Professional Engineers Ontario

Professional Engineers Ontario

August 06, 2008 08:58 ET

PEO Establishes Demolition Performance Standards to Enhance Safety

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2008) - Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) has unveiled a new Regulation under the Professional Engineers Act - Regulation 260/08 - that toughens engineering practices for demolition projects in the province. The new performance standards covering preparation of a demolition plan and general review of demolition are a consequence of the Uptown Theatre collapse in Toronto in 2003.

"As the regulator of professional engineering in Ontario, it is PEO's role to assure the public that licensed practitioners take responsibility for the outcomes of their work," said CEO & Registrar Kim Allen, P.Eng. "These performance standards were created to protect the public by putting in place an accountability mechanism where none existed explicitly previously.

"This important safety measure is the result of a major collaborative effort between PEO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Ministry of Labour," added Mr. Allen, "and we appreciate the efforts of the Attorney General's office to help coordinate this initiative."

The new performance standards, which became effective on July 25, 2008 and are available on PEO's website, apply to the work of all licence holders, including those with temporary, limited, and provisional licences, involved in providing services for demolition projects as provided for under the Building Code Act. Because they are in a Regulation under the Professional Engineers Act, PEO licence holders who fail to follow them could face disciplinary action for professional misconduct.

They are the first performance standards PEO has issued in regulation since 1984.

Developed between 2005 and mid-2007, PEO's demolition performance standards were not approved by PEO Council until March 2008, following last year's coroner's inquest into the Uptown Theatre collapse, at which PEO had standing to participate. The creation of a new regulation dealing with creation of demolition plans by licensed practitioners and their general review of the demolition was a recommendation from the inquest. Previously, contractors were required to retain engineers only to review demolition projects of a specified size and complexity. In the case of the Uptown Theatre, an engineer was retained; however, no engineer ever visited the demolition site prior to the collapse of the 83-year-old building in downtown Toronto.

Background

December 2003 - The Uptown Theatre, an historic movie theatre under demolition in downtown Toronto, collapses. Costa Rican student Augusto Solis, who was studying English at the Yorkville English Academy next door to the theatre, was killed in the collapse, which injured 14 others. The seven-storey theatre, built in 1920, was being demolished to make way for condominiums. The Ontario Ministry of Labour launches an investigation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

September 2007 - PEO is given standing at the two-week Ontario Coroner's inquest into the Uptown Theatre collapse. During the inquest, the jury heard that no engineer visited the site prior to the start of the demolition.

October 2007 - Ontario Coroner's jury releases its verdict and eight recommendations, one of which is that "PEO shall complete and implement guidelines and professional standards relating to the provision of professional engineering services within the practice of demolition." The jury also recommends amending the Ontario Building Code to require that where an engineer is required to provide general review during demolition, the engineer must conduct a site visit, and a demolition plan under an engineer's seal must have been completed prior to a demolition permit being issued.

It is also recommended that the Ministry of Labour develop a policy directive with respect to the provision of engineering requirements during demolition projects; notify the demolition and construction industry of expected engineering requirements during demolition projects; and amend the Ontario Health and Safety Act Regulations to ensure that during complex demolition projects a site visit has been conducted by the engineer, a demolition plan has been completed under an engineer's seal, and an engineer shall undertake a general review of the demolition.

March 2008 - PEO Council approves two new standards for preparation of a demolition plan and general review of demolition.

June 27, 2008 - PEO Council approves Order in Council to establish the performance standards as a Regulation.

July 25, 2008 - New Regulation 260/08, containing the performance standards for demolition, is filed with the Registrar of Regulations and is immediately effective.

Professional Engineers Ontario administers the Professional Engineers Act by licensing Ontario's 70,000 professional engineers, granting temporary, limited and provisional licences to practise professional engineering, and authorizing businesses to provide engineering services to the public. It sets standards for and regulates engineering in Ontario so that the public interest is served and protected. Rigorously educated, experienced, and committed to a Code of Ethics that puts the public first, licensed professional engineers can be identified by the P.Eng. after their names.
/For further information: David Smith, Manager, Communications
Tel: 416-840-1068; 800-339-3716, ext.1068
Email: dsmith@peo.on.ca
/ IN: LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • David Smith, Manager, Communications, Professional Engineers Ontario
    Primary Phone: 416-840-1068
    Toll-Free: 800-339-3716
    E-mail: dsmith@peo.on.ca