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OAA Conference 2019: 4 Presentations


The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) Annual Conference is making it’s way to Quebec! This year’s OAA Conference theme is “Empowering Change,” sessions will explore how architecture can help to solve problems from climate change to housing affordability to social cohesion.

Our team will be presenting four sessions at this year’s conference!

More information and registration here.

Session #1: QA, QC, and QF – An Alphabet Soup of Standards is not Enough

Global procurement is often relied upon for curtain wall, window wall and other fenestration systems and components. Global procurement has its opportunities and risks. Opportunities include reduced product cost and fabrication capabilities that are not available, or have only limited availability in North America such as jumbo-size low-emissivity coated glass and insulating glass units. Risks include language and cultural differences and long distance communication across many time zones causing confusion in design, ordering, delays in delivery, and problems with product quality. Nevertheless, the fiscal advantages can be considerable.

Ensuring acceptable quality off-shore products is not just a matter of writing into a specification a requirement to comply with applicable building codes, standards and industry practice documents. These technical documents contain surprising limitations and omissions so that despite best efforts, a Quality Assurance (QA) plan and Quality Control (QC) program may not achieve the desired quality outcome. Even if initial product quality samples and production are correct, quality may diminish over time, an effect known as Quality Fade (QF). Whether or not fenestration systems are globally or locally procured, the building owners, the design team and the construction team should be aware of omissions and limitations of industry practices and standards to avoid unexpected surprises too late in the construction process to make changes.

This session will be presented by George Torok, Senior Facade Specialist, and will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 2 pm and on Thursday, May 23 at 10:30 am.

Session #2: Change of Use – Application of the Ontario Building Code

This session walks attendees through the fundamentals and requirements of the Ontario Building Code for changes of use to existing buildings. It focuses on three key areas: application (i.e. when is the Code applicable?), requirements (i.e. the process of determining what requirements apply to a change of use) and working through examples and applying tips and tricks to make the process easier.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand what constitutes a change of use per the OBC.
  2. Know the basis of Code requirements from the Building Code Act.
  3. Be able to assess hazard index and construction index of existing and proposed construction.
  4. Apply the requirements for analyzing early warning and evacuation systems.

This session will be presented by Judy Jeske, Senior Code Specialist, and will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 2 pm.

Session #3: Building Envelope Commissioning – Plan for Success

This presentation focuses on the importance of the building envelope for new and retrofit projects, and its ability to satisfy not only the expectations of an owner, but also meet the performance requirements for efficiency, resiliency and durability. The session includes discussion on the critical and various stages of the Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) Process, starting with the overarching Owner’s Project Requirements (OPRs) and finishing with the Building Envelope Retro-Commissioning Plan. Components of the process will be illustrated with examples from various case studies across Ontario and Canada.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the importance of the building envelope in new construction and retrofit applications.
  2. Understand Owner’s Project Requirements and Performance Criteria.
  3. Become familiar with the various stages of the BECx process and be able to identify the critical steps for its implementation.
  4. Be able to connect the BECx process to real work applications through case studies, and see first-hand how the process relates to a modern construction process.

This session will be presented by Peter Adams, Senior Building Science Specialist, and will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 4 pm.

Session #4: Net Zero Carbon and Passive House – Easier Than You Think

Stringent overall performance requirements are compounded by component-specific or assembly-specific criteria. In addition,  design solutions often require careful integration between the architectural design, energy modelling, envelope design and mechanical design.

The relative impact of thermal bridging and envelope transitions is amplified in low energy buildings. Accurately quantifying thermal bridging effects and finding innovative design improvements to key details is an essential part of Passive House certification.

The presentation will discuss the counter-intuitive mechanical design challenges arising from very low heating and cooling loads and the year-round challenge of simultaneous heating and cooling needs within a floor plate. The different control logic and operating schedules of low energy systems must be carefully coordinated with energy modellers to ensure an accurate model.

This session will be co-presented by Steve Murray, Senior Building Science Consultant, and Alejandro Ortega, Senior Mechanical Engineer, and will take place on Friday, May 24 at 8:30 am.

2019 SPLC Summit: From Living Products to Living Buildings


The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s (SPLC) annual Summit brings together 500 purchasing and sustainability professionals, suppliers, and NGO experts from diverse sectors and regions to share and promote sustainable purchasing best practices for organizations! This year’s three-day event will take place May 20-22nd at the Hilton Portland Downtown.

