Calgary implements new wind warning system for construction sites

CALGARY – Wind storms have been a safety concern in the past for Calgary construction crews working high above the ground.

To keep both workers and members of the public clear of danger, the city has developed a new early warning system to turn to when severe Chinook winds blow.

RWDI, a company specializing in wind, won the contract and is already proving itself.

“We had a couple of significant events this summer, not the least of which was the tornado. Their system picked it up six hours in advance of that system hitting,” says Cliff de Jong, City Building Regulations.

The city says the system has shown to be 75 per cent more effective than anything else; it can pinpoint wind velocity to specific construction sites and to different elevations.

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The system is in response to the tragic death of three-year-old Michelle Krsek who was killed in August, 2009 when a 220 kilogram bundle of steel was blown off a downtown construction project.

Beginning this month, the city is requesting all construction sites of five stories or higher use the system as it will eventually be mandatory.

“Effective January 1st, mandatory for all tall buildings in downtown and Beltline,” says de Jong.

Construction companies pay for the technology through building permit fees.

The unique system is only used in one other North American city – New York.  

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