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summer 2005

Faculty of Applied Science News Civil Engineering Engineering News at The University of British Columbia

Contents • Message from the Head • Student Competition stirs

Building Science initiatives address leaky condo crisis

excitement for the future

The Leaky Condo Crisis, a widespread appearance of severe building envelope failures which manifested itself in the Lower Mainland in the 1990’s, trig• Dr. Claudio gered a quick response within the construction Guarnaschelli turns industry. Both the architecture and the engineering to graduate students professions came to the realization that the level to help save the of understanding of building science issues by profesenvironment sionals had not kept pace with the technical changes • Congratulations in building construction. A number of initiatives students & professors were undertaken to address this shortcoming. • Full-scale testing facility One such initiative undertaken at UBC, generously for soil-pipe interaction funded jointly by Polygon Homes and Forintek, was research • Water, water everywhere the establishment of a program focused on building science and the performance of the building envelope. • Co-op student learns The building envelope or building enclosure refers to the the importance of critical components of the building which separate the communications skills interior from the exterior environment, controlling the • Mehdi Kharrazi wins movement of such elements as air, liquid water and Graduate Teaching water vapour, and the transfer of heat. The design and Assistant Prize placement of such components becomes particularly • Flashback critical in extremely cold or wet environments such as we • People encounter here in the Canadian climate, where failures • Events & can have dramatic consequences. Achievements One component of this program was the development of a course, CIVL/WOOD 478, which attracts approximately 30 Civil Engineering and Forestry students each year. The course is offered as a fourth year designated design elective, and appeals to students with a wide range of backgrounds. In addition to lecture presentations of the course material, an attempt is made to expose the students to actual construction situations. Practitioners are • Update on the Civil Design Studio

Students appreciating the issues of real construction materials during a hands-on masonry workshop courtesy of the Masonry Institute of BC.

invited to give seminars on specific issues, materials or techniques. Visits are organized to construction sites, and some hands-on workshops enable students to experience firsthand the actual materials used in construction. The course has been overseen for the past three years by Greg Johnson, a partner in the firm of Marceau Evans Johnson Architects. Johnson, who possesses a background in both engineering (B.A.Sc. ‘74, UBC) and architecture (B.Arch. ‘77 and M.Sc.A. ‘80, Montreal), has considerable experience in the design of both new buildings and in the repair of those with envelope failures. As an educator, he has taught practitioners in both professions within the joint AIBC/APEGBC Building Envelope Education Program. He is also involved with ongoing teaching in UBC’s School of Architecture.

Message from the Head The past 12 months have been a “business as usual” period for the Department. Undergraduate student demand has remained strong and job placements for Civil co-op and graduating students have been plentiful. As you will see elsewhere in this newsletter, our new Civil Engineering Design Studio is nearing completion and we expect to put this outstanding new teaching facility into operation beginning in September 2005. The Civil Club Loft underwent a face lift last year and emerged with a new electrical system and fire protection that now meet university guidelines. In July 2004, we were pleased to welcome Dr. Jacqueline Jenkins to the Department as Assistant Professor of Transportation Engineering. Our good fortune in attracting Jenkins became apparent in her first year at UBC, as she received a prestigious research award from a German firm active in transportation engineering. As we have noted on our back page, several of our faculty members have also been recognized with external awards. Our ongoing program to update our undergraduate laboratories is still a priority. We have made considerable

progress on this in the past year, but there is more to be done, particularly given the fact that this fall the Department will be visited by a team from the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB). We are hoping that the review will result in the Department’s undergraduate program receiving re-accreditation for a six-year period. Associate Dean Perry Adebar and Professor Sigi Stiemer have been coordinating the preparation of the voluminous documentation that must be assembled in advance of each CEAB visit. I would welcome any comments or suggestions that may arise as you read this issue of our newsletter. Please feel free to contact me at ehall@civil.ubc.ca.

Eric Hall, Department Head

Student Competition stirs excitement for the future By Scott Herbst, Team Captain

The concrete toboggan team ready for speed.

