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ECA’s Owners Forum brings together public owners to tackle industry challenges

The PEG: how supporting estimators will help ease the pain of the bidding process

Official Publication of the Edmonton Construction Association



The rise of digital project delivery for construction projects

The new role of the ECA


The future is digital

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Summer 2018

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Summer 2018


Message from the Executive Director of the ECA, John McNicoll


Message from the ECA President, Don Barr


ECA staff listing


Starting at the top: The Owners Forum brings public owners together to tackle industry challenges


No going back: The future is digital


Alberta Construction Association update

84 ECA member milestones


Growing strong: Younger set shows its stuff

Convoy Supply names Jamie Mantle as vice-president of sales



Hub of Construction Excellence: The new role of the ECA

ECA member milestones Alberco Construction Ltd. Building for over 40 years


Opportunity through partnership


88 WCB has you covered

ECA member milestones Women Building Futures receives prestigious Workforce Development Award


ECA member milestones Arrow Engineering awarded 5,000th project 8


Edmonton Construction Association

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Tender mercy:

Supporting estimators will help ease the pain of the bidding process



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ECA Breaking Ground Published by: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 0G5

President David Langstaff Publisher Jason Stefanik Managing Editor Shayna Wiwierski Advertising Sales Manager Dayna Oulion Toll Free: 1.866.424.6398 Advertising Sales Brian Gerow Jennifer Hebert Michelle Raike Dan Roberts Anthony Romeo

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2018 ECA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Alan Kuysters, Chair Don Barr, President Jason Collins, Treasurer-Secretary Jillene Lakevold Trevor Doucette Tim Coldwell Robert King Roger Buksa Robert McGrath Andrew Sharman Sean Rayner Doug Hansen Greg Burghardt Trevor Panas Alistair McBride


Copyright 2018. ECA. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the publisher.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein and the reliability of the source, the publisher in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees.

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Cover photo: Curtis Trent (Left to Right) Ian Morgan, principal – NEXT Architecture; Rafael Lucero, manager, Spacial Information Management Unit – Government of Alberta; Dan Doherty, chair: ACEBIM & manager of virtual construction - Clark Builders; Pat Jansen, AVP planning and project delivery – University of Alberta.


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Message from the Executive Director As construction evolves, the ECA is working to support you and all our member firms. In this era of collaboration, we colabour with owners to achieve best outcomes in construction. Talking, listening, and working with our largest owner partners, we gather at an Owners Forum to address issues of the whole construction industry. These owners realize that dealing with so many stakeholders involved in project-delivery success is a massive challenge, and that the challenges cannot be shouldered by owners alone. We are seeing good progress in the commitment to work together, and we are getting more specific in our conversations. The key is clear communication tools with

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inclusion of the engineers, architects, contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, and suppliers. The University of Alberta (U of A) and Alberta Infrastructure are leading the way and accelerating adoption of BIM communication, digital project delivery, and virtual collaboration. The long-term benefits of using computer models for construction and maintenance are clear and well researched. The research indicates design-build phase savings of 20 per cent is achievable, and in theory, “you can build five buildings and get one for free!”. However, the adoption and transition of industry, including owners, designers, and contractors to this new productivity has been slow in Alberta. Although recent graduates from our educational suppliers, including NAIT, U of A, and other design schools is advanced, grads are not always able to put their modern skills to use. To help the industry adapt, we will offer courses at the ECA that focus on developing the skills for collaborating with a shared 3D model and its embedded information. Change and changeorder process is completely different in a 3D model. Design changes can be either enhanced or slowed by the opportunities of 3D collaboration. If people are unable to track and make changes in a 3D environment, people retreat to their comfort – and their business models – of the “tried and true” calamities of change orders – outside of the model. To progress, there needs to be learning in every craft, and most importantly, all construction professionals will be required to build

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competencies to communicate within the shared model. Each stakeholder in our cascading construction will be enabled to rehearse and prepare for this new process with our launch of the BIM/Digital Project Delivery/Virtual Collaboration course. Things have to change! Some of you remember BIM 101. You asked for more, so here it is… BIM 101 on steroids! We have made a significant curriculum design investment to ensure that this new course will meet and exceed industry expectations. I would like to express thanks to Justin James of REACH Consulting and all of those who helped identify issues and define our new curriculum. The BIM/Digital Project Delivery/Virtual Collaboration course will be offered for the first time in September at the ECA. Register now on the ECA website under the Education tab. You will also need to have you and your people apply for the Canada Alberta Job Grant (CAJG) right away. The ECA is working to be the point of connection, the “Hub of Construction” for hosting critical discussions. ECA members are a learning community and we embrace change and will step into new technology and productivity together. We want to help you! At first, there is adoption pain, and later, new innovations can have their full benefit. Our industry must face this growth challenge to evolve and improve. As you consider your company’s ability to adapt, know that the ECA board and staff are here to help you as always. All the best to you and your people in this new era of construction. As Eric Clapton wrote, “Change the World” that’s all we have to do. Sincerely,

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Edmonton Construction Association


John McNicoll Executive Director Edmonton Construction Association

SHARING YOUR VISION. BUILDING SUCCESS. We are more than builders. We are construction partners who are passionate about what we do and about our partners’ success.

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Message from the President Greetings from the board of directors as we reach the midway point of the 2018 construction season. 2018 continues to be a year of challenges in the Edmonton construction industry. In 2017, we witnessed a small rebound from low oil prices, as well as a small uptick in activity in the oil and gas sector, an increase in lien activity, continued prompt payment discussions, and a commercial construction sector adjusting to what seems to be the new

The 2018 ECA Board of Directors Back row, left to right: Sean Rayner (VETS Group), Jason Collins (Collins Steel), Andrew Sharman (University of Alberta), Trevor Panas (Inland Concrete), Tim Coldwell (Chandos Construction), Alistair McBride (PCL Construction). Middle row, left to right: Roger Buksa (Arpi’s North), Robert King (Unicon Concrete Specialties), Trevor Doucette (Graham Construction and Engineering), Rob McGrath (Synergy Projects), Doug Hansen (Fillmore Construction Management), Greg Burghardt (Arrow Engineering). Front row, left to right: Jillene Lakevold (All Weather Windows Commercial), Alan Kuysters (PCL Construction), John McNicoll (Edmonton Construction Association), Don Barr (Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers).


Edmonton Construction Association

normal. The industry has many challenges and companies are continually having to shift and readjust to stay relevant… and not to mention, make money. Commercial construction remains behind other sectors in our province. Continued discussions on pipelines, as well as the uncertainty of investment for the movement of our natural resources to other markets in North America and the world are remaining a factor in the confidence of investment from private

money in our province. All of this while experiencing increased costs of living and record-high gas prices has a lot of people in Alberta ‘rightsizing’ and keeping a very close eye on costs. It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Alberta is doing a good job of focusing on diversification away from our reliance on fossil fuels. Large investments in artificial intelligence, technology, as well as the cannabis and agriculture/agrafood industries have given Alberta a new

confidence that we aren’t always going to be dependent on oil to make our province successful. We hope to attract more companies to bring their head offices to Alberta, as we all know that it truly is a great place to do business. We are also an attractive place for investment from big data storage, as well as block chain mining operations, due to the fact that they are not paying to keep our buildings cool year round, as well as our abundance of land. All of this causes me to give pause and realize that this is still an excellent place to be in business, while ensuring that we continually stay on the cusp of relevance. Our primary resources are still needed and they are not going anywhere for a while, but through diversification we will see the construction sector thrive. There is one constant that remains if we have investment in our province…people will need things built! The board, executive director, leadership team, and staff have continued to build the Edmonton Construction Association (ECA)

by focusing our efforts on the activities that will most greatly serve our members. The ECA is looking to make a bigger investment in the Young Builders Group (YBG). We are an aging industry and we are poised to lose a lot of knowledge in the next 10 years. For us to bring the bright young minds to our industry, we need to pass down that knowledge, and ensure that YBGs realize that construction is a great choice for a lifelong career. In addition to reaching out to those in the first half of their careers, the ECA strives to provide programming of value to all its members, no matter where they are in their career. We remain a safe harbour in rough waters where people can meet, talk with their peers, and network. Our focus will be to provide you with worthwhile events that bring value to our member organizations. Under the guidance of our former president, Mr. Alan Kuysters, we are becoming comfortable with our new governance processes, which have

brought greater organization to our financial management and educational offerings. The ECA is one of the premier local construction associations in the country and people continue to look to us nationally for guidance and leadership. The board and I are committed to continuous improvement and will endeavour to serve you with excellence in 2018. This commitment to excellence is only possible through the contributions of our executive director, Mr. John McNicoll, and the ECA staff. We are so lucky to have one of the best teams in the business, and their commitment to the members is second to none. In closing, I want people to know how proud I am of our industry’s resilience. In the face of challenging times, we prove time and time again how much stronger we are when working together. Don Barr 2018 ECA President

ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 17






Executive Director


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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 19

John McNicoll, the ECA’s executive director, explains the association’s commitment to being a hub of construction to attendees at the Owners Forum.

