Screen capture of the French website

Aujourd'hui, nous lançons notre site Web en français pour fournir des informations concises et pertinentes pour soutenir notre présence croissante au Québec au cours des 11 dernières années. Nous vous invitons à visiter le site en utilisant le lien ci-dessous.

Today we're launching our French website to provide concise and relevant information to support our growing presence in Quebec over the last 11 years. We invite you to visit the site using the link below.
www.hhangus.com/fr

Internet of things low poly smart city 3D wire mesh.

The world continues to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT), and emerging technologies are taking on a growing importance within built environments.

A confluence of innovation in big data processing, ultra-low power wireless networks, embedded sensor technology, and energy management has accelerated the emergence of smart buildings. As these become widespread, we have witnessed a reciprocal, or better yet, exponential growth in the planning activities to successfully introduce the sophisticated automation and enhanced user experiences they promise. In particular, hospitals, commercial offices, entertainment, retail, airports and education facilities all have clients who will be directly impacted by these advances in technology. This paper highlights the opportunities to provide a proactive change management plan for a redevelopment or capital project.

A redevelopment project provides an opportunity to introduce a large range of new technologies; however, the ‘big bang’ approach that is associated with the opening of a new facility can hinder the adoption. The role of technology should be understood from a functional perspective long before the walls and bricks are in place, so that proper infrastructure exists to support the smart building.

Any successful Digital Strategy and Transformation Project must consider aligning a change management approach to engage users to be prepared for opening day. The vast amounts of change can overwhelm staff when they move into a new building with new technologies, from new floor layouts and different staffing models, to the introduction of more mobile technology, more paperless systems, and automation of tasks that staff previously performed manually. It is imperative to address the capacity for change well in advance of the Opening Day.

The principles of Change Management and what is unique about a redevelopment project

Change really occurs when it is done at scale – throughout the organization - across all levels and stakeholder groups. There are several industry-recognized principles listed below for adopting change in large organizations. However, given the degree of complexity, number of stakeholders and length of project, there are unique factors that need to be considered with redevelopment.

The Principles

Change is Rolled Out

Redevelopment Project Considerations

Redevelopment projects have many external stakeholders as well as internal stakeholders; employees and project delivery teams have creative authority that can turn into resistance

Change Starts at the Top

The redevelopment project cycle covers many years and the leaders may change; executives are often insulated from the reality of day-to-day operations by layers of the organization

Change is Engineered

A change management program can be planned, coordinated and monitored; however, it is not like a construction project in that it involves breaking new ground and cannot be predetermined fully in advance

With So Many Stakeholders, What Matters Most?

With the variety of stakeholders involved in a capital project, such as end-users, executive team, information technology department, facilities/operations teams, government oversight and taxpayers, there are differing and opposing drivers for each of these groups, which include expected benefits, cost containment and scope definition. There is a need for a framework to define a course of action and for leadership to remain committed to it. Finding the common goals between all the stakeholders will be critical to the long-term success.

In a redevelopment project, the ideas and inspiration for change often come from parties outside the end-user stakeholder groups, such as the design team, the information technology department, facilities engineers, or other support services. Ideally, these ideas are then sponsored by the executive leadership with input from users; however, this is not always the case. It often happens that use cases for the functionality of technology are brainstormed by someone “higher up” or by the IT department, and then rushed straight into design. There is no wrong party to support idea generation; however, the important component is to ensure that end-users have been engaged and have faith that the new technologies will create a better environment. One method of engaging these users is to visualize the changes, and to write and approve the use cases for their workflows. This approach uses Lean thinking and iterative cycles to build consensus. It is critical that time be set aside to ensure that these use cases are considered by end users and validated.

It is important to note that not all parties will see the changes as necessary, especially if they don’t belong to the organization or share the same vision. To address this, create a cross-functional project team, map out the impacted stakeholders and address their unique needs. You will likely appreciate that some people are not able to easily adapt to new technologies. Doing so requires both willingness and capability; mindsets get in the way of actually making use of the technology. Therefore, it helps to have champions and support available. There will also be employees in the organization who are very keen to embrace change that results in a more automated and sophisticated building. Support these individuals in advance of the redevelopment projects by leading change on a smaller scale; for example, by introducing new mobile technologies or smart boards in meeting rooms.

Engineer standing in front of a presentation screen and pointing to it while explaining details to the audience.