In February, an enthusiastic 26 member team of mainly Civil undergrad students traveled to Calgary to participate in the 31st Annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race. This event provided students with a great opportunity to experience the spirit of engineering. Innovative design, construction and guts were required to race a 300 lb. toboggan built from concrete and steel! UBC’s toboggan was mixed and poured on campus, with the superstructure and brake built mainly off campus. The track, built at Canada Olympic Park, was made for speed! Until this race, the record speed for the event was 68 km/hr. Several records were broken, with UBC reaching 72 and 71 km/hr in their two runs, leaving them in second place to Waterloo’s 75 km/hr speed. Overall, UBC finished 13th of 22 competing teams. Despite the placement, this year was a success. The tremendous interest from second- and third-year students leaves a very keen base for next year’s team. We know what it takes to win, and UBC will be in the winner’s circle again!


Update on the Civil Design Studio As we announced in our last newsletter, the Department is upgrading its facilities through the construction of a Design Studio for Civil Engineering undergraduate students. We are pleased to announce that construction on the studio has begun, and we are well on our way toward a working design studio for September 2005. We anticipate an official opening event this fall. We have received a great deal of support from the civil engineering community for this project, and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to making this studio a reality. Mrs. Susan Christoffersen, together with Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. directed their combined contributions to name the computer lab that will be housed in the studio in memory of civil engineer Per Christoffersen, a leading civil engineer in Vancouver. He received an M.A.Sc. from the Department in 1962 and became one of the three founders of Read Jones Christoffersen. He is remembered for his many accomplishments in civil engineering design, including Vancouver’s first post-tensioned structure, and the “mat system” for laying out reinforcing steel in concrete slabs. The Per Christoffersen Computer Room will be an integral part of this state-of-the-art learning environment. We have also received generous contributions from Buckland and Taylor Ltd., the Cement Association of




Canada, Golder Associates, Stuart Olsen, and Westmar Engineering Consultants Ltd. Each donor has the opportunity to place a wall display in a group study area to highlight their projects and their business. The displays will provide students with an excellent opportunity to learn how scholarship turns into practice in civil engineering design, as well as an opportunity to learn more about local Vancouver engineering and construction companies. We would like to extend our thanks for all of our individual and industry donors for their generous gifts to this initiative. We still have display space for companies or individuals who want to showcase their work for our undergraduate students. To find out how you can contribute to the Design Studio, and reserve display space for you or your company in this new facility, please contact the Faculty of Applied Science Development Office at 604-822-8335 or development@apsc.ubc.ca.

Dr. Claudio Guarnaschelli turns to graduate students to help save the environment It was the spirit of a young and hopeful political refugee in Trieste, Italy in 1951 that was noticed by Canadian officials and resulted in Claudio Guarnaschelli’s invitation to come to Canada. The same spirit and passion is still behind Dr. Guarnaschelli’s recent contribution to graduate education at UBC: a donation of $100,000 to set up a research Dr. Claudio Guarnaschelli scholarship endowment to fund engineering graduate students interested in issues of water quality and waste water reclamation. “We need to take better care of our air and water,” he says adamantly. “They are two of the most fundamental elements of life.” He’s concerned that not enough action is being taken on environmental issues, and not enough concern is paid to our resources. “We need to think in terms of future generations, avoid environmental abuses and apply sound technologies to clean up our polluted sites,” he says. He hopes his research scholarship, which is directed to graduate students in Civil, Chemical and Biological, or Mining Engineering, will encourage

applied research in water quality and help ensure a cleaner and more viable future for our society. After arriving in Canada in 1952, Guarnaschelli moved from Montreal to a farm in Manitoba and then to Calgary where he joined Imperial Oil, which assisted him in obtaining his first degree. He found his first research work so interesting that he returned to school and earned both a master’s degree (University of Alberta) and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, specializing in Extractive Metallurgy. He worked for many years for Environment Canada, as a private consultant and served briefly as an adjunct professor at UBC. This research scholarship is a tribute to the career that he believed in so passionately; and now through the endowment, he is assured that more research will be carried on for years to come. Guarnaschelli has a deep respect for nature and the environment, one that he hopes will be taken up by graduate students who will devise creative solutions to current water quality issues. In stimulating the minds of tomorrow’s research engineers, he will continue to give back to the country that has seen a life well lived and enjoyed, from initial hardship to personal and professional success. “Life is beautiful,” he says passionately. “Don’t mess it up.” The Dr. C. Guarnaschelli Research Scholarship, valued at $5,000 annually, will first be awarded in fall 2005.


