ECA - Breaking Ground Winter 2021

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BILL 37 AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR ALBERTA’S CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

HELPING SENIORS AND LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS THROUGH SOCIAL PROCUREMENT

A LOOK AT THE GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA’S USP PROCESS

PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT #40934510

Official Publication of the Edmonton Construction Association

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Looking up Downtown Edmonton is poised to recover and rebound from the pandemic

Winter 2021

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Connecting Edmonton A renewed vision for the Yellowhead Trail


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Class 1 and 2 and Telecommunications (General). The extensive knowledge that Arcom has working primarily in government environments is vast and encompasses all levels of complexity. All Arcom staff have security clearance background checks performed. New in August of 2020, Arcom has become the Exclusive Regional Distributor of Hepacart in Alberta. The Hepacart line of containment systems and infectious control products are fantastic. We have used the Hepacart products for over half a decade; they are the only IP&C equipment we trust on our projects. Our priority is the safety of everyone in these challenging times. Please contact us regarding our products or estimates on your construction projects. All Arcom staff are COVID-19 vaccine compliant to ensure the health of our clients, workers, and the public.

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90 years of Building a Better Alberta! Congratulations to the Edmonton Construction Association (ECA) on 90 years of service and support to your members. CCA is proud of our partnership with ECA.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Winter 2021

ON THE COVER

12

Message from Doug Hansen, ECA Chair

Front row (left to right): – Adam Laughlin, City of Edmonton

14

– Puneeta McBryan, Downtown Business Association

Your ECA team

– Lisa Baroldi, BOMA

34

– Matt Schellenberger, ECA

Capital construction and economic recovery at Alberta Infrastructure and the Government of Alberta

Back row (left to right): – Jeffrey Sundquist, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

48

– Jamey Singh, Maclab Development Group

Bill 37: What it means for Alberta’s construction industry

– Trevor Doucette, Graham Construction

56

Helping seniors and low-income residents through social procurement

64

A gateway to opportunities

72

Holyrood Gardens: A storey-d history

78

Bringing ideas to life: A look at the Government of Alberta’s USP process

86

Being a better leader: The ECA offers the PMP program to construction management professionals

92

WCB 2022 and beyond

16

Looking up Downtown Edmonton is poised to recover and rebound from the pandemic

40

Connecting Edmonton A renewed vision for the Yellowhead Trail

98

Building up female leaders

104

Carlson Construction celebrates 95 years

106

Thinking sustainably: EcoAmmo Sustainable Consulting celebrates 15 years 8

Edmonton Construction Association

108

Pals Geomatics celebrates 100,000 residential home stakeouts in Northern Alberta

112

Index to advertisers

114

ECA Eddie


AWNINGS

PROJECTING SIGNS

CHANNEL LETTERS

DIGITAL BOARDS

MONUMENTS

NEON LETTERS

PYLONS

SIGN CABINETS

TRAFFIC SIGNS

WINDOW GRAPHICS

INTERIOR SIGNS

WAYFINDING


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

President David Langstaff Managing Editor Shayna Wiwierski shayna@delcommunications.com

10215 - 176 Street Edmonton, AB T5S 1M1

Advertising Sales Manager Dayna Oulion dayna@delcommunications.com

Phone: 780-483-1130

Advertising Sales Gary Barrington Brian Gerow Jennifer Hebert Mic Paterson Dan Roberts Anthony Romeo

Email: contact@edmca.com Website: www.edmca.com

2021 ECA BOARD Production Services Provided by S.G. Bennett Marketing Services www.sgbennett.com

Board Chair Doug Hansen

Creative Director / Layout & Design Kathleen Cable

Vice-Chair Andrew Sharman

Contributing Writers David Copus Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson Lisa Kopochinski Kris Lima Kessie Stevens Jenny Turner

Treasurer-Secretary Rob McGrath Directors Jason Collins Chris Dirks Derek Ciezki

©

Copyright 2021. 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.

Jamey Singh Jennifer von Berendt Bert DeBruin Darryl Wiebe Jen Hancock Trevor Messal Peter Osborne

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Sean Tymkow Leah Marchon

Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, MB R3L 0G5 Email: david@delcommunications.com PRINTED IN CANADA 11/2021

10

Edmonton Construction Association

www.edmca.com


We believe in building with a purpose. Success is not only defined by our client’s bottom line, but how our work positively impacts the community where it is being built. EllisDon is proud to have spent the last 40 years helping shape the lives of those who call Edmonton home.

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Message from Doug Hansen, ECA Chair As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, I would like to extend greetings from the ECA Board of Directors to our member firms and industry partners. I trust this message finds you well and hope that as we near the end of the 2021 construction season you can reflect back on a successful year, despite the many challenges that faced our industry. Some of the many challenges facing our members are related to the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain interruptions, unprecedented commodities pricing increases, and in some cases, skilled labour shortages. I am so proud to have witnessed many innovative strategies to mitigate the effects of these challenges faced by our member firms. It demonstrates the incredible passion and dedication amongst all industry partners to strive for success. As we continue to navigate the restrictions associated with the pandemic, our industry is currently implementing mandatory vaccination requirements for our many employees both in the office, as well as on project sites. These

manufacturers, suppliers, architectural, and engineering categories to ensure a diverse perspective on the direction of the ECA. We have exciting opportunities that exist for seven new board members for the 2022 ECA Board of Directors. Our leadership team of Matt Schellenberger and Caroline Bowen, supported by Bev Christensen, and Wendy Billey and the rest of the ECA team have worked tirelessly to pivot and ensure the ECA provides a high level of engagement; whether it be golf, networking opportunities, procurement, and educational opportunities, to name only a few. Our YBG (Young Builders Group), despite gathering restrictions, find interesting ways to engage with each other. If you are in the first half of your career you will want to be a part of this well organized, dynamic group of future leaders. In closing, as we approach 2022, business opportunities are certainly more available to our member firms than in recent

implementations within our organizations align with federal,

years, with anticipation of continued growth in Edmonton, and

provincial, and municipal requirements. Thank you all for keeping

the capital region’s construction market. The ECA wishes each

our industry safe and adapting to ensure the ever-changing

of you all the best as 2021 comes to a close, and all the best in

safety protocols are being implemented in your organizations.

2022.

Our ECA Board of Directors have been working extremely

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

hard on ensuring that the key pillars of our renewed strategic

Warmest regards,

plan continue to be delivered to each of our member firms. Our

D.E. (Doug) Hansen R.E.T.

current board represents general contractors, subcontractors,

2021 ECA Board Chair

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YOUR ECA TEAM

MATT SCHELLENBERGER Director of Corporate Development

WENDY BILLEY

CAROLINE BOWEN

Director of Membership & Networking

DAVID ROSS

Executive Assistant

Printing & Support Services

HAILEY THIESSEN

JONATHAN VILLALTA

Receptionist

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Communications & Marketing Coordinator

Edmonton Construction Association

JENNIFER PARKER Finance Coordinator

DEBBIE BARKER

Procurement Manager

TAYLOR LEWIS

Education & Events Coordinator

SARALYN PARSONS Construction Information Specialist


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LOOKING UP

The Valley Line Southeast LRT is expected to be operational in 2022. The project includes trains that cross the new Tawatinâ Bridge. PHOTO CREDIT: BLACKHAWK AERONAUTICAL SOLUTIONS INC.

Downtown Edmonton poised to recover and rebound from pandemic By Jenny Turner

Valley Line West drilling for caisson installation near West Edmonton Mall.

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Edmonton Construction Association

It’s been more than a year and a half since Alberta declared a state of public health emergency, causing worry and concern throughout Edmonton. Businesses in particular have grappled with the uncertainty that COVID-19 and the health restrictions presented. Edmonton’s downtown, which is typically bustling with people rushing to and from their offices, stopping for coffee throughout the workday, and visiting local restaurants on their lunch break, saw empty parkades and sidewalks. Questions around the downtown’s stability and economic viability swirled and were compounded by so many unknowns around COVID-19. Needless to say, much has changed since those first days of the pandemic. Vaccines have been developed, restaurants and stores shifted to online


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The Parks will be a modern mixed-use development that, once completed, will feature more than 1,000 residential units, main floor commercial space and indoor access to the LRT station. The Parks has been years in the making. Initial plans for the project went public back in 2018, when MacLab Development Group made a rezoning application to allow for development.

Falcon One, a residential high-rise planned for downtown, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mobilization and excavation at the Falcon One job site started in late summer 2021

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Edmonton Construction Association

and take-out options, and people are returning to the ICE District to cheer the Edmonton Oilers to a (hopeful) playoff spot. Twinklings of excitement and energy are returning to the core, which is what downtown is all about for Matt Schellenberger, Edmonton Construction Association’s (ECA) director of corporate development. “People are excited to go back downtown and be downtown, engaging with each other and supporting businesses,” said Schellenberger. “I went to a hockey game the other week. It’s just neat to be down there with people around you in a safe manner… I love this.” It’s easy to forget that the ICE District and Rogers Place have only been a part of Edmonton for the past four or five years. They feel like an integral part of the city, and have helped spark investment and activity in the downtown. According to Schellenberger, Rogers Place is a testament to the power of a single project in changing the perception of a place. “I love the ICE District — we didn’t have this seven, eight, 10 years ago. Look how far we’ve come. And that’s just one project out of dozens that have gone up in the last decade,” says Schellenberger. “When I was in university, which is too long ago now, it was a pretty vacuous space. After five or six o’clock, people went out to the suburbs where they lived. There wasn’t a lot of nightlife.” Aside from changing the perception of a place, big construction projects provide employment opportunities, which Schellenberger argues has helped insulate Edmonton from the downturns in the energy sector and from the pandemic. The Valley Line West LRT (Light Rapid Transit) Extension, for example, is a massive infrastructure investment from three orders that is anticipated to generate 8,800 jobs in Alberta. Procurement was finalized in October 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, with construction starting in late 2021. “These types of investments, even if they are burdensome for commuters, are


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important...they act as lightning rods,” continues Schellenberger, referring to the economic and investment spin-offs coming from massive infrastructure projects like the LRT. THE LRT The Valley Line Southeast isn’t the only LRT project currently under construction. The City of Edmonton has three on the go: Valley Line Southeast, Valley Line West, and the Metro Line extension with another potential LRT project, the Capital Line extension south in the works that all three levels of government have signalled their support.

According to Adam Laughlin, deputy city manager at the City of Edmonton, the construction process has continued through the pandemic thanks in part to the City’s construction partners. In fact, the City delivered more projects in 2020 than in previous years, and 2021 is projected to exceed 2020. “I am pleased to say that with the support of our construction industry partners, construction has gone well, for the most part,” says Laughlin. “Our capital program is providing a tremendous support for the region. It provided direct and indirect jobs for more than 13,000 people. Our work involves over 300 Edmonton-based companies, so lots of work locally.” Beyond the economic impact and investment spurred by the LRT’s construction, its completion will

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Edmonton Construction Association

better connect Edmontonians to the various parts of their city, including the downtown. This type of access is key to the City Plan, Edmonton’s combined Municipal Development Plan and Transportation Master Plan, which was passed in December 2020. “The LRT is certainly very important for bringing people downtown, but I think [more so] its movement into downtown and all areas of the city,” said Laughlin. “It’s the backbone of our mass transit system as we implement the City Plan, which is essentially the way we want to see the city grow and develop. It’s a critical piece of infrastructure which will help grow and shape not only downtown, but areas along the LRT line from a live, work, and play perspective.” Though the LRT projects will take years to complete, investments are being made near the proposed route, and construction is beginning on some exciting developments. While there may have been a brief pause in the peak of the pandemic, ground is beginning to break on some exciting projects, and the downtown is coming to life. THE PARKS Demolition of the El Mirador building near the corner of Jasper Avenue and 108 Street began in fall 2021 to make way for The Parks, a modern mixed-use development that, once completed, will feature more than 1,000 residential units, main floor commercial space, and indoor access to the LRT station. The Parks has been years in the making. Initial plans for the project went public back in 2018, when The Parks ownership group consisting of Maclab Development Group, John Day Developments, Pangman Development Corporation, and Probus Project Management Inc. made a rezoning application to allow for development. Still, The Parks and another Maclab Development Group project located


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in Garneau were put on pause in 2020 because of the pandemic and the unknowns it presented. “Both [The Parks and Garneau] were put into a holding pattern in early 2020 because of COVID-19’s impact,” said Jamey Singh, manager for construction with Maclab Development Group. “Earlier this year, when it looked like we were seeing COVID-19 restrictions eased, the decision was made to re-engage the project design teams and construction teams to get construction underway.” Maclab Development Group has been developing in Edmonton since 1952, and plans to continue building on their success and contributing to the fabric of Edmonton’s downtown. “Maclab is certainly of the opinion that we need to support growth and make downtown Edmonton attractive for residents. It should be a place where people want to live, work, and play,” said Singh. “We’re a long-term asset keeper, so we build to keep our buildings for a

RISK

long time. Being part of the community and playing a vibrant part in Edmonton’s growth is the major reason for our existence.” FALCON ONE Maclab isn’t alone in delaying projects. Graham Construction & Engineering Inc. had several Edmonton projects put on hold temporarily, including Falcon One, a residential high-rise planned for downtown Edmonton. “When the pandemic started, there was a lot of unknown and fear, and I guess retraction of the market,” said Trevor Doucette, vice-president of stakeholder management at Graham Construction & Engineering Inc. “Projects weren’t going ahead, budgets were not being released, projects were put on hold — not just in the downtown core, but around the country and globally.” Though Doucette is based in Edmonton and has a keen understanding of the ins-and-outs of the Edmonton construction scene, he’s also a director

EXECUTION

EXIT

with the Canadian Construction Association and sits as vice chair with the Alberta Construction Association. Needless to say, he has his fingers on the pulse of construction across the province and Canada. “I think clients in public and private construction — you know, municipal and provincial infrastructure, various government departments and other public and private owners — were nervous,” says Doucette. “On top of that, we’d already know that Alberta has been in a bit of an economic decline for quite some time. Budgets have been reduced over the last few years for some public owners, so the budgets just weren’t there to move forward with some projects.” The pandemic also stalled some private investments and construction projects as commodity pricing grew, shortages in the supply chain were encountered, and many factories and production facilities were not able to keep up with the demand.

