Face-to-face again in Niagara

by brittney_cutler_2 | July 13, 2022 12:00 pm

Photo © Anna Kraynova/Bigstockphoto.com

By Tristan Marks

The Sheraton Fallsview Hotel lived up to its name as attendees of the Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) national conference gathered in the mist-infused vicinity of Niagara Falls from May 25 to 29. The theme of this year’s conference, “Re-energizing the Future,” was apt, not only because of the proximity to Canada’s energy-producing “Eighth Wonder of the World,” but also because this was the first time CSC members congregated in person since 2019.

Post-pandemic optimism was a strong current, as members had the chance to catch up with old colleagues, leverage the opportunity for face-to-face networking, and listen to a lineup of top-notch speakers. The event organizing committee, made up of members from the Grand Valley, Hamilton/Niagara, and London chapters, accomplished their mission to re-energize the conference in 2022, as life continues to return to normal.

The event kicked off with the Welcome Reception (sponsored by Construction Specialties Inc.), followed the next day by the Welcome Breakfast for delegates and guests.

The technical discussions continued through the week and attendees had a choice of three educational streams each day. The sessions included thematic presentations such as “Harnessing Earth Energy—Geothermal Heating and Cooling,” which was moderated by Sergio Almeida, P.Eng., chief technology officer at Geo-Xergy Systems. Other topics included “Fire-Rated Glass and Framing 101,” by Connor Martin of Technical Glass Products (TGP); “Adapting Building Codes to Changing Climate Hazards,” with Sihan Li, Mike Gibbons, and Jan Dale from RWDI; and “The Future of Buildings—Tall Timber Buildings,” with David Moses of Moses Structural Engineers.

Sessions on Centre Block Parliament Hill: A Collaborative Rehabilitation and the Masonry Envelope Repair on Château Frontenac were popular with attendees. The former was presented by Duncan Broyd, HOK Architects, principal in charge, Centre Block, Justin Houle, PCL/ED, a Joint Venture, superintendent, Centre Block, and William Coleman, PCL/ED, a Joint Venture, structural lead, Centre Block, while the latter was presented by John Cooke, FCSC, RSW, Pascal Laveille, John G. Cooke & Associates Ltd.

Throughout the conference, experts shared experience and sage advice on everything from innovations in concrete mix to masonry repair and the utility of laser scanning.

Toting sponsored conference bags, attendees were also able to participate in “speed-networking” sessions between seminars and in the exhibit hall during the popular Connections Café.

At the Thursday luncheon, delegates listened in as speakers from Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) detailed the programs and initiatives its organization oversees, and the impact it has on the lives of society’s most vulnerable. Over the past several years, CSC conference host chapters select a charity or cause to support. This year, the conference committee chose BACA as the organization to receive funds.

At the next day’s luncheon, sponsored by Owens Corning Canada, keynote speaker and comedian Jeff McEnery had the audience in stitches, with his signature brand of “Smalltown, Ontario” humour. President Kimberly Tompkins, FCSC, CTR, also took the stage and presented executive director Nick Franjic, CAE, with cufflinks to recognize his 25 years of dedicated service and guidance.

Later, for the CGC-sponsored Fun Night, attendees bused over to the Greg Frewin Theatre for an evening of wild magic and majestic jungle cats. At the show, Franjic was presented with a plaque, as well as a book signed by all the evening’s attendees. He even made a surprise appearance during Frewin’s final act.

The following day brought another key highlight of the conference, the President’s Reception and Ball (sponsored by IKO Industries Ltd. and Custom Building Products, respectively), which was emceed by Tompkins’ daughter, Samantha MacGregor. Delegates, companions, and special guests celebrated this year’s Life Award and President’s Award recipients and listened to an address by incoming president Kazim (Kaz) Kanani, FCSC, CSP, CCCA, CDT, on the post-pandemic future of CSC and the organization’s commitment to its mission, “to educate, connect, and lead the design and construction community to achieve excellence in project delivery.” The formal program was followed by a night of dancing.

Recognizing excellence

Sponsored by Sika Canada Inc., the annual awards luncheon was emceed by Russ Snow, CTR, CSP. The event gave CSC a chance to celebrate its best and brightest members and associates.

CSC Life Award

The CSC Life Award is the highest accolade the association bestows on individuals in recognition of their service. This year, CSC members honoured Willem de Lint, FCSC, MRAIC, with the organization’s prestigious Life Award.

During de Lint’s tenure as CSC president from 1976 to 1977, he executed an agreement with Public Works Canada respecting the development of the National Master Specifications.

Born in the Netherlands, he grew up amid the Second World War, and in 1953, he watched his country all but washed away by North Sea floods. He moved to Canada that year, stopping first in Ontario and then moving west, where he became involved in the oil pipeline industry. He enrolled in the School of Architecture at Toronto, and later Winnipeg, and graduated with top honours in 1962. In 1969, de Lint formed his own practice in Regina and joined the local SWAC chapter, becoming chapter chair and chapter representative on the national board.

His constant criticism and heckling at CSC board meetings eventually resulted in his appointment as membership director (1973 to 1975) and later as vice-president and technical director. He turned his attention to development of a CSC Master Specification for the private sector, by March 1977.