Starting at the top

The Owners Forum brings public owners together to tackle industry challenges

By Joseph Caouette

On the top floor of Peter Lougheed Hall on the University of Alberta campus, there is a glass-enclosed boardroom overlooking many of the crown jewels of Edmonton’s built environment: the High Level Bridge, the Legislature Building, and the city’s burgeoning downtown skyline. It was an ideal venue to host the third meeting of the Edmonton Construction Association’s Owners Forum, which involves many of the very organizations responsible for that infrastructure. Formed in April 2017, the group brings together 18 different public owners, including the University of Alberta, the 20

City of Edmonton, Alberta Infrastructure, and Alberta Transportation, as well as surrounding municipalities and other public institutions. ECA representatives along with other select industry leaders were also in attendance at the most recent meeting on April 19th. The meeting laid the groundwork for a potential future charter for the group and highlighted issues to be addressed in the future through collaboration with other stakeholders, including engineers, architects, and contractors. The ECA also announced to the group that for the first time the association has added owner representation to its board: Andrew

Edmonton Construction Association

Sharman, vice-president, facilities and operations at the University of Alberta. Both the forum and Sharman’s board appointment are part of the ECA’s efforts to engage more with owners. “There were things said at the meeting that were really encouraging to me,” says John McNicoll, executive director of the ECA. “Everyone really understands that if we’re going to solve the problems of construction we need to be speaking to every part of the community.” Sharman has been part of the Owners Forum from the start. He wants to see more collaborative procurement and project delivery in construction, and

getting owners together talking and collaborating amongst each other is a key step to improving relationships with the rest of the industry. Positive change starts at the top, and on construction projects that means the owner. “It’s probably more important for the owner’s team to have the right approach than any of the other parties at the table,” Sharman says. “In the past, we’ve been into RFIs and change orders rather than getting around the table and discussing things. Everyone has been more willing to put pen to paper and not talk about issues.” One area of possible improvement is consistency. Every owner has its own approach to building—its own contracts, its own ideas about risk management, and its own modelling software—and contractors have to re-adjust with each new client. For example, Neil McFarlane, executive lead, change and project management, Alberta Transportation, sees potential for more consistency in the terms and conditions of contracts. “It’s not just simply to make it easier for consultants and contractors to bid our work,” he says. “It also makes our work as owners easier when we’re dealing with a consultant or contractor who really understands what we’re after.” By getting so many different public owners talking together in the same room, the forum opens up an opportunity for organizations both large and small to share best practices. Often the smaller municipalities have their own unique insights they can share with the larger owners, Sharman notes. At an earlier meeting, one of the smaller players wondered what it could bring to the table. Sharman pointed to its experience with road building, which his own organization, the University of Alberta, lacks. “I have roads and some of them are in bad shape. In the future, I might be looking to those members that have civil experience to come and help the university,” Sharman says. “Everyone has different expertise to offer.” The ECA is also looking to improve relations between owners and the rest

One area of possible improvement is consistency. Every owner has its own approach to building—its own contracts, its own ideas about risk management, and its own modelling software—and contractors have to re-adjust with each new client.

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of the construction industry through the Owner Affirmation Plan. Encompassing tendering practices, project execution, and industry engagement, the plan touches upon many different areas with potential for improvement, such as the use of online bidding, prompt payment, and greater participation in major industry events. The goal is to promote the best performers using various channels, such as the ECA’s Twitter account or newsletter, and encourage other owners to model that same behaviour. The affirmation plan helps define what contractors are looking for in a positive relationship with owners, such as releasing bid results in a timelier fashion, to cite one example. Subcontractors need to plan out their workloads—a task that is much easier if they know which general contractor won the job as soon as possible. “We have around 65,000 people in Edmonton working in commercial construction, and they’re all affected


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Neil McFarlane, Executive Lead, Change and Project Management, Alberta Transportation.

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Edmonton Construction Association

every day by these results,” McNicoll says. “The procurement administration office doesn’t always understand that you’re affecting people’s lives in a massive way here, so we’re trying to bring the human element into this discussion.” In other words, the happier the contractors and subcontractors are, the happier the owners will be, and vice versa. Anything that helps any one group do its job better ultimately helps everyone involved in the project. “If owners are not properly engaged with the rest of the industry, then we’re not getting our best value out of the relationship that we have with the other stakeholders, namely the consultants and contractors,” McFarlane says. The future success of the industry hinges on creating better relations between all members of the construction community. Money is always going to be tight, and everyone needs to work together if they are to get the most value out of each dollar, Sharman notes. Owners and contractors each face a different set of challenges, but both groups are united by a responsibility to the public that uses—and pays for—the infrastructure they are building. “We’re all in this together because we’re all managing the public purse, and there’s no competition there,” McNicoll says. “If you learn to manage the public purse better, you don’t want to keep that a secret. You want to help everyone to manage it well.” u

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Association update By Ken Gibson, ACA Executive Director

As the economic and regulatory environment for Alberta’s construction industry continues to change, the Alberta Construction Association’s (ACA) Board of Directors has adjusted the association’s strategic plan accordingly. The ACA acknowledges and appreciates the vital leadership of the regional construction associations across Alberta to ensure effective twoway communication and action from the grassroots membership. ACA’s vision is to serve members and the industry through advocacy to address two overarching themes:

improving market opportunities and reducing risk. With retrenchment in private sector investment in new oilsands projects not expected to reverse for the next several years, Alberta’s traditional economic engine has sputtered. In response, the ACA has redoubled its advocacy for sustained public investment in infrastructure. The ACA publicly expressed its disappointment in the 2018 Alberta Capital Budget, which cuts $2.5 billion from the previous plan. Every billion dollars translates to approximately 3,000 jobs in construction.

Beyond the Province’s traditional capital program, the ACA is urging sustained investment in energy retrofits to reduce GHG emissions and improve building performance. The ACA advocated for and was pleased that the Province has introduced legislation to permit financing of energy retrofits through municipal property taxes, also known as Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE). The ACA is also advocating for public policies that enhance business confidence to boost private investment. One such area is a desire to build support

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for initiatives to get Alberta resources to export markets. The ACA is working to raise industry awareness and adoption of collaboration, digital delivery, and technology skill sets in order to take advantage of emerging opportunities required by Alberta Infrastructure and other owners. Alberta Infrastructure has now released its requirements on their website. Reducing risks faced by Alberta’s construction industry has gained prominence. Far-reaching changes to provincial legislation and policy require careful monitoring and advocacy grounded in evidence to try and minimize unintended consequences. Legislative changes to employment standards, occupational health and safety, the WCB, and marijuana are at the forefront. The ACA advocated with some success on the ultimate details for Alberta Infrastructure and Alberta Transportation procurements

that mandate the use of apprentices on selected projects. The ACA needs members to share the full impacts in order to improve our advocacy. The association does not want to add to the administrative burden already carried by members and is working through mechanisms to collect from our members the impacts across all these changes. The ACA will continue to develop the Construction & Community Together initiative to raise public awareness of the importance of construction industry employers to their employees and to all residents of communities across Alberta. Building on the success of developing best practices and new training courses for reducing the occupational exposure to silica, the ACA will work with the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) to ensure the employer’s voice shapes construction safety education

and training in Alberta. The ACA applauds the Alberta companies that are enrolling in the new ACSA silica awareness course for supervisors. The ACA appreciates the ongoing dialogue with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Infrastructure in reviewing their contracts and processes. Through this dialogue, volunteers drawn from the membership provide insight to ensure owner satisfaction and fairness and profitability for industry. The ACA is also benefiting from the contributions of industry leaders to identify common onerous terms seen in Alberta commercial contracts as a first step to educating the industry about the implications of these terms. The association further hopes to use this work to engage in dialogue to see if alternate terms can be developed that meet the needs of owners while utilizing more familiar standard CCDC contracts.

