Backgrounder

Advanced Weather Forecasting System Following an August 2009 wind storm that dislodged material from a downtown construction site and resulted in the death of a three-year-old girl, The City of Calgary, in partnership with the local 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-Site Construction Safety Best Practices. A key recommendation from the Best Practices was to explore the feasibility of engaging a vendor to provide an early warning weather system. A tendering 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 to subscribe 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 these conditions pose a risk to public safety particularly in the downtown core where many tall-building sites exist and the public is expected to be present. A review of the last four years of gust speeds from the Calgary Airport shows that gust conditions exceed 60 km/hr over 20% of the time. The results of the project have shown that gust conditions vary greatly at differing heights and 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 maximum gust conditions at specific locations. The City hired RDWI AIR Inc. in association with ISL Engineering 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 to the 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 personnel the superintendent deems appropriate, who use the system as a tool to help ensure construction materials on their sites are secured. Owners, contractors and subcontractors are responsible for taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of the public is not compromised 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 Environment Canada, the Calgary Construction Association (CCA), Building Owner Management Association (BOMA) and Canadian Home Builders Association – Calgary Region (CHBA-Calgary).

Items at risk As part of the tendering process, RWDI AIR Inc. developed a set of wind speeds and corresponding construction items at risk of becoming windborne at those wind speeds. The wind speeds are expressed in terms of three second bursts of wind, not hourly averages. This list is illustrative of the typical materials that would be present on a construction site, and is not intended to be exhaustive. Wind Speed (mph) 4-7 4 - 12 13 - 18 19 - 25 26 - 31 32 - 38 Wind Speed (km/h) 6 - 12 13 - 20 21 - 30 31 - 40 41 - 50 51 - 61 Items at Risk of Takeoff Ball of Crumpled Paper; Piece of Paper; Tarp Disposable Coffee Cup, Empty 2" Polystyrene Rigid Insulation R-12 Insulation, single sheet; 3/8" Plywood Sheet; Steel Stud, 162SSP-25; Circular Ducting, 6" diameter Sheet Metal, Aluminum, 20 gauge; 1/2" Plywood Sheet; Steel Stud, 600SSP-20; Plastic Pipe/Conduit, 1/2" diameter 1/4" Nut, Finished Hex; Swing stage, 5 m long, with netting; Hard hat, not on head; 4' x 4' x 4' Wooden Garbage Container; 3/4" Plywood Sheet; Rectangular Ducting, .1 by .2 m; Rectangular Ducting, .4 m by .8 m Disposable Coffee Cup, 1/2 Full; R-12 Insulation, single package; 1/4" Bolt, Hex, 1" Length; Sheet Metal, Steel, 20 gauge; Drywall Sheet, 3/8"; Q Decking 1/2" Nut, Finished Hex; Scaffolding, with netting, 36 ft high; Drywall Sheet, 5/8", Fire Rated; Plastic Pipe/Conduit, 4" diameter Disposable Coffee Cup, Full; R-12 Insulation, pallet; Rebar, 10M 1" Nut, Finished Hex 2" Nut, Finished Hex; 1" Bolt, Hex, 3" Length

39 - 46

62 - 74

47 - 55

75 - 89

56 - 64 65 - 74 75+

90 - 103 104 - 119 120+

For more information contact: The City of Calgary media line (403) 828-2954

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful