building

Unique Bridge Launch


n April, 2016 the City of Chilliwack awarded the Vedder Bridge Replacement Design-Build Project to Emil Anderson Construction. The Vedder Bridge project replaces the existing two-lane steel thru-truss bridge which was constructed in 1947. The Vedder Bridge has served as a critical link between Chilliwack and Cultus Lake/Yarrow for well over a century. The new steel arch bridge provides increased clearance above flood waters, have wider travel lanes and shoulders along with two multi-use pathways to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. As part of the design-build team with Emil Anderson Construction Inc., Klohn Crippen Berger provided the structural, geotechnical, hydrotechnical engineering and construction engineering services for the new Vedder River Bridge and for demolition of the existing bridge over the Vedder River. The City of Chilliwack awarded the project based on a combination of pricing and technical merit in which aesthetics was heavily weighted. The project objectives included an innovative financial and technical solution for designing and constructing the bridge, minimal disruption to

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the surrounding community, environment and road/utility network. The project also included an upgrade of the approaching roads and a new roundabout intersection on the north end to provide greater capacity and improve safety. The new 80m long Vedder River Bridge has two spans with a 60 m steel tied arch main span with hanger rods in a “ray” arrangement. The longitudinal tie girders for the arch are comprised of steel rectangular “box” sections which connect the ends of the arches, and then continue through the 20m south side span as supporting girders. The bridge was fabricated in Delta at Supreme Steel’s Canron facility. A fundamental component of the team’s strategy for replacement of the Vedder Bridge was to construct the new bridge on land and launch the bridge into place over the river. Launching of bridges into position is not uncommon. What is unique about this particular bridge launch is that the bridge is an arch, and the arch structure does not have the strength on its own to be cantilevered 60 metres without support on one end. To enable launching of the arch bridge, a “king post” support system was used.

The Vedder Bridge is the world’s first steel arch bridge to be launched using the kingpost method. In-river works were undesirable due to fisheries windows schedule limitations and sensitive environment. A “kingpost” and cable support system was developed to support the arch during the launch of the new bridge. The kingpost system used the precast panels, which would later be used to form the bridge deck, as large counterweights. The continuous south side span tie girders also functioned as the ”launching nose” extension required for launching. The same system was then re-used to “de-launch” the old bridge for demolition. The launch took place in April 2017, taking more than seven hours to reach the south pier. The bridge was completed in August 2017. The design build project delivery method offered a unique opportunity for the project team to develop a cohesive and efficient bridge design package for the client. Klohn Crippen Berger earned a 2018 Award for Engineering Excellence — Merit from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of BC in the Transportation & Bridges category for this project.

Legal File

Construction trust claims during insolvencies By Fergus McDonnell


n British Columbia, the Builders Lien Act provides that money received by a contractor or subcontractor, on account of the contract price, is trust funds for the benefit of persons under them (unless they have put more money into the project than they have received). The statute also provides for a 10 per cent holdback against subcontractors (not suppliers), which is typically held in the holdback trust account established by an owner. Construction trusts are not identical across the provinces. For instance in Alberta, only the money paid after substantial completion is impressed with a trust. In some provinces, the trust obligation starts at the owner level, rather than the contractor level. The trust set up by the Builders Lien Act can be a powerful remedy. In respect of funds that have been paid to a contractor or subcontractor but then not paid down, the unpaid person may claim against a director or officer of the debtor personally or against another person who participated in the misappropriation knowing that the funds were trust funds (sometimes a bank), provided that claim is commenced within one year. For the holdback funds, provided they exist and have not already been paid out, unpaid persons may advance a claim against that holdback (up to the amount of the holdback, if any, belonging to the person that owes them money). The trust remedy is available even if a party fails to file a lien in the required time and even if the project lands cannot be liened (for instance, federal property).