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Like Schellenberger and Singh,

residents. People who thrive in a busy

Doucette feels industry’s confidence

setting and who want to be connected

has shifted in 2021, and hopes to see

to their city’s main attractions would

that build into the coming year, but he

traditionally seek to live downtown, but

knows that COVID-19 and its impacts

COVID-19’s high rate of infection caused

will continue to be a factor in industry’s

hesitation in relocating to high-density

decisions and in the decisions of the

areas.

market. In addition to the unknowns COVID-19

Doucette thinks some of the initial fear has eased. People are continuing to

introduced to the construction process,

cautiously move forward with their lives,

there were the changing sentiments

and are wanting to live, work, and seek

of downtown residents and potential

recreation in the downtown core.

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Edmonton Construction Association

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“We’re starting to realize that we have to learn to live with [COVID-19],” says Doucette. “I think some businesses are recognizing that employees are not as productive working remotely or are as engaged as we thought we once were or could be, and I think a lot of people are just missing that connectivity with each other. So, the more people get vaccinated, the more people are feeling comfortable getting back in groups and working and living in more close quarters in areas like the downtown core.” This shift is translating to construction for Graham. Mobilization and excavation at the Falcon One job site started in late summer 2021. The development is anticipated to include a 30-storey, 240unit residential high-rise tower with a two-storey podium for commercial retail and amenity space. With any adversity comes opportunity, and while COVID-19 is still very much a concern, the pandemic has revealed other avenues for investment and innovation. For Doucette, both the drop in the energy sector and the pandemic laid bare some opportunities for revitalization throughout Edmonton. “Due to the pandemic, but previously with the economic downturn, there’s some buildings and office spaces sitting empty that provides an absolutely fantastic opportunity to repurpose — and repurpose them correctly — so that you do not go back to crowding people into cubicles and on top of each other, but you can make really good flexible workspaces. So, people can still keep a distance as they work, but still feel that they have that connectivity to their coworkers and peers. I think there’s an abundance of space available to be repurposed.” DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Energy feeds off energy. The LRT expansion, The Parks, and Falcon One are just three examples of work underway that are bringing more buzz to the downtown. According to Puneeta McBryan, the executive director for the Downtown Business Association (DBA)


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Edmonton Construction Association

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of Edmonton, businesses are feeling the shift, too. Taking the position with the DBA less than a year ago, McBryan says 2021 has been marked with “nothing but positive momentum”, which is a complete turnaround from the year before. “[There’s] been a little bit of the yoyo-ing, a little bit of a pause and stumble as we are now in the fourth wave,” says McBryan. “But all in all, the increase in people coming downtown for events and festivals and eating out is combined with far more office workers being downtown regularly and new residential construction projects breaking ground. And, you know, for the most part, relative to where we were last year, lots of good news.” A key part of McBryan’s role with the DBA is to tell the story of Edmonton’s inner core, including current possibilities existing and highlighting ways businesses have pivoted to continue to operate and provide services to Edmontonians throughout the pandemic. “You can kind of get these runaway narratives if you don’t actively tell your story yourself. And so that’s what I think a big part of the [DBA’s] role is,” says McBryan, who also references examples of the rumoured death of the office and hollowing out of downtowns across North America as examples of exaggerated fears, which have been proven false – especially in Edmonton. “Our community is pretty unique in a lot of ways — both the downtown community and Edmonton as a whole,” says McBryan. “If we let people believe all the things they might have been hearing in the headlines in New York, for example, about our downtown — that could result in people panicking and making short-sighted decisions, like moving out of downtown... So, I think the role that we’ve played in highlighting all of the continued investment that’s happening here, the many small businesses that are still here, the fact that our office vacancy rate has not gone up the way that you’ve seen in other downtowns, has been really important.” According to McBryan, one of the



great unique things about Edmonton’s downtown is how achievable it is to see a diverse mix of buildings and uses throughout the core. Looking at the central business districts in Calgary or Toronto, you’ll see only big, shiny office towers filled with office space, and every bit of land is already developed for that use. Having only office space in a downtown area creates a massive imbalance, with most of the daytime population vacating the area once the clock hits five, or in the case of the pandemic, creates a ghost town for an extended period. McBryan says that the Edmonton downtown isn’t ‘finished’ yet since there is still so much new development opportunity in the area. She adds that Edmonton has a unique advantage over other downtowns in that you don’t need to tear down or dramatically repurpose relatively new office buildings in order to increase the residential population or add to other new uses in the area. There is so

much fresh opportunity with the vacant lots that are still dotted throughout the downtown area. “We can actually think from scratch, ‘what’s actually needed and what’s actually going to meet the market needs, and what’s going to make for a resilient and sustainable kind of success for downtown?’” EDMONTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Like the DBA, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has new leadership. Jeffrey Sundquist was appointed president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce in June 2021. While new to the role, he is not new to the organization, having served as the board vice chair, and on a number of policy committees previously. Needless to say, he understands the challenges the pandemic has imposed on businesses in Edmonton’s downtown. When Sundquist first started in the position he says the timing was challenging since they were 15 months

into the pandemic and at a point when provincial restrictions had just been put in place. Businesses of all sizes were and continue to struggle to adapt to the many disruptive implications, including supply chain interruptions and drastically rising costs. As the voice of business, they knew it was even more important to communicate the business challenges and interests to all orders of government. It is their responsibility to make business’ interests and urgent concerns clearly heard. “The beauty of business is when you have adversity, it forces innovation and organizations have to pivot,” says Sundquist. “Whether it is repurposing real estate or whether it is developing new real estate. For example, the pandemic removed a large worker population from downtown and added inactive space on top of existing vacancies. Now we have more total space to find different uses for. We have a new reality, so what do people in the downtown core need

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“ A healthy economy attracts investment because confidence breeds confidence. Having a strong

downtown core and having that energy, attracts talent and retains talent...with a vibrant and safe downtown, businesses will want to locate here, employees will want to work here.”

now compared to before? How could we adapt space for those new needs?” Still, pivoting and adapting can only do so much, and Sundquist believes workers want to return downtown and feel some semblance of normalcy. “I think fundamentally people want to get back to the office,” he says. “The central business district is a gathering place and a critical mass of social and professional connections. Look at the restaurants here — if I go to lunch, it would be unusual if I didn’t bump into somebody that I know or haven’t seen in a while. Those social interactions, those creative collisions, those types of things are a part of the fabric of downtown.” While the pandemic seemingly paused the lives of people around the globe, it also challenged municipalities, civic

leaders, builders, and residents to reflect and pivot, to innovate and hatch plans for future downtown revitalization and community development. City shapers in Edmonton are excited for a return to the cities they know and love, and build and invest in. A bustling downtown core is key for regional prosperity as well. Similar to what the ECA’s Schellenberger stated regarding major projects being a lightning rod for other investments, Sundquist believes that having a strong downtown helps the entire Edmonton region. “A healthy economy attracts investment because confidence breeds confidence. Having a strong downtown core and having that energy, attracts talent and retains talent...with a vibrant

and safe downtown, businesses will want to locate here, employees will want to work here,” says Sundquist. “That’s what we want, and we must remember that Edmonton region companies are competing with the world for top talent in fields like engineering and technology, for example. We must be an attractive destination in people’s minds, particularly when there is a labour shortage. What we design and build affects our competitiveness because people are more mobile, have choices, and in addition to looking for opportunities they also want inspiring places and spaces where they can live and work.” BOMA A strong downtown and a strong economy go hand-in-hand. According

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to Lisa Baroldi, CEO and president of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Edmonton, to know what’s happening in the local economy, you should talk to a real estate broker. “Commercial real estate is exciting because it touches every sector,” said Baroldi. “From forestry, oil and gas or retail — any time a sector is engaging in space, the commercial real estate market will know what industries are expanding and contracting.” There is both business expansion and contraction downtown in these uncertain times. The hope is to see more expansion there, and throughout the city and region, as various groups pull together to collaborate like never before on economic recovery. The diversity of BOMA’s membership gives the organization a unique perspective on the pandemic’s impact and recovery from across different industries. While retailers and restaurants have been faced with decreased foot traffic and looked to government subsidies to cover the cost of rent and keep the doors open, some building service providers, such as cleaning services, were in high demand. Every one of BOMA’s members had to pivot and adapt, and the programs offered have helped some, while others have fallen through the cracks. According to Baroldi, the pandemic introduced new challenges for property owners and building managers — BOMA’s principal membership – but it also accelerated trends already seen in the marketplace. For instance, many companies were already considering hybrid work arrangements, allowing staff to work from home a few days out of the week. “We’ll see changes within commercial real estate in the next 10 years that we haven’t seen in the previous 60 years that’s the kind of dramatic impact that COVID has had,” said Baroldi. “Regardless of the business, COVID has really pushed our membership to rethink their service and product provision. It’s forced creativity and innovation and rethinking

Edmonton Construction Association

and pivoting. Members are reacting in ways that maybe they wouldn’t before.” Still, the commercial real estate industry is generally optimistic, even when faced with the pandemic’s challenges. “We deal in facts and figures, but there’s a bit of a risk element to the industry. If people are buying up and selling assets, or redeveloping buildings, they need to be comfortable with some level of risk,” said Baroldi. “Everything is about timing in the market. Interest rates are low now and there are various government incentives, but the cost of building supplies has skyrocketed. For our members, it’s all about calculating the risks and deciding whether to move forward with a project or not.” Another thing that has become apparent through the pandemic is the interdependencies between various industries, including community service providers. One sector’s struggles will be felt by others, often in unanticipated ways, and for the downtown, there are concerns around the health and safety of vulnerable Edmontonians. Coming through the pandemic and emerging better than before will require organizations to work together, and advocate to various levels of government for action. BOMA Edmonton is leading a Commercial Property and Economy Survey for Downtown Vibrancy with about 30 property managers that will fill statistical gaps for all stakeholders in downtown so that they can make informed decisions. The project has received funding from the City of Edmonton. “During COVID, some of the property managers are working more closely with social service community providers and with each other,” said Baroldi. “Everyone’s looking at things through new lenses, which they didn’t necessarily need to before. We’re realizing that no one company, no one industry, no one person can make things happen on their own. It has to be through collaboration.” u



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CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY AT ALBERTA INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought numerous challenges and uncertainty to owners and contractors alike, requiring the construction industry to find innovative ways of continuing to operate during these challenging times. Alberta Infrastructure, like so many other organizations, had to maintain uninterrupted operations to ensure government services were continuously available to Albertans. Once it was determined that staff would need to work from home, new processes were quickly developed and put into place. Those decisions were required to ensure that the government’s procurement activities are always open, fair, and transparent. 34

Although challenging, staff embraced the innovation that was required to ensure the ministry remained fully operational. Through these challenging days, Alberta Infrastructure’s focus on its business plan has remained consistent. The ministry designs, builds, manages, and maintains government-owned and operated facilities, and collaborates with other ministries to ensure that school, hospital, and public infrastructure is there to meet the needs of Albertans. The ministry also provides accommodation services and manages a large portfolio of owned and leased facilities while maintaining fiscal accountability and optimizing value for Albertans.

Edmonton Construction Association

On a per capita basis, Alberta spends more on capital construction and infrastructure than any other province. Seen here is the Gene Zwozdesky Centre at Norwood in Edmonton.

The ministry leads the operational phase of the provincial Capital Plan, which provides a long-term, transparent and strategic direction for how government plans for the construction, renewal, and maintenance of public infrastructure that is needed to support vital programs and services for Albertans, now and well into the future. The 2021-24 Capital Plan honours previous commitments to build and maintain key infrastructure projects and includes additional investments in health care facilities, school projects, and transportation networks. On a per capita basis, Alberta spends more on capital construction and


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There is funding for new projects worth an estimated $825.8 million over the three-year period. Seen here is the Calgary Cancer Centre.

The Alberta Government is creating an environment for the development of immediate jobs and building communities for a bigger and brighter future. Seen here is a new high school being built in Grande Prairie.

