All posts by Katie Daniel

6Dimension BIM and beyond: A material supplier’s perspective

6Dimension BIM and beyond: A material supplier’s perspective

by Matthew D. Carli
Understanding construction has meant a cryptic world with a backbone of sweat and heavy work for as long as people have built structures, which undoubtedly has produced rewarding buildings all over the world. However, the near future will make this world seem as backwards as not being able to flag a taxi via an app. Building information modelling (BIM) and its increasing dimensions, like integrated supply chain, providing full integration from design and installation to use will be digitalized, which is where the author, as a material supplier, gets excited. This digitalization of construction, along with having data points on the jobsite—even post-installation—combined with new installation systems like 3D construction printers or offsite construction solutions are quickly creating an environment for development the construction materials world has only dreamed of. While much is still in beta theory currently, technology adaptation will hit the construction world at an exponential rate as it makes up for lost years of stagnated productivity. The momentum is already picking up, as investors in drones and 3D printing and top tech companies are entering the space.

New technologies such as 5D BIM or 3D concrete printing (3DCP) are not yet commonplace, but are gaining traction, as the adoption curves have already been set in motion. These kinds of digital and automated technologies have the interest of investors, the tech community, large construction players, and those who have been searching for solutions to address productivity gaps, all creating a platform that will push the limits of what construction materials have meant in the past.

Productivity gains can be encouraged and embraced by various forces. Government entities, trade groups, and others in the construction sector are pushing to integrate—or at the very least consider—new technologies. In 2009, Wisconsin became the first state in the United States to require the use of BIM on state-funded projects of a certain size. Trade associations like the Modular Building Institute (MBI) are encouraging innovation within the industry by promoting permanent modular construction (PMC) technologies, with a goal of five per cent commercial market share by 2020. In 2011, Singapore established a building innovation panel, tasked with the evaluation and approval of innovative construction products and methods. The government of the United Arab Emirates, with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as the Prime Minister, has launched the ‘Dubai 3D Printing Strategy’ with the intent of becoming the leading hub for 3D printing technology by 2030. All over the world there is evidence of the exploration of/desire for improved productivity/efficiencies, giving validity to what economists have been saying for years of the labour and productivity threats to construction. World leaders have turned these threats into opportunities to place their city or country on the map of progress.

Offsite prefabrication is an example where the potential for new material development is directly related to the potential of all the dimensions of BIM modelling and a single, integrated digital environment seamlessly sharing project information across all parties from material manufacturer and designers to supply chain and installers. This exchange of information, combined with a climate-controlled jobsite free of contaminants and the reduction of numerous other variables means one can develop and optimize products to a level of precision previously unthinkable. Then, as the cycle continues and the design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA), concept is applied, building professionals get an end result that is both customizable and reproducible, making design dreams economically feasible with higher productivity than current construction methods—a win-win all around. From a material perspective this means a collaborative space for development of technologies like robotic installations or ultraviolet- (UV) cured system.

Future materials is not the only area where BIM will be changing construction, the latent benefit of technical expertise properly integrated into selection and specification choices means getting the right product for the job. For example, Laticrete is sitting on 62 years of collective industry knowledge, and testing data currently entering the market in the form of massive submittal packages, data sheets, safety data sheets, submittals for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating program, and more, that get read slightly more often than user agreements for smartphones. Imagine where all this collective intelligence would be fully integrated into the BIM objects themselves, making users’ source experts. Systems will aid in selecting the right material based on a myriad of characteristics including weight, compatibility, and environmental impact.

Combining past knowledge, real-time data, and future product development means the construction process of tomorrow will be a calculated production effort, leveraging the strengths of all the aforementioned knowledge base that (pardon the pun) creates a structured platform for the future of architecture. So, from a material supplier’s perspective, BIM and other technologies entering the construction world are welcomed with open arms, as they present a platform to showcase the potential of what material science can do.

BIM and other consolidated platforms in construction will eventually be used by all in the construction value chain facilitating sophisticated designs in a seamless co-ordinated fashion. Even going further on this integrated exchange is the ability to simply click, print, and have buildings constructed robotically. The building-on-demand (BOD) is an example of the future that is already here; the first printed building in Europe was the brainchild of Henrik Lund-Nielsen (Denmark). He is part of a growing focus on 3D construction printing, again getting the material supply side excited to push their labs towards the optimal mortars for these new constructors. The downstream is even more promising, as new materials emerge for 3D-printed barracks on the battlefields to reduce the risk for soldiers, structures on the moon using locally-sourced materials, or buildings constructed in their own footprint, be it on top of a mountain or under the sea; the potential material demands grow with each new case.