Claims against trust funds get more complicated when a contractor or subcontractor becomes bankrupt, has a receiver appointed over its assets or during a court supervised insolvency restructuring. Unpaid subcontractors and suppliers may want to attempt to assert a trust right against funds in an account, such as a holdback trust account and argue that those funds do not become part of the bankrupt’s estate available for creditors. The general rule is that upon an insolvency, assets held by the insolvent person on a trust for others are not available for creditors and must be returned to the beneficiary. However, federal insolvency statutes will only recognize a statutory trust if it meets the common law test known as the “three certainties: certainty of intention, subject matter and object. Courts have not been universal in their analysis of this test. In Iona Contractors Ltd. v. Guarantee Company of North America, 2015 ABCA 240, the Alberta Court of Appeal had to decide whether the construction trust met the test of “certainty of intention” where funds ended up with a trustee in bankruptcy under the BIA. The court found that although the project owner had no subjective intention to form a trust, the statutory scheme was a sufficient analogy. This result was also reached by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 0409725 B.C. Ltd. (Bankruptcy of ), 2015 BCSC 561. These cases may have expanded the availability of a trust remedy. The certainty of subject matter issue often arises where funds have been co-mingled with non-trust funds, before or after the bankruptcy.

During insolvencies, court appointed officers are not required to segregate trust funds unless the debtor was required to segregate those funds. The Builders Lien statutes do not require a contractor to segregate trust funds, so this often leads to failure of the trust claim. In Royal Bank of Canada v. Atlas Block Co. Limited, 2014 ONSC 3062, the supplier’s trust claim failed for this reason. Likewise in Royal Bank of Canada v. A-1 Asphalt Maintenance Ltd. 2018 ONSC 1123, the Ontario court found the certainty of subject matter failed because the funds owed to the contractor (and paid) were not identifiable and did not come from a particular fund or account. In contrast, in 0409725 B.C. Ltd. (Bankruptcy of ), 2015 BCSC 1221, funds received by a bankrupt contractor from various different sources were all co-mingled, but they were all trust funds. The trust claims of the various subcontractors were recognized and they were paid pro-rata from the remaining funds. In Kel-Greg Homes Inc. (Re), 2015 NSSC 274, the court held that where there are co-mingled funds and funds are removed from the account, the law presumes that the non-trust funds are spent first. Applying that principle, money removed from the bankrupt’s account were the non-trust funds and the remaining amount did not suffer from the co-mingling issue. The contractors claiming a trust were successful. A similar result was reached in a recent decision, Sanjel Corporation (Re), 2018 ABQB 157. There, the supplier with a trust claim successfully defeated the claim of a lending syndicate to funds held by the court-appointed monitor. Although the construction trust funds had been mixed with other borrowed funds, and money came in and out, the lowest intermediate balance in the fund was always greater than the amount of the trust claim. Contractors and suppliers dealing with a collection problem (especially during an insolvency) should consider whether any trust claims are available and to advance those claims in a timely manner. When dealing with a bankruptcy process consider joining forces with other potential trust claimants to engage a single legal representative to share legal costs. For owners and court officers, a careful understanding of contractual payment obligations and their implications should be considered prior to making or receiving payment. Fergus McDonnell is an associate at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, practicing law in the areas of both construction and insolvency. April/May 2018

construction business


Legal File

Bill 142: What B.C. Contractors Need to Know by Samantha Cunliffe, Liezl Behm and Connor Bildfell

Modernization of the Act

Introduction In December, 2017, the hotly debated Bill 142, the Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017 (Ontario) was passed, introducing sweeping changes to the Construction Lien Act (Ontario) (the Act) that will reshape the legal landscape for construction projects in Ontario. While the substantive provisions are not yet effective, it is only a matter of time before contractors will be required to comply with the new framework. The following is a list of the most important considerations for British Columbia contractors doing business in Ontario.

Key Changes The key changes in Bill 142 generally fall into the following categories: • prompt payment regime; • interim adjudication process; and • modernization of the Act.