More information and registration here.

Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor, will participate in the panel From Living Products to Living Buildings: Transforming the Health & Sustainability of Our Built Environment. This session will begin at 11:35 on Tuesday, May 21st (conference day #2).

Session Overview:

Building products are often made with toxic chemicals, exposure to which has significant occupant health impacts in buildings, as well as throughout the entire building product supply chain. The Living Product Challenge offers a comprehensive framework for the reduction and elimination of the human and environmental impacts of building products. Specifically, the framework offers a clear methodology for reducing the health impact of products through the Living Building Challenge Red List, comprised of 22 of the worst-in-class toxic chemical and material classes pervasive in the building product industry. Today, Red List Free purchasing is possible at scales unimaginable previously. As health and wellness become increasingly critical concerns for building owners, companies are now leveraging the Living Building Framework to protect occupant health and wellbeing. To change the industry at the pace required, we need solutions that can be scaled up from product, to building, to entire purchasing policies. Companies like Google and Salesforce are leading the way by incorporating the Living Building Challenge approach into a comprehensive healthy materials sourcing strategy that can be applied to a real estate portfolio at scale.

Attendees will also get a glimpse into the future with Eric Corey Freed’s inspiring presentation about the XPRIZE for Healthy Buildings. Learn how teams are developing ways to (literally) grow buildings by fusing synthetic biology, genomics, parametric modeling and 3D printing to create a disruption and paradigm shift that could switch us from a PETRO-chemical world, to a BIO-chemical one.

AGC Utah: Building Envelope Failures & How to Avoid Them


Our team is excited to present this Lunch and Learn session to the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Utah! This session will take place on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:30 am to 1 pm at AGC Utah in Salt Lake City.

More information and registration here.

Session Overview: Building Envelope Failures & How to Avoid Them

The building envelope is the highest risk element of construction. Often, the contractors are taking on a large portion of this risk. With increased building complexity, stringent owner requirements, vague design documents, and diminishing labor pool, these risks are higher than ever. This presentation will review 3 case studies and identify the cause of the failure. Morrison Hershfield will provide tools for contractors to help improve quality and decrease risk of performance problems in this one-hour presentation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review 3 building envelope failures through 3 case studies
  • Identify ways to work with the architect to improve clarity of the design intent
  • Understand construction practices to help build quality into the construction
  • Identify useful and cost effective test methods to verify performance during construction

This session will be presented by Rick Ziegler, Department Manager / Sr. Building Science Consultant, and Chris Ball, Building Science Consultant.

Facade Tectonics Forum Toronto: Building Material


Façade Tectonics is in Toronto and our team can’t wait to join! This full-day event will include sessions based on four themes central to façade technology, design, sustainability and resilience. It will take place on Friday, May 3, at the Faculty Club at the University of Toronto.

Registration and more information can be found here.

Yvon Chiasson, Senior Building Science Specialist, will be participating as a panelist for the session Building Material: Performance and Geometry Driving Expansion of the Facade Materials Palette. This panel will take place at 10:45 am.

Session Overview:

Aesthetic, experiential and performative behaviors of building skins are deeply influenced by decisions regarding materials, products and systems. The critical importance of the building skin is gradually being recognized as reflected in the new energy step codes, which increase the demands on materials and products and the integration of the facade and building systems. Façade designs are becoming increasingly complex, partially driven by these enhanced performance demands but even more so by the aesthetically driven amplification of formal diversity in the building skin—the pursuit of the iconic—pushing the limits of tradition materials and products and forcing an expansion of the facade materials palette. This session explores developments ranging from new glazing assemblies to advanced material technologies with the potential to extend the current limits of facade and building design and construction.

Minnesota BEC Annual Meeting: Air Barrier Performance & Pitfalls


We’re excited to join this year’s Minnesota Building Envelope Council’s (BEC) Annual meeting! It will take place on Tuesday, April 23rd at Jax Cafe in Minneapolis.


Morrison Hershfield’s Lee Durston, Principal / Senior Building Science Consultant, will co-present this year’s session Air Barrier Performance & Pitfalls.