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Edmonton Construction Association

infrastructure than any other province. The 2020-2023 Fiscal Plan commits $19.3 billion for building infrastructure in Alberta, creating 35,000 jobs on an annual basis. There is funding for new projects worth an estimated $825.8 million over the three-year period. Alberta’s government will also spend $3 billion for capital maintenance and renewal, an increase of nearly $300 million from Budget 2020 to support jobs, extend the useful life of existing infrastructure, and reduce the need for more costly repairs in the future. The Capital Plan will also invest an additional $750 million in future strategic projects to support Alberta’s economic recovery. The 2021-24 plan includes: • $5.9 billion for direct municipal support • $3 billion for capital maintenance and renewal of public infrastructure • $2.4 billion for roads and bridges • $2.2 billion for health facilities • $1.6 billion for school projects • $935 million to streamline government service delivery • $568 million for public safety and emergency services projects • $209 million for family, social supports, and housing • $251 million for sports and recreation projects • $191 million for post-secondary infrastructure • $750 million for economic recovery In addition to delivering the Capital Plan, Alberta Infrastructure plays a major role in Alberta’s recovery plan


that was developed in response to the unprecedented economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global recession, and world oil price collapse. Alberta’s Recovery Plan takes actions to create jobs that get people back to work, build needed public infrastructure, and diversify our economy. We are building on our economic strengths to attract investment and position our province for prosperity. This year, Alberta will see the largestever investment in infrastructure. We are spending more than $10 billion on projects across the province, creating more than 32,000 jobs. With this plan, the Alberta Government is creating an environment for the development of immediate jobs and building communities for a bigger and brighter future. We will need roads, schools, hospitals, highways, housing, and other public buildings to be ready as the province recovers and Alberta takes a leadership role in Canada’s economic recovery. By investing in these projects now, we are laying the foundation for thousands of good-paying private sector jobs and creating spin off benefits for Alberta – including making communities more attractive to investors and employers looking to relocate. In a major new initiative, we will launch a series of large-scale capital projects at a cost of at least $600 million. These projects are designed to improve longterm productivity and create at least 2,500 jobs. In addition, the government is: • Accelerating capital maintenance and renewal projects to create 5,000+ jobs immediately; • Increasing municipal infrastructure funding by 30 per cent this fiscal year to support shovel-ready projects and create immediate new jobs; • Leveraging federal funding to participate as full partners in costshared infrastructure projects; and • Planning to use the Canada Infrastructure Bank to help rebuild

Alberta and diversify our economy. The ministry is also committing to project and financial delivery methods that save money and support jobs. Five new high schools moving ahead through a public-private partnership (P3) will save Alberta taxpayers $114.5 million, support 1,678 jobs and provide about 7,000 new student spaces as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. Following a comprehensive, competitive procurement process, the Alberta government has awarded the P3 contract to Concert-Bird Partners.

As part of the P3 contract, ConcertBird Partners will also maintain the new school facilities for 30 years. Despite the challenges presented by COVID and the economy, Alberta Infrastructure is grateful for our close relationship with the Edmonton Construction Association and look forward to our continued success. SOURCES: • www.alberta.ca/ • www.alberta.ca/recovery-plan.aspx

Concert-Bird Partners will design, build,

• open.alberta.ca/publications/6867270

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ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 37


START SAVING ON TIRES & SERVICES TODAY! The ECA MICHELIN® Advantage Program allows you to team up with Michelin to increase your productivity. Members can benefit from a value added program that offers competitive savings on both new and retread tires. The new tires include, MICHELIN®, BFGoodrich ®, and Uniroyal®. The retread tires include: MICHELIN ® Retread Technologies and Oliver®. The program also includes access to our Emergency Road Service (ERS) offer MICHELIN ® ONCall and waived dispatch fees. This shows ECA’s support for their membership by providing you with additional resources to improve their operational efficiency.

THE PROGRAM OFFERS 3 MAIN BENEFITS: ADVANTAGE SAVINGS The ECA MICHELIN® Advantage Program pricing is available at home and on the road, so you can control your tire costs if you are a localized or long haul based operation. Because Michelin knows that you may have more needs other than just medium duty truck tires, our Full Line Program will also help in your cost control of other MICHELIN® product lines, such as Passenger Car and Light Truck, Earthmover, Compact Line or Tweel Tires ADVANTAGE CARE Knowledgeable TIA trained technicians will take care of your service needs at any of our over 5,000 authorized truck dealer locations. With MICHELIN® ONCall drivers can get roadside assistance all day, every day, no matter where they are. This gets your trucks back up and running, whether it is tires, mechanical, or towing, to ensure that you maximize your productivity. Access to our MICHELIN® Advantage Customer Service team is available on business days to answer any questions you may have about the Advantage Program including system access, billing, invoicing or orders. ADVANTAGE ACCESS As a member of the ECA MICHELIN® Advantage Program, you will receive access to the member website where several online business tools are located to help improve your business performance. You will have the ability to manage your account online, to register and update your credit card(s) on file, check pricing, view invoices or purchase history. You can tap into maintenance tips and techniques with our webcasts, e-newsletters and our member website at MichelinB2B.com to help maintain an efficient operation.


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YELLOWHEAD TRAIL, AN ORIGIN STORY By Kris Lima

Yellowhead Trail, a 26-kilometre east-west corridor that includes 10 interchanges, eight signalized intersections, as well as various nonsignalized intersections and private parcel access locations, is finally becoming the freeway that has been envisioned by city planners for decades. The renewed vision for Yellowhead Trail was solidified through the completion (and endorsement by Edmonton city council) of the Yellowhead Trail Strategic Plan in 2011. The recommended strategy was to convert the existing stop-and-go expressway into a six-lane free-flowing freeway. Fast-forward to 2021, and the enormity of the ambitious $1 billion freeway conversion is being realized as construction activities stretch from 156 Street in West Edmonton to the North Saskatchewan River, the city’s eastern boundary. Converting Yellowhead Trail to a freeway will greatly improve the overall safety of the corridor, improve the movement of goods and services into and out of the city and metropolitan region, and enhance the reliability of the corridor, while balancing program requirements with community, business, and commuter needs.

The year’s most notable change took place on October 13, with the removal of the signalized intersection at Yellowhead Trail and 89 Street.

40

Edmonton Construction Association

BACKGROUND In the 1960s, it was envisioned that Highway 16 through Edmonton would be developed as a high standard east-west roadway paralleling the CN Rail mainline. The first portion of the Yellowhead Trail through Edmonton was constructed in 1965 as a four-lane divided roadway east of Fort Road from 58 Street to 66 Street. Soon after, all planned work to the west


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In late May 2020, the first major construction on the main corridor began with the East Widening project.

Upgrades to drainage infrastructure as part of the East Widening project.

The 156 to St. Albert Trail three-year project is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023.

42

Edmonton Construction Association

was cancelled due to funding constraints. No further work was completed until the mid-1970s, when a functional planning study first identified the Yellowhead Trail as a future freeway extending from Fort Road to 170 Street. In 1979, after purchasing nearly 220 properties along the corridor, construction of the Yellowhead Trail Freeway began. At that time, freeway plans included interchanges at 97 Street, St. Albert Trail, and 170 Street. All three interchanges were completed by 1983 and are still in service today. In the years to follow, interchanges were constructed at 82 Street (1988), Wayne Gretzky Drive/Fort Road (1995), 50 Street (1996), 215 Street (1999), 184 Street (2002), and 156 Street (2005). Despite all the effort over the past 50 years, development pressures, business access requirements, funding challenges, and the resulting inconsistency in access treatment along the corridor have greatly hindered the full realization of the freeway vision. As part of Edmonton’s Inner Ring Road, it continues to be one of the city’s busiest roadways and is home to some of the city’s highest collision locations. THE PROGRAM Over the better part of the past two decades, Edmonton has been one of Canada’s fastest growing cities, and Edmonton and the surrounding region continue to be major contributors to the economic engine of Alberta and Canada in spite of lower energy prices and a slowdown in the economy. To sustain growth and prosperity, and remain resilient and competitive well into the future requires investment in key municipal infrastructure. As such, the conversion of the existing corridor from an expressway with at-grade traffic signalized intersections and numerous substandard access locations to a freeflowing freeway configuration with grade-separated interchanges is one of the city’s large-scale transformational growth projects. The freeway conversion will greatly


to Yellowhead Trail at 149 Street, 143 Street, and 142 Street, and construction of one-way service roads parallel to Yellowhead Trail to provide access to area businesses and communities. 2. St. Albert Trail to 97 Street: includes the removal of at-grade signalized intersections at 127 Street, 124 Street, 121 Street, and 107 Street, as well as the construction of two interchanges and supporting parallel collectordistributor roads. 3. 97 Street to 82 Street: includes the closure of the at-grade signalized intersection at Yellowhead Trail and 89 Street, roadway improvements to 125A Avenue between 97 Street and improve the safety and reliability of the

implemented through a combination

82 Street, and improvements at the 82

corridor, improve the movement of goods

of large and small projects, including

Street and 97 Street interchanges to

and services into and out of the corridor,

off-corridor network improvements

and improve the daily commute of tens

to support the new freeway, local

of thousands of Edmontonians. When

businesses, and communities. These

removal of the signalized intersection

complete, Yellowhead Trail will consist

projects (from west to east) are:

at Yellowhead Trail and 66 Street, and

of six core lanes with a target operating

1. 156 Street to St. Albert Trail: includes

the removal of several direct access

speed of 80 km/hr. The program is being

the removal of signals and direct access

facilitate large truck movements. 4. 82 Street to 61 Street: includes the

locations.

ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 43


Construction of the Fort Road Widening project and the 156 Street to St. Albert Trail project began in May 2021.

The corridor-wide program goes beyond road redesign and into a transformation that will contribute to a sustainable city and community wellbeing.

5. Fort Road Widening: includes widening of Fort Road from four lanes to six lanes from Yellowhead Trail to 66 Street, lengthening the existing rail bridge structure, construction of a new collector road (125 Avenue) from Fort Road to Yellowhead Trail (at 61 Street), construction of a new shared-use path and sidewalk along the west of Fort Road and 125 Avenue, and significant upgrades to surface and underground drainage infrastructure. 6. East Widening (61 Street to the North Saskatchewan River): includes widening of Yellowhead Trail from four to six lanes from 61 Street to the North Saskatchewan River, construction of three storm water management ponds, and improvements to the on/off ramps 44

at the 50 Street and Victoria Trail interchanges. To the City and the Yellowhead team, the freeway conversion is about much more than moving cars and trucks. The corridor-wide program goes beyond road redesign and into a transformation that will contribute to a sustainable city and community wellbeing. The City is committed to Sustainable Urban Integration (SUI), which refers to the design and integration of infrastructure that considers the environmental, social, and economic implications it has on the surrounding area. By applying the SUI approach, the freeway conversion will achieve the goal of improving a critical transportation corridor to better connect people and goods along and across

Edmonton Construction Association

the corridor. It will also enhance safety, multimodal travel, sustainability, and the wellbeing of natural systems and the surrounding communities. PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS The first stages of construction commenced in spring 2019 and will continue through to the end of 2027. In 2019, the primary focus was on completing off-corridor roadway improvements supporting the new freeway and adjacent roadway network. Improvement work included 124 Avenue (149 Street to 142 Street), 128 Avenue (156 Street to St. Albert Trail), and 125A Avenue (97 Street to 82 Street). The year’s most notable change took place on October 13, with the removal of the signalized intersection at Yellowhead Trail and 89 Street. In late May 2020, the first major construction on the main corridor began with the East Widening project. In addition, construction of off-corridor improvements continued with the


123 Avenue (156 Street to 142 Street) roadway improvements project. Construction of the Fort Road Widening project and the 156 Street to St. Albert Trail project began in May 2021. The projects are two of the more complex projects with capital budgets exceeding $100 million. The three-year projects are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023. In addition, concept planning for the St. Albert Trail to 97 Street segment of the corridor was completed in spring 2021. This marked the completion of the concept phase for the overall program. The concept, which includes two new interchanges and parallel collector roads, integrates the main corridor with the adjacent roadway and active transportation networks. The design will begin in fall 2021 and be completed by the end of 2023. Construction is anticipated to start in 2023 and extend through to the end of 2027. FUNDING & ECONOMIC BENEFITS The total cost for the Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion Program is estimated to be approximately $1 billion and is funded by all three levels of government. The federal and provincial governments each have agreed to contribute up to $241.6 million. The City’s contribution will be approximately $511 million. Although the financial commitment is considerable, the program will contribute to long-term economic growth and prosperity, and has broad public benefits for Edmonton, the surrounding Metropolitan Region, and Alberta as a whole. A few key benefits include: • the creation of approximately 6,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs in Alberta over the 10-year design and construction period • a pproximately $430 million in wages in Alberta • estimated annual travel time savings of $23 million (present day) and $64 million (2050) • estimated annual reduction in collision costs of $12 million to $16 million

Upgrading Yellowhead Trail to a freeway

neighbouring communities. The freeway

may yield a cumulative total of between

will play an important part in sustaining

$1.2 and $1.6 billion in travel and collision

growth and regional prosperity as we

cost savings between 2027 and 2050.

grow towards a city of two million people. Our goal is that the new Yellowhead

CONCLUSION

Trail Freeway is viewed as a benefit

Conversion of Yellowhead Trail to

that enhances the economic, social,

a freeway is a vital part in continuing

and environmental wellbeing of our

to build Edmonton as a great city by

communities.

delivering safe, sustainable infrastructure

Kris Lima is the director of the

that improves the quality of life for

Yellowhead Trail Portfolio, Infrastructure

citizens of the city of Edmonton and

Delivery, at the City of Edmonton. u

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BILL 37: WHAT IT

MEANS FOR ALBERTA’S CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Prompt payment has long been a primary concern for those working in construction that needs to be addressed for the industry to thrive By Lisa Kopochinski

It has only been a few months since Bill 37—Alberta’s new Prompt Payment and Consolidation Lien Act (PPLCA)—came into effect on July 20 after receiving royal assent in December 2020. Designed to modernize the Act by proposing prompt payment, adjudication of construction disputes, and builders’ liens and information, the PPCLA is tackling a long-standing problem for Alberta’s construction sector with respect to the timely payment of construction invoices. These changes to the PPLCA are clearly long overdue and are the first in nearly two decades that will tackle this issue. “Even before I was elected as an MLA, 48

I had been hearing from businesses in Alberta’s construction industry that we needed a prompt payment system to address a long-standing and growing problem with timeliness of payments,” recalls Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta for the Government of Alberta. “The construction industry is a multibillion-dollar sector of Alberta’s economy, which has experienced issues with cash flow for too many years. It is now more important than ever that we provide businesses with as much certainty as possible to create an environment that will help drive job creation and attract investment—both of which the construction industry plays a significant role in.”