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The Optimizing the Payment Process workshops bring project management and financial personnel from across project chain together to enhance the flow of money. Improved payment practices reduce delays in payment and are a necessary precursor to invoking contractor rights in payment legislation, such as Ontario’s Bill 142. The ACA has been advocating for the wider adoption of one such best practice, the contract approach of Alberta Infrastructure. Beyond advocating for best practices, ACA’s board passed the following motion in their April meeting: “ACA proceed as follows on Prompt Pay: Advocate the Provincial Government to initiate a thirdparty review of the entire project chain including consultants for the construction industry in Alberta”. The ACA has followed the review and recent passage in Ontario of

Bill 142 to include prompt pay in a revised liens act. The Manitoba Law Reform Commission has initiated in 2018 a review of Manitoba liens legislation. The Saskatchewan Construction Association is advocating for prompt pay legislation. ACA has also responded to the third-party review of prompt payment for federal government contracts. The ACA would participate to support an Alberta review process. ACA’s board believes that: • Such a review should be comprehensive and consider changes to relevant legislation, including the Builders Lien Act • Such a review encourage prompt payment (and progressive release of holdback) terms be specified in provincial procurements and where the Province contributes more than 50 per cent of project funds

• The review consider the promptness of payment from prime consultant to sub-consultant, as restricted cash flow impacts the quality of documents prepared for tender and post award contract administration The ACA will continue to partner with local construction associations to develop workshops to promote the best practices produced through the Optimizing the Payment workshops, so that progress can be achieved even while a review is underway. While there are many challenges ahead, Alberta’s construction industry has a proven track record of resiliency and growth. The strength of our associations rests on the knowledge, experience, and contributions of our member firms. Please continue to help us help you, and answer the call as we reach out to you to collectively address challenges. u

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(Left to Right) Dan Doherty, chair: ACEBIM & manager of virtual construction - Clark Builders; Pat Jansen, AVP planning aand project delivery – University of Alberta; Rafael Lucero, manager, Spacial Information Management Unit – Government of Alberta; Ian Morgan, principal – NEXT Architecture. photo Credit: Curtis Trent

No going back The future is digital By Melanie Franner

Some say there is a momentous change

Here to stay

underfoot within the Alberta construction

Digital project delivery (DPD) is not

industry. Others call it more of an evolution

only a reality; it’s become a requirement

rather than a revolution. However you

of all Alberta Infrastructure’s (AI) major

chose to label it, understand that a new

capital projects. This came into effect as

norm is on the way. And it’s one that can’t

of March 31, 2018, when AI released its

be ignored – at least for long.

official DPD requirements. And that’s not


Edmonton Construction Association

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Moving to a digital project environment from day one of the project, design development, through to operation will be key to being able to reduce our ecological footprint and to reduce waste and re-work during construction.

all. AI fully intends to introduce these DPD requirements on smaller projects over the next few years. “We acknowledged right off the top that we could not do this alone,” says Rafael Lucero, manager of the Spatial Information Management Group, Alberta Infrastructure. “We set up working groups with various stakeholders to get everyone around the table to collaborate. We then came up with our initial draft DPD requirements and submitted them to the working groups. During the course of several workshops, we addressed every comment one by one.” This lengthy process came on the heels of a steep learning curve on the Royal Alberta Museum project. The $375.5 million capital undertaking was

the official pilot for AI’s use of Building Information Modelling (BIM). “We didn’t know a lot about BIM at the time and as a result, our requirements weren’t clear,” says Lucero. “Although the project was successfully designed and constructed using BIM, we missed an opportunity to take full advantage of the technology’s potential. Shortly thereafter, we started an initiative on how we would handle future projects. That’s how DPD came into being.” So what exactly is DPD? Essentially, DPD ensures that the project owner gets all of the data necessary to operate the facility in an efficient and sustainable manner throughout the facility’s entire life cycle.

Lucero suggests that up to 80 per cent of the total cost of a facility lies in the maintenance and operation after construction. “For us, DPD means that we make sure to get the required digital information throughout the life cycle of the project,” he explains. “It encompasses more than BIM and 3D modelling. It’s about usable and structured asset data.” AI owns approximately 2,000 facilities within the province. DPD requirements are currently in use on seven capital projects on the go – to the tune of $2.5 billion. The two big tools in AI’s DPD toolbox include BIM and COBie. The latter is an information exchange standard that is used for extracting the digital information from BIM into a spreadsheet format. According to Lucero, AI has separated the two so that not every project going forward will require BIM – yet. But all will need that crucial COBie requirement. “DPD brings a tremendous amount of advantages,” says Lucero. “One, it offers transparency throughout the whole life

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Edmonton Construction Association

And another enters the mix AI isn’t the only DPD player in town. The University of Alberta has also entered the fray with DPD requirements. “As owners, we see stewardship and sustainability as being near and dear to our hearts,” explains Pat Jansen, associate vicepresident, planning and project delivery, facilities and operations, University of Alberta. “Like any other owner, we’re concerned with cost. Most people acknowledge that the capital cost is a small amount of the total project life cycle. Having a set of requirements means that we end up with a series of data sets that we can then apply in our own operations. We will have a real warehouse of useful information.” According to Jansen, DPD as a term has been floating around the construction industry for the last couple of decades. The difference now, he says, is the refinement on how this information can be used to better advantage by all stakeholders. “We are in the process of creating our own standard,” he says, adding that the university has recently published its first draft BIM standard. The university shared this draft with owners and the wider construction industry in December 2017, requesting feedback. It also held an inperson feedback session. The university has subsequently issued its first RFP wherein BIM is a hard-lined requirement. This marks a new era for the institution. “This starts to signal our intent to move into a fully digital world,” says Andrew Sharman, vice-president, facilities and operations, University of Alberta. “This has already been done for many years in other countries and it is mandatory for publicly funded projects in the United Kingdom. Only by requiring this capability will we be able to move the needle forward and drive the entire construction sector to become fully effective. Without owners driving this

requirement, there will be little incentive for change.” This change will also create a more collaborative approach. “Each entity in the construction industry surrounds itself with a cloak of ‘what’s best for us’ instead of ‘what’s best for the industry’,” states Jansen. “Instead of waiting for the industry to mature, we, as an owner, have initiated a broad discussion of what’s a good fit.” Now or never Although DPD and its aliases (e.g. Integrated Project Delivery) have been common terminology in the construction

industry for quite some time, they have been given a gentle push by some of the industry’s major stakeholders in order to make them a reality. “As more and more owners better define what their expectations are, we will work better in the marketplace,” says Jansen. “We think that the outcome is not predicated on what the owners want, but something much higher in that it will drive innovation by creating more value for everyone and, eventually, will raise the industry bar.” That being said, the question of timing is inevitable. Both AI and the University of Alberta are proceeding with some caution.

“We think the timing for this is good because the market is not as busy right now,” says Jansen, adding that one could also argue that the market then is not as profitable. “We’re at the point where we have asked ourselves if there will ever be a right time for this.” Sharman also speaks of the need to get things started sooner rather than later. “As we focus a project on outcomes over the longer term, it is key that we address operation and maintenance, as these costs far outweigh initial construction within three to five years,” he says. “Moving to a digital project environment from day one of the project,

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Morgan notes that some leading-edge firms (like Next Architecture) are already integrating plugins to accentuate the digital experience, like the use of gaming technology to enable virtual-reality walk-throughs in 3D models.

Ian Morgan, principal, Next Architecture, has been using digital technology (primarily BIM) since 1998.

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Edmonton Construction Association

design development, through to operation will be key to being able to reduce our ecological footprint and to reduce waste and re-work during construction. Transferring an accurate model from the design, engineering and construction teams to the owner will allow the efficient ongoing operation, maintenance, upgrading, and renovation to the asset over its entire life cycle. It will provide an end-to-end integrated record.” Leading by example Ian Morgan, principal, Next Architecture, has been using digital technology (primarily BIM) since 1998, while he was in the United Kingdom. He and his partners are strong proponents of the digital world. “We’ve been advocating its use for quite some time now,” he says. “As an architect, I feel like I have been playing in the sandbox all by myself for a number of years.” To that end, Next Architecture has embraced digital technology in all its openness. The contractor used the 3D model developed by the firm to set out the foundations, primary and secondary steel, for the Capitol Theatre at Fort Edmonton Park project back in 2011. It also used the technology on the Edmonton Law Courts project. “For the Law Courts renovation, we used digital technology to take a laser scan of the existing building to create a point cloud for the data, which was subsequently used to model the existing building,” explains

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Next Architecture uses the plugin Revizto to coordinate the input of all team members in the BIM environment.

