As we began to work out vital details on operating during the pandemic and we adjusted to a different style of doing business, we found new efficiencies we hadn’t appreciated before. Also, we discovered new ways to conduct our work that could also be adopted post-pandemic. The result is a new way of doing work, which incorporates much of the way we used to conduct business, mixed with some tweaks we learned from reacting to the pandemic. These changes have made us better.
Optimizing the future of engineering: A discussion with Association of Consulting Engineering Companies –...
As John Gamble, president and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada, reflects on 2022, he is struck by how many conference chats still contemplate what an office actually is, or should aspire to be. Wake-up calls have been plentiful over the last two years, says Gamble, who feels that the pandemic has given the sector, and society, a real opportunity for forward thinking.
A pie-shaped piece of the clarifier floor broke and floated upward. I felt the words leap up my throat, “fill it!”. We found out later that the groundwater was perched on a layer of chalk. From this incident, I learned that I need to pay attention to the ground conditions we build on, I should have asked if we had monitoring wells at the site and that I should have checked the groundwater level given the intensity of rainfall. While writing this article, I thought I was glad I did not have to learn everything this way.
Ontario municipalities are now faced with a constantly moving target when it comes to land use planning and, in turn, infrastructure planning. To reasonably project future infrastructure needs, we must understand future land use plans, including where, when, and how much growth will occur. Land use planning affects water and wastewater servicing capacity, location and timing.
Communication is a challenge because, while we think we know what we are saying, our words may say something else, and we are only guessing what the other person is hearing. If the conversation is not genuine, or ends too soon, we are in danger of walking away not understanding what the other person was saying.
As how we use digital tools to assess, design, engineer, construct, operate and maintain our built and natural environments evolves, we realize how valuable those same documents would be in an accessible format, informing our decisions, and leading to smarter, stronger assets.
With the introduction of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we saw sustainability become front of mind for business leaders who are progressively making commitments towards their decarbonization targets and better environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes.
The “pure alliance” approach relies on a mutual agreement that covers risk sharing, setting a cap on financial exposure, and no litigating. If a problem occurs, it is everybody’s problem and all parties work together to solve it. An alliance approach makes a fundamental shift to a shared or collective set of obligations, and a shared approach to risk and opportunity.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at COP26 that Canada will impose a hard cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector. Driving more innovation in environmental science and engineering will help achieve these ambitious targets, not just with oil and gas, but with wastewater, air pollution, construction and infrastructure.
The number of women working in engineering over the last decade has increased by only 2% in Ontario. Groups across the province are calling for action.
Sustainability, expandability, adaptability with new and upcoming regulations, and social impacts of a treatment system are some examples of a long list of parameters that have to be considered and evaluated during the selection of a treatment process.
As was the case for most businesses that were to continue to deliver services, consulting engineers had to scramble to address issues, not only those relating to the sustainability of their business, but also on the long-established mechanics of delivering projects.