An Okotoks resident is among the finalists for this year's Capstone Project of the Year Award.

The awards were established in 2017 by the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) to showcase the work of the province's engineering technology students.

A project from Lethbridge College civil engineering technology graduate and Okotoks resident John Burt is one of this year's finalists, following a recommendation from a faculty member.

The project, which John undertook alongside fellow civil engineering technology student Shay Wirll, sought to test the strength of three different methods of securing roof trusses to top plates.

The stability of these building techniques is pretty important in a windy place like Southern Alberta and was demonstrated during recent hurricane events on the east coast.

Burt says they were able to replicate some pretty rigorous force against each method.

"We built multiple samples of each, we tested the traditional toenailing with three nails, hurricane tie connections, and structural threaded screws. Each sample was loaded individually into a universal testing machine at the Lethbridge CoIlege, that machine puts a tensile force on the sample, that force is recorded, that force ultimately leads to a failure and we were able to identify that failure point."

The threaded screws proved to be the most effective, with a connection strength 51.4 per cent higher than a nailed connection and 8.9 per cent higher than hurricane ties, according to ASET.

Despite this, Burt says it's not used very commonly in North America.

More widespread use of the method would have benefits outside of better structural integrity.

"It has the potential to increase that use and not only potentially increase the structural integrity of the connection, it's also a safer connection method to install. These screws can be installed from the floor, and that eliminates the need to go up into the rafters or work from heights on the job site," says Burt.

ASET will be announcing this year's winner later this month.