Advanced Weather Forecasting System
Following an August 2009 wind storm that dislodged material from a downtown construction siteand resulted in the death of a three-year-old girl, The City of Calgary, in partnership with thelocal construction industry, formed a committee to address issues of concern regarding safety
on and near construction sites.
One of the committee’s first actions
was to develop the On-SiteConstruction Safety Best Practices. A key recommendation from the Best Practices was toexplore the feasibility of engaging a vendor to provide an early warning weather system. Atendering process was completed and, effective January 1, 2012, it is now mandatory for all tall
buildings (5 storey’s and higher) being
constructed in the downtown and beltline area tosubscribe to the Advanced Weather Forecasting System.
History of wind gust conditions
The City of Calgary has routinely experienced high wind gust conditions each year, and theseconditions pose a risk to public safety particularly in the downtown core where many tall-buildingsites exist and the public is expected to be present. A review of the last four years of gustspeeds from the Calgary Airport shows that gust conditions exceed 60 km/hr over 20% of thetime. The results of the project have shown that gust conditions vary greatly at differing heightsand also from site to site depending on the effect of nearby buildings and wind direction.
About the system
The Advanced Weather Forecasting System is a project that was designed and developed, for construction sites with a target of advising contractors in advance of hourly forecast maximumgust conditions at specific locations. The City hired RDWI AIR Inc. in association with ISLEngineering and Land Services Ltd. to create the system with the goal of reducing incidents of building materials being blown-off construction sites, thereby increasing the overall safety risk tothe general public.The installation was completed in August 2011.
Process for managing wind warnings
Early warnings are provided directly to superintendents of construction sites and any personnelthe superintendent deems appropriate, who use the system as a tool to help ensureconstruction materials on their sites are secured. Owners, contractors and subcontractors areresponsible for taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of the public is notcompromised by loose debris coming off of construction sites.The City obtains this information, and shares it with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), who in turn may share it with other partners/agencies such as EnvironmentCanada, the Calgary Construction Association (CCA), Building Owner Management Association(BOMA) and Canadian Home Builders Association
Calgary Region (CHBA-Calgary).