Students & Professors Congratulations to the 95 students who graduated from UBC with a B.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 2004-05. The top CIVL graduate from our 4th-year program was Tim Ho, the winner of the Skalbania Prize, which goes to the top academic achiever in the Civil Engineering graduating class.

Kudos also to Paul Storer who was awarded the Faculty of Applied Science Prize of Academic Excellence, and Godwin Wong who received the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) Achievement Award. More good news was announced at the Civil Club 4

end-of-year beer garden celebration. Professors Bernard Laval, Rob Millar and Don Mavinic were selected as the year’s Top Professors in our second, third and fourth-year programs, respectively. Thanks to the Civil Club, each awardee received a certificate and a bottle of beverage that required a corkscrew for opening.

460 mm diameter steel pipeline for axial pullout with Professor Dharma

Full-scale model testing facility for

One of the actuators of the new

Wijewickreme (left) and Hamid Karimian (right)

soil-pipe interaction research

100-tonne loading system


testing facility for soil-pipe interaction research

Buried pipeline systems form a key part of our global lifeline infrastructure, and any significant disruption to the performance of these systems often translates into undesirable impacts on businesses, economies, and/or the living conditions of citizens. Although sheltered from exposure to atmospheric elements or other above-ground hazards, one of the major risks to buried pipelines arises from landslides and earthquakeinduced ground movements. With his extensive firsthand experience from geotechnical engineering practice related to seismic evaluation of lifelines, Professor Dharma Wijewickreme, P.Eng., has launched a major research initiative to investigate the soil-pipe interaction problem. The central feature of this initiative is the establishment of a full-scale

physical model testing facility in the Civil Engineering Department, primarily with funding from Terasen Gas Inc., Surrey, BC. The facility comprises a largefootprint (3 m x 5 m) testing chamber that permits simulating ground movements up to one meter on buried pipeline configurations. The testing chamber has the flexibility to test most typical pipe sizes and configurations. In collaboration with Doug Honegger Consulting, California, USA, Wijewickreme has also received funding from Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI), in turn, allowing the upgrading of the in-house loading system to a 100-tonne capacity. The current research work related to the above system is focused on two main areas. Performance of buried polyethylene (PE) natural gas piping subjected to lateral ground movements. This research is aimed at generating fundamental 5

information for the development of guidelines and criteria to determine soil displacement magnitudes associated with safe operational stress limits of PE piping configurations. The work is directly contributing to the evaluation of existing natural gas distribution system(s) located in landslide prone areas of British Columbia. Evaluation of methods to reduce forces on buried pipelines. This work is involved in developing a basic understanding of the vulnerability of buried pipelines across earth fault crossings. The work will provide insight to the development of mitigative solutions to this relatively common problem faced by the oil and gas industry in earthquake-prone areas. With the work undertaken so far, one M.A.Sc. thesis (Chris Anderson’s) has been completed, and another M.A.Sc. student (Lalinda

Weerasekera) and Ph.D. student (Hamid Karimian) are currently engaged in the research activities. The research program has also opened up new collaborative opportunities between the Department’s geotechnical and structural engineering groups, and Professor Carlos Ventura, P.Eng., with his expertise in relation to earthquake structural engineering has already joined in this research effort complementing Wijewickreme’s geotechnical background. With the availability of the large shake table in the Department’s new Earthquake Engineering Research Facility (EERF), planning is currently underway to conduct shake table studies of full-scale pipe-soil systems that would enable simulating more complex loading conditions and pipeline configurations.

