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Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada looks at sustainable infrastructure

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by Patricia Williams last update:Oct 3, 2014

With an eye to the future, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC) has commissioned a report dealing with sustainable infrastructure.

President John Gamble said the document, to be released this fall, is intended to raise “the level of knowledge and literacy” in this sphere, both in the consulting engineering community and elsewhere.

“We see this as a vehicle to help educate clients and other stakeholders that are grappling with the question of sustainability,” he said in an interview.

The report is being authored by former ACEC chair and International Federation of Consulting Engineers president John Boyd, who has been a champion of sustainable development at the international level. A “mature” first draft has been completed.

Speaking at the ACEC’s annual summit, Boyd said the study “will provide a statement on where we are in terms of this subject, look at some of the tools that are out there to help us perhaps produce better projects from a sustainability perspective and make some suggestions on interacting with clients.”

During the course of his research, Boyd looked at some 85 different sustainability tools, ultimately focusing on four systems developed in France, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The intent was to see if any could be applied in Canada.

One of the systems that was analyzed was a rating system for engineering projects developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers in conjunction with the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Public Works Association.

While all four systems are potentially useful, Boyd said he will be recommending “an engineering-specific” approach that doesn’t deal with an assessment of a project’s level of sustainability but rather provides guidelines on types of items that need to be considered in designing sustainable infrastructure.

Once completed, the document will be made available to other organizations with a stake in infrastructure development, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Public Works Association and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Gamble said ACEC also plans to submit the report to Infrastructure Canada for its consideration, as the agency moves forward with development of a new long-term infrastructure plan to replace the Building Canada program.

last update:Oct 3, 2014

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