The British Columbia chapter of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC-BC) showcased its members signature projects at the 29th annual Awards for Engineering Excellence gala, held earlier this month in Vancouver.
“We’re very excited about this year’s awards. Once again, it’s just an outstanding display of the work that’s done by B.C. engineers, not just in the province but across Canada and around the world,” said ACEC-BC president Keith Sashaw.
The awards are given out in the categories of buildings, municipal and civil infrastructure; transportation and bridges; energy and industry; natural resources and habitat; soft engineering; and a new category, projects under $2.5 million. Each category gives out awards in two sub-categories, merit and excellence.
In the building category, the award of merit went to Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. for the City of Vancouver’s Seismic Upgrade Using External Buckling Restrained Bracing project. The 1975-vintage building, a two-directional four-storey steel moment frame over two storeys of basement constructed with precast concrete, needed to be seismically upgraded. Ausenco used buckling restrained bracing along with fibre-reinforced polymers to strengthen precast floors and connect them to sheer walls.
The award of excellence for buildings went to Fast + Epp for the Tallwood House at Brock Commons project, an 18-storey, 400-bed student residence on the University of British Columbia campus which is recognized as the tallest mass timber hybrid building in the world currently. The project also won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence.
In the municipal infrastructure category, WSP|Opus’s work on the Town of Ladysmith’s wastewater treatment plant won for merit, given challenging space restrictions as well as involvement from initial development of a liquid wastewater plan in 2013 through to the completion of construction of a new multilevel building in 2017.
The excellence award went to Stantec’s work on the Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.
Part of the Army Corps $14.6-billion effort to repair damage sustained during and after Hurricane Katrina and to improve resiliency was the canal project, a $690-million design-build effort with Stantec acting as lead design engineer and architect.
Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. won for merit in the transportation and bridges category for the City of Chilliwack’s Vedder Bridge Replacement Design Build project, a new bridge with two spans which is the first steel arch bridge launched using the kingpost method.
McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. also won an award of merit for their work on the 4,350-metre Veer Kunwar Singh Bridge which opened in June 2017 in the Indian city of Patna.
“I think (the global scope of projects) speaks to the calibre of work done by B.C. engineers, the calibre of innovation they bring to projects. It’s very exciting to see that,” Sashaw said.
Two awards of excellence were also given out in the transportation and bridges category. The Angus L. Macdonald Bridge Suspended Spans Superstructure Replacement won by COWI North America Ltd. and the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, a joint project by Tetra Tech Inc. and Stantec for the government of the Northwest Territories.
The Angus L. Macdonald Bridge connects Halifax and Dartmouth and the main scope of work involved removing and replacing 20-metre-and 10-metre-long deck segments and raising the bridge superstructure to accommodate larger vessels. The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway connects the two communities as well as links the Arctic Ocean to the rest of Canada.
Stantec won for merit in the energy and industry category for the Brucejack Mine Power Transmission Line, a single circuit, 138-kilovolt transmission line north of Stewart, B.C., which supplies power to the Brucejack Mine for the next 30 years.
The award of excellence went to WSP|Opus for the YVR Flywheel Energy Storage and Airfield Critical Power System at Vancouver International Airport, a critical back-up power system using flywheel energy-storage technology for the airport’s north airfield lighting system.
Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. also won in the natural resources and habitat category with an award of merit for BC Hydro’s Salmon River Diversion Decommissioning, an aging structure built in 1958 that the utility deemed of marginal economic benefit to rehabilitate. Parsons took the award of excellence for natural resources and habitat for the Cowichan River Flood Protection Program, which it undertook for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Cowichan Tribes, the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan.
In the soft engineering category, the award of merit went to Tetra Tech Inc. for work on the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Semi-Automated Roadway Corridor Asset Inventory Collection project, and another award of merit was given to Urban Systems Ltd. for the Service Sustainability Assessment Tool for Canadian Communities they implemented for the City of Grand Forks.
The award of excellence in soft engineering went to WSP Canada Inc. for strategic sustainability consulting and project management for the Vancouver Convention Centre West.
In the new category, projects under $2.5 million, the first winner in the category for merit was the Pachena Point Lighthouse Restoration by Goal Engineering Ltd. for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. For excellence, the YVR Apron VI LED Lighting Upgrade for the Vancouver Airport Authority undertaken by Omni Engineering Inc. was the winner.
“It’s important to recognize that engineers play a critical role in small projects. This was the first year we’ve offered this category. We had seven entries and it’s really impressive to see the work that’s done by engineers on small projects,” Sashaw added.
Along with the main categories, several special awards were given out at the gala.
The Meritorious Achievement award went to Ahmet Ulker, P.Eng from AES Engineering Ltd. for his long and notable service in British Columbia’s engineering community.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Young Professional award went to Graham Lovely, P.Eng of LEED AP BD+C of MCW Consultants Ltd. to recognize the achievements of his first decade in engineering along with excellence in consulting business practices, leadership and achievements in the field.
The City of Coquitlam won the 2018 Client of the Year award. In a release, ACEC-BC stated, “In an industry where price is often the determinant factor rather than qualifications, and where engineering services are often viewed as a commodity, the City of Coquitlam is setting an excellent example of valuing the professional services that consulting engineers provide via qualification-based selection.”