While some of this may sound like a utopian environment, and the author agrees, this future exchange of integrated designs, schedules, costing, supply chain, and more is simply what the future market will expect. Managers and owners will expect the same information to make decisions like one sees in the myriad of dashboards quantifying the rest of the world around us, so why would construction be any different? Change never comes easy, but from the perspective of the construction material world, BIM and all its future dimensions gives a source of excitement to truly implementable technological breakthroughs the author personally cannot wait to see.

Matthew Carli is an avid world traveller, passionate about people, nature, food, and quickly becoming a futurist upon seeing the potential opportunities within construction technology. Working in strategy and business development at Laticrete International, he dedicates a large percentage of his time working to crack the puzzle to how we can integrate technological advancements into the flooring industry.

About Laticrete
Laticrete is a leading manufacturer of globally-proven construction solutions for the building industry. It offers a broad range of products and systems covering tile and stone installation and care, masonry installation and care, resinous and decorative floor finishes, concrete construction chemicals, and concrete restoration and care including the Laticrete Supercap System. For nearly 60 years, Laticrete has been committed to research and development of innovative installation products, building a reputation for superior quality, performance, and customer service. Laticrete methods, materials, and technology have been field- and laboratory-proven by architects, engineers, contractors, and owners. Offering an array of products with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Laticrete systems contribute to LEED certification, exceed commercial/residential VOC building requirements, and are backed by the most comprehensive warranties in the industry.

All information listed in this section was submitted by Laticrete International.
Kenilworth Media Inc. and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) cannot assume responsibility for errors of relevance,
fact or omission. The publisher nor CSC does not endorse any products featured in this article.

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Ontario’s new construction act: Summary and timelines of major changes

By Catherine E. Willson
Ontario’s Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017 was passed in December 2017, but the changes will be rolled out later this year and during 2019 as the various elements of the act are proclaimed. The overhaul of Ontario’s construction regulatory framework includes prompt payment rules. Even though the legislation applies only to Ontario, the implementation of prompt payment rules is expected to be closely watched by other jurisdictions across Canada.

The changes will also modernize the lien and holdback process, and set out a new adjudication process to resolve payment disputes. (For more on the adjudication process, see Construction Canada, December 2017,

It is expected changes to the lien and holdback process will take effect first, sometime after June, followed by the prompt payment rules and the new adjudication process.

Prompt payment
The section of the act relating to prompt payment sets out short timelines for the payment of contractor and subcontractor invoices. The payer is required to make payments in accordance with the timelines, unless it provides a notice of non-payment. Amounts not paid in accordance with the timelines will accrue interest at a specified rate. The prompt payment regime applies to both private and public contracts.

The trigger for payment is the delivery of a proper invoice to the owner. A proper invoice is provided on a monthly basis, unless the contract specifies otherwise. A contract cannot make the giving of a proper invoice contingent upon payment certification or the prior approval of the invoice by the owner.

A proper payment invoice must contain the following information:

  • the contractor’s name and address;
  • the date of the proper invoice and the period during which services or materials were supplied;
  • information identifying the authority (typically the contract) under which services or materials were supplied;
  • description, including quantity, of the services or materials supplied;
  • the amount payable for services or materials supplied and payment terms;
  • the name, title, telephone number, and mailing address of the person to whom payment is to be sent; and
  • any other information that may be prescribed by the contract.

Payment period
Upon submission of a proper invoice, the owner shall pay the amount due within 28 days (unless the owner delivers a notice of non-payment).

A contractor who receives full payment of a proper invoice within the 28 days must, no later than seven days after receiving payment, pay each subcontractor who supplied services or materials included in the proper invoice.

A contractor who receives partial payment of a proper invoice must, no later than seven days after receiving payment, pay each subcontractor who supplied services or materials included in the proper invoice, the amount earmarked for that subcontractor or, where no amount is specifically identified, pay the subcontractors on a pro-rata basis.

Payment withheld
An owner who disputes a proper invoice can refuse to pay all or any portion of the proper invoice if, no later than 14 days after receiving the proper invoice, the owner gives the contractor a notice of non-payment (in the prescribed form and manner) specifying the amount not being paid and detailing all of the reasons for non-payment. If only a portion of the invoice is disputed, the owner must still pay the undisputed amount within 28 days.