Edmonton Construction Association

WHAT BILL 37 ENTAILS Essentially, Bill 37 establishes the following changes to ensure the prompt payment of builders’ liens by implementing the following rules: • 28-day timeline for project owners to pay invoices to general contractors; • The owner has 14 days after receiving a proper invoice to issue a notice of nonpayment and dispute the amount; • Seven-day timeline for contractors to pay subcontractors after receiving payment; • Extends timelines for registering liens—45 days to 60 days for the construction industry, and 45 days to 90 days for the concrete industry; • Increases the minimum amount that


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“ I am confident that these changes will help job creators and employers expand their business and attract investment, creating more jobs in Alberta. These changes will also ensure that small, medium, and large companies will be in a strong financial position and be better equipped to face any challenges that arise in the future.” – Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta for the Government of Alberta can be subject to a lien from $300 to $700. Bill 37 also clarifies what a proper invoice must include, such as the following: • name and address of contractor/ subcontractor; • description of the work performed, or materials provided; • authority for work or materials to be provided (verbal or written contract); • the period of time the work was performed, or materials were provided; • date of invoice; • amount of invoice and corresponding payment terms; • name, title, and contact information of the person to whom payment is to be sent; • any other information prescribed in the regulations; and • a statement that the invoice is intended to be a “proper” invoice. “By making these changes to the Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, we are protecting jobs and allowing for the confidence and certainty needed in the industry to continue supporting Alberta’s economy,” says Minister Glubish.

Ken Gibson, executive director, Alberta Construction Association.

50

WHAT BILL 37 MEANS TO CONTRACTORS Prior to Bill 37, the deadline for payment on construction work performed was kept somewhat vague to the detriment of the province’s construction sector. Past industry surveys have shown that the average time of receivables was more than 70 days, with some subcontractors having to wait for more than 90 days. Prompt payment has long been a primary concern of those working in construction for years that needs to be addressed for the industry to thrive. Minister Glubish says that prompt payment legislation will protect jobs and allow for the security necessary for growth by making sure everyone in the construction industry is paid on time. Ken Gibson, executive director of the Alberta Construction Association (ACA), adds cash flow is king, especially in markets with limited work. “Bill 37 is good because it speeds up progress payments, gets cash flowing, and is the lifeblood of successful project completion,” says Gibson. “Amendments to the Builders Lien Act to include prompt pay and adjudication of payment disputes are intended to address longstanding industry concerns about lengthy delays in receiving payment for services properly performed and invoiced.” And while many believe that Bill 37 is long overdue, Gibson says the ACA appreciates the time the government has taken to try and ensure the legislation balances the legitimate and sometimes diverging interests of the entire construction payment chain. “Thousands of hardworking Albertan

Edmonton Construction Association

Bill 37: The Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act 2020 introduces timelines and rules for payments and liens in all construction industry sectors, ensuring contractors and subcontractors are paid on time. Previously, Alberta had no rules for payment timelines in the construction industry— which meant timelines were vague—if not addressed in a contract. These changes will set a clear timeline of 28 calendar days for general contractors to receive payments, and seven calendar days after payment is received for contractors to pay subcontractors, giving construction industry professionals the confidence they need to operate successfully. The construction industry is a multi-billion-dollar sector of Alberta’s economy that creates thousands of jobs. Amendments to the Act will help ensure contractors and subcontractors get paid on time, strengthen Alberta’s economic recovery, and protect jobs. Information courtesy of

Alberta.ca


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men and women in the construction industry had to deal with payment uncertainty for far too long, impacting their businesses and jobs in ways we can only imagine now. I was happy to be able to finally address this problem in the Alberta legislature,” says Minister Glubish. “I’m looking forward to seeing the new requirements come into effect so that Albertans working in the industry can have the certainty and security from their jobs that they deserve.”

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INDUSTRY RESPONSE TO BILL 37 To date, there has been a solid and positive response from the construction industry to Bill 37. Minister Glubish says that they have collaborated with the construction industry from start to finish and developed this legislation with their direct input and support. Through this joint effort, they were able to find a balanced approach to address the payment uncertainty issues in a way that would work for all parties involved. While the work isn’t done yet—since the bill passed in late 2020—Minister Glubish and his team have been actively collaborating with stakeholders in the construction industry to develop the regulations. “Dozens of groups in the construction industry were heavily involved in the development of the legislation,” he says. “Both industry stakeholders and I were pleased to see the bill pass last fall, and we agree that there has never been a more crucial time for prompt payment requirements to be put in place. When fully in effect, this legislation will strengthen the industry and provide more security for businesses all across the province, protecting jobs and creating conditions that will allow for more job-creating investment and spur Alberta’s economic recovery.” Gibson concurs and adds, “The industry is understandably anxious to understand the details and how the legislation will actually operate. [The] ACA and other associations plan to provide resources for this purpose over the next few months before the legislation kicks in mid-2022.” u

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AFFIDAVITS As part of your ECA membership benefits, a free Commissioner for Oaths service is available to ECA members that require a signature on associated forms. If you have any further questions regarding ECA’s commissioning process, please contact us by email: contact@edmca.com

ECA Fleet Discount Program With the ECA fleet discount program, ECA members have access to substantial discounts and additional concessions. The ECA discount that I got, last time around, was better than my fleet rate. If you’re a company and you have an employee who wants to buy a new car, that ECA discount is a great perk to offer your employee.– Andrew Hildebrand, Midwest Developments ECA members have access to substantial savings on vehicle purchase and rentals, through our association partnerships with Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Nissan. Program terms vary by dealership. Learn more at edmca.com/benefits/fleet-program/ or call 780.483.1130

ROOM BOOKINGS *As per Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services regulations, our current limit on room rentals is maximum of 10 people. Members can take advantage of using our ECA classrooms, boardroom and event spaces at no charge! Conditions and Availability Rooms are available M-F, 8am-3:30pm (subject to availability) Bookings are free to ECA members (contact us for non-member rates) Rooms can be used for meetings (planning, sales, safety, etc.) and training. Set-up, hospitality, and clean-up services are not provided Contact taylor.lewis@edmca.com (780.483.1130) for more information.


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There are nearly 700,000 senior citizens in Alberta. This makes it more vital than ever to ensure that seniors can live safely and independently in their chosen communities. PHOTO CREDIT: CANSTOCK/DIMABERKUT.

HELPING SENIORS AND LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS

THROUGH SOCIAL PROCUREMENT Finding a solution for those who cannot afford quality housing continues to be a prime goal for both the Government of Alberta and EndPovertyEdmonton By Lisa Kopochinski

56

While Canada remains one of richest countries worldwide, much work remains to help those in need—especially senior citizens. The Government of Alberta understands this and through its Ministry of Seniors and Housing provides programs and services to assist seniors with their safety and wellbeing. The ministry also supports the development of affordable housing to ensure that Albertans in need have access to housing options. At present, the population of seniors in Alberta is nearly 700,000 and is

Edmonton Construction Association

expected to grow to one million by 2035. This makes it more vital than ever to ensure that seniors can live safely and independently in their chosen communities. To this end, the ministry promotes age-friendly initiatives by collaborating with communities to develop approaches to a wide variety of challenges faced by seniors and those in need—including infrastructure builds for affordable housing. GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA SENIOR HOUSING PROGRAMS Dylan Topal is the press secretary to


Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon. PHOTO CREDIT: ALBERTA.CA

Josephine Pon, the Minister of Seniors and Housing. He says the goal of Alberta’s social housing efforts are to: •p rovide affordable housing for Albertans with low incomes; •p romote safety and the well-being of older Albertans to age in their chosen communities; • work closely with civil society organizations, housing management bodies, and other orders of government to build, renew, and maintain affordable housing; and • r educe regulatory requirements and administrative burdens for applicants and housing providers. One of the ways the Ministry of Seniors and Housing is ensuring best value for money as they increase programming for seniors in the province is through a process called social procurement to achieve additional social and economic goals. “Alberta Social Housing incorporates social procurement in our RFP process, awarding up to five per cent in additional points for those who utilized not-forprofit organizations and can provide consistent opportunities for people with employment barriers,” explains Topal. SOCIAL PROCUREMENT AND WHAT IT ENTAILS Annually, the Government of Alberta spends billions purchasing goods and services. Currently, the procurement system is set up to achieve the best price. Implementing social procurement often involves looking at how the

Susannah Cameron, EndPovertyEdmonton manager of strategic initiatives.

Brooks Hanewich, EPE manager of strategic initiatives on the livable incomes.

PHOTO CREDIT: ENDPOVERTYEDMONTON.

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“ End Poverty Edmonton is the regional partner of BuySocialCanada, and together with other partners, such as the Edmonton Construction Association, provides opportunities for business to learn how to respond to social procurement criteria in RFPs.” – Brooks Hanewich, EPE manager of strategic initiatives on the livable incomes low-income and disadvantaged groups;

provincial government spends, rather

• Targeted regional and local economic

than spending more.

development;

Through changes in procurement criteria, the Government of Alberta can

• Increased supply chain diversification,

use existing budgets and spending to

including social enterprise and

get added value in the form of:

businesses owned by diverse and

•S upporting the business community in

underrepresented people; and

economic recovery and job creation;

• Other benefits including Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) through

•E mployment and skills training for

construction and infrastructure projects.

diverse Albertans who are unemployed

“We will continue to utilize social

or low income;

procurement through the pandemic and

• Developing the capacity of social

have been flexible in ways by which social

enterprises across the province; • I ncreasing access to jobs for Albertans struggling to find work from historically

procurement can be incorporated by the industry,” says Topal.

ENDPOVERTYEDMONTON Susannah Cameron, manager of strategic initiatives at EndPovertyEdmonton (EPE), says that we need an economy that works for everyone and that provides access to good jobs, higher pay, business opportunities, and other benefits that will help to eliminate poverty in our community. “We see social procurement as a way of driving economic opportunities for people living in poverty,” says Cameron. Created to convene, coordinate, and broker partnerships in the work to end poverty in a generation (30 years) in Edmonton, EPE collaborates as economic consultants, trusted advisors, conveners, and community voice enablers toward policy change and provides systems support for its implementation. “Our work is conducted in gamechanger areas, each a root cause of poverty, and underpinned by foundational understanding and need,”

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explains Brooks Hanewich, EPE manager of strategic initiatives on the livable incomes game changer. “We work broadly in the community, including all Edmontonians—public, private, not-forprofit, and individual—to ensure policy actions benefit the whole community.” One of EPE’s objectives is to test using social procurement and community benefit agreements as a tool to support businesses and social enterprise recovery and create employment during the process of COVID recovery and transition in Edmonton’s economy. SUCCESSFUL ENDEAVOURS TO DATE Since 2017, EndPovertyEdmonton has had numerous successes—from national and international recognition for the approach to solving poverty—to tangible change within the community for people experiencing poverty. Some of these accomplishments include: •E stablishment of the Edmonton Community Development Company; • Increasing cultural competency training for City staff;

enterprises, and several workforce

to educate their members on social

development organizations that will

procurement.

help to source appropriate candidates

“We are currently meeting with the

from populations facing barriers to

Government of Alberta administration

employment;

to educate and ask them to develop and

• Large anchor institutions in

implement a social procurement policy

Edmonton are engaged in exploratory

more broadly across the whole of the

conversations to adopt social

provincial government,” says Cameron.

procurement; and

PANDEMIC CHALLENGES

• Supporting associations, like the

The difficulties the construction

Edmonton Construction Association,

NICE TRY WINTER. NICE TRY.

•A dvocacy and uptake of Living Wage policies; •A dvocacy and uptake of social procurement policies, including support for implementation; and •A dvocacy and support for basic income policies. “We are working with the University of Alberta in a Community University Partnership (CUP) on research and evaluation for many of our endeavours,” says Cameron. Other EPE successful social procurement objectives include: • Working with provincial and local groups for collaborative advocacy around social procurement, workforce

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building, and living wages; • At least 14 large enterprises are working with EndPovertyEdmonton on social procurement uptake.

EDM010

This work includes supporting these enterprises to connect with local diverse businesses and social

kubota.ca | ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 59


“ We will continue to utilize social procurement through the pandemic and have been flexible in ways by which social procurement can be incorporated by the industry.” — Dylan Topal, press secretary to Josephine Pon, Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing industry is facing makes social

stuck. We’re grateful for the visionary

sector to business. EPE is looking for a

procurement decisions more challenging.

leadership of those that came before

new community goals framework in late

Hanewich says that margins are tighter,

us in establishing a systems-level anti-

2021 that will help everyone understand

and the usual spending patterns have

poverty initiative in our city, which allows

what they can do—be they public,

changed. Opportunities for smaller,

us to respond to these changing times

diverse businesses and social enterprises

private, not-for-profit, or individual—to

quickly.”

help the community end poverty in a

are not as prevalent. Connecting diverse groups within

generation. As that happens, they will

WHAT’S NEXT? As for what the near future holds, both

a system, like businesses, community organizations, and procurement

Cameron and Hanewich say it will take

departments requires a great deal

an effort by everyone to end poverty in

of time to develop strong, trusting

Edmonton. They say that in new and innovative

relationships. Hanewich adds that there is a hint of a

continue to provide support for the uptake of social procurement. The Government of Alberta is also looking for ways to implement these strategies going forward. “The Government of Alberta is

ways, we all have to shift perceptions

silver lining in public discourse because

and bring more people into the work.

continuing to seek ways to incorporate

of the pandemic, as more people

The vision and knowledge of what needs

social procurement opportunities

recognize the inequity and fragility of

to be done has to be shared widely and

in our overall efforts through the

the government’s current systems.

made accessible to every member of the

implementation of the Affordable

community—from decision-makers to

Housing Strategy that is coming soon,”

those with lived experience, from social

concludes Topal. u

“This recognition is opening windows for change that had previously been

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A GATEWAY TO OPPORTUNITIES BuildWorks platform helps connect the construction industry to new opportunities By Lisa Kopochinski BuildWorks connects members with a national network of regional experts, qualified providers, and opportunities for work.