This presentation will cover:


  1. Attributes of the building envelope.
  2. What is required for a successful air barrier installation
  3. What energy can be saved and HVAC equipment downsizing realized on a given project


  1. Things that could go that actually do go wrong on a given project.
    1. Connections
    2. Weather
    3. Compatibility
    4. Etc.
  2. Case studies on the good, bad and the ugly.

More information can be found here.

BC Housing Building Smart Webinar: Key Considerations for High Performance Walls

Our very own Patrick Roppel (Principal / Building Science Specialist), will be co-presenting this 3-hour online webinar for BC Housing, titled Building Smart: Key Considerations for High Performance Walls. It will take place on Thursday, April 4, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. PST. More information and registration here.

Session Overview:

This session will help broaden the common understanding of how high-rise residential buildings can meet the next generation of net-zero or net-zero ready standards that are applicable to all climate zones in Canada and build upon current design requirements and construction practice. It will illustrate solutions for higher levels of performance in Part 3 buildings, as required by Passive House, BC Energy Step Code, and the City of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building Plan.

Half of the session will be dedicated to the review of typical wall assemblies and will explore practical solutions for designing and building to the effective R-values required for higher levels of the BC Energy Step Code. Parapet, clear wall, window, slab and door full size mock-up details will be reviewed step-by-step to emphasize constructability, durability, moisture control and fire protection.

The session will also outline useful guides and tools available to the design and construction community to help meet multiple objectives, including reducing energy consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing resiliency and passive survivability.

This event is presented in collaboration with ZEBx, BCIT and other industry stakeholders.

CEA 2019: Transportation Connects Alberta


Join Morrison Hershfield at this year’s Transportation Connects Alberta Conference, hosted by CEA, celebrating the significant socio-economic return on transportation investments in the Province of Alberta. We are proud to sponsor, attend and support members of the Morrison Hershfield family while they present on three topics during the speaking sessions.

CLICK HERE to review more information about who will be attending from Morrison Hershfield.
For information about the conference and to register CLICK HERE.

Transit Design for Future Uncertainties

Presented by: Rebecca Stanzeleit
April 1st @ 3:30 PM in Forum 1: Transit – Light Rail
April 2nd @ 9:10 AM in Forum 1: Transit – Light Rail

As populations grow, the need for transit infrastructure to meet demands will rapidly increase. However, predicting the future of transit ridership is difficult with  many factors impacting our population, such as the pace of economic recoveries, the price of fuel, demographic changes, climate change and technological innovations. This uncertainty dictates the need for the consideration of multiple scenarios and the flexibility of transit infrastructure needs to be introduced at the design stage. Should uncertainties prevail, these provisions for the future could provide significant savings and avoid the risk of large investments from becoming obsolete.

Peak to Prairies: Whistler’s Cloudraker Skybridge and Winnipeg’s Taché Promenade Belvedere

Co-presented by: Scott Loptson & Andrew Neilson
April 1st @ 3:30 PM in Forum 2: Bridges
April 2nd @ 9:10 AM in Forum 2: Bridges

At Whistler’s Peak, the Cloudraker Skybridge spans an impressive 130 m on four cables across Whistler Bowl to the Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk lookout and is amongst the highest elevation suspension bridges in North America. Key challenges include: rock anchorage, long span with minimal cable sag, extreme environmental exposure, construction access, and achieving the client’s desire for a thrilling tourist attraction. In the heart of Winnipeg’s historic Old St. Boniface on the east bank of the Red River, the 100 m long Taché Promenade Belvedere pedestrian bridge meanders through riverbank cottonwoods to provide a gathering place and spectacular view of the Forks and Winnipeg’s downtown. At the water’s edge, challenges include floods, ice jams, unstable soils, species at risk, and meeting the vision for a universally accessible pedestrian experience integrated into the community and natural setting. Aspirations, constraints and design innovations of these two unique Western Canada pedestrian bridges will be explored.