As with an owner, a contractor can dispute a subcontractor’s entitlement to payment, in whole or in part, within the time specified if the contractor gives notice of non-payment to the subcontractor no later than seven days after receipt of a notice of non-payment from the owner or, if no notice is given by the owner, no later than 35 days after the proper invoice was given to the owner. The notice of non-payment again shall be made in the prescribed form and manner, detailing the amount not being paid and reasons for non-payment. The same applies to payments from subcontractors to subcontractors.

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Waterproofing for concrete parking structures: A comparison

All images courtesy RJC Engineers

By James Cooper, P.Eng., LEED AP O+M
Owners, engineers, and contractors involved in the design, operation, maintenance, and restoration of parking garages and building podium decks need to understand the role and importance of waterproofing systems in protecting these facilities. When there is a lack of proper attention to these systems, repair and maintenance costs increase and anticipated service lives suffer.

Methods of protection for parking garages and podium decks have evolved and changed dramatically over the past 30 years. Old ways of thinking and design have given way to new understandings of deterioration mechanisms and protection needs—some of which are reflected in new requirements in the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) S413, Parking Structures. The increased understanding of how moisture and de-icing salts accelerate deterioration in concrete and steel structures has encouraged growth in this sector. The long-term performance of these buildings is directly related to the effectiveness of the waterproof barriers utilized to prevent moisture and de-icing salt contamination, as well as the management of the salt-laden water entering the facility.

By effectively protecting the structure and maintaining waterproofing systems in a state of good repair, owners can slow down the rate of deterioration and allow for safe, uninterrupted use of the building for a long time. The structure’s protection also ensures stability in the value of the asset by limiting deterioration and closures, and reduces long-term capital expenditure costs. On the other hand, the failure of waterproofing systems often results in economic losses, including damage to building occupant vehicles, expensive structural repair costs, and opportunity losses during repair work as a result of parking garage closures. A functional waterproofing system is, therefore, the front line of defence for any structure subjected to vehicle use and de-icing salts.

Understand one’s needs
Deciding to protect a structure with a waterproofing system is a simple and necessary step. However, determining the specific waterproofing requirements to meet the structure’s needs for the long term is more difficult. It is important to understand the critical elements to look for in an effective waterproofing system.

Prevent leakage
The obvious purpose of a waterproofing system is to prevent the flow of water and dissolved salts into and through the structure onto vehicles or into the occupied space below. Careful consideration and effective detailing at termination points, drains, pipe penetrations, cracks, and joints are required.

An example of deterioration of a thick waterproofing system on a roof deck.

Prevent chloride (salt) ingress at cracks
Nearly all parking garage surfaces are concrete. With very little exception, concrete does one thing really well—cracking. An effective waterproofing system must therefore bridge cracks, which will open and close as a result of temperature changes and cyclical loading over the structure’s lifespan. If the system cannot continue to bridge cracks, it becomes an easy avenue for moisture and chlorides to circumvent a surface-applied waterproofing system.

Provide a non-slip surface
Slip resistance is important for vehicles and pedestrians as they travel through a structure. Health and safety of users is negatively impacted if a waterproofing system becomes slippery—when wet or with time. Therefore, initial and long-term slip resistance mechanisms are necessary.

Provide a durable wearing surface
A poorly designed waterproofing system can wear with use, or deteriorate due to specific environmental factors. Accelerated wear and deterioration may significantly impact performance and service life. A waterproofing system must withstand the aggressive environment in which it operates, retain adequate functionality, and meet its required service life. Worn waterproofing may quickly lose slip resistance, and deteriorated installations cannot effectively prevent moisture and chloride ingress into the structure. Critical areas with increased vehicle loading (e.g. loading docks, truck traffic areas, and drive aisles) often require more robust designs to meet similar service lives as other areas.

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Façades for the future

Image courtesy Engineered Assemblies

By Jeff Ker
Recent instances of extremes of weather have prompted conversations about issues that can no longer be ignored. Building façades, as the “front line” facing punishing weather systems, are a key focus of consideration when addressing designs for the future. Many current cladding choices have a long lifespan, causing the architectural community to consider whether façade designs will withstand the trajectory of more extreme weather on the way.

This author, along with John Kubassek of Engineered Assemblies, presented his perspective on façades for the future at a recent conference. The presentation has been adapted for print here, with the central focus of bridging design with the field of construction to look at the complete envelope system and encompass all areas of consideration that can contribute to a successful installation. That means taking a step away from day-to-day business as an individual specialist to consider the industry as a whole.

