Matt Nealis, Project Manager in Larson Design Group (LDG)’s Facilities & Building Engineering Division, recently lent his expertise to the development of the Canadian Vehicle Maintenance Facilities Code, which is the first code written specifically for regulating Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-fueled vehicle facilities in Canada.
“It’s a significant issue to address”, Nealis shared, given recent increases in sales of CNG-fueled vehicles.
“Private companies and public transportation in Canada – and other countries – are increasingly turning to natural gas-fueled vehicles,” Nealis said. “As a result, there are facilities in Canada that aren’t compatible for fueling or maintenance and there’s no existing codes for how to build or modify them.”
To that end, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) set out to create a nation-wide standard for vehicle maintenance facilities where “natural-gas-fueled vehicles are maintained, repaired or stored during maintenance or repair,” including areas and systems adjacent.
The CSA is a nonprofit association engaged in standards development and certification activities. Since standardization is not provided for by law in Canada, the country relies on a network of organizations and individuals involved in voluntary standards development, promotion and implementation within the country. This network is overseen by the Standards Council of Canada, which approves and recommends standards and codes to Canada’s Parliament.
Nealis was part of CSA’s subcommittee on the Vehicle Maintenance Facilities Code. The CSA brought in experts in a variety of fields to make recommendations and write and review the code itself. Nealis reviewed sections of the code and provided other professional input as part of a process that began in May 2017 and wrapped up with the final version of the code being approved by the Standards Council in November 2018.
It’s not the first time that Nealis has been invited to contribute his knowledge and experience for industry groups looking to establish standards for CNG-fueled vehicles; he also has served on code-focused committees for the American Trucking Association (ATA) and National Gas Vehicles of America (NGV).
“Matt understands what is involved to make a safe work environment for the CNG industry,” said Dan Manns, LDG’s Director of Facilities and Building Engineering. “He works tirelessly to improve installation, including actively participating in improving the entire design process, from standards of the code to design, installation and operation of the system.”
Founded in 1993, Larson Design Group is an emerging national architecture, engineering and survey firm with 10 offices in four states and a vision to elevate client relationships, enrich the careers and lives of its employee-owners, and enhance the communities in which it operates. LDG’s Facilities & Building Engineering Division provides mechanical, electrical and structural engineering solutions for a wide variety of building needs. For more information, visit www.larsondesigngroup.com.