Water, water, everywhere! Ensuring its quality for our future Faculty Members engaged in Hydrotechnical Engineering and Environmental Fluid Mechanics Research include Professors Bernard Laval, Barbara Lence, Greg Lawrence, and Rob Millar. Their research activities span a wide range of areas including water resources management and environmental systems modeling, dynamics of natural and constructed lakes and reservoirs, and river behaviour and dynamics. This work entails computational, laboratory and field-based research projects.

From left: Ed Carmack (IOS) and Christina James (M.A.Sc. grad 2005) measuring water temperature at the bottom of Quesnel Lake, the deepest lake in BC and 2nd deepest in Canada. They are working with Professor Laval, who is studying the dynamics to better understand variation in water temperature in the Quesnel River.

Environmental Fluid Mechanics with Professors Laval and Lawrence

processes such as circulation and irreversible mixing. Examples include trapping of nutrients behind upstream reservoirs, nutrient supply to the photic zone supporting phytoplankton and fisheries food supply, effluent dispersal in lakes and coastal waters, and the path of contaminants (such as E. Coli and Cryptosporidium) to drinking water supply intakes and beaches. The EFM group focuses on the description and understanding of the physical dynamics of water bodies with the aim of developing numerical models for the prediction of climate and human impacts on lake circulation. The Environmental Fluid Mechanics group comprises Professors Greg Lawrence and Bernard Laval whose expertise spans analytical, numerical, laboratory and field methods. Lawrence founded the group in 1989. Laval joined the group in 2002, and his main research interests focus on lake circulation and dynamics using field and 3D modeling techniques. Development and validation of numerical models requires extensive field data. Using unmanned submersibles to deliver scientific instruments through a water body, in combination with traditionally moored instruments, makes it possible to improve overall spatial resolution of measurements. The use of untethered, unmanned submersibles, or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), alleviates the need for bulky cables connected to a boat. Surprisingly there are no current AUV programs in lakes, whose relatively benign environments are ideally suited to AUV deployment. Thus, when Laval’s AUV arrives, many research opportunities await him and his students. Submarine missions planned for this coming summer include exploring mixing processes in the depths of British Columbia’s deepest lake (Quesnel Lake, 511 m maximum depth), and mapping the physical environment of Pavilion Lake, home to unique carbonate reef formations. The Quesnel Lake project is a collaboration with DFO scientists to help understand the ecosystem of this important salmon spawning ground, while the Pavilion Lake project is a collaboration with scientists at NASA-Ames exploring unique earlyEarth life forms with application to future Mars missions.

Water Resources Systems Analysis with Professor Lence

Although Canada has more water than most nations, fluctuations in the quantity and quality of our available water, due to climate change and other human influences, greatly affect Canadian life. Most water quality issues require an understanding of physical

In recent years, our criteria for design and operation of water resources projects, such as water supply, reservoirs, and flood control systems, and the institutions that govern these, are changing. It is widely accepted that if we are to make a gen-


Aerial view of the Fraser River at Chilliwack with calculated flow velocity vectors superimposed. The computational model is used to calculate water velocities, water levels, and erosion and erosion and deposition of gravel.

uine attempt at sustainable water use, we must develop adaptive facilities and operational strategies that maintain consistency in system performance under changing environmental conditions. Professor Barbara Lence develops methods of optimizing design and operational strategies of water resources projects. Much of this work is devoted to identifying solutions that are reliable and resilient in the face of stressors, and robust to non-stationary conditions. Non-stationary conditions may include sudden or monotonic changes over time of the statistical properties of the surface water flows, water demands, or other environmental conditions. They may result from controllable factors, such as changes in release schedules of upstream reservoirs, and uncontrollable factors such as climate change. Her current research focuses on developing water supply systems operational strategies. She is identifying: reliable withdrawal-treatment strategies for contaminated groundwater supply systems; asset management strategies for midsized water utilities with limited break data; and water distribution system operational procedures that are reliable in terms of meeting hydraulic and water quality objectives. Under the first project, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of New Brunswick, Lence is developing an adaptive approach for evaluating short- and long-term water withdrawal and treatment options for the City of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Fredericton has relied on groundwater since the mid-1950s, and the river-alluvial aquifer for this system, which is recharged by Saint John River, is currently experiencing high levels of chemical and biological contamination. River-alluvial aquifers are particularly important because they are commonly used for drinking water supplies due to their proximity to large populations. However, there is limited understanding of the natural mechanisms that impact water quality in these systems, and the combinatorial problem of selecting water supply and treatment options is complicated by this lack of information, the interrelationships between the withdrawal and treatment options, and the urgent need for sound public health decisions. Further considerations include shifts and trends in contaminant concentrations and available