Ottawa’s Rapid Transit Backbone Conversion from BRT to LRT

Presented by: Rob Orchin
April 1st @ 4:00 PM in Forum 1: Transit – Light Rail
April 2nd @ 9:40 AM in Forum 1: Transit – Light Rail

In 2013, construction of the $2.1 Billion “Confederation Line” LRT commenced in the City of Ottawa. The project included construction of a downtown tunnel and conversion of a 10km dedicated Transitway to LRT. As this conversion required the full closure of sections of the City’s Transitway, one of the major challenges of the Project was to plan for and implement alternative BRT measures designed to minimize impacts on OC Transpo services and costs. To address this, extensive forward planning was done and “reference concepts” were developed prior to Project Award. A “Traffic and Transit Management Plan” was jointly developed and implemented by the City and contractor. The project included a concept called “Mobility Matters” requiring detailed scheduling of all BRT changes and financial incentives to minimize the costs and disruptions to the City’s transit network during the construction of the LRT. This presentation will look at the development of the Plan, what worked well, what challenges were faced, and recommended actions.

About The Presenters

Rebecca Stanzeleit, EIT, Project Coordinator, Transit: Rebecca is a Civil Engineering graduate from McGill University working towards her Professional Engineer designation in Ontario. Since graduating, Rebecca has primarily worked on transit infrastructure projects. Her involvement in large scale transportation projects has allowed her to develop solid relationships with stakeholders and clients in the transit industry. She has also gained experience in transit and rail design and continues to diversify and build her engineering work experience. Currently, Rebecca is working as a Project Coordinator on the Metrolinx Electrification Program.

Scott Loptson, P.Eng., Department Manager Structures: Scott was lured into the bridge business to pursue graduate research on high-performance concrete for the Confederation Bridge. He has been involved in the inspection, assessment and design of bridges (and culverts and retaining walls) for over 22 years with projects stretching from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NL. Graduating from the University of Calgary, he worked several years in Edmonton and is part of multiple previous and ongoing projects in Alberta. Scott was Project Manager and co-Lead Engineer for the Whistler Cloudraker Skybridge and is currently Department Manager for Morrison Hershfield’s Transportation Structures team in Alberta, BC and the Yukon.

Andrew Neilson, Deputy Lead Structures: Andrew started in engineering as a student surveyor for highway projects in central Alberta, eventually completing an M.Sc. in structural engineering at the U of A. Over the last 12 years he’s been fortunate to live in four Canadian cities, and over that time has provided technical and teamwork leadership on projects of all sizes across Western Canada, Ontario and Yukon. Andrew was Morrison Hershfield’s Design Project Manager and Lead Bridge Engineer for the Taché Promenade Active Transportation Renewal and Belvédère Saint-Boniface. He is based in Calgary during the week and can be found on a Kananaskis backcountry trail on the weekends.

Rob Orchin, P.Eng., Senior Transportation Engineer: Rob has 37 years of transportation engineering experience, with a focus on urban traffic and transportation field, primarily in the delivery of services to the public including traffic operations and safety, transit operations, alternate modes transportation planning, parking operations, and public works. From 2012 to 2018, his specific focus was as a member of the City of Ottawa team overseeing the implementation of the first stage of LRT – the Confederation Line, where he led a team of professionals in the development and implementation of alternative Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) facilities to permit the closure of approximately 10 kilometres of Transitway, for conversion to LRT. In late 2018, Rob left the City of Ottawa to join Morrison Hershfield. Rob is a member of the Professional Engineers Ontario and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

WABO Annual Education Institute: Air & Moisture Barriers


The Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO) annual Education Institute training sessions will take place March 25-28, 2019 in Lynnwood, Washington. Our team is excited to take part in training the state’s Building Code Officials on the building envelope!

More information and registration can be found here.

Medgar Marceau, Principal / Senior Building Science Engineer, will present Air & Moisture Barriers: What to Look for in Drawings and On Site.

Presentation Overview:

The presentation will review the purpose of the building envelope and describe the concept of continuous control layers to protect the building envelope. We will describe the building envelope control layers for controlling water penetration, air leakage, heat flow, and water vapor diffusion. Emphasis will be on “continuity” of the control layers, what to look for in the drawings and in the field to verify that continuity of the control layers has been maintained. Numerous construction details, material samples, and construction photos, will be used to show examples of the concepts. This presentation will explain the difference between air barriers, water barriers, and vapor barriers and show how the design of the envelope can incorporate some or all of these functions into a single material. We’ll also discuss implication of improper placement of control layers or consequences of improper material selection.

This session will take place during the afternoon session on Tuesday, March 26.