Morgan, who adds that there were more

technology, he says that there is still some

than 16,000 model elements created.

way to go.

“After running clash detection, we were

“We’ve seen a lot of general contractors

Morgan sees no reason why the adoption process can’t start now. “Using digital technology for fabrication

confident we had created and released to

investing in this technology and a number

work, like curtain wall assemblies, to

the bidders a 99.9 per cent coordinated,

of subcontractors, specifically the steel

replace on-site construction makes a

consistent, complete, and accurate model.”

industry or fabricators in particular,”

lot of sense,” he says. “It creates a safer

he says. “It’s now up to the rest of the

environment and a more efficient one.

subcontractors to follow suit.”

Studies have shown there is considerable

Although Morgan has worked with some contractors that have adopted the


Edmonton Construction Association

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Edmonton Construction Association

latency in subtrade performance because they have to spend so much time finding things, measuring and re-adjusting equipment, climbing ladders, etc.” Morgan notes that some leading-edge firms (like Next Architecture) are already integrating plugins to accentuate the digital experience, like the use of gaming technology to enable virtual-reality walk-throughs in 3D models. “We’re at the tipping point in our industry,” he states. “Our industry is going to soon find itself in a labour-shortage situation. We need to find better ways of building more effectively.” All together now According to Dan Doherty, manager of virtual construction, Clark Builders, the timing for this digital evolution is good. “It’s been talked about for well more than a decade now,” he says. “And it’s currently starting to come to fruition because owners are beginning to realize that there is value in getting data. Plus, the technology has been getting better over time. Most of the technical roadblocks are out of the way. We, as an industry, simply need to adapt better processes that can take advantage of the technology available.” Doherty agrees that the onus for this movement is primarily on the owners. “I would like to see this happening from the construction side because it is a lot more efficient way to deliver a project,” says Doherty. “Even if it is going to save significant dollars in the future, owners are going to have to be the ones to drive this forward because they are going to be paying for it early in the process. Of course, a lot depends on the delivery method and we can sort of push them in that direction, but when we say, for example, that we want to bring in the subcontractors earlier in the design process, some owners still view that as risk. So there is only so much we can do.”

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Justin James, owner and founder of REACH Consulting, views the digital evolution through more of a human window as opposed to a technological one. Software is only as smart as the people operating it.

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Edmonton Construction Association

Regardless, Doherty sees the introduction of these new requirements as a good thing for industry. “There is no question that if the owner is going to retain the assets, then this is the more efficient way to do things,” he adds. Still, Doherty does have a couple concerns. “The University of Alberta is rolling out some of their deliverables on some of their projects and they are asking for an ‘as-built model’,” he says. “AI is asking only for a ‘record model’. The university’s model asks for a lot more data and detailed geometry to be built. Depending on project size, there are thousands of data entry coming from multiple stakeholders, throughout the entire value chain – all funneling into one database. That’s a lot of work outside the typical processes to manage.” Another big concern of Doherty’s is the educational component. Industry associations, stakeholders, and consultants need to step up to the plate and start educating the industry on what’s being required. Some of this is already taken place, but more needs to be done. “The biggest hurdle in all of this is change management,” says Doherty. “Everybody is used to delivering projects in the same way with the same processes. We need to change it into a much more collaborative process among the stakeholders so that we end up with one BIM and integrated database. Technology is at the point where this is easier than ever to do.” Talk is cheap – or is it? Justin James, owner and founder of REACH Consulting, views this digital evolution through more of a human window as opposed to a technological one. “Technology is pushing us to rehumanize the construction industry,” he says, adding that the software is only as smart as the people operating it. “It’s making us talk more. Technology merely acts as a platform for us to increase our communication.” According to James, the “mother of all problems” is that “we don’t talk enough”.

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Edmonton Construction Association |

He has seen a shift underway to a more human environment since the ‘90s. “Companies all across Canada became all about mission statements and codes of ethics,” he explains. “It is all a way to better communicate with staff. The construction industry, as a whole, is all miscommunication. It’s costing money to say that a duct is in the wrong place. Change orders should not be occurring at the rate they are.” James suggests that up to 89 per cent of what people retain in their brains is through sight. This evolution in technology, he adds, merely allows us to better visualize everything in one place. He makes a case in point through the retelling of a recent experiment he ran at a job site. “I put 3D visuals on the wall of a construction site,” he explains. “At first, everyone thought I was ridiculing them. But I left the drawings up and after a few weeks, I noticed that people started using the pictures to leave notes to themselves and others, things like this pipe is going to run into a problem here. After a month, I took the drawings down and there was an uproar of protest. I realized then that visual aids are everything.” James founded REACH Consulting in 2013 to educate people in the construction industry on how to use technology to increase communication. (The company actually worked with AI to help write its DPD requirements.) “I think the release of the DPD requirements sent a shudder through

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(Left to Right) Dan Doherty, chair: ACEBIM & manager of virtual construction - Clark Builders; Pat Jansen, AVP planning aand project delivery – University of Alberta; Ian Morgan, principal – NEXT Architecture; Rafael Lucero, manager, Spacial Information Management Unit – Government of Alberta. photo Credit: Curtis Trent

the industry,” says James. “I think it’s a wake-up call. I think AI has every right to ask what it’s asking for, which is to have decent information handed over at the end of the project. That’s not a bad ask in my opinion.” REACH Consulting, adds James, is ready to work with associations, companies, and other stakeholders to “help soften the education process” of meeting DPD requirements. “The biggest hurdle is change,” he says. “No one likes change. We’re talking about an industry shift to embrace technology and re-humanize the industry. There’s a myth out there that technology is complex. It’s not. Technology is just a tool to increase communication.” The only big wrinkle? “The construction industry isn’t in a money epidemic,” states James. “It’s in a time epidemic.” 50

A brave new world Sharman is a firm believer in the digital world and he believes that the steps the university is currently taking will be of benefit to both students and industry. “New graduates from design, engineering and technology and trade disciplines are trained in electronic media and no longer ‘draw’ with pencils,” he states. “We need to embrace this new technology and ensure we can optimize its implementation to drive improved outcomes across the infrastructure spectrum, especially given the evertightening fiscal environment.” As for those not yet up to speed, Sharman admits that there may be challenges ahead. But not any that are insurmountable. “This will challenge owners, contractors, engineers and architects, particularly those of us in the latter half of our careers, as we did not grow up in a digital environment,” he says. “We

Edmonton Construction Association

have to adapt and learn from those starting out in their careers, as this is the future and our younger employees are the future of our industry. We owe it both to them and the end users of what we deliver to ensure we have the best possible built environment, and to embrace new technologies and new ways of business to achieve that. Dinosaurs are actually extinct.” Although one may question whether this is the actual start of an industry evolution, it is, nevertheless, a decisive moment. As to how quickly the future will unfold from here, only time will tell. “I’ve been telling people that BIM will be ubiquitous in the next five years,” concludes Doherty. “And that was 10 years ago. However disappointed and wrong I was, what I do see is a momentum in industry. People can’t hide from it anymore. I think industry is really at a turning point right now.” u

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 51

A panel of speakers addresses attendees at the Estimator’s Fair on April 5, 2018. Left to right: Chuck Burnett (formerly PCL), Peter Semchuk (IBI Group), Ali Gillani (PCL), and Roger Buksa (Arpi’s North).