As one of Canada’s top procurement

partnership by 13 local Western

and business platforms, BuildWorks

Canadian construction associations in

is providing a great service to the

Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba,

Western Canada construction industry

BuildWorks connects members with a

by providing project owners, general

national network of regional experts,

contractors, subtrades, suppliers, and

qualified providers, and opportunities for

service providers with new opportunities

work.

fingertips, and that’s something that

PLATFORM HISTORY Construction procurement first leapt into the electronic world in 1999. It was in that year that the construction associations made the decision to create an online plan room. Thus, the Construction Opportunities Online Network (or COOLNet) was born.

Matt Schellenberger, the director of corporate development for the Edmonton Construction Association.

Gary Gies, the executive director at the RDCA, who has been utilizing the BuildWorks platform since its inception back in 1999.

both within and across provincial borders. Developed and offered in

“There’s something to be said for having access to information at our

Saralyn Parsons, construction information specialist at BuildWorks Canada. PHOTO BY BREE-LYNN MISTOL PHOTOGRAPHY.

64

has evolved rapidly in the last 25 years,” says Saralyn Parsons, construction information specialist at BuildWorks Canada. “I’ve heard stories about the physical plan room, members having to show cards to access bid documents at the Edmonton Construction Association and going into a room with a telephone to call the issuing authority and place their bid. I often forget how quickly time flies and technology evolves.”

Edmonton Construction Association


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BuildWorks is a comprehensive construction information service with thousands of projects (both public and private) posted each year.

“COOLNet started as an initiative to provide online project access across

information that fits their scope and

access to the commercial construction

need.”

marketplace, and for many members,

the country,” says Parsons. “COOLNet

When asked how successful

BuildWorks is their number-one gateway

Alberta followed in 2002 as an Alberta-

BuildWorks has been to date,

to opportunities and, thus, capital,” says

specific platform. In 2018, COOLNet

Schellenberger doesn’t miss a beat. He

Schellenberger.

evolved yet again and the BuildWorks

says that members continue to report

Canada brand was born as a partnership

that BuildWorks is the number-one

working collaboratively with British

between Alberta, Saskatchewan, and

service that the ECA provides. The ECA

Columbia and Ontario to create the best

Manitoba.”

board of directors, along with their local

user experience with its technology

construction associations partners, work

provider, eSolutions.

Matt Schellenberger is the director

Parsons adds that the ECA is currently

of corporate development for the

diligently to ensure that it continues

Edmonton Construction Association

to grow in size and scope for their

expand the BuildWorks partnership

(ECA). He says BuildWorks is a

membership. This includes projects from

to include these provinces, the

comprehensive construction information

small roadway and civil improvements

collaboration we’ve been a part of the

service with thousands of projects (both

all the way to major vertical projects like

last 18 months has been, and continues

public and private) posted each year.

fire halls, schools, hospitals, and more.

to be, a welcome sign of the member-

Schellenberger adds that at the present

focused evolution that is to come,” says

with valuable information regarding

time, more than 3,000 companies across

Parsons.

projects from inception, through the

Alberta (and more than 1,000 in the

tender process and into construction.

Edmonton region) access and utilize the

Red Deer Construction Association

The platform is robust, allowing member

site each year.

(RDCA), is very pleased with the

“The goal is to provide members

companies to access and aggregate

“Access to opportunities means

“While there aren’t current plans to

Gary Gies, executive director of the

vast and diverse range of project

HIGH PROJECT VISIBILITY BuildWorks’ cross-provincial platform increases project visibility, resulting in easier access to upcoming opportunities, as well as more competitive prices from trusted and reliable contractors, consultants, and suppliers. The 13 Western Canada construction associations currently involved in BuildWorks include: • Calgary Construction Association • Edmonton Construction Association

66

Edmonton Construction Association

• • • • • • • • • • •

Fort McMurray Construction Association Grande Prairie Construction Association Lethbridge Construction Association Lloydminster Construction Association Medicine Hat Construction Association Moose Jaw Construction Association Prince Albert Construction Association Red Deer Construction Association Regina Construction Association Saskatoon Construction Association Winnipeg Construction Association


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Edmonton Construction Association

opportunities that BuildWorks provides that focuses directly on the provincial construction industry. “The ease of access and the format the platform is designed around suits the industry,” says Gies. “The platform offers opportunities and provides members with daily notifications of projects that are relevant to their specific business, saving them time and money tracking down work. The RDCA has been utilizing the platform since its inception back in 1999. Many associations across the province will agree is that it is the number-one service that individuals look for when becoming a member.” With more than 10,000 users, Gies adds that the platform is a critical tool for project opportunities. “It is also an essential tool that provides companies with a breadth of contact information that they would not be able to retrieve anywhere else. The RDCA monitors the activity of each project and follows the trends to provide our members with insight that we pick up from the platform to enhance their knowledge of specific projects.” WHAT’S NEXT? As for what the near future holds, Parsons says plans are in the works to grow BuildWorks into an even more robust construction information service. They are currently developing the Invitation to Bid service, as well as launching a new and improved directory. All this comes 18 months after the unexpected loss of service from their previous technology provider, where they lost those features. “While we wait for the Invitation to Bid service and the directory to be finalized, we’ve worked hard to provide more of the valuable information our members rely on to enhance their business,” says Parsons. “We have provided bid results, shortlisted proponents, and award information on almost 40 per cent of opportunities posted in the province to date.” u


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HOLYROOD GARDENS: A STOREY-D HISTORY By Jenny Turner

Holyrood Gardens is a mixed-use development that has been years in the making.

A narrow bit of land running along 85

Purchased by Regency Developments

the existing product,” said Raj Dhunna,

Street, between 90th and 95th Avenue,

in 2016, the area was previously

chief operating officer for Regency

has been the cause of hope, frustration,

characterized by 1950s-style

Developments.

and multiple public hearings. It’s the

townhouses, public parks, and two mid-

development site for Holyrood Gardens – a much debated mixed-use development that has been years in the making.

rise apartment complexes. “When we bought [the site] from the previous owner, it definitely was not for

It took time for Regency to create a vision for the area. The site offered more space than a traditional highrise development, which was both challenging and exciting. “When we first purchased the asset,

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it took about six or eight months to kind of figure out what we wanted to do with it as a whole,” said Dhunna. “Here we’re talking about 12 to 14 acres of land, combined. And so, we had to figure out how to tie into a neighbourhood where

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decades and the population had been decreasing.” It took those months for Regency to conclude that the previous zoning of the site would not allow for the required

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density to make the development profitable. A rezoning can be difficult, but Dhunna is familiar with the process because almost every development he’s been a part of for the past decade has required a rezoning.

72

Edmonton Construction Association


“We’ve gone into neighbourhoods where there’s been no new development for the better part of several decades — and that’s throughout the city and because that’s where we saw the opportunities,” said Dhunna. “Early on it was taking a couple of years for rezoning. Being one of the first developers to kind of push beyond the envelope for infill development, we had a lot of nimbyism, and a lot of pushback on things like parking, design, sun shadows, and those kinds of things... We kind of narrowed it down so re-zonings took about a year.” When planning out the project, Regency used their Edgewater site as a benchmark for density, which has two towers and two four-storey buildings on one property. Since they had triple the size of the Edgewater site, they wanted to do something similar to that property, but with a higher density. Dhunna says that they felt they could double up the density and still have tons of space leftover since they had done it before and it was successful. Unfortunately, due to what Dhunna refers to as “the perfect storm”, the anticipated one-year rezoning process ended up taking two-and-a-half years, during which Regency almost walked away from the project. “We took a couple months off, and we decided, or I decided I guess, to work with the community one more time. And the community … agreed that what was there wasn’t what should be there. They understood something needed to be built. So collectively through mediation, we decided to give it one more try,” said Dhunna. Working with the community and adjusting the plans, Regency was able to meet the majority of council’s requests and ultimately the area was rezoned in 2018 to allow for a mixed-use, transitoriented development. Transit-oriented development is an urban planning term used to characterize multi-unit buildings located in close

proximity to public amenities and public transit. Ideally, these developments help make cars less of a necessity for accessing the goods and services residents need every day. Reducing reliance on automobiles has many benefits for people and the City, and it is paramount to Edmonton reducing its carbon emissions. The City has passed policy and plans to encourage shifting away from daily private vehicle use, including building bike lanes, supporting

scooters, and removing mandatory parking minimums from the zoning bylaw. By removing parking minimums from the zoning bylaw, it allows businesses to determine the number of parking spaces needed for a development. This has the added benefit of lowering costs for a developer, since the price of land is a major investment when building. “I’m not sure if I would ever do zero stalls per unit,” said Dhunna. “But it’s

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The Holyrood Gardens development is currently anticipated to provide more than 1,200 units throughout eight buildings.

When planning out the Holyrood Gardens project, Regency used their Edgewater site as a benchmark for density, which has two towers and two four-storey buildings on one property.

very nice to not be forced into a box

even be a concern? Why would parking

though it still did not receive full public

where it has to be point seven or point

even be a concern? But all these things

support.

eight, or one parking spot per unit.”

ended up bubbling to the surface for

Almost 50 per cent of the site is going

whatever reason,” said Dhunna. “A

to be green space, which Dhunna adds

to the Valley Line LRT route, which when

project of this scale doesn’t come along

will really connect the neighbourhood

completed, will connect downtown

everyday...just because [council] spent a

to the project so it doesn’t feel like a

to Millwoods Town Centre, making it

billion dollars on infrastructure, they felt

disconnect from everything else. There

an ideal location for a transit-oriented

development will just happen. That’s not

will be a dog park in some spaces, as

development, and a strong candidate for

how it will work.”

well as children’s playgrounds across

The Holyrood Gardens site is adjacent

Ultimately, the proposed plan is the

council approval.

the site. In addition, they are planning

result of extensive consultation and

to have an amphitheatre-type setup

vision was aligned with what everybody

engagement, and incorporates many of

and picnic benches to help connect

was talking about. So why would density

the requests made by the community,

residents to nature. Under the rezoning

“We felt the stars were aligned and our

they have agreed to allow public access to their property, so anyone from the neighbourhood will be able to come and enjoy the amenities as well.

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building in construction also happens to be the tallest. “There’s several phases to the project,” said Craig Schoettle, the Pagnotta project manager assigned to Holyrood Gardens. “In the current area we’re working, there’s going to be four towers and 760 units, but the first project that [Pagnotta is currently constructing] is 26 storeys and 283 units.” Like all other projects from 2020 and


The Holyrood Gardens site is adjacent to the Valley Line LRT route, which when completed, will connect downtown to Millwoods Town Centre.

2021, Holyrood Gardens has been challenged by the pandemic. Unlike other developers, though, Regency decided to continue with the development even after Alberta declared a state of public health emergency. “Really COVID-19 has had a huge impact — not just on the actual virus itself, but the supply chain issues we’re seeing,” said Schoettle. “We were pretty fortunate that on this project, we got ahead of a lot of it for our major deliveries. On some of our interior finishes though, we are concerned about lead times and price increases on materials, but it’s kind of just a daily battle that the whole industry is going through right now.” Many other construction projects were put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, causing job loss and uncertainty. By deciding to move forward in 2020, Regency helped provide work for many subcontractors, including Petrin Mechanical, Stellar Electrical, and McNish Steel. The first tower is anticipated to be completed in December 2022. The Holyrood Gardens development is currently anticipated to provide more than 1,200 units throughout eight buildings. u

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The Infrastructure Owners Forum was launched in 2017 to help those in the Owner community to better collaborate, build understanding and connect, with the purpose of improved integration across the construction continuum, and quality outcomes for the entire construction sector. The group meets bi-annually and now includes over 20 public owners and several developers meeting with industry to tackle common challenges. Learn More at OwnersForum.ca


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BRINGING IDEAS TO LIFE

Some of the ideas you have could change your company, community, city, province, or even your country.