Change Starts at Every Level

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT EMPLOYEES
CONTINUE TO SEE AN IMPACT AND BE
INVOLVED IN KEEPING UP THE MOMENTUM.

Long before shovels are in the ground, the organization’s leaders are visioning what the new facility will look like and how it will operate. However, project cycles of up to 10 years can be a significant deterrent for senior leaders seeing their vision through to completion. On one hand, they may perceive what seems to be ample time to prepare for the coming changes; on the other hand, they may also feel that getting ready for a change so far in the future is futile. Therefore, it is important that employees continue to see an impact and be involved in keeping up the momentum.

Communication and setting the stage for the ultimate change may be the most critical factor in successful deployments. This requires an engineered approach to obtaining buy-in. To ensure the cultural ‘soil’ is ready before planting the seeds of change, develop a bi-directional communications plan that allows questions to be addressed. The objective is to prepare employees to understand the benefits of the change, as well as the necessity of the change, and for them to be emotionally ready to execute the change. This requires a two-way dialogue to give staff sufficient time to provide feedback. Employees who fully support the change can be invited to co-develop a plan to describe the benefits and address concerns with sufficient support and training.

Conclusion

FACILITATING CHANGE DOESN’T NEED TO
BE DIFFICULT OR ONEROUS.

As a final consideration, recognize that silos in your organization may create barriers to disseminating your plans. I have often seen change initiatives fall apart when different groups that are equally impacted refuse to take ownership for action. They wait for the other department to come up with a plan and take the lead, while their own group sits back and provides “constructive criticism”. This reveals a culture that is resistant to change. It is important as a leader to break down these barriers. Bring employee groups together to understand the shared objectives and then identify what barriers may get in the way. It may be that both departments are experiencing the strain of increased workload from a large volume of change. However, facilitating change doesn’t need to be difficult or onerous. Following Lean principles, create small batches of work, and plan to stretch these batches out over time.

6 Steps to Successful Technology Change Management

As a strong leader, you can set the stage for successful technology change by adopting these six Change Management steps:

  1. Identify the common goals between all stakeholder parties
  2. Engage end users in depicting the use cases for technology
  3. Communicate the benefits of these use cases
  4. Recognize change champions and providing them with support and training
  5. Test technologies in advance by using pilot studies
  6. Bring together stakeholders to voice their concerns

A change management program needs to be adapted to its unique situational factors. Multiple stakeholders - from financiers, end users, IT, facilities, architects and engineers - can make implementation of your plan more challenging, but by following the steps above, you can ease the process.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about change management, we are happy to start a conversation to see how we could help.

Megan Angus

Megan Angus, RN, Lean, EDAC
Division Director, Angus Connect

megan.angus@hhangus.com

Shot of a group of programmers working together on a computer code at night

5G and Pilot Projects to Optimize New Infrastructures

By Akira Jones, BIM Leader, HH Angus & Associates Limited

By now, most of us in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector have read about, lamented and experienced our industry’s general conservativeness and inability to affect change quickly, particularly with respect to developing and emerging technology. However, we are starting to see now that this is changing. Large-scale 3D printing, generative design, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, artificial intelligence, design process automation through software and a push towards a common data environment for design and construction information represent some of the many ways AEC is embracing the digital era.

The nature of design consulting is also changing. Multi-disciplinary design firms are transforming into software developers, moving their way into the SaaS market. General contractors employ teams of software developers. Companies from non-engineering sectors are rapidly entering into the AEC market. Professional services companies and technology start-ups are developing platforms for optimizing building infrastructure through Edge Devices and creating operational/digital twins. Much like the rest of the world, AEC is converging towards digital processes and the borders between different sectors are becoming less defined.

Edge Devices and Digital Twins will have a massive impact on how we design, build and operate building infrastructure, particularly as we continue our push towards a more sustainable built environment through low or zero carbon, net zero and more. We are already seeing a big uptake of smart buildings technologies and the global smart building market is expected to reach almost 62 billons USD by 2024.

Understanding Internet of Things, or IoT technology, in particular, and the current and future benefits to the built environment and how people interact with it will be instrumental in HH Angus’ ability to design spaces that perform better, create better and longer lasting value, and reduce the impact on the environment. It’s certainly easier to design and build new buildings with smart technology but what really interests us is the opportunity in the massive stock of existing infrastructure that can significantly benefit from these technologies. In fact, they provide an opportunity to evolve the ways in which we deliver our work and our relationships with the end-users, from the building owners and operators to occupants.