Tender mercy

Supporting estimators will help ease the pain of the bidding process By Joseph Caouette

Ask any estimator: the lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid. Lance Simonin, project manager at Cutting Edge Landscaping, saw this principle in action several years ago after putting together a $2-million bid on a retaining wall project. Hours before the bidding closed, he received a call from the general contractor. Something was not right. “Lance, this other company is at $1 million,” his contact warned. “Are you sure your number’s still good?” Simonin was confident it was. He had called up suppliers, as well as alternative suppliers. He had considered the potential risks and worked hard to find every possible competitive advantage for his company. Moreover, he knew that the project’s material costs alone exceeded $1 million. He urged the general contractor to proceed with caution, because there was a chance that the other subcontractor had only achieved its beguilingly low bid by overlooking an important detail somewhere. Unsurprisingly, the lowest number won the job. By the time the general contractor discovered the bid had indeed missed some significant expenses, it was too late. The company was saddled with a $1-million budget. The general contractor had to self-perform the work and try to find savings elsewhere to make up for its lost margin 52

Edmonton Construction Association

on the retaining wall. By the time the change orders were all added up, the final project cost was probably at least $2 million, if not more. Some bargain. Simonin believes more communication between all of the parties involved—including the owner, general contractor, and bidding subcontractors—might have helped catch the problem earlier on. “I know we’re all competing for work, but at the same time we should be able to have an open dialogue. My philosophy is that there’s enough work to go around, so why can’t we collaborate? Why can’t we pick up the phone and talk to each other?” he says. Calling up a colleague at a competing contractor to amiably discuss potential red flags on an open tender is easier said than done. That’s one of the reasons Simonin got involved in the Edmonton Construction Association’s Professional Estimating Group (PEG), which launched last year. As part of the group’s leadership team, Simonin wants to encourage people working in estimating to discuss common challenges. “There’s obviously certain information you’re not going to want to share—like specific pricing or margins—but that doesn’t mean you can’t troubleshoot as a group to come up with the best solution for the owner or client,” Simonin says. “There’s no reason why estimators from Clark Builders and PCL can’t be friends.”

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Attendees at the Estimator’s Fair on April 5, 2018. Left to right: Carolyn Aumiller (Pagnotta Industries), Jeremy Langevine (Pagnotta Industries), and Amrit Kaler (Pagnotta Industries).

Those estimators can’t be friends if they never meet one another, though. There are plenty of networking and professional development opportunities for those on the project side of the business, but the PEG will help fill the gap of events targeted to estimating professionals. “It’s designed to be a connection point for those in estimating, risk management, quantity surveying, and project management,” says Matt Schellenberger, the ECA’s director of corporate development. “They’re often seen as a bit of a forgotten group. People joke sometimes that the estimator’s the last one to ever get out of the office because they’re always busy keeping the project pipeline full.”

To help lure those estimators out of their offices, the PEG has begun hosting events like the Estimator’s Fair. Early in April, it held the second-annual edition of the event, where people from across the local construction industry can come together to share ideas and learn from each other’s experiences. Other events, such as a summer golf tournament, are also planned. The value of networking should not be overlooked, particularly for those in estimating roles. There are a lot of people who have to work to keep the project pipeline flowing smoothly, like the consultant drawing up specifications and the quantity surveyor developing the tender packages. Information is moving back and forth between numerous

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Attendees at the Estimator’s Fair worked together to fill out a giant-sized construction engineering terminology crossword.

Edmonton Construction Association

people and across multiple organizations. Relationships are being formed (and occasionally tested) all throughout the process and bringing everyone together in person can help build up trust and encourage stronger working relationships, Schellenberger notes. “If those relationships are going well, then projects tend to go much better, no matter what the delivery model,” he says. “If those relationships don’t exist or if they’re based on confrontation, then projects tend not to go well.” Julie Williams, an estimating manager at Scott Builders and another member of the PEG leadership team, has found that the group is helping her finally put faces to the names she has dealt with for years over the phone or through email. It’s a lot

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Edmonton Construction Association

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easier to call up a supplier to ask about getting a price on a tight deadline when you know who’s on the other end of the line. “In estimating, communicating and meeting people is so key,” Williams says. “With project staff, there are a lot of meetings, so people get to see each other more often. In estimating you’ll be talking to subcontractors, but you never actually get a chance to meet people and know who you’re talking to.” The PEG is about more than exchanging business cards and sharing war stories, however. The group is helping to raise the profile of the entire estimating profession within the broader construction community. Estimating is not necessarily the first job that comes to mind when students are looking at a career in construction, but the PEG could encourage people to consider it more closely. Williams was one of those students who didn’t even realize estimating was a possible career path when she first started her education. After taking a few courses, she began to realize that she not only enjoyed it, but she was good at it as well. Before that point, estimating was so unknown to her that she did not even realize her grandmother had been an estimator for years. Williams only found out about her family connection to the profession part-way through her studies. “If someone doesn’t join the construction engineering technology program, they may not even realize estimator [as] a career option. People that aren’t in construction don’t even have a clue what it is—absolutely no idea,” Williams says. “There could potentially be a lot of people who would be great at estimating who don’t even know it exists.” Brad Mielke, another member of the PEG leadership team and an instructor for NAIT’s Construction Engineering Technology program, has seen how challenging it can be for some people to gain a foothold in the profession. Industry needs estimators, but there aren’t always enough entry-level positions for those

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Brad Mielke, an instructor for NAIT’s Construction Engineering Technology program and member of the leadership team of the Professional Estimating Group.

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starting out, he believes. Sometimes, even job postings for junior estimators still require a couple of years of experience. “Willingness to be an estimator should be the number-one thing that companies look for, because we just simply don’t have enough skilled estimators. Are people willing to learn, willing to put in the hours, willing to take night courses, and willing to join with the PEG or the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors? All those types of things would be far more on-point in job postings [than focusing on years of experience], really,” Mielke says. On-site experience is always valuable, but workers plucked from the field do not become an estimator overnight once they are dropped into an office. As bids grow more complex, estimators need to know about contract law and handling documentation. Through educational and networking opportunities, the PEG can help more people get a start in the profession, and once that career path is

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established, companies can move more and more people through it. “Estimators are just not going to come into existence in any other way. Companies have to realize that they can buy the raw materials, but they will have to exert effort to shape them into something,” Mielke says. “If they can do that, then they will get a far better result.” There’s a pressing need for companies to figure out how to find and develop estimators. Many baby boomers are nearing or already at retirement age, and they will take with them years worth of hard-won knowledge and experience when they leave the industry. Thanks to Alberta’s boom-and-bust economy, there are noticeable gaps in the workforce from periodic downturns and hiring freezes. The PEG will help support the passing down of knowledge through mentoring. The group hopes to host organized mentoring events where younger workers get a chance to pick the brains of more experienced estimators. However, the leadership team is also optimistic that mentoring relationships will develop organically out of other events designed to forge connections between people in the profession. “The companies that can extract that knowledge out of the people that are leaving them in the next 10 years are going to be far more successful companies in the future. You’ve got people that have really got to start sharing what they know with this next generation in whatever manner that they can,” Mielke says. The Alberta Construction Trade Definitions are an example of the kind of valuable knowledge that could have almost been lost as the older generation left the industry. First developed in the 1970s, the definitions were all but forgotten for over a decade before some industry members made a concerted effort to revise them for a new generation of workers. By clearly laying out what is contained within each scope, the trade definitions can save estimators from a great many headaches when deadline crunch looms.

There’s a pressing need for companies to figure out how to find and develop estimators. Many baby boomers are nearing or already at retirement age, and they will take with them years worth of hard-won knowledge and experience when they leave the industry.

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 61

Left to right: Diane Madu (Graham Construction), Sam Wong (Graham Construction), and Carlos Lugo (Silverstone Builders).

Colin Letawsky (Clark Builders).

