Canadian steel’s premiere event set for Calgary

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by Peter Caulfield

Steel will be front and centre in Calgary in late September thanks to the 2017 Canadian Steel Conference taking place at the Hyatt Regency.
Canadian steel’s premiere event set for Calgary

"Over 300 attendees from across Canada will be in Calgary for the conference," said Tareq Ali, spokesman of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC), which is organizing and presenting the conference taking place from Sept. 27-29.

"There will be representatives of construction companies, steel companies, architects and engineers — the steel industry and its suppliers and stakeholders."

Ali says the conference is the Canadian steel industry's only business development and executive networking event and the largest gathering of its senior level leaders and decision makers.

This year's edition of the annual conference will feature a trade show, with 20 exhibitors from across North America showing the latest steel industry products and services, and 30 technical educational sessions.

In his educational session, Ottawa lawyer Dan Leduc will be speaking about the basics of risk management and construction contracts.

"The three main risks that owners and contractors in the construction industry face today are time constraints and delay, incomplete or uncoordinated design, and (lagging) productivity," said Leduc.

Fortunately, those risks can be mitigated in a construction contract.

"Allocate those risks to the appropriate party who can best manage the particular risk," said Leduc.

Traditionally, however, allocation of risk and construction contracts has been by "aversion and avoidance."

"The owner shoves all risks down onto the general contractor, who in turn takes a bundle of risks and shoves it down onto the subcontractors," he said.

In his 45-minute presentation, Leduc will stress the importance of always reading contracts.

"Unfortunately, most construction people don't read their contracts," he said. "In my talk, I'll give some examples of the inappropriate downloading of risks that is going on in the industry."

CISC director of engineering Alfred Wong will be discussing new and future steel products and designs.

"A new era has arrived," said Wong. "Modern steel making technology has raised the strength levels of common structural steel products that are used to construct buildings, bridges and many other structures."

For example, Wong says, producers are making "significantly larger" sections of steel, which eliminates the requirement, in many applications, for costly built-up sections.

Many of these products and their applications are already recognized in the relevant codes and standards.

"Despite these innovations, have users and consumers been able to capitalize on all of them?," said Wong. "There is a learning curve and much for them to be learned in practice as well as in theory."

Paul King, vice-president engineering of Rapid-Span Structures Ltd. in Armstrong, B.C., Katherine Hikita of the City of Calgary and Nathan Murdoch of CH2M Engineering will be discussing the 12th Street Bridge project in Calgary.

Built in 1908, the bridge spans the Bow River on the south side of St. George's Island and connects downtown Calgary with the city's popular zoo.

Because it was deteriorating, the old bridge needed to be replaced.

After rounds of community engagement and consultation, the City of Calgary decided to build a steel bridge that resembled the first structure as much as possible, in order to retain the historic feel of the original crossing.

King says the trio's presentation will be of interest to a wide audience.

"It was a technically challenging, high-profile project that showcases the benefits of selecting structural steel as a construction material," he said.

King said the design team had to take into consideration several factors, including constructability, aesthetics and economics.

"In addition, the presentation will discuss the decision making process that led to the selection of steel box girders," King said. "We will discuss how collaboration, from early in the design process and through all stages of construction, led to successful project that came in on time and on budget." The presenters will also show the technical challenges of fabricating, delivering and erecting the girders.

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