As designers, we often lose touch with the infrastructure we design, perhaps coming back years later to find something unrecognizable from its original state. At the opposite end, engineers also come into buildings later in their lifecycles, often without proper as-built documentation and have to scrape together any available information about how or why the building operates the way it does. Not an ideal situation, which can typically add time and expense to most projects.

Gathering operational, environmental and presence data can provide a bridge between the building, its occupants, and the engineers to create the potential for gaining useful insight into a building’s real-world operations and occupant behavior.

To this end, HH Angus had the desire to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between smart buildings technologies and improving building performance. We launched our Smart Spaces initiative in 2019. Through this, we are exploring these new technologies through our own initiatives as well as research partnerships with academic institutions and tech start-ups and established providers. With Smart Spaces, we are exploring the use of IoT edge devices to gather environmental and occupancy data in commercial and institutional buildings.

As our pilot project had begun pre-COVID, we, like many firms, had to quickly adjust our plans. With everyone working from home, our office was empty, and we were trying to figure out what data we could collect since there was no one in the building. Like any challenge, this presented an opportunity. Where our previous approach had been to install a set of sensors that gathered a wide array of data with plans to see what insights we could glean, we were presented with a situation that provided us an immediately relevant use case. We thought about ways that the sensors could be used to aid our eventual re-entry into our own office. We shifted the balance of sensors to include more presence sensors to aid in people flow throughout our office. The sensors were placed in common and high traffic areas, giving employees aid in maintaining the ability to socially distance while in the office while also giving insight into usage patterns of these common spaces. The collected data is integrated and aggregated into an intuitive dashboard and transferred to the cloud/other edge devices via the 4G network such that we can view the basic analytics.

This pivot has helped us gain insight into the challenges faced by many of our commercial and institutional clients.

With the first stage of our pilot implemented, we look to expand our research to the 5G network. We were fortunate enough to be awarded access to the 5G ENCQOR test-bed located in the MaRS Discovery District (in downtown Toronto) which gives us the opportunity to explore use cases that can benefit from the low latency performance of 5G technology. We are currently engaged with our clients to determine real-world use cases for existing buildings to research on the testbed, paving the way for purpose-built data platforms.

As with any new (or new to us), technology there are no giant leaps in innovation, only deliberate and incremental steps forward. Where the challenge lies is not in using these technologies, but in determining how these new technologies can help our clients and our employees adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. As consulting engineers, we can (and should) take a little step out of the traditional AEC approach and adopt some of the best practices (and mindset) of tech start-ups – mainly being inherently curious; focus on possibilities as opposed to the way its always been done; and be willing to quickly prototype, learn, and modify to get a minimum viable product into the real world.

HH Angus is an employee-owned, independent consulting firm of engineers, technical specialists and project managers with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Our core services include mechanical and electrical engineering, lighting design, vertical transportation, energy, sustainable design, information communications audiovisual technology (ICAT) and security design and digital strategy consulting. Together, we create innovative solutions for our clients’ most complex challenges to expand what is possible for a better future.

Reprinted from CanBIM Innovation Spotlight Publication 2021
https://www.canbim.com/articles/why-consulting-engineering-firms-should-think-more-like-tech-start-ups

Akira Jones, P.Eng., LEED AP, Principal
BIM Leader
akira.jones@hhangus.com

Akira Jones, P.Eng., LEED AP, Principal
BIM Leader
akira.jones@hhangus.com

Creating intelligent, responsive and flexible spaces allows building owners to improve occupant comfort, productivity, health & wellness and security, while also increasing the value of the asset. By leveraging data from connected building automation systems, IoT devices and other applications, we can design ‘smart spaces’ that optimize the built environment – from workplaces to hospitals and more.


Benefits of smart spaces

  • Optimize work flows and processes
  • Realize operational and energy efficiency
  • Improve tenant/occupant experience
  • Increase the value of your property assets

Unlike new construction, where it is easier to design and implement smart building technologies,we wanted to better understand the process and pain points around retrofitting an existing structure into a smart space. HH Angus has launched a Smart Spaces pilot project to explore smart building technologies within our own office environment, with the goal of supporting our clients’ interest in similar initiatives.