yield at different locations and changes in water demands over time, and technological advances. This work will consider these factors and provide the city with the means of identifying preferred withdrawal- treatment options that minimize the cost of the various treatment alternatives, including pumping and monitoring costs; reduce the risk of contamination due to pathogens and the resulting risks to human health; and satisfy water supply demands.

Computational River Dynamics with Professor Millar Since taking up a faculty position in the department in 1996, Professor Rob Millar has worked to establish a research program in river hydraulics and engineering. To date, three doctoral and nine masters students have completed research degrees working on aspects of river engineering including restoration of rivers impacted by timber harvesting, hydrodynamic modeling, assessment of in-stream habitat, and acoustic measurement of sediment transport. The current focus of the research group is computational modeling. Three recent technological developments have converged to permit application of relatively complex and sophisticated computational models to simulate river processes and dynamics: surveying technologies such as global positioning systems, sonar technologies and air-borne systems such as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), which allow detailed mapping of large areas of river channel at relatively low cost; acoustic flow velocity measurement devices, namely the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), which are boatmounted and used to obtain high quality velocity and current information; and finally, powerful computational software that can now run quickly and efficiently on a desktop computer. The developments in these three areas mean that we can now collect data needed to set up, calibrate and verify detailed computational models of river hydrodynamics–not only for advanced research purposes, but increasingly for river management and river engineering studies and design. Currently Millar, together with colleagues at UBC, Simon Fraser University, The University of Alberta and DHI Water continued on page 8


Co-op student learns the importance of

communication skills Florence Ho didn’t always want to be a civil engineer. Her first career aspirations were for graphic design, but she thought she may have a hard time earning a living. Her back up plan was to be a financial accountant, but it wasn’t until she took physics in Grade 11 that she had an idea of her true calling. Like many fledgling engineers, she loved physics and excelled at math. Engineering seemed to be the right choice. She said she chose civil engineering because “…the material made sense to me more than any other kind of engineering. I can truly see the logic within and can understand the whole picture.”

As with many second-year Engineering Co-op students, finding her first co-op job was not easy. She applied for many without success. It wasn’t until a chance meeting at a Civil Engineering Industry night that things turned around. Florence met a Canadian Military Reserve Captain and they spent some time talking about the field of military engineering. Impressed, Florence ended up joining the Canadian Reserve as an Officer Cadet and spent the summer training in Chilliwack, a time she describes as very challenging. Florence returned to school looking forward to finally getting her first co-op work term. This time around she was successful and secured an eight month position with Albian Sands Energy Inc. in Fort McMurray. Florence is responsible for producing various design drawings and updating survey data in the geotechnical database. One of the most important things Florence learned is the importance of communication skills: “If you are able to successfully interpret your ideas and are able to be open minded about others’ opinions, it not only makes the project more successful, but also more delightful,” said Florence. Florence has impressed her team leader, Isabelle Dostaler, P.Eng., “Albian Sands is pleased to have Florence working in its Tailings and Geotechnical Engineering Group. So far, Florence has integrated well within the team and is working very efficiently on all tasks assigned to her. She has shown an interest in learning new things and attacks every task with enthusiasm”. For more information about the UBC Civil Engineering Co-op program please contact Shawn Swallow at 604-8220642 or Shawn.Swallow@ubc.ca.

Water, water, everywhere... continued from page 7 and Environment in Denmark are collaborating in model development and application to the Lower Fraser River between Mission and Hope.

This modeling is being used to develop long-term, sustainable management practices that address issues including flooding, bank erosion, gravel mining and navigation, while preserving and maintaining the rich riverine ecology of the Fraser River.

The model is also used to develop and assess a variety of management options, including gravel removal, and to forecast future channel changes and sites of erosion and deposition. These results are being used by a


range of organisations such as BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Fraser Basin Council and municipalities along the Fraser Valley.

wins Graduate Teaching Assistant Prize

Mehdi Kharrazi In recognition of the valuable role that teaching assistants play in the education of undergraduate students, UBC annually awards teaching prizes to seven teaching assistants across campus. Considering that UBC employs about 1,500 teaching assistants, this prestigious award is a highly regarded honour for aspiring teachers and academics. Last year, one of the Department’s most dedicated teaching assistants, Mehdi H. K. Kharrazi, was a recipient of the UBC Graduate Teaching Assistant Prize, in recognition of excellence in a wide array of teaching activities.

Kharrazi has made an impact on many students in a large variety of courses, such as Mechanics in Civil Engineering Design (CIVL 228), Steel and Timber Design (CIVL 331), Plane Surveying (235), and Seismic Response of Structures (CIVL 505). Following several years of tutoring in the Steel and Timber Design course, he was entrusted with the instruction of the course, while Professor Prion, his teaching mentor, was on sabbatical. He still plays a pivotal role as design project manager in this project-based course, where third-year students are introduced to the real world of engineering design, from concept development

UBC Provost Lorne Whitehead and Teaching Assistant prizewinner Mehdi Kharrazi

to detail drawings. He brings enthusiasm and energy to the classroom or laboratory and has the natural ability to connect with people at all levels. Kharrazi, a Ph.D. candidate in the earthquake engineering area, also gets involved in numerous laboratory projects in

addition to his thesis research on steel plate shear wall systems. His ultimate goal is to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a university professor, where he sees himself involved in research, teaching and professional practice.

Flashback Faculty from 1949 Gather in 1974 By today’s standards, the Department of Civil Engineering was a completely different unit in the postWorld War II years when the Class of 1949 graduated. At that time, John Norison Finlayson simultaneously served as Professor and Head of Civil Engineering and Dean of Applied Science. The Department’s faculty complement comprised four professors, five associate professors and 17 instructors and part-time lecturers. The accompanying photo shows seven of these thirsty gentlemen some 25

years later at the silver anniversary reunion of the Civil Class of ’49. In 1949 from left to right: Associate Professor Wilf Heslop (concrete structures), Associate Professor Ted Pretious (hydrotechnical), Associate Professor Archie Peebles (transportation and soil mechanics), future UBC President Walter Gage, then Dean of Administrative and InterFaculty Affairs (engineering mathematics), Associate Professor Alex Hrennikoff (structural engineering) Associate Professor Sybron

DeJong (surveying) and Instructor Harry Bell (surveying).


The photograph was kindly provided by Knute Soros (Civil ’49).


Meet the faces of Civil Engineering at UBC

Dr. Jacqueline Jenkins joined the department as Assistant Professor in June 2004. She holds a B.A.Sc. degree in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo and M.E. and Ph.D. degrees from Texas A&M University. Specializing in transportation, she is especially interested in how user behavior is considered in the planning, design, and operation of transportation facilities. At Texas A&M University, Jenkins conducted several driver behavior studies using a high-fidelity, fixed-base, driving simulator. One study focused on quantifying the

impact of the intensity of cellular phone conversations on drivers’ vehicle control, including the perception and reaction time for an emergency braking situation. Her doctoral work was focused on integrating the driving simulator with a proprietary traffic simulation program, which would allow test drivers in the driving simulator to interact with the vehicles generated and controlled by the traffic simulation. The resulting integrated simulation was applied to study the passing behavior of drivers on two lane highways, where the size and speed of the impeding vehicle was varied between experiment trials.