A look at the Government of Alberta’s Unsolicited Proposal Framework and Guidelines (USP) process By Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson

As I write this, I am very frustrated with the spelling and grammar check functions on my computer because any language around the ‘doing’ of an idea has been deemed incorrect. So systemic is the notion that ideas cannot be done – they can only be had – the spelling and grammar algorithm I am up against right now repeatedly suggests that ideas are reserved only for sharing in wasted space. A New York Times bestseller and award-winning book, What Do You Do with An Idea? by Kobi Yamada is the greatest leadership and management book ever written. It should be on a shelf in your office. What’s great about Yamada’s book is it takes four minutes to read. It’s simple, and simple is really powerful. This particular book has more to offer than most run-of-the-mill inspirational books an eager professional might buy. Various modern research into thought – thought being the essence of ideas – is telling. 78

Edmonton Construction Association

Normally a person has 100,000 identifiable thoughts a day. Of those, 91,000 are really mundane ones associated with the habits of everyday life. You have thoughts you don’t even think you have had. Figure that out. Among all of the thoughts you have every day, a small number are ideas. The science of thought today suggests you have 100 ideas a day. Mind blown? An idea is a call to action. A change. A risk. A thought is to brush your teeth. An idea is to do so in the shower for the first time. I brush my teeth in the shower. Now here is a question for you. How many ideas do you act on? There is no value in only talking about the 100 ideas you have a day. Society is very interested in how many ideas you do, or even try. Whether they are your ideas or you stole them from a friend, the simple actions necessary to do – or even attempt – an idea are profound and valuable. Let’s be honest with ourselves; some

of the ideas you and I have are better in theory, so you should never attempt to do them. The primary responsibility of your closest friends is to provide a sober second thought so you never actually do your worst ideas. But some of the ideas you have could change your company, community, city, province, or even your country. And, similarly, the responsibility of your closest friends is to encourage you to go do them. Ideas are everything. They quite literally are the foundation of all the progress we have made and all of the progress we have yet to make. The heart and soul of our industry is acting on ideas. Our industry is the most tangible form of demonstrating all that goes into doing an idea. That’s pretty neat to think about. Unfortunately, we have an odd relationship with ideas. When I was in Grade 3, my teacher, Miss Holloway, had a poster up on the wall of a mountain biker going down a wild piece of single track in a forest. It stared at me and I stared at it. Now, I did a lot of gazing and pondering during grade school on various things not associated with school. Therefore, I


ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 79


Alberta’s USP process is world-class and arguably the best in Canada.

blame this poster for sending me on a journey that would ultimately ensure I spent some extra time trying to graduate high school. The caption on the poster was, “Happen to things”. Few Grade 3 kids truly understand the significance of that statement. I sure didn’t, but it’s etched in my mind. That poster has shaped me significantly. I am 38 now, and I have done some pretty neat things. But really, all I’ve ever done, all I will ever do, and all I challenge those around me to do is to happen to things. Here is what I believe: every day you have a simple but specific choice. Most people don’t even know they make this choice, but nobody could convince me that we don’t control it. You can wake up in the morning and decide to find reasons to do things. Or, you can wake up in the morning and decide to find reasons not to do things. One or the other. Mutually exclusive. The reality is a surprising high proportion of people wake up in the morning and find reasons not to do things. This is sad because it must mean these people discount the importance of the 100 or so ideas they have each day. Happening to things and doing ideas are synonymous. Every day, every person has ideas that matter. If you take away all that complicates life, your willingness to act on your own ideas is what matters most to making your community better. 80

So how do you act on an idea? What does that even mean? Let me walk you through a couple concepts here. How many of you have a fitness watch? Keep a family budget? Log your hours of work? We are hardwired to track what matters to us. To track what we want to manage and do better at. We develop a structure or a process. How many of you share some of the details of whatever you track with people around you? I’ve done 20,000 steps today! Put that $&;! on Instagram! The fact is we track and share all sorts of things that matter to us. In so many dimensions of our lives, we seek validation and accountability often, even subconsciously. But we don’t really track and share our ideas, do we? So, we have about 100 ideas a day. Back to the big nagging question — how many ideas do we act on? Science suggests we do less than one idea a day, from 100,000 thoughts to 100 ideas. You do about one idea a day. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I guess I’m subtly suggesting there is room for improvement, but consider this: what if we doubled the number of ideas we did a day from one to two? Do you think we would double the good we do within our companies, communities, and cities? I do.

Edmonton Construction Association

If you believe in the power of ideas then what you need to do is very simple. Track your ideas because you will be surprised by your capacity not just to generate good ones, but your eagerness to do them. Be sure to share them because an idea isn’t worth your emotional energy if you don’t. All of the above is to set the stage for a simple proposition for everyone in our industry in Alberta. One of the greatest opportunities of this generation in our industry is the Government of Alberta’s Unsolicited Proposal Framework and Guidelines (USP) process. This document was published in November last year. Although some may be quick to view it as a purely politically motivated exercise, I have a tough time accepting that. Even today’s opposition would be thrilled by the prospect of our industry mobilizing itself to undertake nation building projects on its own initiative. If the private sector has an idea, and the doing of that idea creates some dimension of public benefit, the idea is entitled to time from politicians and senior government officials. We tend to get lost in a world where we defer to governments to build our cities and provinces, and our country. Our duty then becomes to respond to RFPs to do their ideas. Boring.


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Few take the time to master every act and regulation that may (or may not be) relevant to a given idea that forms the basis of a USP. Hint! What Alberta’s USP process does is enough, more often than not, money suggest to you that you have good ideas. is not the most valuable thing a willing As an Albertan, a robust conversation public sector partner may be able to about your ideas on how to improve provide a gregarious private sector our community is owed respect from proponent making a USP. politicians and bureaucrats, at the very I don’t want to give away my secrets, least. but let this be a moment of reflection. You, me, and the remarkable folks Anyone can ask for money, that’s easy. on our teams have ideas to make our communities better and finally, we have a process to take those ideas to the government within a structure that I believe is straightforward and well balanced. Big ideas, especially those in the infrastructure space, will always become political and so a word from the FROSTED FILMSwiser – if you are not prepared for the politics, you may not be prepared for the FROSTED FILMS world of USPs. DIGITAL WALL GRAPHICS Alberta’s USP process is world-class SECURITY FILMS • SOLAR FILMS and arguably the best in Canada. Other provinces and cities are referring to it A leader in our industry. Proudly serving Albertans as the gold standard. Similarly, the City for 28 years! of Edmonton’s approach to unsolicited proposals is refreshing, although it would Bus: 780-448-1624 benefit from an equally modernized 10362-59 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6H 1E6 process. www.protintinc.ca If you believe in the power of your ideas, if you are inspired to inject a bit more courage into sharing your ideas, if you need the government to enable your Providing road idea in some innovative capacity, and if construction you are not afraid of a lot of work and services since 1975 some risk along the way, then I think you know what you need to do. *Nudge nudge* If you need help, reach out.

Alberta’s USP process is world-class and arguably the best in Canada. Other provinces and cities are referring to it as the gold standard. Things are changing. One thing I feel needs to be made clear is that Alberta’s USP process is not a simplified way to ask for money from the Government of Alberta for whatever might be on your mind. It goes without saying that that is a non-starter, at least for the foreseeable future. Strangely

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BEING A BETTER LEADER The ECA offers the PMP program to construction management professionals By Shayna Wiwierski

The PMP course is offered by Dr. Sami Fahmy, president of the PEI, who is also a civil engineer by trade.

If you want to take your construction career further, then take a look at getting the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Offered by the Edmonton Construction Association (ECA) three times a year, the PMP program is a series of courses that provides project leadership experience and expertise in any way of working. The PMP designation is a certification program by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which is a leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project management profession. The aim of the PMI is to provide tools, network, and best practices to those who seek help to successfully manage their projects and portfolios. The course is offered through the ECA by the Performance Excellence Institute (PEI), a consulting firm that 86

According to PMI, the PMP certification validates that you have the project leadership skills that employers seek. Dr. Fahmy says that there are a number of benefits to getting this designation, including higher pay and self-satisfaction.

specializes in design, and delivery of course and workshops in four main areas: project management, construction management, risk management, and communication skills. The PMP course is offered by Dr. Sami Fahmy, president of the PEI, who is also a civil engineer by trade. Dr. Fahmy says that the PMP designation is a professional certification, and is wellrespected and recognized worldwide. “In today’s environment, project management skills are critical business skills to optimize organizational outcomes, increase performance and profitability, and develop collaborations and engagement of key stakeholders. Not only is this a fundamental business skill, but also a great personal skill to get the best out of any goal you want to accomplish,” says Dr. Fahmy. “The PMP designation is well recognized

Edmonton Construction Association

internally and many people pursue it, such as accountants, pharmacists, and psychologists. Many professionals recognize the great value a PMP designation creates, even more so in the construction industry.” According to PMI, the PMP certification validates that you have the project leadership skills that employers seek. Dr. Fahmy says that there are a number of benefits to getting this designation, including higher pay and self-satisfaction. He says that when you have the knowledge of a PMP, you do a better job. There is a high degree of industry recognition for the certification, since those who have it show that they are serious about project management and about taking project management on as a profession. The skills and techniques that come with the designation are also very transferrable,


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meaning you can take it from one job to the next. Dr. Fahmy also adds that it applies to the three levels of project management, meaning owner, consultant, and contractor. Anyone can take the PMP course, however, there are a number of prerequisites. You must have a certain education, such as a four-year degree, and then you need three years of actual project management experience. If you don’t have a degree, you can still

make it, however, then you will need five years of actual project management experience. In addition to that you must take the actual course itself, which is 35 hours of course work. Once you have the background and course work, then you must pass an exam, which is 230 minutes long, equaling to almost four hours. The exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. “This is a rigorous designation which requires strong preparation, experience,

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Edmonton Construction Association

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and study; but it is completely doable,” says Dr. Fahmy, who teaches the course over six Saturdays. “What you gain and the certification you get is really well worth it. It will open doors for you in a lot of industries, especially construction. Yes, it does take some effort, but the payoff is long-lasting. And the leadership opportunities in terms of career advancement are unlimited.” The ECA offers the PMP course three times a year. In 2022, the ECA is offering three cohorts of the course starting in January, April, and September. Each course takes two-and-a-half to three months to complete and is presented as a guided study program, which prepares the student to take and pass the exam on the first try. The PMP course starts with a detailed individual study plan to match each participant’s needs and wishes. He then follows with bi-weekly homework assignments. This version of the PMP course is a great way to get certified in three months. The ECA is one of few places in Western Canada to offer this training with an instructor online. “I can’t find it anywhere else where it is being offered in Western Canada with an instructor. You can find it self-led online through multiple organizations, but not with a live virtual-led instructor, which is really nice,” says Taylor Lewis, education and events coordinator with the ECA. “Having an instructor with over 30 years of experience, [Dr. Fahmy’s] course covers a wide variety of topics, so we feel it is very important to offer this to our members.” The ECA started offering this course about eight years ago and the uptake was very successful. Lewis says that they would have about 20 people on average per class and students would enjoy the connections and support they received from the instructor, as well as other peers. Katherine Panousos, project manager at Allmar Inc., took the PMP course via the ECA in late 2019 and finished it in


what can be assigned to others.”

“ The ECA, as the hub of construction and leaders in the industry, offers this course and we feel that it is important to advance our members and offer courses that will prepare our people for real-life situations.”

Once you have the PMP designation it lasts a lifetime and the ECA’s Lewis strongly encourages and recommends intermediate project managers and site project team members to take the course and get the designation. Of course, anyone in any industry can also

March 2020, finally taking the exam in

implement it to improve what we are

late 2020. She says she wanted to get

already doing.”

the designation as a challenge to herself

Panousos says that she could do her

to get the credentials since she had been

job without the designation, but it has

doing project management for quite a

improved how she does her job. She

few years prior.

says that it gives you a better outlook

reap the rewards of the PMP program as well. “The ECA, as the hub of construction and leaders in the industry, offers this course and we feel that it is important to advance our members and offer courses that will prepare our people for real-

“It was an excellent course. I work

on what a project manager should do

in a niche field within the construction

and the responsibilities of the project

who wish to get certified and have the

industry, so a lot of the project

manager in general.

designation, it lasts a lifetime. Anyone

management processes we discussed

“Maybe we are doing things that we

life situations,” says Lewis. “For those

who wants to grow their resume will

were not necessarily something we were

don’t need to be doing that we can

doing day to day within our office,” says

delegate to a team or to create tasks

For more information on how you

Panousos. “It was very eye opening to

for people in our organization,” says

can take the PMP course through the

see how project management is dealt

Panousos. “The course teaches you what

ECA, please visit www.edmca.com/

with in other industries and how we can

a project manager should be doing and

education.u

benefit from this course.”

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The tradition of evaluating injury frequency rates is changing as we all know those statistics not only can be manipulated, but are also not correlated with a company’s likelihood of having fewer serious injuries or fatalities.

WCB 2022 AND BEYOND How Workers’ Compensation Board changes will impact your business in the future By Kessie Stevens and David Copus

Over the past three years, Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has experienced significant changes that have directly impacted employers, causing us to pivot and re-examine our strategies. These changes have included new legislation introduced in 2018 by the NPD, under Rachel Notley; a change in leadership with a new CEO, Trevor Alexander (along with a decrease in executive compensation from $900,000 to $361,330); and even more legislative changes as presented by the UCP under the Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act (McClure). Coupled with a 92

Edmonton Construction Association

global pandemic that led to service delays and “relief” in premiums, a workforce of nearly 2,000 WCB staff moving to working at home versus in the WCB offices – leading to lags in customer service and a switch to virtual rehabilitation delivery – it is safe to say that employers need to remain diligent to ensure we know what key trends may impact how we approach this aspect of our risk management programs. This article will explore four WCB-related trends that may impact how your business operates as you position yourself in our competitive and changing marketplace.