The Smart Spaces pilot will evaluate technologies that can benefit our clients in a real-world setting. We are installing sensors in selected conference rooms and volunteered workstations that will anonymously monitor occupancy and environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. We’re excited to be collaborating with Argentum Electronics, a Toronto-based start-up that is providing the sensors (Spacr.ai Smart Building IoT Platform).

We are also developing a Smart Spaces dashboard and companion mobile app that will aggregate and display data from the sensors and building systems to provide actionable insights, such as adjusting environmental conditions in the space, improve the meeting room booking process, increasing efficiency of lighting systems, and more.

What’s next? The sensors installation has begun, and when these have all been deployed in our office, we will be sharing our progress - including challenges and successes - throughout the process, so stay tuned for updates!  

High Oxygen Demand

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the high oxygen demand by ventilators and related equipment can create high flow rate demands on a bulk liquid oxygen system, in excess of flow rates for which they were designed. This situation has been reported overseas where increases in flow have in cases exceeded 1000% of design capacity.

Bulk oxygen systems are owned by the medical gas supplier. They consist of a storage tank, a vaporizer, and a gas pressure regulator station as well as a reserve supply.

Bulk oxygen is stored as a cryogenic liquid at approximately -183°C, and then is vaporized to a gas by use of ambient air vaporizer(s), which uses ambient atmospheric heat. Due to the cold liquid temperature, ice does form on the vaporizer (from condensation of atmospheric humidity onto the cold vaporizer surfaces) irrespective of the outdoor conditions. 

The photo on the left illustrates a partially covered surface of a vaporizer; the photo the right shows a vaporizer fully encapsulated with ice (in the middle of the photo). Both photos were taken at different hospitals in southern Ontario during the week of 30 March 2020, when outdoor temperatures were above freezing.   

As ice build-up increases on the vaporizer, the ice acts as an insulator, thereby reducing the available heat transfer surface area; this reduction in surface area reduces the capacity of the system to deliver gaseous oxygen. Vaporizers are sized to allow for certain accumulation and still supply 100% design flow with some degree of safety but, past this flowrate, ice can incrementally accumulate. 

During periods of unusually high oxygen demand, with reduced heat transfer capacity, this can reduce the production rate of gaseous oxygen and can also cause liquid cryogenic oxygen to be introduced into the distribution pipeline downstream of the gas pressure regulators. When this liquid evaporates in the pipeline, the very large change in volume from a liquid to a gas can create significant pressure fluctuations in the pipeline oxygen pressure. 

Removal of Ice from Vaporizers

At all times, but especially at times of unusually high oxygen demand, it is important to keep vaporizers clear of ice. Contact your bulk supplier who will recommend and oversee specialist cleaning companies to perform this maintenance procedure.

Current High Oxygen Demand During COVID-19

It is recommended that a supplemental management plan during this COVID-19 event be established to monitor ice formation on the vaporizer and for ice removal, and to plan for additional high flow rate demand contingencies: 

  • Discuss with your medical oxygen bulk supplier if the LOX tank is being monitored daily by the supplier; if not, monitor the liquid level gauge at least two to three times a day
  • Discuss with your medical oxygen bulk supplier any necessary requirements to deal with a sudden significant step change in flow demand (e.g. keep clear access to the pad for extra deliveries, be ready to support emergency technical service access, etc.) 
  • Discuss with your medical oxygen bulk supplier how much of the surface area can be covered with ice before the evaporator needs to be cleaned; establish response times from the supplier to have a representative on site when the vaporizer(s) need to be cleaned 
  • Do not attempt to remove ice. Contact your bulk supplier who will recommend and oversee specialist cleaning companies to perform this maintenance procedure 
  • Establish daily monitoring of ice build-up; initiate cleaning response as necessary
  • Maintain the area around the evaporator clear of obstructions to airflow, for approximately 3 m if possible
  • Frequently monitor the medical gas pipeline pressure for significant and unusual pressure fluctuations; this may be indicating liquid gas being injected into the pipeline, meaning inadequate vaporizer performance
  • Locate (where provided) the facility emergency oxygen inlet station on the facility façade and verify the shut-off valve is operational.  While the outdoor air temperature is warming, the amount of moisture in the air is also increasing, which can still pose an ice build-up problem over the next few months.

If you would like to learn more about this topic feel free to reach out to:

Ed Hood, P.Eng.,B.Eng.
Mechanical Technical Leader
edward.hood@hhangus.com

Kim Spencer, P.Eng., LEED AP
Principal | Division Director, Health
kim.spencer@hhangus.com