In June 1977, de Lint and J.A.H. Mackay, deputy minister of Public Works Canada, signed a letter of understanding for development of a national master specification. The letter outlined a commitment of up to $250,000 over a five-year period to fund CSC’s review of the GMS, with the aim of producing a master specification suitable for both government and private sector projects. CSC organized an advisory board representing the private sector, to ensure adequate technical review by industry associations and professional bodies.

The National Master Specification Advisory Board held its inaugural meeting in late September 1977, and elected CSC executive director Lloyd Boddy as chair. The process was expected to last five years. The document was to become, section by section, the Canadian National Master Construction Specification (NMS). In the end, the five-year review was done in four years. In late 1978, CSC set up a new review process for the program to transform the GMS into a national master specification.

CSC had been commissioned by the federal government 18 months earlier to do the review. By late 1978, 84 sections of the more than 500 in the GMS had been reviewed.

Members of CSC responded enthusiastically when they were asked to review sections of the national master specification as part of the GMS to NMS process. In 1979, CSC executive director Rene Gaulin reported more than 500 CSC members became involved in the review of 74 sections in 1979, representing 33 per cent of the entire membership.

Following his efforts toward developing the national master specification, de Lint chaired the Construction Industry Joint Committee (1988), where representatives of many construction associations and CSC discuss items of common interest and lobby at the provincial level. He also devoted a great deal of time to the Boy Scout movement and to food bank drives.

  1. Ross Browne Award

The F. Ross Browne Award recognizes editorial excellence in Construction Canada, highlighting the author or co-authors of an article in the magazine. The winner of this year’s F. Ross Browne Award was Alex Lukachko, for his article “Moisture Management for Tall Wood Buildings,” which appeared in the March 2022 issue of Construction Canada. He is a principal at RDH Building Science Inc., and a lecturer at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. He works on the research and development of future building enclosure systems, and the design of high-performance, low-carbon mass timber buildings.

National Award of Merit

This award is presented to members in recognition of their contributions to the well-being of CSC beyond that of a Chapter Award of Merit, for exceptional effort, zeal, effectiveness, and time expended for the benefit of CSC as a whole and towards the betterment of the industry. This year, the National Award of Merit was presented to Colleen Barabonoff, RSW, for going above and beyond in her position as chair of the RSW committee.

Program Director Awards

Program Director Awards were given out in several categories.


In recognition of their work in preparation to host CSC Conference 2022, members of the multi-chapter 2022 Conference Committee received Program Director Awards:

Education Certification Committee

For their continued efforts to streamline and improve CSC education offerings and the certification/registration process, the following Education Certification Committee members received Program Director Awards:

Membership Communications and Legislative

In recognition for their ongoing assistance in the revitalization of the Quebec Chapter, Program Director Awards were presented to:


This year, the ranks of the College of Fellows rose by two with the induction of Mila Legge, RSW, and Wyatt Eckert. Chancellor George Heath, FCSC; dean John Lape, FCSC, FCSI; and Mike Garlinski, FCSC, were joined by many other Fellows at the induction ceremony, which recognized the latest inductees as well as Fellows from 2020 and 2021.

Mila Legge, RSW

Legge, a senior specification writer with Norr Architects, has been a CSC member since 1998. At that time, she became actively involved with the Atlantic chapter and took on a variety of roles at the chapter level including specifications officer and served on the 1998 CSC annual conference committee. After achieving her RSW designation, and in recognition of the value of CSC continuing education programs, Legge volunteered first on the CSP subcommittee, and currently serves on the RSW subcommittee, also acting as a mentor to RSW candidates. Since 2012, she has been one of CSC’s representatives on the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC). Legge worked on the new CCDC2-2020 contract, and the new CCDC Division 01 among the many documents prepared by CCDC for the Canadian construction industry. In addition to her committee work, she has also been a speaker and presenter of CCDC documents at CSC conferences and at CCDC seminars.

Wyatt Eckert

Eckert, a principal at P3Architecture Partnership, joined CSC in 1996 and volunteered with the Regina chapter for more than 10 years. He was elected the CSC fourth vice-president in 2016 and served as association president in 2020-2021. As a result of the pandemic, Eckert served as president during one of CSC’s most non-traditional years. He used technology to maintain a working relationship with the association office and the board of directors, and hosted CSC’s first virtual conference, annual general meeting (AGM), and awards ceremony. In doing so, he ensured CSC remained relevant, and members remained connected and engaged. Prior to his time on the executive council, Eckert was instrumental in providing stability to the Regina chapter executive. He is a strong proponent of CSC education courses and designations and has also worked behind the scenes with local and national interests to get CSC education courses included as part of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s core curriculum for multiple construction degree and diploma programs.

Calgary bound

Next year, the CSC Conference—Pursuing New Heights—will be hosted by the Calgary chapter. Jonathon Greenland, CTR, is chair of the conference committee, and plans for the 2023 event—which will take place at the Westin Hotel—are well underway.

  1. [Image]: https://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/bigstock-Aerial-Top-Landscape-View-Of-N-242642830.jpg

Source URL: https://www.constructioncanada.net/face-to-face-again-in-niagara/