BIDDING AND STATISTIC EVALUATION – THE TREND TO ESG In addition to the WCB changes, nationally we see a shift in trends that influence how subcontractors are evaluated for larger projects. Contractors are more risk-averse (for example, we have a federally-owned pipeline) and are looking for ways to mitigate risk. They now look to bring on partners who will get a project done on time and within budget and avoid safety issues that may impact their reputations and public images. The tradition of evaluating injury frequency rates is changing as we all know those statistics not only can be manipulated, but are also not correlated with a company’s likelihood of having fewer serious injuries or fatalities. Globally, the shift is to move towards a model of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) where investors are drawn to companies with a lower probability of issues around reputational, legal, and regulatory risk. Follow the money. Contractors will be pushing and selecting their sub-contractors based on the demands of their investors and the direction of their boards (ADEC). As a result, we will see the harder to manipulate WCB statistics having an increasing weight in bid evaluation. Ensuring and maintaining low time loss days, low claim numbers, and a holistic disability management program will be more paramount in succeeding in the ESG evaluation process. This trend will also impact how OHS programs are evaluated where a COR is a bareminimum entry point. INCREASE IN PREMIUMS The WCB in Alberta has a well-funded account to pay for the future costs of injuries. However, over the past several years, the premiums paid by employers have been less than needed to fund the cost of claims occurring each year. In fact, in 2020, premiums were 30 per cent below where they needed to be. In addition, the impact of the pandemic and the economic slowdown were contributing factors leading to a 20 per

cent increase in the average length of injury claims. While the board was able to cover these shortfalls from reserves, at some point, premium rates will have to rise. If the base rates go up, the premiums paid by employers with higher than average injury rates will go up even more (Alberta).

program increases the maximum refund

INDUSTRY CUSTOM PRICING Overall, the construction sector has avoided participating in the Industry Custom Pricing Program (ICP). The

equally. Votes are based on company or

or surcharge of 40 per cent to 60 per cent for employers who perform well. The premise is to reward companies that have low claims either by luck or proper management. When an industry is invited to vote for ICP, not all companies are counted premium size so that larger companies can have a heavier weighted voice than several smaller companies. When

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ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 93


you vote to join ICP you give up either the ability to either ask for cost relief for your workforce with pre-existing conditions (think about the ageing labour workforce), or your experiencing rating, or both. ICP is not going away and the WCB will continue to push this profitable program. While it may be good to get a 60 per cent discount, it will be harder to maintain, and it will also be harder and costly to come out of a 60 per cent surcharge. These numbers can also affect

your bidding prospects if a 60 per cent surcharge is presented versus a 40 per cent surcharge. It is important to note that the WCB Act limits employers from having any more than a 60 per cent discount on premiums, so if you are in ICP at the 60 per cent discount and have a COR, you will not receive additional discounts to reflect your successful COR audit. BILL 47: ENSURING SAFETY AND CUTTING RED TAPE ACT The WCB presented 16 main changes

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for employers to be in effect on January 1 and April 1, 2021. Many of these changes were a reversal of the NDP’s requirements, such as the controversial “Obligation to Reinstate”, and some were new like discontinuation of wage replacement benefits after a worker is terminated for egregious conduct. One change that will not slow its impact on employers is the rise in psychological injury claims. The increase in these claims, where either the psychological incident is the primary or secondary injury, will continue, and the gap and delay in services will also continue. Employers need to be proactive in mitigating and managing these claims. This includes providing early services, working with union and labour groups if required, and having a strong management procedure around these claims. SUMMARY In many companies, managing WCB claims and programs are a “side job” of an OHS or HR professional. Some larger companies do have more specialized in-house employees, while others decide to outsource or co-consult on these services. Regardless of approach, employers need to be increasingly diligent in how they manage and approach WCB issues and increase their awareness of the impacts across their organization and industry. Kessie Stevens and David Copus own Artis, a consulting company that helps employers with OHS needs and all things WCB. Join Artis for WCB Wednesdays, a monthly information session on WCBrelated issues, at artissolutions.ca/ training/wcb-wednesday/. RESOURCES • ADEC. https://www.adecesg.com/resources/ faq/what-is-esg-investing/. n.d. 01 10 2021. • Alberta, WCB. https://wcb.ab.ca/annualreport-2020/assets/PDFs/WCB_2020_ Annual_report.pdf . n.d. 01 10 2021. • McClure, Matt. https://www.cbc.ca/news/ canada/edmonton/alberta-workerscompensation-board-president-took-homenearly-900k-last-year-1.3651446. 24 06 2016. u

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Edmonton Construction Association


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BUILDING UP FEMALE LEADERS

In Alberta, women make up 45 per cent of the overall workforce, however, in the construction industry that number is just 14 per cent, and five per cent in the skilled trades.

Attracting more females to the construction industry By Shayna Wiwierski

Women are gaining momentum in the

Case, project manager at Ground Force

necessary so they can understand

construction industry.

Environmental Corp. in Kitchener, Ont.,

that there are more career paths than

In 2019 there were 182,000 women in

has been working in the industry for

just those people would consider

the construction sector in Canada, with a

over 15 years. She got her start when

‘stereotypical’ female jobs. It goes for

total workforce of 1.463 million, according

she worked for a construction company

kids in general as well,” says Case. “Did

to a recent Statistics Canada Labour

doing accounting and payroll. From there

you know that you could be the person

Force report. Although the construction

she moved onto a different company

that designs the building you are in? Did

industry is an industry that women are

where they moved her to an estimating

you know the lights go on and off and

now pursuing more jobs in, it’s actually

position. After that, she moved through

dim in your house could be something

a drop from 2018’s numbers, when there

the ranks to project coordinator and then

you can design and not just install? What

were 186,300 women out of 1.437 million.

to project manager.

about the person who is in charge of that

When it comes to pursuing a career

When it comes to women getting into

jobsite building houses? So, I think that

in construction, it’s important to

the construction, Case says that more

at a much younger age it’s important

highlight that there are more than just

education is needed at a younger age as

for kids to be exposed to all facets of

the stereotypical construction jobs like

to what types of careers are out there.

construction and know they can be

carpenter, welder, plumber, etc. Trudy

“Educating girls at a young age is

98

Edmonton Construction Association

involved in many different ways.”


Left: Trudy Case, project manager at Ground Force Environmental Corp. in Kitchener, Ont., has been working in the industry for over 15 years. Above: Lisa Laronde, president of the road safety division at the Powell Group of Companies and president of Powell Contracting, has been involved in the road construction industry for the last six years and she also got her start working in the finance side of the industry.

Presenting these career options to young women is important and she mentions going into schools and doing career day-type fairs would be beneficial to showcase more hands-on types of jobs for girls in high school and middle school. Lisa Laronde, president of the road safety division at the Powell Group of Companies and president of Powell Contracting, agrees. Laronde has been involved in the road construction industry for the last six years and she also got her start working in the finance side of the industry. Originally working at Powell in Finance, she was a controller and then quickly moved to vice-president of accounting and administration, and then became the executive vice-president. In 2020 she was named the president of the road safety division and manages multiple businesses now. She is also a board member with the Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC). Laronde says that girls should be exposed to careers in the construction industry at a young age. She says it’s through sharing success stories and showing the career potential before them that our future generations of females will start to see themselves in these roles more easily. There are so many construction and engineering

pathways that are simply not known.

successful have had a long and hard

We need to educate early on and make

journey,” says Laronde. “We came from

them more widely understood. Since the

a time period where women were not

industry as a whole is open and ripe for

as accepted in the industry, they had

change, a good way for companies to

to blaze their own trail and they want

help facilitate this hands-on learning is

you to blaze your own trail as well. Why

by offering mentorship programs to help

would we want to blaze multiple trails

nurture females who want to break into

when we could all follow one and make

construction.

it bigger, better, and more accessible, so

“I hear consistently that there aren’t a lot of women in construction, so there aren’t a lot of mentors you can tap into. Those that I know who have been

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Edmonton Construction Association

minded females in the industry, the ECA offers WomenBuild, which was launched in 2020 and seeks to inspire, support, encourage, connect, and celebrate women in the industry. In Alberta, women make up 45 per cent of the overall workforce, however, in the construction industry that number is just 14 per cent, and five per cent in the skilled trades. Since women are underrepresented in the industry, the ECA offers unique networking events and educational opportunities for females. WomenBuild is a place of inspiration, support, and mentorship to women. Since the industry has changed in the last 20 years, there are now more women to connect with. In general, it’s not as male dominated as it once was. Both Case and Laronde say that it is still a bit of juggle when it comes to the work/life balance. One of the biggest difficulties that females can face in the industry is daycare and public transportation. If you are a single parent or parent of young children then it may be hard to get them to daycare or pick them up. Those solutions may be ways that could entice more women to enter the workforce and ease up on the labour shortage in general. In terms of advice for those females looking to get into construction, Laronde says to not be afraid to ask for help and don’t be discouraged when you don’t get it. “I consistently ask everyone I meet to help me gain some credibility in the industry and sometimes you get it, but sometimes you don’t. You need to be confident to ask,” says Laronde, adding that it’s also important to not be afraid to be a woman working on construction. “I think women make great leaders because we are compassionate, empathetic, and it gives us a voice and power that will continue to grow the industry. We need to support women, share our experiences and knowledge, and get our voice out there. We are stronger as a group.” For more information on WomenBuild and to find out about future events, please contact Caroline Bowen at caroline.bowen@edmca.com. u


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Women Build is a group with a mandate to connect and inspire women in industry. For more information please contact Caroline Bowen at caroline.bowen@edmca.com

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ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 103


CARLSON CONSTRUCTION CELEBRATES 95 YEARS exceptionally high marks in our external audits. Our people and their ongoing drive, dependability, and enthusiasm has played a pivotal part in our success. Carlson believes in supporting the community and many worthy humanitarian associations. Over the years, we have acted upon this important philosophy with generous donations to local organizations and charities. Annually, in the spirit of collaboration and teamwork, Carlson polls our staff members for ideas on how they would like to support our community in the Founded in 1927, Victor Carlson and

our clients and unwavering dedication

his son Arthur, created a construction

of our employees. It’s those types of

company built to last. That legacy

relationships that Carlson has worked

continues to this day, as Carlson

diligently to develop over the last nine

Construction celebrates its 95th

successful decades.

anniversary of building exceptional

Carlson has been a proud founding

coming months. This allows Carlson to incorporate new organizations into its program and to ensure that the company’s giving reflects the wishes of our team. Building on a solid foundation, Carlson dominated the high-rise,

projects through our offices in Edmonton

member of the Edmonton Construction

retail, warehouse, and multi-family

and Calgary, and throughout our

Association since 1931. The company

industry in the 1970s and ‘80s. Over

surrounding communities.

pursues collaborative solutions within

the years, the company’s dedication to

the industry and was an original member

uncompromising standards resulted in

across family generations, Carlson

of the Merit Contractors Association.

numerous feature projects, including

remains true to our founding values of

Carlson was also an early advocate for

the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Journal

quality, integrity, and hard work. As a

the Certificate of Recognition (COR)

Building, South Edmonton Common,

premier construction company in Alberta,

safety program and is committed to

AMA Kingsway, U of A Students Union

Carlson Construction is committed to

protecting the health and safety of our

Building, and Enerkem’s Biomass

providing exceptional service to all our

employees, clients, and community.

Storage facility. At Carlson, we are

projects. We consistently approach

Alberta’s safety standards are high,

continually inspired by the creative

every venture as an opportunity to

yet Carlson consistently seeks to

designs that are at the forefront of

build long-lasting relationships with our

meet and exceed compliance. We’re

today’s construction industry. A few of

clients, consultants, and industry trade

proud to say we have surpassed the

our more recent projects include Campio

partners and suppliers. Carlson’s success

requirements of the Alberta Construction

Brewing Co., Leduc Golf Clubhouse,

over these last 95 years can be directly

Safety Association’s Certificate of

and Paragon Office Building. Projects

attributed to the unyielding support from

Recognition, and we consistently achieve

underway include the highly anticipated

Since the company’s inception and

104

Edmonton Construction Association


Carlson Construction projects currently underway include the highly anticipated renovations and additions at the Royal Glenora Club and the Derrick Club, both of which are scheduled for completion in 2022.

renovations and additions at the Royal

affordable multi-family housing project.

Glenora Club and the Derrick Club, both

Though these construction practices

centennial, we look to our roots for

of which are scheduled for completion

we are consistently evolving, Carlson

inspiration and guidance, and continue

in 2022.

As Carlson strives towards its

utilizes a partner-led approach which is

with hard work, integrity, and a

True to our legacy, our talented

instrumental in staying current with new

drive for exceptional results. Times

workforce continues to innovate and

sustainable building materials, software,

have changed since 1927, but the

provide our clients with remarkable

and construction methodologies. The

company’s work ethic and dedication

construction experiences. Today, Carlson

synergy of our employees, together with

to achieving the best construction

fuses the legacy that started in 1927 with

industry relationships, creates a depth of

experience for our clients has not.

industry-leading innovation. Recently,

corporate knowledge that is invaluable

We thank our industry partners and

Carlson has incorporated net-zero,

to our commercial, institutional, and

clients that have contributed to our

sustainable construction elements into an

industrial endeavours.

long-lasting legacy. u

A REMARKABLE CONSTRUCTION EXPERIENCE

EDMONTON 780.452.7720 avcarlson.ca

CALGARY 403.460.6524

build@avcarlson.ca ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 105


THINKING SUSTAINABLY EcoAmmo Sustainable Consulting celebrates 15-year anniversary in 2021 By Shayna Wiwierski

The Edmonton EXPO Centre rehabilitation project.

An Edmonton company whose aim

Consulting. “We started with the LEED

zero energy commercial office and

is to transition the world towards

rating system certification and also

working on projects that have helped

sustainability is celebrating a milestone

now diversified into Integrated Project

save over approximately 161,000 tonnes

anniversary this year.