At UBC, Jenkins is developing a research program where she will be using advanced technologies to capture naturalistic behavior. She aims to identify links between user behavior and the transportation environment and to quantify these relationships through empirical studies. The results will be used to identify needed changes in the planning, design, and operation practices of the transportation industry.

Dr. Sheng Li began teaching hydrotechnical courses in 2002 and has taught Coastal Engineering, Turbulent Fluid Dynamics and Numerical Methods in Computational Hydraulics. After completing his undergraduate study of oceanography in China, Li went to Norway for graduate studies. He attended the master’s and doctoral programs in the Department of Civil Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, and there earned his Sivilingeniør and Dr.Ing. degrees.

At NTNU, Li performed research on 3D hydrodynamics modeling and shear flow instability. He developed computational and dataassimilation techniques for applications to density-stratified flow and turbulent mixing problems in estuarine and coastal waters, which have been used extensively as modeling tools in BC and Southeast Asian countries. He has worked as a project engineer with the Oceanographic Company of Norway in Trondheim, and as a consultant with Seaconsult Marine Research in Vancouver. He was one of the principal participants to an oil spilling modeling and training project that won the

2000 Canada Award for International Co-operation – Transportation. Li’s research at UBC is concerned with modeling river-flow and morphology changes, and experimental and numerical analyses of exchange flow. His work on the Fraser River sediment transport represents the first attempt at computing a distributed gravel budget for the gravel reach of the river using a hydrodynamic model. Li utilizes his professional, industrial and research experience in his teaching, offering students opportunities to analyze in-situ data and to work on problems of practical and local relevance.


Mehdi Jalayer began his studies in civil engineering at UBC in 1998. He participated in the UBC Engineering Co-op program after his first year of studies and received the Top Student in Civil Engineering Award after graduating with distinction in 2003. Jalayer joined the graduate program at UBC in 2003 and is currently working with Professor Stiemer on risk analysis of fabrication and construction of steel structures. He is also a recipient of a prestigious NSERC Industrial Partnership Scholarship in with AMEC Dynamic Structures, a leading steel engineering and fabricating company in BC.

Jalayer started at AMEC during his final Co-op work term and joined the company as an EIT after finishing his undergraduate degree. He gained experience in construction engineering of steel structures while working on AMEC’s unique projects such as the award winning AMGEN HELIX Pedestrian Bridge in Seattle and the Space Mountain rollercoaster at Disneyland. In the framework of his master’s studies, Jalayer was exposed to practical involvement with the HELIX Bridge Project including design of falsework systems, implementing geometry correction of bridge arches, engineering lift operations and directing field crews for

adjusting bridge geometry during construction. Jalayer’s work at Space Mountain involved computing the geometry correction data and generating survey coordinates for approximately 2500 feet of track. His role at Disneyland was equivalent to a resident engineer looking after the positioning and alignment of the track and support structure. Some of his experience is shared online at: http://sigi.civil.ubc.ca/stiem er/beyond/titlepage.htm

Ernest Naesgaard is a Sessional Lecturer and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering at UBC. Naesgaard attributes his career interest in geological engineering to Professor Kucera’s Geology 150 lectures at UBC and summer adventures working for the Geological Survey of Canada in the Canadian arctic. Naesgaard started his career at Endako Mines on an open-pit slope-groundwater study. He then joined Macleod Geotechnical as its first employee in 1976. He remained there until 2000, at which time he was halfowner of the company with approximately thirty employees.

