ACEC COMMUNIQUÉ - OCTOBER 1998

Please note -- there is response request at the end of this issue of ACEC Communiqué -- please take a little time to answer the questions and return your response to the ACEC National Office. Thank you!


1998 ACEC Government Days

December 3 & 4 mark the second annual ACEC Government Days, with activities centred around the Château Laurier next to Parliament Hill. On the agenda: long-term strategies for infrastructure renewal and the Export Development Corporation.

A strong presence of ACEC members as well as members of parliament representing ridings across Canada will reinforce the message that our industry is important, and that issues such as Canada's mounting infrastructure deficit require immediate attention. ACEC will be happy to send an invitation on your behalf to your MP. For a complete listing of MP's, visit the House of Commons web site at www.parl.gc.ca.

Minister Alfonso Gagliano will speak at the Thursday evening dinner, and sign a revised Memorandum of Understanding between ACEC and PWGSC. All you have to do is indicate your interest in the box at the bottom of this message; we'll send you the forms.


Y2K - Are you affected?

Cross-country seminars on the Year 2000 bug are set for the following dates and locations: Winnipeg (Nov. 20), Montreal (Nov. 25) and Vancouver (Nov. 26). Many business leaders continue to believe that Y2K is simply a PC problem or that it doesn't affect them. Here is a quick test:

1- Did you know you may be held liable for services such as programming for automated systems, telecommunication services, advising on equipment purchases, designing water treatment and hydroelectric plants that are not Y2K compliant?

2- Have you contacted your suppliers and your subs to ensure they won't cause you delays or cost you penalties?

3- Will your clients be able to continue operations in early 2000 and avoid long delays in payment of your fees?

If not, join us at the seminars. Contact Clara Higgerty to register or visit the ACEC web site to send a registration form request.


Engineers still exposed to conflict of interest

Earlier this year ACEC warned members about being party to CCA/RAIC/CSC Document 14 without first recognizing the role the Document assigns to the consultant on a Design/Build project. This document articulates the duties of the Design/Builder's Consultant without the consultant being a signatory to the Contract. One of those duties is to certify payment which, in our view, clearly places him or her in a conflict of interest. We argued that certifying payment should be the job of the Owner's Consultant.

In drafting the Design/Builder-Consultant Contract, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) continues to insist that the Design/Builder's Consultant certify progress payments. ACEC stands firm in its solitary opposition to this role.

Uncomfortable in reacting to the Contractor's lead in the drafting of contract language for Design/Build work, ACEC is developing a Design/Build Agreement for Owner and Owner's Representative which clearly addresses the issue of conflict of interest so far ignored in Document 14 and the draft Design/Builder - Consultant Contract.

ACEC will continue to fight for changes to Document 14 and the Design/Builder - Consultant Contract in a way that best protects and promotes the interests of engineers. Members will also be encouraged to negotiate language changes, as established by ACEC's Design/Build Task Force, when and as they enter into contracts with Design/Builders or agreements with Owners.


PWGSC moves towards QBS

ACEC has revised its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PWGSC, which is slated for signature by the Hon. Alfonso Gagliano, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Bob Lorimer, ACEC Chair, during ACEC Government Days in early December. The MOU commits the government to a new evaluation process for the cost component of proposals which closely resembles Quality Based Selection.

PWGSC's support in principle for the selection of consultants based on quality and not only on price is significant in at least three respects. First, it provides a template for discussion by our industry in relations with public clients at the provincial and municipal levels. For instance, the Ontario and Quebec associations are using the agreement to sell their own levels of government on the value of a quality driven selection process. Second, a commitment to the principles of QBS was made by PWGSC after they concluded that QBS was one of the ways to improve life-cycle and project cost controls and encourage design innovation. Third, their commitment helps to restore the status of the engineer as a project leader and not only the provider of a commodity service.


DND site remediation

ACEC has lobbied successfully against a clause in DND's Contaminated Site Remediation Framework requiring the Consultant to guarantee its evaluation of estimated quantities of contaminated materials and to pay the difference in associated remediation costs. Through interventions by the members of the ACEC National Defence Liaison Committee, we explained that such penalties were detrimental to both DND and the Consultant.

Specifically, we argued that if DND chose to retain their clause, consultants would almost inevitably be obliged to raise their estimates to compensate for the risk factor. It may have also created a discarding effect for qualified consultants. Also, all professional liability insurance policies exclude coverage for claims arising out of warrantees and guarantees.

Practically speaking, consultants cannot guarantee the remediation contractor's accuracy. Since contaminated sites are dynamic systems, the actual quantities of contaminated material vary in time. DND has now agreed to remove the guarantee requirement but asked for ACEC support in finding alternate ways to ensure high quality services for environmental assessments. Several solutions are being considered, including an improved the selection process and guidelines for environmental assessments.

Readers with information on the matter should contact Anne-Marie Schneider at the ACEC National Office.


Better taxation for work abroad

In a position paper presented last March to Marcel Massé, President of the Treasury Board, ACEC argued in favour of income tax relief for Canadians working abroad, and a substantial reduction, if not elimination, of the corporate tax on export earnings for knowledge-based service industries. ACEC's Export and Trade Finance Committee, chaired by H.W. (Bill) Pearson, P.Eng. (AGRA Engineering Group), has agreed to follow up on this initiative with a view to lobby the federal government for a change on these issues.

Those interested in the issue or in working with the committee are encouraged to contact ACEC's International Programs manager, Hélène Schneider.


New Publications

Conditions of Contract

Reflecting a shift to shorter forms of contract for straightforward projects and harmonized contracts for EPC, FIDIC has issued four new Conditions of Contracts:

The construction and plant contracts can be considered updates to the Red, Yellow and Orange Books (though existing versions remain valid), while the short form and EPC documents are new. The test phase continues until December 31st, at which time any user can pass along comments and suggestions about the contracts to FIDIC in view of the final versions. All are available from ACEC and interested members can contact Corinne Ng at ACEC (info@acec.ca) for more information on costs and to place orders.

Engineering Services Management Guide

The Association of Consulting Engineers of Quebec and ACEC have published the "Engineering Services Management Guide and Glossary", a manual that offers 9 tools for effective project management for consultants and clients.

Members who have purchased the document say that it is proving helpful in establishing a common understanding between client and consultant. Many members are buying copies not only for their own project managers, but for their clients as well.

The publication covers areas such as management knowledge, cost estimate categories, technical and organizational structures, remuneration, project delivery methods and team member job descriptions, including an up-to-date glossary of commonly used industry terms.

Along with other ACEC and FIDIC contract forms, the "Guide" helps to manage engineering projects and communicate effectively with clients. It's available at a cost for members of $35 or $25 each for 10 or more copies ordered. Non member price is $70 or $50 each for 10 or more copies. GST is extra in all cases. The French version is available directly from ACEQ at 514-871-2229.


R.S.V.P.

[indicate your choices as follows: |_x_|]

|___| Please send my Government Days registration form.
|___| Please send me information on the Y2K seminars.
|___| Please send me information on the new ACEC publications.

Name:

Firm:

FAX: