For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been hearing from residents in the Glebe Annex, Dow’s Lake and the Glebe about the blasting occurring at the construction site at 275 Carling Avenue (at the corner of Carling and Cambridge Street South).
We have been working with city staff and with the developer, Katasa, to address the concerns of residents. Shawn visited the construction site to experience the blasting procedure firsthand.
The project is currently in the second month of a five-month project to remove bedrock from the site to excavate a below-grade four-storey parking garage and structure supports for the tower. For perspective, approximately 1000 cubic feet of rock is broken up per blast.
Below, you will find key contacts if you have questions or concerns about the blasting, as well as an FAQ that provides additional information on the work currently being undertaken at this construction site, and the obligations of the developer, the city and the Ministry of Labour.
General information on blasting in construction projects can be found on the city's website.
If your property has been damaged as a result of the blasting you should file a formal damage complaint with the Developer, Katasa Group:
Fadi Bou Sleiman, Project Manager
(819) 771-2787 ext 231
If you hear blasting before 7:00 am or after 6:00 pm, you can formally lodge a noise complaint with the city:
For noise violations or any further questions, please contact the city’s Development Inspector:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the blasting schedule at this site?
Blasting started in early September and will be occurring for a period of approximately five (5) months. Blasting will be conducted Monday through Friday between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm with up to ten (10) blasts occurring per day.
Will the blasting continue over the upcoming holiday period?
Blasting will not occur on the morning of Remembrance Day, nor is it planned at this time for the period of December 23 to January 3.
How will I know if the blasts will be occurring?
Prior to each blast, the blast site will be cleared of all persons and the site will be secured. This will be followed by a series of warning whistles that will be sounded primarily to alert all construction workers of an imminent blast. Five short whistles will indicate one minute to the blast. Three short whistles will then indicate that a blast is imminent. Once the blast has been completed and the site is all clear, one long whistle will be sounded. A few residents have noted that the signals have been more faint in the past week. The same whistle is being used, however as excavation moves further below the level of the surface, the whistle, combined with the prevailing winds of the day, may be heard more faintly in the distance. This is covered under the Ministry of Labour legislation for work safety.
How can you guarantee that my property will not be damaged by the blasting at this site?
The blasting company will be following a strict set of specifications outlined by the City of Ottawa. These regulations place limits on vibrations in order to protect nearby structures and are monitored. All blasts are designed to meet regulatory limits and are monitored by an independent monitoring company to ensure compliance to these limits.
I live very close to the blasting site. I am very concerned about potential damages to my property because I am so close to the blasting.
Explosives are commonly used in very close proximity to other structures. For example, blasting is done to create swimming pools next to existing homes, utilities are installed beside roads and buildings, and foundations are built. It is the level of vibration that creates damages to structures, not the distance from the building. Regulations have been designed to ensure that vibration levels are lowered the closer the blast is to the existing structure.
What is the seismograph near the project site measuring?
Seismographs measure exterior ground vibration levels which take into account the building's response to vibration. They measure vibration from any source including the blasting. The blasting however has a very specific signature and is easily distinguished from disruptions. The measurements on the exterior allows for consistency and permits comparison of the measurements after every blast. Please see the attached map to show where seismographs have been installed.
My neighbour has a seismograph at his house. Why don't I have one?
Seismographs are strategically placed by the vibration monitoring company who selects the most appropriate locations to record vibration. One seismograph can represent vibration levels in the neighboring buildings as well as the building that it is near.
Who receives the seismograph information and ensures that the construction company is acting within the limits? What is the follow up?
The seismograph information is tracked and kept by the third-party blasting consultant in accordance with Insurance requirements and in case there is a legal claim. The city has access to this data if there are any concerns that need to be investigated.
I feel vibration. Doesn't that indicate that damage is being caused?
People (and animals) are very perceptive to a small amount of ground motion. However, without scientific instruments, it can be difficult to accurately put a value on the amount of motion created. Homes take quite a lot of vibration on a daily basis. Door slamming, thunderstorm activity, and wind, all produce vibrations that we feel and take for granted since these are everyday events. The level of vibration from controlled blasting is similar to these types of events and should not damage your home.
Some of the blasts feel much stronger than others.
The position and orientation of a blast at a construction site may cause the perception that one blast is stronger than another. Your location (outside, inside, upper, or lower floor of your house) will also change your perception.
Is there any danger from flying debris created from a blast?
Layers of heavy blasting mats are used with every blast to prevent flying debris and fly-rock. Each blast is actually made up of a series of small blasts that are sequenced to reduce the risk of fly-rock and keep vibration levels to a minimum.