According to the author, there are three fundamental goals the industry should pursue:

  • create globally good habits;
  • address the realities of our environment
    (e.g. economics, construction, and weather); and
  • discuss how we need to build better, and smarter, to strengthen the market for quality solutions—for everyone’s benefit.

The automobile industry did an excellent job of showing us “tough isn’t the answer.” Years ago, cars were built heavier, with more mass, and they were designed to be tougher. When these older-model cars were involved in a collision, shockwaves went through the vehicle and, of course, gravitated to the lowest common denominator (the driver and any passengers). Not only were these cars built before fuel efficiency concerns, but they were also heavy to move and produced excessive exhaust fumes.

Fast-forward to today. Cars are a lot lighter with less mass, much more respectful of fuel efficiency, and have crumple zones and airbags. The suggestion is not modern cars are superior in all respects to what came before, but there has been substantial improvement, and it is due to smart engineering. They are now safer, employing intelligent systems rather than sheer muscle. It is a case of brains over brawn. In this way, façades have followed the same path.

Building envelope systems were first structured solely to withstand the forces of nature. Factors like embodied energy and sustainability were not considered. To do better for the environment, building professionals now use lighter systems with less mass and clever engineering. These new façades absorb more energy and can transfer it accordingly, instead of standing up like an unyielding monolith. They will flex and give, as seen in seismic zones. So, similar to cars, façades have evolved to contain less mass. Smart engineering and science have also led to greater façade strength.

Looking to the future
As mentioned, façades are critical because they are the first line of defense from extreme weather. With the real threats related to climate change, façades are a vital component for designers and builders to address. What is going to make them fruitful for the future and successful now? The author suggests these considerations:

  • sustainability, measured by embodied energy;
  • thermal performance; and
  • the influence of climate change.

Additionally, it is worth noting façades play an essential role in protecting buildings of significance; if they fail, the entire building is compromised.

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Effective chemical-resistant floor finishes

All images courtesy Flowcrete Group

By Ben Smith
Getting the floor right in facilities employing corrosive chemicals is critical to ensuring the site can maintain a safe, hygienic, and efficient operational environment. However, choosing the optimum flooring solution is a difficult task because demands placed on the floor surface are usually underestimated. Sometimes, the chosen material cannot prevent the destruction of the concrete substrate as a result of chemical abuse.

The author has also witnessed many industrial floorcoverings failing within the first few years of service, creating enormous disruption and expense to the client.

Poor substrate prep, thermal shock, pH levels, and moisture content in the concrete can cause floor failure. This failure itself can manifest in many forms, with the most common being bubbling, cracking, and delamination. Depending on the scale of failure, this can be confined to a small, easily repairable area or it could affect the entire floor and require the coating to be entirely taken up and reapplied. Understanding the reasons or triggers leading to floor failure can help building professionals prevent such instances from re-occurring.

Resin flooring has become a popular choice for sites employing corrosive chemicals due to the system’s hardwearing and easy-to-clean properties. In the most abusive locations, such as secondary containment areas, the flooring would be a type of resin. For places that are a bit less intense (e.g. breweries), resin flooring is often competing with ceramic tiles, and in facilities like hospitals it could be competing against vinyl, linoleum, or rubber.

The surest way to avoid resin floor failure is to take the necessary preventive steps at the material specification stage itself by selecting fit-for-purpose, durable floor systems, designed to meet the operational demands of the individual environment alongside any health, safety, hygiene, and compliance regulations specific to the industry.

Additional benefits such as bactericidal agents, anti-slip aggregates, and static electricity dissipation can also be incorporated into the finish to meet site-specific needs. These properties can make a working space safer and more effective. For example, antibacterial additives can be incorporated throughout the matrix of a cementitious urethane floor so any contaminants in contact with the surface are being actively eliminated even when the floor is not being washed. Broadcasting aggregates into a resin surface creates a textured finish enhancing traction underfoot. One can also alter the coating’s slip-resistance properties by changing the size and quantity of the aggregate. Dissipating electrostatic charge is usually required in locations with sensitive electronic equipment or inflammable solvents or gases because static charge buildup can pose a dangerous ignition risk.

Flooring types
A range of resin flooring solutions, from thin floor sealers to heavy-duty industrial protection in various thicknesses, is available in the market. They can be tailored to suit specific onsite challenges. Many different types of chemicals are now employed to manufacture resin floors, but the one common feature is the polymerization or “curing reaction” taking place in situ to produce the final synthetic resin finish.