Delivery (IPD) team engagement

of CO2. The projects they have worked

carbon-reduction strategies. We

on have also helped to divert over

founded by owner Stephanie Carter in

EcoAmmo Sustainable Consulting was

managed to diversify and do a few more

approximately 330 million kilograms of

2006 and works with companies who are

Green building rating systems as well,

waste from the landfill.

hoping to build high-performing projects

like the WELL rating system or the Living

with high-performing teams. Carter was

Building Challenge.”

previously an interior designer and saw

The company was the first of its kind

EcoAmmo works closely with architects, project owners, and general contractors to consult on high-

that the world needed a more circular

in Edmonton and Alberta, and over the

performance facilitation and training,

economy.

past 15 years they have seen similar

Green building design and construction,

companies pop up and offer services

and Green building operations. They

thrown away, or materials were specified

similar to theirs. Since their business

have worked on projects across Western

without considering if they would

centres around sustainability, they

Canada, as well as in Eastern Canada

be harmful for the occupants of the

have a number of internal initiatives to

and in the United States. Some local

building, things like that, so [Carter]

lessen their environmental footprint,

projects they are currently working on

knew there had to be a better way and

both in their projects and in their own

include the MacEwan University School

found it,” says Kristin Tollovsen, project

behaviours. Some examples include

of Business, the Edmonton EXPO Centre

manager at EcoAmmo Sustainable

designing and building their own net-

rehabilitation project, and the University

“Materials were being bought and

106

Edmonton Construction Association


EcoAmmo Sustainable Consulting is 100 per cent female owned and operated with nine members on the team.

of Alberta University Commons. “It’s been very exciting with the

EcoAmmo is currently working on the University of Alberta University Commons.

few years more people have been asking

“We usually try to help people

to find ways to be more sustainable in

find their value. We are big into Lean

heritage aspect of the [University of

their projects, especially after the various

construction and Lean project methods.

Alberta University Commons],” says

climate targets and goals from both the

Really, it’s about finding the value for the

Tollovsen. “They are keeping that in place, so that’s been great for embodied carbon and carbon reduction. Of course, the new addition to it is beautiful as well.” The company is 100 per cent

client, whether that’s saving a little bit of

City of Edmonton and the Province of

energy so their bills are lower, or looking

Alberta, as well as the Paris Accord. For those looking to incorporate more sustainability into their projects, or even just looking to be more sustainable

to go all the way to a net-zero building and how to do that. We help people through that process,” says Tollovsen. “Usually it’s through workshops and

female owned and operated with nine

going forward, EcoAmmo is a great

members on the team. They are a JUST

resource for finding solutions that help

hopefully just be able to work through

label organization, which is a program

to minimize the environmental footprint

that and find the best sustainable

that is a voluntary disclosure tool for

of corporations.

solutions.” u

values and prioritizing those, but we will

organizations in terms of their social policies and social equities, as well as a B. Corp applicant. Tollovsen says that the company is committed to mindfulness and mental wellbeing, as well as transparency as a business. “We want people to enjoy working on the projects,” she says. “I think that a really important thing to come out of IPD is that already you are trying to be under budget and ahead of schedule, but then there is this kind of mental happiness too when working on projects. It’s much more collaborative and that much less stressful on people.” This year marks the 15th anniversary of the company and Tollovsen says that over the years as the industry has been evolving, the need for sustainability has

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been increasing. She says that in the past ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 107


PALS GEOMATICS CELEBRATES 100,000 RESIDENTIAL HOME STAKEOUTS IN NORTHERN ALBERTA

Pals co-founders, Larry Pals (left) and Peter Jackson (right).

2021 has been a landmark year for Pals Geomatics, including completing our 100,000th residential home stakeout. In fact, by our estimate, the equivalent of one-fifth of all Edmontonians live in homes that have been staked out by Pals! We are proud to look back over the work that has helped build Edmonton’s communities for 38 years. The story of those stakeouts starts back in 1983 with our founders, whose partnership helped lay the foundation for a strong company built to stand the test of time. TWO ENTREPRENEURS WALK INTO A BAR… Pals Geomatics co-founders Larry

108

Pals and Peter Jackson originally met while working for the same Edmonton surveying company. However, as interest rates soared and jobs were being cut all around them, they started to think bigger. If you have seen Pals and Jackson in action together, it’s probably not hard to imagine them coming together at a local bar on their lunch break to talk about whether they could make it on their own. This is exactly what happened in 1983. After sketching out a logo on a napkin and running through the numbers, they had a plan. As Pals remembers, “when we started out, our goal was to do 50 stakeouts a month.” Thirty-eight years later, the outcomes

Edmonton Construction Association

of that fateful lunch are more noteworthy than either of them expected. At our peak, Pals Geomatics undertook 555 stakeouts in a single month. In the same time span, a small but mighty team of two has exponentially grown to a team of approximately 100. And, of course, that very first stakeout in the town of Millet has been reiterated by the Pals Geomatics team over 100,000 times in Northern Alberta. While the numbers are inspiring, what the Pals Geomatics team appreciates more than the numbers are the actual results in the community. Whether standing in a mature neighbourhood or a brand-new community in Edmonton, team members can see where the land


they staked out now holds houses that act as a pillar for families. Each home also represents the development of close relationships we have built, both internally between staff, and externally with local community associations, builders, developers, homeowners, and charity organizations. The continued development of these relationships is another significant accomplishment that can be felt, even if it can’t be quantified. “We still have the philosophy that the customer comes first,” says Pals. “We don’t want to work for you. We want to work with you. That was our goal, and I think that that brought us a long way.” Jackson is also proud of the jobs created for the Pals team. “It’s not just that we did 100,000 stakeouts; we provided employment for over a hundred families each and every year for the last couple of decades. To me, that is one of the greatest achievements we have reached.”

Jennifer Hilson, surveyor.

HOW THE STAKEOUT PROCESS HAS CHANGED OVER 38 YEARS Like many long-time employees, Lisa Matyjanka has been with Pals Geomatics for 11 years as a draftsperson. Her work has touched many Edmonton communities in that time. She describes the stakeout process as the first step in

Residential

Plot Plans, Stakeouts, Real Property Reports, Grading Certificates and Infill Services

Commercial

Construction Layout, Topographic Surveys, Laser Scanning, As-Built Surveys and Lease Areas

Development

Subdivision & Condominium Plans

Other Services

Utility Line Locating, UAV Services, Energy Modeling and Testing

Over 100,000 Residential Stakeouts Completed in Edmonton Area

Phone: 780-455-3177 Toll Free: 1-800-263-0305 Email: edmonton@palsgeomatics.com Edmonton | Camrose | Westlock ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 109


the physical construction of a home –

the home can be laid.

one that occurs before the foundation is even laid.

Ironically, back when Pals and Jackson

Although the process has changed, one thing hasn’t: stakeouts require a high

were the only hands on deck, the process

degree of precision. This important first

required a lot of hands; the two of them

step in building a house ensures that it

have been drawn up, they are passed

relied on handheld tools, handwritten

will endure throughout the years and

on to Pals Geomatics. From there, one

notes, and hand-drawn calculations.

of our experienced draftspersons uses

Today, the process is assisted by robotic

stand as a safe shelter for the families

the plans to mark out the vertical and

total stations which work using satellite

horizontal lines where the land will be

imagery. There are significant benefits of

THE NEXT 100,000 STAKEOUTS

excavated. After that, the information

the technology, and these benefits trickle

Although co-founders Pals and

collected is passed on so that permits

down to the client, including lower costs,

Jackson remain directors of the

can be obtained and the foundation for

faster stakeouts, and greater accuracy.

company, they have confidently handed

Once the builder’s plans for a home

who call it home.

over the reins to a new generation of motivated individuals. Scott Morin is part of that new generation. And despite economic challenges, he says that the pace for construction isn’t slowing down at all. “We’re dealing probably with 60 per cent of the new home construction in Edmonton and in the greater Edmonton area with the home builders. So, it’s been quite busy this year,” says Morin. In his role as the manager of residential construction, one of the greatest tasks he hopes to accomplish is maintaining the warm family atmosphere that has kept many staff members

FLH.CA | 780-444-5500

around for years or decades. Adding to that sense of togetherness, the company is now 100 per cent employee owned. As Pals puts it, this has allowed the team to develop an entrepreneurial spirit that closely mirrors what he and Jackson rallied around in their early days. Thanks to new technology, Morin thinks that the next 100,000 stakeouts will add up even more quickly, as well as the relationships forged each time a Pals Geomatics team member heads out from the offices. Looking back on what their team has achieved, Pals and

South Branch 7650-40 Street SE, Calgary, AB T2C 2V4 Phone: 403-273-9511 • Fax: 403-273-8610

north Branch 4 Rowland Crescent, St. Albert, AB T8N 4B3 Phone: 780-458-0442 • Fax: 780-458-0447 Email: mike@wwpledmonton.com

Specializing in commercial roofing & waterproofing for over 32 years 110

Edmonton Construction Association

Jackson envision a strong future for their next generation of surveyors and specialists offering a wide range of land survey and related services. “I hope it continues on forever,” says Pals. u


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ECA Breaking Ground | Winter 2021 111


INDEX TO ADVERTISERS A&H Steel Ltd.

61

Bolson Engineering & Environmental Services

Alberta One-Call Corporation

25 BOXX Modular

Alberta Screw Piles Ltd.

31

Brock White Canada ULC Brownlee LLP

37

Derrick Disposal / Integrity

21

Donalco Western Inc.

55

Drill Rite Services

87

Dynamic Demolition & Recycling Inc.

91

Edmonton Kubota

59

13

65

BURNCO 65

All Type Electric

63

Can Traffic Services Canadian Construction Association

Daam Galvanizing – Edmonton

12

Alberta Wilbert Sales

Amramp 41

65

83

Alberta Painting Contractors Association 53

Cutting Edge Landscaping Ltd. 95

111 4 Electrical Contractors

An-Mar Concrete Pumping Co. Ltd.

61

Canadian Dewatering

24

Association of Alberta

Aplin & Martin Consultants Ltd.

95

Canem Systems

97

EllisDon Construction Services Inc.

Arcom Technical Services Ltd.

IFC

Capitall Exterior Solutions

85

ESC Automation

Arrow Engineering

101

Carbon Copy Digital

52

Ewel 103

Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited

77

Carlson Construction Ltd.

Associated Engineering Group Ltd.

52

Centaur Products Inc.

ATS Traffic

81

Barricades and Signs

79

Bartle & Gibson

49, 88, 94

105

103 11 103

Field Law LLP

55

87

Fluor Canada Ltd.

101

Challenger Geomatics Ltd.

55

Flynn Canada

39

Christensen & Mclean Roofing Co.

95

Formations Inc

17

CK Design & Associates

67

Foster Park Brokers

57

Behrends Group

81

Clark Builders

49

Frontier Construction Products Ltd.

111

Berg Chilling Systems Inc.

94

Con -Spec Industries Ltd.

39

Glaze Wall Services Ltd.

68

BFL Canada Insurance Services Inc.

29

Cooper Equipment Rentals

97

Graham Construction

27

Bird Construction

35

CP Distributors Ltd.

101

Grant Metal Products Ltd.

58

Blacktop Paving Inc.

33

CRP Products & Manufacturing

Gravisys Inc

41

112 Edmonton Construction Association

5


Hendriks Construction Ltd.

45

NAIT 6

Siemens Canada Limited

51

HUB International

73

NCA Northland

20

Soletanche Bachy Canada

26

Icon Industrial Contractors Ltd.

72

NCSG Crane & Heavy Haul Services

75

St. Albert Parking Lot Maintenance

67

Innovative Fall Protection

61

Nilex 99

Stanley Access Technologies

69

ITC Construction Group

83

Strathcona Mechanical Limited

91

JK Environmental Services

19

KBL Environmental

71

Kehoe Equipment Ltd.

30

Keller Foundations Ltd.

43

Northbridge Financial Corporation

58

Northern Exposure Decking

61

Ogilvie LLP Overhead Door Co. of Edmonton

51

Paandon Construction Ltd.

37

Pals Geomatics Corp. Knights Roofing Ltd. Koralta Construction

68

Ledcor Group

15

PCL Construction Management Inc.

Lenbeth Group of Companies LMS Group

109

Installation Ltd

28

Super Save Group

74

T&T Sand & Gravel Ltd.

63

Task Concrete Cutting & Construction 107

33 Park Paving Ltd.

Leduc Overhead Door

60

Sunco Communication and

82 3

Terra Excel Constructor Corporation

47

Tetra Tech Inc.

85

Petrocom Construction Ltd.

91

Total Plumbing and Heating Ltd.

PM Signs Corporation

9

United Supreme Group

7

85 OBC

71 87

Loadrite 89 Madsen’s Custom Cabinets (1983) Ltd. 49 Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd.

23

Master Paving Alberta Ltd.

60

McLennan Ross LLP

33

Midwest Caissons 2014 Inc. Modern Cladding Finishes

Predictable Futures Inc.

22

Protint Inc.

82

Qualimet Inc.

28

Rapid Concrete Ltd.

88

Robert B. Somerville Co. Limited

52

Sego Industries

Wallworks Acoustic Architectural Products, Inc.

67

WD Industrial Group

69

Wescor Food Equipment

100

West Edmonton Mall

110

53

Western Anchorbolts

63

Serv-All Mechanical Services Ltd.

79

Western Weather Protector Ltd.

110

36

Servicemaster Restore

111

Witten LLP

17

100

Shelby Engineering Ltd.

60

W.R. Meadows of Western Canada

51

ECA Breaking Ground | Summer 2021 113



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