TECHNOLOGISTS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN PROTECTING PEOPLE AND PROPERTY FROM BUILDING FIRES
Keith Trulson pours his heart and soul into helping design one of the most important life safety systems in new and existing buildings. Keith has been involved in the design and engineering of fire suppression sprinkler systems since 1990. He graduated from BCIT in 1984 as a mechanical technologist from the design option and then again in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and programing, which he graduated with honours in 1990. Keith also achieved a professional license in November of 2001 which enables him to take full engineering responsibilities as it relates to Wet Based Fire Suppression Systems.
Keith worked as a designer at Upper Valley Fire Protection Ltd., which provided excellent training in the field of fire suppression design. In 1992, Keith left Upper Valley Fire Protection Ltd. to begin a new chapter, owning his own design and engineering office as Tru-Line Technologies Ltd. He continued as president of Tru-Line until 2017 where he joined Introba Canada LLP (Integral Group). Keith is now a principal at Introba Canada LLP and the team lead of a 15-strong fire protection design team, where he relies on his 30 years of experience in the field to lead and mentor his colleagues through the complex design process that includes adhering to strict regulatory codes and meticulous attention to detail. His engineering team is comprised of engineers, technologists, technicians, and designers all collaborating with one another to provide excellent life safety engineering design services.
Joining Introba Canada Ltd., achieved the best solution to ensure that the fire suppression systems were also collaborated with other building systems. HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and lighting are required for the specific use of occupants, however, fire suppression systems are there to protect life and property. While fire suppression systems as considered a passive building system, they still must be integrated with the other building systems especially as buildings become more complex.
The challenge in a large structure, says Keith, is to integrate all the different essential systems within the architect’s overall design in a way that maintains the aesthetic concept while ensuring that the integrity and operational efficiency of all the services, including fire protection, are maintained.
That’s where Introba comes in. As an interactive global network of design professionals using state-of-the-art design technology, the company provides a full range of building system design and energy analysis services.
“We have 16 disciplines in the office, so we are able to coordinate everything internally when we are working on all systems in a building,” says Keith. “And the three-dimensional building information modeling technology we use means it’s much easier for contractors on site to understand precisely how the building systems are installed together.”
Keith says the most satisfying part of his job is that it’s always challenging and never mundane.
“Every building is different and there is always something new to look at and figure out,” he adds. “It’s like a puzzle you must keep redesigning in some way, and to do that you have to keep advancing your knowledge.”
Keith’s other professional passions include giving back to the professional community. He has served on many ASTTBC Boards and Councils, ultimately serving as president from 2015 to 2017. Keith has also served on Boards and Committees through Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (EGBC) promoting the development and recognition of highly skilled technologists and technicians to achieve rights to practice in their field of expertise.
While Keith acknowledges the contribution of engineers to building systems design, he also recognizes the roles of technologists and technicians to provide practical hands-on work and knowledge in designing systems. One of the key roles of a technologist or technician is to work within codes and standards, ensuring collaboration with all other building disciplines.
“As technologists and technicians, we can react to specific practical needs while still understanding complex regulatory codes, specifications, and design requirements. Through Introba Canada Ltd., engineers, technologists, technicians, and designers work together in many aspects of building design.”
While there is often a discussion about the differences between engineers and technologists and technicians, Keith believes the simple way to see it is that technologists and technicians are practical in their thought and expertise while working within codes and standards. Engineers on the other hand are innovators in their theoretical knowledge, adding another level of knowledge and can provide innovative solutions outside of codes and standards.
“That’s what is great about engineers working alongside technologists and technicians; each adds a specific aspect of knowledge to ensure mutual collaboration to achieve the best possible design solutions, very much like the collaboration required for building systems that the engineering team designs,” says Keith.
He points out that an engineering degree is a four-year degree program, a technologist qualification is usually a two-to-three-year program. The diploma programs provide practical hands-on knowledge. It provides technologists with the skill sets to be very prepared for the workforce.
“Our top priority, as professionals, is the safety of the public and the environment,” he says. “That’s what we are here for and it’s what we do.”