Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2010

Posted December 15, 2009 (Updated April 7, 2010)

Event: April 21, 2010

CGS/GSE: Cross Canada Lecture Tour, Mr. Don Hayley, P.Eng., FEIC - Global Warming and Northern Infrastructure an Update on Adaptation Strategies for Design of Foundations on Permafrost

Location: Edmonton Petroleum Club (11110 - 108 Street, Edmonton)

Time: 11:30am - 1:30pm

$30 Members, $40 Non-members, $5 Students

Confirm Attendance (By Apr. 16)

The CCLT is organized by the Canadian Geotechnical Society, with funding through the Canadian Foundation for Geotechnique.

Sponsorship provided by:

  • AMEC Earth & Environmental
  • BGC Engineering
  • Golder Associates
  • Reinforced Earth Company

Climatic warming trends have been most significant in the arctic. That land mass coincides with the region of permafrost, where ground conditions for support of infrastructure are temperature dependent. This presentation will provide an update on current thinking with respect to climate warming and its effects on permafrost in Canada. The state of practice for accounting for climatic uncertainties in design methodology will be described.

The properties of permafrost soils can be highly dependent on ground temperature. The ground temperature in a permafrost environment responds to variations in air temperature and the nature of the ground surface interface. The designer uses one of a number of simple or complex geothermal analyses to ensure that permafrost conditions necessary to preserve the integrity of the foundation will persist over the life of the structure. It is no longer acceptable to assume that site climatic conditions can be represented by 30 year running averages published every 10 years (Canadian Climate Normals). The designer must also be prepared to judge the sensitivity of the site to warming trends and extremes in climate that could prevail over the life of the structure, usually a 30 to 50 year period.

This presentation reviews the development and implementation of the first design guide by a committee working under the direction of Environment Canada and put into practice in 1998. Examples of its application were first presented by the author in a paper at the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost in Fairbanks (June, 2008). More recently, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has undertaken to update the process to reflect more current thinking on climatic trends, how they might vary across northern Canada and the role of Global Climate Models as tools for engineering design. That study, to be published in the spring of 2010, shows the progress that has been made over the past decade toward building climatic uncertainty into engineering design for permafrost conditions. The current emphasis embraces a more probabilistic approach, moving away from deterministic methods of the past.

Don Hayley, P.Eng., FEIC is a founding partner of EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. where he has been a consulting engineer for 41 years. His focus throughout this period has been developing design and construction practice for northern regions where permafrost, snow and ice are particular challenges. His work has focused on northern infrastructure, oil and gas exploration and mining. He has applied his technical knowledge across the entire northern hemisphere by active participation in major projects including mining at Svalbard, Norway, oil fields in Siberia and exploration platforms in the Beaufort Sea.

Don received his B.Eng. (Civil) from Carleton University in 1966, followed by an M.Sc. (Civil-Geotechnical) in 1968 from University of Alberta. He was appointed as a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada in 2002 and received the Julian C. Smith Medal from the EIC for contributions to the development of Canada in 2005. He has played an active role in support of permafrost research in Canada as Chairman of the Canadian National Committee for the International Permafrost Association and subsequently was a member of the Executive of the International Permafrost Association from 2003 to 2008. He has presented keynote papers on northern engineering at a number of international and national conferences. He spent five years as a Director of the Canadian Geotechnical Society and assisted with organizing the Cold Regions Division. He received the Roger Brown Memorial Award from CGS for contributions to permafrost science and engineering in 1991, and delivered the R.M. Hardy lecture at the annual conference in 1998.

More recently, Don has developed recognized expertise in design and construction of winter roads and roads over floating ice. He is frequently called upon to develop improved procedures for managing the hazard of working on ice and directed the technical content for a new guideline published in Alberta in 2009. He has contributed his expertise to improving worker safety on floating ice by assessing the causes of ice failure incidents in Manitoba, Alberta and Northwest Territories.


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