September 1, 2020

SAIT instructors perfecting the art and science of digital teaching

With more and more digital technology coming into our lives, it may come with little surprise that Calgary-based trades training institution SAIT is aligning with the construction industry’s embrace of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and cloud-based coordination and communication.

One of the SAIT pipetrades instructors leading the charge is Fred Bretzke, whom you might recognize as Mechanical Business’ regularly featured plumbing columnist.

Fred and his colleagues at the college are now incorporating 3D modelling and AR software into the traditional learning experience, so students can produce to-scale miniature and virtual models of residential and commercial properties before they embark on the real thing.

“This kind of technology builds more comprehensive understanding for the student,” says Bretzke. “Using AR, students can create a building and then virtually step inside and walk through it.”

Most importantly, the digital technology is the same as what is being used on real jobsites. Bretzke has led students through current construction projects where they met with 3D animators and witnessed first hand how AR overlays can be used to increase accuracy.

“I’m already incorporating this technology into my teaching and students love it,” he says. “They want to see more of it.”


HRAI AGMs to be held October 1

HRAI has announced it will be holding the annual general meeting (AGM) for each of its three divisions, along with a town hall meeting for contractor members, in a virtual setting on October 1.

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MCAC postpones Annual National Conference

MCAC has announced that its Annual National Conference scheduled for October has officially been cancelled for 2020, but plans to hold the event in Napa, Calif., in 2021.

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New show management announced

HRAI and CIPH have announced that the Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Exposition (CMPX) will now be managed by Newcom Media.

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CIPH charity auction goes virtual

CIPH recently held a virtual auction in support of Habit for Humanity Canada that raised $10,805 for the charity. CIPH and HRAI have been supporting Habitat for more than 25 years.

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Ontario releases funding for ventilation upgrades in schools

Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, recently earmarked $50 million to improve ventilation, air quality and HVAC system effectiveness in schools across the province.

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July housing starts exceed 2019 figures

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada came in at 245,604 units in July, an increase of 15.8 per cent over June, and surpassing the 222,013 units reported for July of last year.

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University of Calgary research project turns wastewater into beer

UCalgary’s Advancing Canadian Water Assets (ACWA) has partnered with Village Brewery and pump manufacturer Xylem to produce Alberta’s first beer made with reused water.

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CIPHEX Virtual trade show and conference starts November 2

CIPH has announced that its CIPHEX Virtual online trade show and conference for plumbing, hydronics and HVAC/R will be taking place November 2 to 27, 2020.

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Thermopan – Tested & Trusted Since 1992

‘Anywhere you can pan a joist, you can use our Thermopan.’ A simple message that has helped contractors save time and money while constructing their return air systems for nearly 30 years. 

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The 2021 AHR Expo, being held in Chicago from January 25-27, provides a unique forum for the HVACR community to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas.  The AHR Expo is co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI.
For more information go to:



Drain Cover

Switching relay

Heat Pumps

Parting Shot: A hot tub makeover can be a beach

NASA coldest temperatures on earthThere are few people in life who would contemplate the notion of swimming in sand, but for former NASA engineer and YouTuber Mark Rober, not only was the idea of swimming in sand intriguing, it also gave him an opportunity to become the family’s favourite uncle.
So, with tools in hand, he got to work with some plumbing supplies, a backyard hot tub, and a bunch of creativity – along with copious amounts of time – to build a DIY project that’s way off the beaten path.
It took 25 attempts, tons of research going back decades, creative pipework, a lot of precise drilling, an air compressor, and buckets and buckets of sand to create a fluidized bed that turns sand into liquid.
At the end of it all he was able to put a broken hot tub to fun use. And his nephews were duly impressed. Who knew the physics of buoyancy can be so much fun?


November 2-27, 2020
CIPHEX Virtual Trade Show and Conference

April 7-8, 2021


Montreal, Que.

New dates: May 5-6, 2021

Moncton, N.B.


Cover Story:
Tania Johnston: RISING TO THE TOP

Twenty years after joining MCA Canada on a six-month contract, Tania Johnston has become the national organization’s first ever female CEO, a step that she hopes will inspire other females toward successful paths in the mechanical trade as well. “It is a huge honour to be given this responsibility,” she said during a recent Zoom interview from her home in Ottawa. “ ...

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