Alex Thompson on Challenges of High Arctic Engineering

On October 21st 2016, the UBC CSCE Student Chapter invited Alex Thompson to give a presentation on the Challenges of Design and Construction in the High Arctic. In 2015, Alex spent most of the summer on a construction site in Nanisivik located on the northern tip of Baffin Island in Nunavut. While he was there, he witnessed many of the challenges associated with having a project site located so far north. Project equipment and materials had to be shipped in by boat and required over two months of travel time to arrive on site. This meant the contractor had to plan well ahead of time in order to meet project deadlines. The project required on-site mechanics and several spare parts for their machinery in order to quickly repair any equipment malfunctions instead of having replacement parts shipped. Due to permafrost conditions, the foundation designs required that the top layers of soil be removed until a layer of soil that would remain permanently frozen was reached. The excavation was then backfilled with non-frost susceptible soil to achieve a firm foundation to build upon. In addition, the project had to generate all their own power using diesel generators.

Alex Thompson on the Challenges of High Arctic Engineering

Alex Thompson on the Challenges of High Arctic Engineering

On September 25, the UBC CSCE Student Chapter welcomed Robert Jackson to present on the Brock Commons Timber building. Robert Jackson is a UBC Alumni and worked intimately as lead structural engineer on the Brock Commons project since its inception. He is also the recipient of the Young Structural Engineering Professional Award, commending his efforts as a skilled individual who is driving his profession forward. This innovative design by Fast+Epp is internationally renowned for its construction of the tallest timber building in the world.UBC_CSCE_FAST_AND_EPP_LUNCH_AND_LEARN_PHOTO

The case study outlined key design considerations whenusing timber extensively. Concerns such as vibrational remediation, timber creep reduction, and cross panel timber shearing forces were outlined, as well as resolution methods.  Major design considerations included prefabrication and on-time delivery of the CLT floor panels and glulam columns. The efficient assembly of Brock Commons, at a speed of two floors per week, was a result of extensive planning and prefabrication.

The goal for this building was to illustrate how timber is a legitimate material to be considered when building high-rises, in both its stability and economic feasibility. We look forward to the opening of this tremendous building on our very own campus in the future.

Our speaker for the event

 Robert Jackson, Project Engineer – Fast + Epp


Robert graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science in Civil Engineering. He is one of the structural design engineers for the UBC Brock Commons tall timber building, and has been intimately involved in the project since its inception. Robert comes from a carpentry background and is the recent recipient of two awards from the Institution of Structural Engineers in London. Most notably, The Young Structural Engineering Professional Award, which is known to showcase diverse and skilled individuals under 30 years old who are driving the profession forward.


Event Coordinator: Howard Wong

Co hosted by:
UBC-CSCE-Brand-Identity-Colour   UBCITE

IMG_0142On March 11, 2015, the UBC CSCE and UBC ITE Student Chapter’s co-hosted an event titled “Binnie: The Project Manager” that was given by two representatives from Binnie, Jeff van den Eerenbeemt and Scott Campbell. Both representatives are UBC Alumni and are current project managers at Binnie. Binnie is a reputable, Western Canadian civil engineering company providing services in engineering infrastructure growth and development.

This particular event was given at Neville Scarfe Room 100 with an estimated total attendance of 80 people. The objective of the lecture that Jeff and Scott gave was to give students an overview of what it is like to be a Project Manager using specific projects that Jeff and Scott worked on. In addition professional advice was given to students in regards to obtaining a Professional Engineer title as a project manager.

IMG_0145This lecture gave students a lot of insight on the challenges with project management with examples from Jeff and Scott on noted projects such as the Port Mann Bridge, the Bridgeport Skytrain Station and the King George Boulevard project. Exceptional descriptions and roles of each project gave students a different perspective away from applied technical theory learnt in school.

The UBC CSCE and UBC ITE Student Chapter’s would like to thank Jeff and Scott for taking time to come and give a talk about project management and answering all of our questions. The presentation was thoroughly enjoyed and the UBC CSCE Student Chapter looks forward to working with Binnie again in the near future.

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