The “curing reaction” depends on a variety of factors including:

  • resin chemistry;
  • ambient temperature;
  • amount of moisture present on the slab;
  • ventilation of the space; and
  • the thickness at which the chemical is applied.

The curing is tested by assessing the floor’s moisture level and firmness. Most systems will provide a time window for how long it is likely to cure given the right conditions.

The resulting flooring can provide a seamless surface with greatly enhanced performance compared to the concrete base on which it is typically applied.

The most common types of resin floors are two-part (also called two-component) bisphenol A-based, synthetic resin systems. These are:

  • two-part epoxy resin flooring systems;
  • two-part polyurethane resin flooring systems; and
  • two-part acrylic resin flooring systems (also called methyl methacrylate [MMA] resin flooring).

Other specialist chemistries available include vinyl ester, polyaspartic, and novolac resins. There are water- and solvent-based as well as solvent-free types of these synthetic resin flooring materials. All have their own characteristic advantages and disadvantages in both application and performance.

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The value of transparency documents for construction

Images courtesy CertainTeed

By Brent Belanger, CTR
If one were to evaluate the historical progress of sustainable awareness in North America, it is safe to say the environmental movement has made its biggest strides in the last few decades. Although the initial adoption by consumers and manufacturers was slow, the simple 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) are now common practices. The linear economy, in which materials no longer needed are simply brought to landfill at their end of life, is becoming less prevalent as individuals become innately mindful of reducing waste. Existing sustainable design programs are becoming more refined, and newly introduced ones, more advanced. One of the most common beneficial results of these initiatives is a greater focus on a circular economy, in which materials are directed away from dump sites to be reused or recycled in various fashions.

Green construction has evolved beyond the 3Rs to address other important facets of how resources are being utilized. Current requirements for the monitoring of building performance is not limited to thermal performance, and includes other elements such as lighting, indoor air quality (IAQ), and acoustics. As new sustainability certification programs launch and existing ones develop further, the need increases for more information. For instance, references to environmental evaluations in a product’s technical data sheet are more abundant and prominent today compared to the 1980s.

However, the path to determining how “green” a product is has been fraught with confusion. Professional designers, specification writers, and others involved in determining materials for sustainable design projects might inadvertently select the wrong ones despite their best intentions because consumer product companies sometimes publish many claims as part of this new green economy. The alphabet soup associated with the terminology, as well as all the repositories of information, can be overwhelming. Further, some of these published claims may be inaccurate or presented in a manner that misleads the consumer/decision-maker, despite the best intentions of the manufacturer. “Greenwashing” as it is commonly referred to occurs when a company intentionally represents a product as environmentally better than it actually is. This practice has legal ramifications, as it violates consumer protection acts.

Information is power, but only when the right data is obtained. Decision-makers are disadvantaged because of greenwashing and/or having misunderstandings when interpreting environmental claims. Although led to believe they are assessing results between similar items, building professionals may actually be comparing apples and oranges. Lesser products or systems are then selected for a project because of this confusion and misinterpretation. In the end, the desired performance and results of a “sustainable” project have a high probability of being compromised or even unattainable.

To reduce this risk, architects, contractors, and building owners need a tool to evaluate and compare sustainable products and materials. Such a tool requires a standardized format and verification to ensure easy and consistent evaluation of products from all manufacturers in a specific category. Since consumers are becoming more discerning of the environmental impacts of the materials they purchase, they also benefit by a standardized way to assess them. One such tool developed to create this transparency is an environmental product declaration (EPD).

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Surveying the construction/design landscape

Every year, we ask readers of Construction Canada to weigh in on the current state of the country’s design/building industry and where they think it is going next.

This year we received input from all regions of Canada, with slightly more from Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan, compared with the 2017 survey. Many professions within the design/construction sector were represented. Almost 30 per cent of respondents describe themselves as architects, and a further 16 per cent are project managers. But many respondents would not be pinned down, with 21 per cent choosing “Other”.

Men made up 78 per cent of the respondents, and more than half of those who answered the survey are more than 50 years old. Only five per cent of respondents are less than 30 years old. Experience and longevity, measured by asking, “How many years have you been in the business?” is more evenly split. Fifteen per cent of respondents have less than 10 years in the business, while 37 per cent have more than 30 years under their belt. In this “experienced” group—those who have more than 30 years in the business—project managers, specifiers, and consultants are more highly represented.

Work/life balance
Across the construction industry, people work hard. More than 50 per cent of respondents put in more than a 40-hour work week. At the same time, the majority are satisfied with their work/life balance, and are generally as satisfied, or more satisfied, than they were five years ago.

