The provincial government is being
asked to appoint a provincial engineer, similar to Ontario's chief
medical officer of health.
The idea has been proposed by Denis
Dixon, president of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), in the wake
of the Elliot Lake mall collapse this summer.
In a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty
in July, Dixon wrote the provincial engineer could have “overall
authority for engineering works in the province, . . . provide
specific direction in the event of situations like Elliot Lake, and .
. . ascertain whether such situations are indicative of systematic
Professional engineers are required to
design and supervise most building and infrastructure projects. Once
completed, however, responsibility is transferred to the owner, along
with documentation to operate and repair the facility.
“In some cases, you get extremely
competent people who would be looking after the building and
assessing everything regularly,” he said.
“But there is another class of owner
who doesn't care going forward and that has always been my concern. I
have always said an engineer should be handing over the end of a
project to another competent person and not necessarily an owner.
“If you watch your building and pay
attention to it, a building talks to you and tells you what is going
wrong with it.”
Dixon said design is five per cent and
construction is 95 per cent so there is more chance of a problem
happening because of a construction error.
“Construction errors could be
magnified because you have an owner involved who might want to save a
dollar and the contractor could be hand in hand saying he would save
save him a dollar and at the same time make himself $2. Sometimes the
engineers are not invited to those discussions so the supervision on
projects is a problem sometimes,” he said.
Dixon recently met with McGuinty's
staff to discuss the provincial engineer position and all parties
have supported the proposal.
“Now with the possibility of a
provincial election coming up in the near future, we will be pushing
it even more so all three parties have this idea in their platform,”
On June 23, part of the Algo Centre's
roof-top garage collapsed down two storeys, killing Lucie Aylwin, 37,
and Dolores Perizzolo, 74, and injuring 20 others.
The mall housed a hotel and about 30
businesses and was viewed as a vital meeting place for town
A public inquiry will be held into the
mall collapse and lawsuits have been filed by the families of the
PEO is also launching its own
investigations related to the mall collapse.
“It is imperative that we determine
if work by PEO licence holders was performed competently and in
compliance with the regulations under the Professional Engineers Act,
as well as other applicable statutes, regulations, standards, codes,
bylaws and rules,” Dixon said.