Prompt Payment The new “prompt payment” provisions set out timelines for payments from owners to contractors and from contractors or subcontractors to subcontractors. Once a “proper invoice” has been received by an owner, it has 28 days to pay the contractor. The contractor then has seven days to pay its subcontractors (and the requirements continue down the chain of subcontractors). As in the current legal framework, payments are subject to the requirement to retain a holdback. These prompt payment provisions are mandatory, meaning that parties cannot contract out of them. British Columbia contractors need to be aware when undertaking work subject to the Act (either themselves or by way of subcontracting) that these provisions apply and there is no way to agree (in writing or otherwise) that they do 28 construction business

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not. These provisions also need to be reviewed to ensure that the timeframes provided in any contract that a contractor negotiates with the owner allow it to meet any required payment timelines vis a vis its subcontractors.

Construction Dispute Interim Adjudication Bill 142 establishes a new “construction dispute interim adjudication” framework, which essentially provides an interim solution until a dispute is finally resolved. This ensures that delays are avoided and money flows down the construction chain in a timely manner. Generally speaking, for specifically listed matters (such as payment under a contract or non-payment of a holdback) a dispute can be referred by any party to adjudication. The adjudicator then has 30 days after receiving the relevant documentation to make a determination in respect of the dispute, which determination is binding on the parties until a decision by a court or arbitrator is made, or a written agreement between the parties is otherwise agreed. If a monetary determination is made, the party who is required to pay has 10 days to pay such amounts, failing which, the unpaid contractor or subcontractor may suspend work. British Columbia contractors need to be mindful of the 10 day time period to pay amounts to the extent they are required to do so pursuant to the adjudication process set out in Bill 142. These provisions have been a focal point in sectors where there are contractual dispute resolution procedures that differ from what is provided in Bill 142 (for example, dispute resolution procedures that provide for longer periods to pay finally determined amounts or resolve disputes through a different process), including alternative financing and procurement projects.

Bill 142 modernizes the Act, including by way of the following changes: (i) it sets out specific provisions relating to alternative financing and procurement projects; (ii) it imposes mandatory bonding requirements; (iii) it implements changes in the holdback regime; and (iv) it extends the lien period. With respect to the mandatory bonding requirement described in (ii) above, British Columbia contractors need to be aware that if they enter into a contract with an owner that is the Crown, a municipality, or a “broader public sector organization” that is for an amount in excess of a specified amount (which at the time of this article is $250,000), they must furnish the owner with a labour and material payment bond and with a performance bond. Unless otherwise prescribed, the coverage limit for each bond must be at least 50 per cent of the contract price. With respect to the holdback requirements described in (iii) above, while the Act always provided the option for the release of the basic holdback and the finishing holdback, Bill 142 provides for the mandatory release of such amounts. With respect to the extended lien period described in (iv) above, a lien for services or materials will, commencing on July 1, 2018, expire 60 days (previously 45 days) after the earlier of (a) the date of publication or declaration of substantial performance, and (b) the date the contract is completed or abandoned. In addition, while the Act previously gave a lien holder 45 days to perfect, Bill 142 extends that period to 90 days.

Commencement and Transition The substantive changes, regulations, and forms that do not relate to prompt payment and adjudication will come into force on July 1, 2018 and the substantive changes, regulations, and forms relating to prompt payment and adjudication will come into force on October 1, 2019.

Conclusion Bill 142 introduces far-reaching changes to the legal framework governing construction projects in Ontario. British Columbia contractors should be aware of the changes Bill 142 imposes in order to ensure that they are fully compliant when undertaking work to which Bill 142 applies. Samantha Cunliffe, partner, and Liezl Behm, associate are in the Business Law Group of McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Vancouver. Connor Bildfell is an articling student at the firm.

Legal File

The Expert Witness By Rebecca Cleary

a duty to assist the court and not to be an advocate for any party. Experts are often attacked on the issue of bias and their opinions can be partially or fully excluded from use on this basis. Thus, the expert must use professional objectivity when providing an opinion and the opinion provided should be independent in the sense of representing what the expert truly believes on the basis of the information provided and not directed towards assisting to prosecute or defend the claim. An expert in British Columbia is required to include the following certification in their report:


xpert witnesses are used in nearly every negligence claim against engineers, architects, developers and trades. It is not uncommon for experts to be used in contractual claims involving delay claims. The rules of evidence, which govern what evidence can be used in court to prove or defend a claim, generally prohibit witnesses from testifying as to their opinions on the events underlying the claim. Opinions, while interesting, are not facts upon which the court can place any reliance when deciding a case. The most important exception to this rule relates to the use of expert evidence. Before an expert’s opinion can be admitted into evidence, it must meet a four part legal test established by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Mohan, [1994] 2 S.C.R. 9. The test requires that the evidence must first be relevant to a fact in issue in the case. Second, the evidence must be necessary. Third, there cannot be a rule of law which prohibits the inclusion of the evidence. Finally, the expert must be properly qualified to provide the opinion. Because opinion evidence is not normally admissible, the courts apply this test strictly to determine whether the expert opinion ought to be admitted. Even where this test is met, judges act as “gatekeepers” to screen out expert evidence which does not ultimately benefit the trial process. The nature of litigation, however, is that it is not until during the trial that the court determines whether an expert’s opinion meets this test. If an expert’s report is excluded at trial, it can have significant consequences on a plaintiff ’s ability to successfully make its claim or a defendant’s ability to defend the claim. The purpose of an expert opinion is to assist the judge in matters requiring special or technical knowledge. Expert evidence is only admissi-

ble where the special or technical knowledge or industry standards are beyond the competency of the judge or jury to make a determination because of the nature of the standards involved. In other words, if a judge or jury can form their own conclusions without any special or technical knowledge, then the opinion of an expert is unnecessary and will not be permitted at trial. The standard to which an architect or engineer performs their work, is generally accepted by the courts to be an area where expert evidence is necessary. Evidence as to the standards to which a trade carries out its work likely requires expert evidence in most cases. However, except perhaps to explain industry standards, expert evidence is not required where the issue is interpreting a construction contract. Interpreting contracts does not require special or technical knowledge that is beyond the competency of a judge. An expert must have the proper training or experience in the specific area that the opinion is provided in order to be qualified as an expert witness. Evidence of this experience and training must be included in the expert’s resume so that the court can determine the sufficiency of the expert’s qualifications. When acting as an expert for litigation, it is thus extremely important for the expert to ensure they are fully qualified to provide the opinions sought and to immediately advice counsel if qualifications are a concern. Further, while providing the expert opinion, the expert must use caution to ensure that the opinion provided is limited to matters falling within their specific expertise. Resumes ought to be tailored for each expert opinion provided to highlight the extent of the expert’s training and experience with respect to the particular opinion sought. While the typical practice is that the expert is retained by one party to a lawsuit, the expert has

I am aware of my duty to assist the Court and not to be an advocate for any party. I have prepared my report in conformity with this duty. If I am called on to give oral or written testimony, I will give that testimony in conformity with this duty. It is appropriate, however, for legal counsel to assist an expert by identifying issues and making suggestions regarding the organization and format of the report. The British Columbia Supreme Court Civil Rules have certain technical requirements and legal counsel will be familiar with these technical requirements and will provide comments to the expert to ensure that the opinion meets these requirements. In preparing an expert report, it is important to note that it is meant to “stand on its own” such that no, or very little, additional explanation outside of the report is required to make it understandable. Further, it is important to ensure that the expert includes in the report all of the facts and assumptions on which the opinion is based. Often counsel will provide the expert with a series of assumptions but it may be necessary for the expert to make additional assumptions in forming their opinion and these should be included in the report. In construction claims, legal counsel and the parties to the litigation often rely heavily on the expert opinions provided in a claim. Experts have become an indispensable part of the litigation process and when the expert has the necessary qualifications and provides an impartial opinion, that can have tremendous value in the resolution of claims both prior to and at trial. When acting as an expert, communication with the lawyer is key to ensuring that the opinion provided meets the strict test required to be admitted as evidence at trial. Rebecca Cleary is a member of the construction and engineering practice at the law firm of Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP. April/May 2018