“When a general contractor receives a subtrade’s price 10 minutes before a job closes, he doesn’t have time to figure out if the trade’s not-included items are carried somewhere else in his estimate. He doesn’t want to guess at a sum to cover those costs in his tender at the last minute,” explains Roger Buksa, general manager at Arpi’s North, ECA board member, and chair of the Trade Definitions Committee. “The trade

better can only help the entire industry thrive. “Getting a large group of estimators together in a room to discuss the issues they have allows the ECA to assist in providing solutions or at the very least bring those issues forward,” Buksa says. “The only way to make a change in this very large and dynamic industry is to do it as a group. Many voices are louder than one.” u

definitions put all the trades on an even playing field.” Between time pressures and juggling multiple sub-contractors and suppliers, estimators face myriad challenges when putting together a bid. The trade definitions, like the PEG, are one more resource to help ease some of those difficulties. After all, estimators are central to the tendering process, and anything that lets them do their jobs

ECA EDUCATION When your employee spends a day in an ECA course, they return to work more engaged, better connected, and ready to deliver the high-value work your firm needs. ECA presents over 50 courses per year — taught by industry experts like Phil Perry – in critical areas like project and schedule management, risk, profitability, leadership, and construction contracts. Learn more and register at or email Jessica Kuhnel at


Edmonton Construction Association

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 63

The 2018 YBG Leadership Team. From left to right: Alan Kuysters (PCL Construction), Ryan Hutton (High Line Electrical Constructors), Lindsay Munn-Price (University of Alberta), Rich Haas (PCL Construction), Greg Forsythe (Guarantee Company of North America), Thomas Ziegler (Al-Terra Engineering), John McNicoll (Edmonton Construction Association), Ben Aitchison (ONE Properties), Mathias Jonsson (Standard Scaffold), Alistair McBride (PCL Construction), Jennifer Von Berendt (DIALOG), Matt Schellenberger (Edmonton Construction Association), Tim Coldwell (Chandos Construction), Rob McGrath (Synergy Projects), Paul Rogers (Rescom), Don Barr (Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers), Chantel Butler (Consolidated Gypsum Supply), Caroline Bowen (Edmonton Construction Association), Farah Benjamin (Clark Builders).

Growing strong Next generation shows it stuff By Melanie Franner

Today’s young professionals are more than ready to take on the next generation of responsibilities, as evidenced in the recent activity surrounding various industry initiatives underway. Key among these enterprising projects is the need for more industry collaboration and networking – two factors that will serve this next generation well in the years to come. Hub of the industry Events kicked off to a great start this year with the inaugural Hub Night. “This is a back-to-basics networking event,” explains Chantel Butler, chair of networking, YBG, and outside sales, Consolidated Gypsum, who adds that industry holds a lot of educational talks, site-series events, golf tournaments, and the like. “There really wasn’t anything that was a basic networking event so we decided to go ahead and create one.” YBG’s first Hub Night of the year took place in January. The event typically attracts between 100 and 150 people from all walks of industry, including architects, designers, engineers, project managers, suppliers, business owners, and trades. 64

Edmonton Construction Association

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 65

The inaugural Hub Night this past January kicked off YBG events for the year. Chantel Butler (front), is chair of networking for the YBG.

“A lot of the time we get so wrapped up in our own projects that we forget about everything else,” says Butler. “These events are unstructured. They are designed to help people take a couple hours out of their busy schedules to come together and build the relationships that lead to exceptional construction.” Butler herself has already experienced the benefits firsthand. “I love being a part of YBG,” she says. “It really is a great way to meet your industry peers and to make solid business connections for down the road.” The next events will rotate to different venues around the city. One on one Another YBG initiative underway is Facetime, an industry event geared to bringing together emerging and seasoned leaders. “This is a mentoring-style event,” explains Richard Haas, education committee chair, YBG, and project development manager, PCL Construction. “We created it specifically with the intent to broaden the number of opportunities for YBGers to connect with the more senior leaders in the industry. This event 66

actually gives YBGers face time with these very important people.” The first of these Facetime events took place earlier this year. It saw each of 10 senior industry leaders paired with four YBGers for a series of 15-minute periods (almost like speed dating!). The YBGers were rotated both among themselves and among the industry icons. “It was a sold-out event,” says Haas, adding that it was held in the morning over breakfast. “It was an awesome turnout and a highly successful one at that.” In fact, the event attained a 4.8 out of five on the subsequent electronic feedback scorecard. Although unscripted for the most part, this Facetime event did have a theme of “disruption”. “We identified 10 seasoned professionals who we saw as having ‘disrupted’ either industry or their organization in a positive way,” explains Haas. “We wanted to query them on how they enabled ‘disruption’ and how they or we could continue to do so.” The next Facetime event will be held in the fall of this year and more than likely will entail an afternoon meeting in a restaurant or pub-type setting. The overriding theme has yet to be chosen, but

Edmonton Construction Association

the concept will remain the same. “These events are limited to about 70 attendees max,” says Haas. “We value intimacy for these so we’re determined to keep them small.” All together With so many great events being offered throughout the industry, it only made sense that sooner or later, someone would start thinking outside of his or her own box. Thus, the creation of Young Professionals (YP) Merge. “YP Merge is seen as a roundtable that facilitates impactful connections between the development, design and construction YP organizations in Alberta’s capital region,” states Jennifer von Berendt, YBG collaboration chair, and designer, business development, DIALOG. “It has been designed to improve collaboration across the industry.” To that end, the first YP Merge meeting was held in March 2018. It brought together a number of organizations committed to advancing change through joint participation and deliberate collaboration – all for the betterment of the industry. The six core groups to form the heart of YP Merge include: YBG, Edmonton

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One of the first products of YP Merge is the Shared Events Calendar, which is an online tool administered by the different groups. It not only allows for increased collaboration among the different organizations; it also acts as a reference tool and avoids competition for dates, sponsorship dollars, etc.

Richard Haas, education committee chair, YBG, and project development manager, PCL Construction, emceeing a Facetime event, a YBG initiative.

Construction Association; Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA); Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP); Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE); Young Professionals in Energy (YPE); and Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA). One of the first products of YP Merge is the Shared Events Calendar, which is an online tool administered by the different groups. It not only allows for increased collaboration among the different organizations; it also acts as a reference tool and avoids competition for dates, sponsorship dollars, etc. Other benefits realized through YP Merge include the building of synergies, more efficient networks, and a presence on social media. For example, YP Merge has created a website, along with home pages on Linkedin, Twitter, and other platforms, as well as the promotion of the #YPMerge hashtag. The latter will provide a source of unbiased reference to all young professionals looking for news, events, and






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industry updates. Each organization shares the administration role and is encouraged to use the hashtag to promote items of interest. “The reception to YP Merge has been very positive – and it continues to grow,” says von Berendt. “Everybody involved to date saw the obvious benefit right away. We believe that as soon as other organizations hear about it, they will become engaged as well.” Facetime is an industry event geared towards bringing together emerging and seasoned leaders.

On the move With a variety of initiatives well underway across several facets of the Alberta construction industry, it looks like the next generation of personnel will be more than prepared to accept responsibility when the time comes. In the meantime, it looks like they will have plenty of opportunity to take advantage of all the knowledge and expertise currently available from those members of the

Facetime pairs senior industry leaders with YBGers for a series of 15-minute periods, similar to speed dating.

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 71

John McNicoll, executive director of the ECA, chats chats with Lara Check, Executive Director – Procurement, Alberta Infrastructure at a recent Owners Forum.

Hub of Construction Excellence The new role of the ECA By Tammy Schuster

The way the west was won no longer works in today’s marketplace, and the each-to-his-own mentality of problem-solving in the construction industry is shifting. To facilitate this shift in business, the ECA has identified a goal of being the Hub of Construction Excellence, calling on experts in the construction community to have 72

Edmonton Construction Association

leadership conversations with all those who have an influence on construction processes. “We have newly defined the role of the ECA,” says John McNicoll, executive director of the ECA. “Rather than policing industry – we are clarifying expectations of our industry, and we are now more of a listening entity – calling leaders to

meet and lead together. Our role is to enable discussions and empower the industry to lead itself.” Outlined by the board of directors in a strategy session held in September 2017, the Hub of Construction serves to bring stakeholders within the construction community together to build relationships and provide solutions to the industry’s biggest challenges. “We all know the challenges the construction industry faces,” says Matt Schellenberger, director of corporate development at the ECA. “With more collaborative thinking and greater integration between stakeholders, it makes sense to have unification. The Hub of Construction has the ECA serving at the centre, bringing all the groups representing the construction industry together to have conversations that will move things forward in a meaningful way.” A few ways the association has initiated discussion include Owners Forums, Infrastructure Productivity Forums & Breakfasts for members of the senior design community, and the creation of the Professional Estimators Group (PEG). With access to approximately 65,000 people in the industry, McNicoll says the association can approach the appropriate experts and influencers. “We have our ear to the ground asking who should be leading a certain discussion, and who should be involved,” he says. “We receive input from our members about who the ideal voices are on for each particular discussion.” The association has also made changes to reflect this new inclusive era of leadership by appointing Andrew Sharman, VP, facilities & operations at the University of Alberta, to the ECA board of directors — he is the first owner to ever sit on the ECA board. “We are a construction association and we’ve got to live up to our name,” says McNicoll. “That means we have to include owners and designers, as well as contractors, in a more deeply integrated way than we ever have before.”