Asked “Where do you plan to be five years from now?”, almost half of respondents (47 per cent) plan to be in a similar position, and a further 20 per cent have ambitions to be in a management position. Only 10 per cent envision leaving the industry, and another eight percent hope to be retired.

It would appear from our respondents general contractors (GCs) put in the most hours among the job titles we surveyed. For all respondents, 41 per cent work 35 to 40 hours per week, and a further 35 per cent work 41 to 50 hours. Twelve per cent work a longer week, 51 to 60 hours, and 6 per cent clock in at 61 hours or more. Among those who responded as GCs, 36 per cent work 51 to 60 hours or more, and a further 12 per cent work 61 hours or more. Engineers also recorded a slightly higher response, 16 per cent, in the 51 to 60 hours cadre.

How has the economy affected your company in the past year?
“Recent carbon taxes and minimum wage increases have driven up construction costs.”
“Less work available. More non-billable time spent preparing proposals.”
“We are tightening our project time to compete with other big firms; less design time and drafting time.”
“Land prices and salaries remain stable but the cost of construction and the cost of providing cities with more and more documentation is increasing. This has put pressure on construction costs and profitability which in turn has increased costs to the architect.”

The survey asked how firms’ profitability is now, compared with five years ago. For almost two-thirds of respondents, profitability was the same or better.

Over the last five years, has your company’s profitability:

Among those who say business profitability has decreased, the cited reasons are frequently: an economic downturn, taxation, downward pressure on fees, or increasing professional responsibilities. New companies, young architects, and offshore competition are often blamed for pushing fees down.

Among respondents who say profitability has increased, favourable markets, acquisition/consolidation among firms, and operational efficiencies are often noted. Good management was frequently cited, but, when that was not the case, one respondent had this solution: “Bypassed upper management to implement technological improvement.”

Other responses to “To what do you attribute the change?”

  • Better systems, smarter quoting.
  • Expanding product offerings, expanding geographically.
  • Good client relationships, good management.
  • Larger projects, more efficiencies.
  • Integrating better software tools, more efficient processes, and system upgrade.

Let us talk money
The following graph shows percentage of respondents in each salary range. In addition to the overall results, we have teased out specific salary information for some groups of respondents, based on their job title.

Frustration on the job
Construction Canada’s salary survey gives participants the opportunity to share their opinions and vent their frustrations. Collecting fees from clients is a major sore point, as are bureaucracy and a lack of skilled tradespeople. Evidently, there is never enough time in a day, stress is rampant, and communication issues are a frequent problem.

Among this year’s responses were many examples of the generation gap, and a few comments on gender equality. Here are some examples:

“[I] have to perform my work in a much less efficient manner to satisfy the struggles and limitations of the technological comprehension of my over-50 colleagues.”

“[Juniors] seem to spend more time managing their to-do list than actually doing productive work.”

“The older generation struggles to understand technological opportunities.”

“Young people who don’t seem to be dedicated to the job.”

“Lack of accountability among Gen X staff.”

Other frustrations:
“Design used to be interesting, and now is such a small percentage of the job, the work has become a job.”

“Clients can be disrespectful and unrealistic, and don’t know what their part of the job is.”

“Contract administration documentation requirements seem to have ballooned over the past 10 years.”

“Dealing with clients who think they know more than the consultants (architects and engineers), in addition to taking advice from Tom, Dick, and Harry as valid recommendations, equal in weight to those of the consultants.”

“Everyone talks sustainability, but hardly anyone is really interested in any sustainable results. It is a pure marketing scam.”

“I think the speed of the construction industry is crazy, with e-mail, PDFs, and just the general pace of everything. It seems projects get started very quickly without making sure all the pieces are in place. Everyone is rush, rush.”

“Preventable stress and overtime due to inefficiencies in project management.”

“Fees have gone down, expectations have gone up, and [availability] of skilled help to produce the work has gone down.”

Tools of the trade
Social media use among participants in the Construction Canada survey remains virtually the same as last year, but there are notable differences among the habits of different age groups.

Sixty per cent of respondents less than 35 years old use social media for professional purposes. That portion rises to 69 per cent for those 35 to 49 years old, and drops to 51 per cent for those more than 50 years old.

What makes people happy?
Among those who are more or equally satisfied with their work, respondents often attribute that satisfaction to: more responsibility, more opportunity, more control, more challenges.

Other insights from this group:
“In a smaller office, we get to wear many hats, which keeps the job interesting and challenging.”

“I am in charge of my day. The work is challenging and rewarding.”

