Engineering Student

PCL Construction

Tell us a bit about yourself 🙂

Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital is under construction across Canada Wonderland.

I work at Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital that is under construction. The job is mostly project management and structural design. The team that I work with maintain communication with different trades to coordinate site work

Describe a typical day at work 

Unfortunately, I don’t drive. So I wake up at 6am every morning and catches one of the earliest TTC subway going north. I usually arrive work at 8. Sometimes, I get to see the concrete mixer on the way to my work site.

Water main accident during excavation

Anyway, my daily tasks include estimating the quantity of concrete that needs to be ordered, which means using a tape measure and sometimes reading CAD drawings. I also routinely inspect the site to complete checklists. LEED checklist helps the company to keep track of specific measures that reduces environmental impact, like silt fences, swales, water sprinkling trucks and sedimentation pond. The other checklist involves the few trades that place the electrical conduits, plumbing pipes, rebar and formwork, so that everyone is on the same page. At the end of the day, I walk around the site to take pictures to record the progress made each day.

What courses best prepared you for your job? 

Rainbow at the end of a rainy day
Rainbow at the end of a rainy day

Construction management. The course helped me in preparing schedules and read CAD drawings. The visits at construction sites also prepared me to work at an interesting environment.

Describe the coolest project you got to work on

I am not really working on any specific projects. However, since concrete is like 75% of the entire hospital building, I can proudly say I worked on 75% of a $1.2 billion project.

Is there anything you wish you knew about the job or industry before starting? 

1. If I had a car, I would not waste 3.5 – 4 hours a day commuting. So, get a driver’s license. 2. AutoCAD is actually important, especially as the youngest person on your job. Everyone in the office will come to you for tech-related questions.

Any tips / advice / anything you would like to share with current students?

Concrete mixer loading up a crane bucket
Concrete mixer loading up a crane bucket

1. Ask questions. ASK a lot of questions. 2. Make mistakes, but learn from it, so you never make the same mistake again. 3. My supervisor told me, “Larry, [important person 1] is taking time off next week. So, [important person 1’s assistant] will have to take the some work off of him. That means, [important person 2] will have more work, which means I have to go help him. Now, you have 1 week left before I train you to take over my work.” Moral of the story is that the work environment is very dynamic.