Outlined by the board of directors in a strategy session held in September 2017, the Hub of Construction serves to bring stakeholders within the construction community together to build relationships and provide solutions to the industry’s biggest challenges.

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 73

At a recent Owners Forum, the ECA had over 17 major owners and buyers of construction in the province present sharing their challenges. Owners included representatives from universities, the City of Edmonton, Alberta Infrastructure, Defence Construction Canada, and school districts.


Edmonton Construction Association

McNicoll says the association’s goal is to examine the elements in the construction process which cause loss of productivity, loss of money, and loss of value. It’s a new and modern leadership style, but he says the association is continuing to receive feedback that this approach is appreciated as a way forward. “We have the intelligence and human resources to work through these problems, but it will never happen if people don’t come to the table and collaborate.” Ian Morgan, principal at Next Architecture, is part of the stakeholder leadership team planning the Infrastructure Productivity Breakfast. He also acts as a special attendee from the design community at the Owners Forum. “The ECA has taken great initiative to bring owners, consultants, and contractors together in one room to discuss how to collectively improve our businesses through sharing information

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and experiences, using case studies, and having an open dialog around collaboration.” Morgan says too often the construction industry has worked in silos and this new method of leadership encourages a wider form of communication, collaboration, and a ‘having-each-others-back’ type of approach. “The response from this forum shows there is a large number of people who are prepared to move on from what they’ve been used to doing for the last 100 years,” says Morgan. “It’s the first time this is being done with a vision of doing something collectively different.” Trevor Doucette, district manager at Graham Construction, ECA board member, and chair of the Stakeholder Strategies and Engagement Committee, also attended the most recent Owners Forum held in April. “This was a precedent because we’ve never had this many major owners or clients in one room sharing, talking, and making it a team environment.” The forum had over 17 major owners and buyers of construction in the province present sharing their challenges. Owners included representatives from universities, the City of Edmonton, Alberta Infrastructure, Defence Construction Canada, and school districts. The Hub of Construction Excellence is intended to be a central, shared space that bridges all partners of industry together. Be it a discussion of education, procurement, training, networking, or communication; facilitating discussion will enable real solutions. “In our role, we call the right stakeholders and leaders into the room to work on specific problems,” says McNicoll. “We are calling on them to lead our industry to progressive, proactive improvement.” u

Photo Courtesy of Chandos Construction

Moving the Industry Forward “Suppliers and subcontractors now have greater assurance of competing on a level playing field. General contractors are assured of completed bids that cover the entire scope of the project. Owners benefit because they can compare ‘apples-to-apples’ compliant bids on clear definitions. In the end, everyone wins.” —Ken Gibson, Alberta Construction Association



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All great things must come to an end. This is a reality of our world, and with technology advancing at the rate it is, we are often just getting comfortable with a brand before we must say goodbye. This has hardly been the case for the most beloved acronym in Alberta construction circles – Construction Opportunities Online Network – or “COOLNet Alberta” as you have likely known it, has survived 17 years of industry transformation and hard labour. Unlike many other brand transitions, our change comes from a position of strength, and with an eye to the future on our service offering to the industry. In its place, COOLNet Alberta will re-invent itself as a bigger, stronger, modern version of its past self. BuildWorks Canada will provide greater access to work and opportunities, create greater abilities to collaborate and network, and become a source of industry knowledge and information from trusted local sources across Western Canada. A partnership between local associations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, BuildWorks Canada is removing barriers to opportunities and promoting a more collaborative construction industry. BuildWorks Canada will be the construction industry’s premiere business development and procurement platform. Serving the industry across Canada, BuildWorks combines national visibility with local experience to connect owners and general contractors to skilled providers.

BuildWorks Canada will be the construction industry’s premiere business development and procurement platform. Serving the industry across Canada, BuildWorks combines national visibility with local experience to connect owners and general contractors to skilled providers.

Our comprehensive public directory will be the largest database of skilled and qualified providers available in the industry, literally viewed by tens of thousands of industry professionals looking to connect and find quality partners. If you haven’t updated your company profile with up-to-date information, slide this to the top of your to-do list. The upgraded user interface and user experience provides a new modern look and feel, with more intuitive workflows and process. Integration of our On Demand Invitation to Bid service and our public directory will create ease of communication between contractors and greater opportunity for your company to find work. We have also added a new self-service advertising tool, creating flexible price points and the ability for you to advertise your company to a local market, entire province, or the entire platform. This is industry-specific targeted advertising re-defined. BuildWorks Canada will create the greatest project exposure available to construction owners across Western Canada, and unparalleled access to more work and opportunity for contractors and service providers. These two key values will continue to drive us in growing our service to the construction industry in Alberta, and across Canada. I look forward to helping your organization achieve its goals. Curtis Griffith is the director of business development at BuildWorks Canada – where the work is. u




ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 79

ECA member milestones Women Building Futures receives prestigious Workforce Development Award On May 8, 2018, Women Building Futures (WBF) was awarded the 2018 Workforce Development Award from the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) at the Annual Best Practices Conference in Edmonton. North West Redwater (NWR) nominated WBF for the award based on an innovative workforce development partnership between WBF, NWR, and three separate Building Trades of Alberta affiliates: Ironworkers Local 720, Carpenters Local 1325, and Insulators Local 110. The partners were eager to increase female employment on the Sturgeon Refinery project by generating buy-in among employers, providing pre-trades training, supporting apprenticeship registration, and creating a peer network to ensure ongoing mentorship and retention. This partnership demonstrated: - how best practices for hiring and retaining tradeswomen can be successfully planned and implemented by bringing together the project owner, contractors and labour unions - how collaborating on pre-trades training ensured outcomes would meet the needs of the employers and ensure the success of the graduates.

The partnership resulted in the recruitment and training of 43 women to work on the project: 19 ironworkers, 17 scaffolders, two carpenters, one operator and four insulators. All of the women were registered as apprentices, and 25 per cent are Indigenous. These career opportunities significantly improved the lives of the women and their 46 children collectively. WBF’s proven model delivers strategic workforce development services to accomplish both its social and economic mission and the business goals of the organizations it works with. WBF’s approach encompasses the full spectrum of support, from informing women about opportunities, to equipping them with the right skills and knowledge, to securing and retaining employment. This collaborative approach to workforce development shows the tenacity, expertise, and passion that WBF brings to the table and has built the organization’s reputation among key industry players to provide more programs following a similar model. For more information about WBF, please visit u







Want to know more? Let’s talk! Contact our Industry Relations Team. Office: 780 452 1200 Toll-Free: 1 866 452 1201

Edmonton Construction Association

Proven Results.


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CANA Group is an integrated service provider offering management and construction of commercial, retail, residential, institutional and infrastructure projects, real estate development, and design, construction and maintenance for high voltage facilities and utility infrastructure.

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For more information about

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End of Summer BBQ

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Edmonton Construction Association

Edmonton Construction Association



For information about sponsoring

ECA Golf Tournament

YBG Amazing Race Event

Blackhawk Golf Club

Begins at CRAFT

MONDAY, JULY 9, 2018


ECA Golf Tournament Windermere Golf & Country Club

THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2018 YBG Golf Tournament Blackhawk Golf Club

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2018 ECA Golf Tournament

Meet & Greet TBD

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2018 SHIFT 2018 Hotel Macdonald

NOVEMBER, 2018 PEG Event To Be Determined

Glendale Golf and Country Club

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2018 PEG Golf Tournament Glendale Golf & Country Club

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2018 ECA 2018 Wrap Up Party The Citadel Theatre

upcoming events, please contact Jordan Toews at 587.773.0741 or

ECA member milestones Arrow Engineering awarded 5,000th project

NAIT crane operations training facility.