“I like what I do and I work with a great team who are focused on results and work well together. We have the opportunity and funds to think, make decisions, and do the right thing.”

Opinions from the “less satisfied” respondents emphasize stress and inadequate pay.
“I love my job, but the construction market is so competitive that you never truly feel secure in your job. You could lose your job tomorrow to someone who makes less money in order to keep the profit margin.”

“I am working far more hours for the same pay as years ago, as the industry is now price-based and the selection of an architect is no longer based on quality. The fees are literally half of what they were 10 or 15 years ago. By the time we pay the engineers, there is nothing left.”

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Patient outcomes and operational efficiency supported by rubber flooring

All photos courtesy Nora Systems

By Sandra Soraci, EDAC, LEED AP, NCIDQ, and Tasha Hughes
Not long ago, design drivers focused on esthetics and price when it came to the selection and specification of floorcoverings in healthcare facilities. Floors are a vital part of the palette supporting interior designers’ visions and allowing them to adhere to project budget constraints. Decisions pertaining to flooring and its performance characteristics have evolved, and are now far more complex, often guided by an evidence-based design strategy acknowledging a link between the physical environment, materials specified, and patient and staff outcomes.

Floorcoverings are now being evaluated according to a new set of design and performance criteria. They still need to adhere to budget guidelines, and must have esthetic appeal, since they contribute to visitors’ first impressions of a space and shape opinions about the quality of care. However, they must also support clinical efficiency—including effective maintenance, safety, and operational optimization (i.e. the ability to still be able to turn a patient room without it being affected by flooring maintenance)—via performance characteristics impacting patients and staff.

Premium rubber flooring has remained a strong choice. It addresses barriers—including the ability to clean a patient room, acoustics, safety, patient experience, musculoskeletal health, caregiver retention, health and wellness, indoor air quality (IAQ), and ease of maintenance—in the built environment and offers multiple performance characteristics to healthcare professionals and their patients.

The Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) defines “resilient” as vinyl composition tile (VCT), sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl tile (LVT), linoleum, and rubber. Therefore rubber is one form of resilient flooring. However, all rubber floors are not created equal. A premium rubber floor has no factory-applied finish, never needs coating regardless of service line location, and cleans with little more than water. Other rubber floors can require a coating based on location or come with a coating to avoid damage as the surface density has vast differences affecting stain resistance, the floor’s restorability and repairability, and cost of ownership.

Composition materials and differences in manufacturing processes result in floors differing in appearance and ability to meet the performance demands of a healthcare facility. Premium rubber flooring is a combination of high-quality rubber, raw mineral materials extracted from natural deposits, and environmentally compatible colour pigments with manufacturing processes that create a single homogenous product free of layers. Together, these materials and processes ensure the safety, durability, surface density, stain resistance, maintenance, and reparability of floors contributing to positive patient and staff outcomes.

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Message From the President: Let us fix construction

By Paul Gerber, CSC, CSI
This column marks the first of a series I will write during my term as CSC President. It has been an incredible journey to date. I have had the pleasure of serving our association with many great leaders, and learning from each of them. My goal with these messages is to get people thinking about, and discussing, weighty topics.

Talk to anyone who has been a part of the design and construction community for any length of time and it is not long before the conversation turns to the many shortcomings of the industry. These shortcomings could range from inadequate fees or schedules, constantly changing project scopes, to architects, engineers, or specifiers who are impossible to meet with in order to discuss the latest products.

I have heard discussions like this for many years, and I will be the first to admit that on certain days I can be a “Negative Nancy” as well. It is human nature. A couple of years ago, two friends of mine decided they were going to try and change this attitude. Hopefully those who attended the recent CSC Conference in Edmonton took the opportunity to attend the session “Let’s Fix Construction,” hosted by my friends Cherise Lakeside (a fellow specifier) and Eric Lussier (a product representative).

I met and came to know these two individuals through my attendance at CSI’s CONSTRUCT show in 2012 and through my participation on Twitter. Their simple objective was to stop the moaning and groaning about the challenges in our industry and generate some discussion about how we could make it better. To start, they created, a venue for anyone to express their frustration with a particular subject within the AEC community, as long as they offer constructive suggestions on how to fix that challenge as well. About one year into this endeavour, Cherise and Eric also added a podcast component. This initiative has led to the two of them giving presentations across the United States at various CSI Chapter meetings and at industry events.