About our Presenter:

Medgar Marceau, P.E., CDT
Principal / Senior Building Science Engineer

Medgar has a unique mix of building envelope, energy modeling and life-cycle assessment (LCA) experience. In addition to Medgar’s building science expertise, he has extensive knowledge in whole building energy simulation and material science including infrared thermographic analysis, modeling of air and moisture transfer through envelope systems, air leakage, and mass transfer. Medgar’s sustainability goal is to help designers increase building durability and reduce building energy consumption.

2°C Symposium: Keynote + Panel


Organized by COTE AIA|LA, the 2°C Symposium is an opportunity to learn essential technologies, strategies and tools that address climate change at a critical time for our collective future. We’re excited that our very own Sustainability Disruptor, Eric Cory Freed, will be presenting a keynote and participating in a panel at this year’s event!

The 2°C Symposium will take place on Friday, March 1, 2019 in Los Angeles. More information here.

Keynote Overview – Building as a Conscious Act: Finding Opportunity in Health, Resiliency and Community

An inspirational look at the global crises facing the world and lessons from work with hundreds of municipalities, agencies, and companies to reduce their carbon, boost their performance, slash their operational expenses, and provide healthy spaces for everyone.

This session will take place at 8:45 a.m.

Panel Overview – The Carbon Panel: The Pathway to a Carbon-Negative World

We need new models that inspire the everyday hero and provide unprecedented prosperity based on sustainable strategies. This panel will explore the way forward to a carbon negative planet, reversing global warming and healing the planet’s ecosystems.

This session will take place at 9:20 a.m.


About our Presenter:

Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor
With over 25 years licensed architect experience, Eric has helped architects, builders and homeowners use sustainability to improve the design and operational savings for thousands of buildings around the country. He has been a regular contributor for Greener Buildings, KBB Home, Sustainable Industries Journal, Luxe, Natural Home, Metropolitan Home and dozens of other publications, and lectures around the country at over 50 events a year.

Eric has served on the boards of the Human Health Initiative, the Inland Empire Chapter of the USGBC, Architects/Designers & Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), West Coast Green, as well as the advisory boards of over a dozen other organizations. He was a founding board member and Chair of the Coachella Valley branch of the US Green Building Council, and served on the Sustainability Commission for the City of Palm Desert where he drafted visionary sustainability policies. He has received awards from several Mayors and worked with dozens of municipalities around the country to help implement sustainable policies.

CSC Building Expo: The Building Envelope as a System – A Balanced Approach


We’re excited to be presenting at this year’s CSC Building Expo in Toronto! This year’s conference will take place on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building.

More information on the conference and registration can be found here.

Presentation Overview: The Building Envelope as a System – A Balanced Approach

One fundamental method to achieve deep green buildings is to optimize the envelope’s mechanical and electrical systems. The envelope should be considered as a system where heat, light and air flow in both directions, not viewed simply as a barrier between the interior and exterior. The envelope can be designed to reduce energy loads and impact health and productivity through natural light and control of indoor environment. This can help achieve credits across multiple LEED categories.

This presentation will review the impacts and opportunities associated with the building envelope when pursuing a deep green building. The presentation is based on our experience with multiple large Canadian commercial buildings, each targeting net zero carbon. We will present a methodology to use parametric analysis with whole building energy modelling to explore and understand the energy and carbon impacts of envelope options. The methodology and tools are straightforward and easily understood by architects and owners, and can enable designers to invest more wisely in their envelope. Our presenter will provide attendees with a better understanding of how the envelope can contribute to energy reductions.

This session will take place on Wednesday, February 27 at 3 p.m.

About our Presenter:

Mark Lucuik, Director of Sustainability
Mark is a practicing engineer who has been involved in the field of sustainability since the early 1990’s. Mark is a past long serving member of the Board of Directors of the Canada Green Building Council (past Vice-Chair), sits on the Board of the Athena Institute, and was a founding board member of the Ottawa Chapter of the CaGBC. Mark was past co-chair of the LEED Canada Steering Committee for the Canada Green Building Council, and was a past member of several CaGBC committees and task groups. Mark’s expertise in LEED, Building Envelopes, and the embodied material effects of building materials have allowed him to work on over one hundred green buildings in Canada and the United States. Mark helps design and construction teams achieve their green goals, including LEED, efficiently. Mark is a firm believer in the benefits of green construction, and the necessity of change to reflect our changing climate. Mark demonstrates these beliefs by considering environmental effects in all professional and personal decisions. Mark lives in a LEED Platinum house.