construction business


Industry News

Houle Electric raised raised $19,000 through its Houle Jeans Day Campaign in support of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Jacob Bros opens new office Jacob Bros Construction, celebrating its 10th anniversary, has opened a new 50,000 square foot office and maintenance facility in South Surrey. The new state-of-the-art headquarters for the heavy civil and commercial building construction company sits on a five-acre site and consolidates a number of the company’s operations within the Lower Mainland. It features offices, a warehouse and service area, a wash bay, two permanent storage buildings, a fuel station, an on-site service area and a welding fabrication shop. The new office offers its employees a modern space with multiple boardrooms, a large, on-site gym, sit-stand desks, environmentally friendly water chiller stations, natural light in all work areas and electric vehicle charging stations. The family run business formed in 2008 by three brothers (Todd, Scott and Jason) has completed a wide range of heavy civil, municipal and commercial construction projects across B.C. The company received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Construction in 2016 and was recently recognized as one of 2018’s BC’s Top Employers. An early project that was key to growing the company was the rebuild of Granville Street, arguably the company’s most challenging project to date. It involved the complete reconstruction of 10 city blocks right through Vancouver’s downtown core on a tight schedule. The company has also completed many projects for YVR, worked on parts of the Evergreen Line and was a subcontractor on the South Fraser Perimeter Road. In addition to the new headquarters, Jacob Bros operates a satellite office in Langford, just outside Victoria. CapriCMW Named 2018 Best Workplaces CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd. has been recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada. This is CapriCMW’s eighth time on this list. By taking a people-first approach through an employee share ownership plan, wellness and peer recognition programs and many other staff-driven initiatives, CapriCMW employees see the results of their contributions and are rewarded and recognized company-wide. The 2018 Best Workplaces in Canada list is compiled by Great Place to Work Institute Canada. The competition process is based on two criteria: two-thirds of the total score comes from confidential employee survey results; the remaining one-third of the score comes from an in-depth review of the organization’s culture, including an evaluation of HR policies and procedures. This year’s list received more than 400 entries and over 80,000 employees participated in the 2018 Best Workplaces in Canada survey. 30 construction business

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Federal infrastructure funding The government of Canada has announced the signing of bilateral infrastructure agreements with B.C. and Alberta, providing more than $4.1 billion to B.C. and more than $3.3 billion to Alberta in federal funding through the Investing in Canada plan over the next 10 years. These projects will be cost-shared with the province, municipalities and other partners. This new funding will focus on public transit, green infrastructure, recreational and cultural infrastructure, and rural and northern communities. Over half of the 10-year funding in B.C. is for public transit. The maximum transit allocations include $2.2B for Translink and $468.7 million for BC Transit. The green infrastructure portion totals $1,115,494,721 supporting climate change and climate-related disaster mitigation, and to ensure clean air and safe drinking water. This includes $212.3 million already committed to the Lion’s Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant in North Vancouver. A little over $157 million is committed to community, culture and recreation infrastructure, and $166 million goes towards projects that improve the quality of life in rural and northern communities. In Alberta, $2,096,548,228 will go towards new urban transit networks and service extensions ($1B to Calgary, $879M to Edmonton), $1B towards green infrastructure, $140 million towards community, culture and recreation infrastructure, and $160 million to support projects in rural and northern communities. Vancouver Zero Emissions Centre set to launch The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) in partnership with the City of Vancouver, Passive House Canada and the Open Green Building Society has announced the launch of the Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Centre of Excellence (the Centre), a collaborative platform to strengthen the public, private and civic capacities to deliver zero emissions buildings. As host of the Centre, VRCA will work closely with many key partners as well as industry stakeholders that have voiced their support for this initiative. The mission of the Centre is to rapidly accelerate the capacity and enthusiasm of local developers, designers and builders to deliver cost-effective, attractive, zero emissions new residential and commercial buildings in Vancouver. Recognizing that knowledge, inspiration, and the building industry itself is not confined to municipal boundaries, the Centre aspires to learn from both local and global leaders and to expand its mission to support zero emissions building across the province. The Centre will be located at the Hive, 128 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver. Helen Goodland of Brantwood Consulting will serve as interim executive director. An official launch of the Centre is planned for summer 2018.

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