Urban Design Awards announce winners

A Vancouver library and Toronto ‘beach’ were among the winners of the biennial 2012 National Urban Design Awards.

Overseen by Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)/Architecture Canada, Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA), the program honours projects with a positive impact on Canadian cities.

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A new study ranks Canada 11th out of the world’s 12 major economies when it comes to issues related to energy efficiency.

The “International Energy Efficiency Scorecard,” published this month by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-efficient Economy (ACEEE), rated the United Kingdom at the top, followed closely by Germany, Italy, and Japan.

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Laval’s concrete canoe glides to second

Université Laval (Québec City) won second place at this year’s National Concrete Canoe Competition (NCCC). The event, hosted by the University of Nevada last month, was the 25th edition of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) race.

Known as “the America’s Cup of Civil Engineering,” NCCC aims to bring awareness about concrete technology, as well as its versatility in construction.

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Competition challenges designers to ‘build local’

Consumers have been encouraged to ‘eat local’ and ‘shop local’—now, an international design competition out of British Columbia has architects ‘building local.’

The Architecture Foundation of British Columbia (AFBC) announced the winners of its 100 Miles House Ideas competition, which required participants to design a home only using materials and technology found within 160 km (100 mi) of Vancouver.

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West Coast mass timber projects celebrate wood

Last month, the openings of three B.C. wood demonstration projects were highlighted by the province’s forest products industry to showcase the material’s building flexibility.

The North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre, Elkford Community Conference Centre, and the City of North Vancouver Civic Centre Renovation were cited by WoodWorks B.C. as examples to encourage wood design both nationally and internationally.

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National construction council proposed

A new national council for construction workers is pending approval of the members of two unions. If passed, the FTQ-Construction (FTQ) and Communications, Energy, and Paperworks Union of Canada (CEP) will come together to form the Canadian Construction Unions Council (CCUC).

CCUC would represent 80,000 construction workers across the country, making it the largest group of allied unions in the industry.

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Do Ontario’s falling glass regulations go far enough?

Revised regulations for glass balconies in Ontario will apply to new construction, but not existing buildings. By only including developments approved after July 2012 in the province’s building code amendments, some feel public safety will be at risk.

In Toronto alone, 30 tempered glass balconies from more than 10 buildings have shattered since last summer, causing the city to turn to a panel of experts to advise on building code changes.

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Report released on reducing building energy use

A new report funded by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) says now is the best time to emphasize energy efficiency in buildings.

The Conference Board of Canada publication, “Energy Management in Commercial Buildings: The Value of Best Practices,” says commercial structures are currently responsible for 14 per cent of the country’s secondary energy consumption.

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Ontario engineering company joins North American firm

Consulting engineering firm Engineering Northwest Ltd. (ENL) has joined Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) to help strengthen the company’s highway, bridge, rail, aviation, and municipal practices in Northern Ontario.

“In the past, ENL and HMM have worked on over $30 million worth of projects, most of which are highway/bridge projects with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), CP Rail, and Cliffs Resources,” Philip D Murray, M.Eng., P.Eng., HMM vice-president, told Construction Canada Online.

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North American aluminum demand rises

Due to aluminum’s low weight and durability, an initial estimate of the alloy’s demand in Canada and the United States for the first quarter of 2012 totalled 5.8 million lb (2.6 million kg)—a 7.5 per cent increase over last year’s first quarter.

Heidi Brock, Aluminum Association (AA) president, said people are turning to the material for new and innovative applications, and the North American industry is now growing to meet the demand.

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