Terri-Jane Yuzda

Readers' Forum

Let's hear from you...

The PEGG welcomes letters as an avenue for members to express opinions and concerns on issues or topics of interest to the professions. Share your experiences with other members.

Just mail: 1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 4A2
E-mail: glee@apegga.org
Fax: (780) 425-1722 your letters to the editor, signed with your name and address.

Of course we can't publish all letters received and can't run letters concerning specific registration matters before any APEGGA regulatory body. Do try and keep your letters to 300 words or less.


Stop Mixing Measurement Systems

Re: Earth's Warmth Tapped to Heat Aquatic Centre,
The PEGG, March 2002

Once again, I read a confused article with mixed units of measurement. From the article: "72,000 lineal feet of three-quarter-inch underground piping..."; "at 11 feet, nine feet and seven feet below the surface"; "moderate at about 7C from about two metres to nearly 300 metres"; "three 30-ton geothermal heat pumps."
First, mixing units in a single story is profoundly sloppy writing. Second, imperial measurements are utterly archaic and have absolutely no place in our official organ.

The purpose of this publication is to serve Alberta's engineering and geoscience communities, and these communities use SI. We have no need for any imperial measurements, and it is intolerable that the editorial staff insists on imposing imperial units on us because they are unwilling to expend a little effort to provide SI equivalents.

Ignorance of the metric system is pathetic and unacceptable. Canada switched over to SI in the 1970s. I'm afraid I cannot accept any argument against switching to SI; The PEGG and its editorial staff simply must catch up to the rest of the world.

I am embarrassed to imagine what professionals from other jurisdictions must think of Alberta's engineers from reading articles such as this.

Kevin Moorman, P.Eng.
Salmon Arm, B.C.

Editor's Note: Mr. Moorman makes a very good point and we'll strive for more consistency. However, we point out that the mixed use of imperial and metric systems does not begin with us. Engineers and the other professionals we rely upon as sources for our stories do, in fact, use a mix of the two systems. It's not uncommon at all for a source to speak of acres and feet, then shift to tonnes and megawatts.

Saskatchewan Reunion Set for September

It's time to celebrate the 90th anniversary and All-Year Reunion of the College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan - Sept.12 -15, 2002. We anticipate more than 1,000 guests from across Canada and the United States, and from as far as Australia. To date, more than 400 have registered, including alumni from the class of 1938 on through to the class of 2000.

The jam-packed four-day reunion weekend begins with a shotgun golf tournament on Thursday, Sept. 12, at the 36-hole championship level Willows Golf Course. That evening, alumni will register at a Wine & Cheese Reception at the city's renowned Centennial Auditorium, where the new Dean of Engineering Dr. Claude Lague, P.Eng., will greet the guests. University President Peter MacKinnon will also be at the banquet to bring greetings on behalf of the University of Saskatchewan.

Friday, Sept. 13, begins with an educational forum on the future of engineering technology. This activity will be held on campus at Place Riel Theatre. The panel will include experts on transportation, engineering design and aerospace. Afternoon brings the official opening of the new Chemical Engineering building addition. Alumni will have the opportunity to tour the new facility and the engineering building, as well as Canada's only synchrotron facility, the Canadian Light Source, which is in its final phase of construction. On Friday evening, alumni are invited to celebrate with their former classmates at individual class parties to be held at a multitude of venues across the city!

On Saturday, Sept. 14, alumni are invited to tour variety of tourist attractions in and around the city. On Saturday evening an estimated 1,000 alumni and guests will gather for a banquet and dance at the Centennial Auditorium.

A farewell brunch will be held Sunday, Sept.15, at the downtown Sheraton Cavalier.

To take advantage of the opportunity to share in the celebrations, at the College of Engineering's 90th Anniversary and All-Year Reunion, check our website: http://www.engr.sask.ca/alumni/reunion2002/

Evelyn Laird
University of Saskatchewan
College of Engineering

Guidelines Needed

Re: January 2002 PEGG feature, President's Notebook,
"The Trends of Specialization and Certification".

The current practice of registration in Alberta relies on the ethics of
the professional. Whether its success is the outcome of mostly adherence
to ethics, or work not being assigned to unqualified practitioners for
obvious reasons, could be a matter of debate.

Having specialized in the field of fire protection for more than 20 years,
I feel qualified to comment on the vagaries occurring in this field. As
sprinkler systems are usually design-build contracts, they are different
than most other building services. For a typical project, the mechanical
consultant retained by the Owner, would define the scope of work and
specify the applicable prescriptive codes and standards. Lacking the
necessary expertise, he does not design the sprinkler system. This is
undertaken by the sprinkler designer/engineer, after the contract is

This situation appears to be "open season" for some mechanical engineers.
Though inept at designing a sprinkler system personally, they harbour
the delusion that stamping someone else's design would not violate
any ethics. Some contractors seek the services of such engineers, to keep
costs down and reduce what they perceive as unnecessary hassles. These
engineers provide a disservice to the industry and profession.

This is not a malaise unique to Alberta, as it has afflicted throughout
North America. The Texas Board of Professional Engineers had to issue a
policy advisory in June 2001, restricting the design of sprinkler systems
by engineers, to only those deemed by the Board to be competent to
practise in this discipline.

APEGGA, in keeping with its mandate, should identify the problem areas, and
provide specific guidelines or impose restrictions as required.

Tony Silva, P.Eng.

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