I have tried to keep up with developments on the Let’s Fix Construction website. Cherise even convinced me to write a blog post after I posted a comment on Twitter. And so, in the spirit of Let’s Fix Construction, I ask you, are you prepared to live with the status quo and continue bemoaning the challenges you face day after day or will you contribute, even in a small way, to helping make things better? The choice is yours to make, but I hope to see you on the team trying to effect positive change in our industry.

I am CSC!

Innovations in protecting construction joints

All images courtesy Kryton International

By Alireza Biparva
Proper waterproofing of construction joints plays a vital role in fortifying below-grade concrete structures. Construction joints are stopping places—caused by non-continuous concrete pour—and a plane of weakness. Hence, they represent the most vulnerable part of the structure from a waterproofing perspective.

Without an effective joint waterproofing system known as a waterstop, it is not a matter of if the joint will leak, but rather, when it will leak. Leakage or dampness not only impacts the serviceability of the structure, but also causes major deterioration such as corrosion of reinforcing steel in concrete. Water penetration is a global problem as it reduces the service life of concrete structures. It is responsible for more than 80 per cent of damage to reinforced concrete facilities, thereby continuing to rack up the repair costs for owners and developers.

Traditional method
One of the technologies used to waterproofing joints is a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) waterstop, also known as the traditional “dumbbell” due to its shape. These plastic sheets are placed across the joint before the concrete is poured to create a physical barrier for blocking water penetration. This type of waterstop relies on the ribs in the design to prevent water from passing through the joint. The PVC waterstop is great for blocking water, and is relatively inexpensive, but has limitations. Improper compaction around the waterstop creates a pathway for water—PVC waterstop can bend while concrete is poured, forming a tunnel and area where water can infiltrate. This does not mean the waterstop is not working; an installation deficiency or concrete compaction is causing leakages. To make matters worse, it is virtually impossible to recognize the problem until the joint begins to leak, which is too late. Additionally, when PVC is considered as a single barrier, water can seep in until it reaches the waterstop. As you can see in Figure 1, the rebar on the water side of the joint is exposed to the water and will corrode.

Alternative methods
These difficulties have opened the door for other waterstop systems such as hydrophilic swelling strips and crystalline waterstop coating.

The swelling waterstop is a synthetic rubber strip designed for waterproofing construction joints. Synthetic rubber swelling strips act as a physical barrier and can swell up to 1000 per cent of original volume to seal the construction joint and stop water flow. Its ability to swell and block water intrusion, not only under hydrostatic conditions, but also when facing salt or contaminated water, sets it apart from other products. This is important considering the state of the moisture in below grade and marine environments.

Crystalline waterstop coating is a powder mixed with water to a slurry consistency, and brushed on the joint area. It utilizes advanced integral crystalline waterproofing (ICW) technology to block the movement of water through concrete joints and acts as a chemical barrier. The crystalline waterstop coating exhibits a hydrophilic property, meaning, the special chemicals in the coating react on exposure to water, allowing millions of long, needle-shaped crystals to grow deep into the concrete mass. These crystals permanently block and prevent the passage of water through capillary pores, micro-cracks, and joints, thereby making the joint waterproof. As long as moisture remains present, crystals continue to grow throughout the concrete. Once the moisture content is reduced, the crystalline chemicals lie dormant until another dose of water causes the chemical reaction to begin again.

Crystalline waterstop coating can be used in conjunction with a swelling waterstop at all static concrete-to-concrete joints where water penetration is a concern. This is called a double protection system. Crystalline waterstop coating as single protection can also be employed as a dampproofing treatment when the joint is subjected to water with low or no hydrostatic pressure.

Since crystallization takes some time to occur, corrosion of rebar on the wet side is a concern in both single and double protection systems as it is with the PVC system (Figure 2). However, testing has demonstrated the coating not only acts as a chemical barrier to prevent water penetration, but also protects the rebar.

To investigate the effects of crystalline coating, a joint research study was conducted by a concrete and waterproofing solutions manufacturer and a University of British Columbia co-op student. This study was performed in two phases at the Kryton Research Centre, Vancouver, in December 2016. In the first phase, half-cell potential measurement, as well as visual inspection, was used to analyze the corrosion mitigation of coated steel reinforcing bars embedded in concrete. In the second phase, in parallel to the corrosion tests, a modified pull-out test was employed to assess the bonding of the materials with concrete and steel.

Figure 1: A polyvinyl chloride (PVC) waterstop is traditionally employed to waterproof construction joints.
Figure 2: A double protection system with both crystalline waterstop coating and a hydrophilic swelling strip protects the rebar.
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