February 20, 2018
The RAIC and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC) met recently with senior management of Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions (BGIS) to discuss concerns with the firm’s procurement and contracting practices.
BGIS is a real property service provider for the federal Department of Public Services and Procurement (PSPC). As the holder of the RP-1 Contracts, BGIS provides ongoing support for most federal, Crown-owned assets and leased space administered by PSPC as well as assets of other government departments.
Nine members of the BGIS management team attended the February 14 meeting in Ottawa. Interim Executive Director Bruce Lorimer, FRAIC, and Don Ardiel, MRAIC, RAIC Director of Practice represented the RAIC. On behalf of ACEC, President and CEO John Gamble and volunteer Andrew Lawton were also in attendance.
They discussed the following issues:
· Public safety and engagement of non-professionals to do work with requires architects or engineers;
· Arduous insurance and liability clauses;
· Incomplete procurement documents which lead to coordination problems during design and construction with commensurate additional costs.
“BGIS was responsive and positive,” says Mr. Lorimer. “They appreciated our input and will be looking into these items and taking appropriate actions.”
The discussions are expected to continue.
February 12, 2018
By Don Ardiel, MRAIC, Director, Practice Support
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies Canada (ACEC) and the Interiors Designers of Canada (IDC) are moving ahead on negotiations with the federal government to change the 90%-10% imbalance in assessing consultants’ RFP responses. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has begun the consultation process for its long-awaited plans for the Qualifications-Based Selection pilot project. The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates was treated to an impassioned presentation from ACEC’s President and CEO John Gamble in support of Qualifications-Based Selection. And we started the week on a high note, celebrating the commitment of Ottawa architect Deborah Farrow, FRAIC, as she stepped down from her long-standing volunteer commitment as the RAIC’s representative on several government-industry committees.
The 90%-10% Imbalance
In 2015, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) held 12 workshops across the country to discuss the quality of design documents, with a focus on federal government projects. In 2017 the CCA’s Quality of Documents Working Group, of which I was a member, issued a final report. Insufficient fees were cited as one cause of possibly inadequate drawings. Of concern was the current method employed in evaluating the fee component of a consultant’s proposal for federal projects. The method used values disproportionately to the lowest fee. Recognizing that the design and construction industry see this as a major problem, PSPC has initiated a task group comprised of federal representatives and members of the design consulting industry including Bruce Lorimer, FRAIC, RAIC’s Interim Executive Director. The objective is to improve the method of evaluation to support the best value to Canada, rather than the lowest fee. Their second meeting will take place the week of February 26.
House of Commons committee hears why QBS is “better value for taxpayers”
“We’re trying to do timely delivery. We’re trying to do fiscally responsible delivery, and we’re trying to encourage quality and innovation. And at the centre of this is of course the public interest and the tax payers’ dollars.”
This is how John Gamble, President, and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC), began his testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimating in Ottawa on February 6.
Mr. Gamble presented a strong, articulate, and passionate argument for the adoption of Qualification Based Selection (QBS) in hiring architects and engineers.
“I would suggest to you that the engineering fees and the architectural fees that you pay at the beginning of a project should not be viewed as an expense to be minimized but as an investment to be leveraged.”
Public Services and Procurement Canada seeks input on QBS
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) plans a trial use of Qualifications-Based-Selection (QBS) for procuring architectural and engineering services and has issued a Request-for-Information seeking feedback on QBS from the industry.
The RAIC strongly encourages members to respond to the questionnaire by the March 13 deadline.
“The RAIC and its members have long been concerned about the undue influence of fees on selection processes,” says RAIC President Michael Cox, FRAIC. “We see this RFI as an excellent initiative to explore a consultant-selection method that will respect the experience and approach that architects will bring to a project and allow them a fee base to provide their clients with a high quality of response.
“We encourage PSPC to continue with its plans to apply QBS to some pilot projects,” says Mr. Cox. “Members should review this RFI and if applicable respond to it. If there are any concerns, please inform the RAIC office.”
PSPC, which typically uses two-phase RFPs, seeks input on:
- The industry’s interest, capability, and willingness to participate in a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) and selection process using QBS as a means of identifying the winning proponent;
- The industry’s assessment of the advantage of using QBS in Canada;
- Opportunities, risk, and suggestions on use of QBS for procurement of architecture and engineering services.
February 8, 2018
The collapse of contract giant Carillion shows the need to rethink how to procure and manage public sector contracts, says the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
In a public statement, RIBA said the current system leads to a reliance on a small group of large companies, reducing the talent pool and concentrating risk in too few hands.
The crash of Carillion, a company that also operated in Canada, has triggered scrutiny of the role of the private sector in public infrastructure – including public-private partnerships and outsourcing contracts for building and running public services. Here’s an article in the Architects’ Journal.