Naesgaard has designed the foundations for numerous buildings, bridges, civil works and water-edge structures in British Columbia and the Yukon. Following completion of a masters degree at UBC in 1988, he developed a specialty in seismic design. Notable projects include: the seismic upgrade design of the Oak Street, Lions Gate, Port Mann, Pitt River and Okanagan Bridges; the George Massey Tunnel; and the domestic terminal building at the Vancouver airport. Other career highlights for Naesgaard include winning the Vancouver Geotechnical Society annual award and life membership, as well as a research grant

from BC Science Council to conduct full scale load tests emulating the lateral behaviour of piles during an earthquake. Together with Drs. John Clague of the Geological Survey of Canada and Alex Sy of Klohn Crippen, Naesgaard discovered and documented extensive sand dyke features in the Fraser Delta – the first geological evidence of a past major earthquake and soil liquefaction the delta. In 2003 Naesgaard returned to UBC to pursue a Ph.D., working under Professor Peter Byrne. His research is focused on the numerical modeling and behaviour of earthquake induced soil liquefaction.


Events & Achievements Professor Perry Adebar was selected as the recipient of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC’s 2004 Meritorious Achievement Award for “his groundbreaking work developing improved analytical models for structural concrete.”

Former-PCWM M.A.Sc. student Alex Forrest was recognized by the Canadian Association on Water Quality with the 2004 Philip H. Jones Award for the best oral presentation at the Western Canadian Symposium on Water Quality Research, held in Whistler, May 2004.

Professor Nemy Banthia was featured in the May 2004 edition of BC Business as one of “25 ‘newcomers’ who are putting B.C. on the map as a centre of creativity and innovation and boosting our reputation on the world stage as a city to reckon with.”

Graduate student Aurelie Goater was awarded the 2003 CSCE Hydrotechnical Engineering Award for her M.A.Sc. thesis entitled ‘Dispersion of Heavy Particles in an Isolated Pancake-like Vortex’, completed under the supervision of Professor Greg Lawrence.

Banthia was also awarded the 2004 Distinguished Researcher Award jointly by the Korean Concrete Institute and Seoul National University. The citation reads: “... for his profound contributions to the field of concrete under severe conditions...” Professor Emeritus Peter Byrne received the Gzowski Medal from the CSCE for his paper entitled “Numerical model verification and calibration of George Massey Tunnel using centrifuge models,” co-authored with Ph.D. student, Ernest Naesgaard and others. Professor Jonathan Fannin, was recognized by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) when he was named the 16th Terzaghi Fellow. In announcing the award, NGI indicated that Fannin is the only person to have been awarded both the highly competitive NTNF postdoctoral fellowship of the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (1986), and a Terzaghi Fellowship (2004).

Professor Terje Haukaas, received the 2004 Civil Engineering Graduate Student Society Faculty Award “For making a positive impact on the learning experience in the Department of Civil Engineering.” Professor Michael Isaacson received the 2005 Julian C. Smith Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada for his achievement in the development of Canada. Professor Jacqueline Jenkins was the winner of an international contest sponsored by the German company IBEO Automobile Sensor GmbH. She was awarded an LD ML laserscanner for her entry on capturing naturalistic driver behaviour. Professor Don Mavinic has been elected a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada. In recognition of his long-time service to engineering, Mavinic was named as a CSCE/SCGC Fellow by the Institute.

The Department of Civil Engineering is now the home of the first student chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute to be chartered outside of the United States. Congratulations to CoPresidents Chris Meisl and Andrew Seeton, with help from Professor Carlos Ventura, in seeing the chapter established. Professor Emeritus Bill Oldham was awarded the Gordon Maskew Fair Medal for Outstanding Service in Engineering Education, by the U.S.-based Water Environment Federation at its annual conference on October 5, 2004 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Professor Helmut Prion was honored with the 2004 Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. This award is intended to “recognize an exemplary contribution to the teaching and learning of the engineering profession at Canadian universities.” M.A.Sc student David Roche received the National Canadian Water Resources Association Award for Graduate Research in Water Resources, for his graduate work completed under the supervision of Professor Barbara Lence. Professor Alan Russell received the 2005 E. Whitman Award from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering for his outstanding contributions to the development of computer applications in civil engineering.

civil@ubc is published by the Department of Civil Engineering in The Faculty of Applied Science at The University of British Columbia.

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Profile for UBC Engineering

civil@UBC 2005  

Civil Engineering Newsletter 2005

civil@UBC 2005  

Civil Engineering Newsletter 2005


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