In February 2018, on the eve of their 12th birthday, Arrow Engineering (Arrow) was awarded their 5,000th project. While the construction industry and economy have changed drastically over the past 12 years, Arrow has emerged as a top-tier local firm, completing about 600 projects annually. Arrow was founded in 2006 with nine dedicated staff – all of whom are still with Arrow today; this is one of the things that Arrow president and ECA board member, Greg Burghardt, is most proud of. In 2010, Arrow expanded their existing mechanical service offerings with the


Edmonton Construction Association

addition of an electrical group, then moved on to enhance their civil services in 2011, and finally, added a structural team in 2014. Today, the Arrow team is made up of nearly 85 professional, technical and administrative professionals spread across four disciplines and united by one goal: to deliver great service to their clients. Arrow is proud to be a significant player in the design-build community, working shoulder-to-shoulder with quality contractors. When you walk into Arrow headquarters, you’ll see the statement

“great people generate great outcomes” prominently displayed on their office wall. Since day one, Arrow has maintained the belief that investing in their people will, in turn, empower them to take good care of clients. When the recession hit in early 2015, Arrow took a good hard look at their operations to determine how to increase the efficiency of their service delivery without having to sacrifice quality; the clear answer was to increase their focus on a fundamental tenet of their culture – continuous improvement. Arrow's leadership team expresses that they feel very fortunate to have such a smart, fun, and hardworking team. Over the years, Arrow has won numerous awards, but they're most proud of placing 17th in North America amongst A&E firms for Best Firms to Work For. In addition to supporting numerous charitable organizations and other great causes, Arrow and Greg Burghardt contribute to the progression of the industry through Burghardt's role as a director for both the ECA and the Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA), along with many related sub-committees. The team at Arrow is excited to see what the future holds, and wishes to take this opportunity to thank its staff and clients for their loyal support. u

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 83

ECA member milestones Convoy Supply names Jamie Mantle as vice-president of sales Convoy Supply, a North American leader in the distribution of construction materials has announced the addition of Mr. Jamie Mantle to the new position of vice-president of sales, adding to their team of well-known industry experts. Mantle will be responsible for the management of all sales and customer-facing activities for both the Canadian and U.S. territories for Convoy Supply. “This restructuring will allow Convoy to build on the successful collaborative work achieved by our current team of general, sales, and operations managers over the past several years,” says Alma Garnett, president of Convoy Supply. “Already a friend and industry partner, I have great confidence that Jamie’s leadership will add significant clout to Convoy’s sales strategies and market presence as the company continues to expand its reach and its commitment to service excellence.” Mantle joins Convoy from Soprema, where he has spent the last 14 years as vicepresident of sales. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this new role, having worked in both distribution and manufacturing within the building materials industry for the last 36 years. Convoy Supply is the largest wholesale distributor of building envelope materials in Canada, with a growing U.S. presence in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Maryland. Founded in 1972, Convoy Supply now operates in 44 locations. For more information on Convoy’s products, services, and history, visit u

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ECA member milestones Alberco Construction Ltd.: Building for over 40 years

Alberco Construction Ltd. has completed over 600 projects since they started 40 years ago.

In 1978, Alberco Construction Ltd. was incorporated as a general contracting construction company. 40 years later, Alberco has completed over 600 projects in the commercial, bridge, and water


Edmonton Construction Association

industries. Alberco’s roots in Alberta are much deeper and go back to when Gus Simonsmeier started general contracting in 1962. Ron Simonsmeier, Gus’ son, joined the company in 1978 when the name Alberco

was formed. Today, Ron and his son, Andrew Simonsmeier, along with partners Mike Rozendaal and Joe Kabarchuk manage the company and projects. Alberco is best known for building bridges in Alberta. However, before and during the 1980’s, the main focus was on schools, hospitals, and reservoirs. In 1981, Alberco built its first bridge on Yellowhead Trail & 170 Street in Edmonton. Since that time, Alberco has completed over 180 bridge-related projects for Alberta Transportation, the City of Edmonton, and various other municipalities. Alberco Construction’s success is owed to the many long-term employees and supervisors that have worked tirelessly over the years on many complex and challenging projects. No matter the scope or schedule, safety and quality remain a top commitment for all team members. Alberco looks forward to continuing success through a collaborative approach with owners and consultants for the next 40 years and counting. u

When it comes to Residential and Commercial Doors and Windows there is only one name ... BARCOL

BARCOL 14820 Yellowhead Trail NW, Edmonton, Alberta, T5L 3C5


Showroom Hours: Monday-Wednesday 8AM-5PM • Thursday/Friday 8AM-8PM (780) 452-7140

The ECA Professional Estimating Group (PEG) supports the estimators, spec writers, quantity surveyors, and PMs who work hard to keep the project pipeline full. Professional Estimating Group

Through special networking and professional-development events, the PEG will cultivate the business relationships that every professional needs to excel in their work. Contact Matt Schellenberger at 780.483.1130 to get involved.

ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 87

WCB has you covered What you need to know about legislative changes to your workers’ compensation system By WCB-Alberta

At the end of 2017, legislation was passed that impacts the workers’ compensation system. At the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), we’ve been focused on implementing the changes smoothly and efficiently, and keeping you informed of how these changes may impact you. Here’s a high-level overview of what’s happened so far and what changes are still to come this year. New year, new worker benefits On January 1, new legislation was introduced that enhanced worker

benefits. These changes impact all claims with a date of accident on or after January 1, 2018. • Updated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation This calculation is now based on 100 per cent of the change in the Alberta Consumer Price Index (the previous 0.5 per cent reduction has been removed). • Enhanced retirement benefits Normal retirement age has been extended, retirement benefits have been adjusted to account for the potential impact of a workplace injury

on retirement savings, and a new lump-sum payment was introduced for injured workers who experience a sizeable loss of earnings capacity. • New lump-sum fatality benefit (up to $90,772.20) In addition to other benefits, this new benefit is provided to the spouse or dependent(s) of a worker who dies as a result of a workplace injury or illness. • Enhanced grant requirements for safety associations Those funded through WCBcollected levies will receive their grant installments from WCB only after

We’re here to help you navigate these changes. Head to our website for more information:, and reach out if you have any questions. Edmonton: 780-498-3999 • Calgary: 403-517-6000 Toll-free in Alberta: 1-866-922-922 • Across Canada: 1-800-661-9608


Edmonton Construction Association

satisfying oversight requirements established and delivered by Occupational Health & Safety. Spring brings extensions to presumptive coverage Presumptive coverage means that if a worker is diagnosed with a certain injury, WCB will presume the injury is workrelated and will automatically accept the claim without further investigation. April changes expanded the scope of presumptive coverage to include additional occupations and conditions. These changes impact all claims with a date of accident on or after April 1, 2018. • Expanded presumptive psychological injury coverage provides help for workers who experience a traumatic event or events at work, and are diagnosed with a corresponding psychological injury. • Myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) are now presumed to be work-related for paramedics. • Presumptive coverage of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is now extended to include coverage for correctional officers and emergency dispatchers, in addition to first responders. More enhancements coming this fall On September 1, new legislation will come into effect to further enhance the workers’ compensation system, claims process, and benefits. These changes will impact claims with a date of accident on or after September 1, 2018 and will: • Establish employers’ obligation to return injured workers to work (and workers’ responsibility to cooperate). • Continue coverage for injured workers under their employers’ existing health benefits program. • Enable WCB to provide interim relief for workers and employers while their matters are under review or appeal. This is financial support provided in exceptional circumstances where financial hardship is demonstrated.

• Confirm WCB will not estimate earnings capacity until all reasonable efforts have been made to help injured workers in their job search. • Remove the cap on maximum compensation, meaning workers will be compensated at 90 per cent of their net earnings, with no limit. The cap used for determining employer premiums does not change for 2018. • Enhance benefits for all surviving spouses to be more consistent across differing circumstances.

• Provide the ability to increase benefits for severely injured young workers to mitigate the hardship they might otherwise experience. • Extend the window for appeal to the Appeals Commission to two years (from one year) after a decision from WCB’s internal decision review body. • Create a Code of Rights and Conduct that articulates the rights of workers and employers in their interactions with us and how we commit to operate in recognition of these rights. u

WCB is here for you through the 2018

Legislative changes

Head to our website for everything you need to know: Here you’ll find helpful resources and can sign up to receive email updates on what’s changing. For employers, register to attend one of our Bill 30 WCB changes seminars to learn even more about your responsibilities under the new legislation.

ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 89

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ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2018 91

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Profile for Edmonton Construction Association

Breaking Ground - Summer 2018  

A publication of the Edmonton Construction Association. In this issue: Collaborative Alberta Construction Association Update • Women Buildin...

Breaking Ground - Summer 2018  

A publication of the Edmonton Construction Association. In this issue: Collaborative Alberta Construction Association Update • Women Buildin...

Profile for edmca