ACEC Communiqué -- April 1999

In this issue:

  1. Fridge Notes

  2. Business Practices

  3. Government Representation

  4. Association Affairs


1999 Consulting Engineering Awards: Get In on the Action!

Deadlines: Notices of Intention to Enter due NOW; Official Submission Forms (provided after receipt of the Notice) and 2-page summary due May 24; Full Submission Package (binder, photos, etc.) due June 16. Projects of all sizes are eligible and encouraged. For information on the categories and submission guidelines, download a copy of the «Notice of Intention» at on the "Events" page, or contact either Dan Matko at ACEC or Bronwen Ledger at CCE Magazine to receive one by fax.

The Awards help raise the image and profile of our industry. Award winners will be recognized on October 21st in Toronto in the company of, hopefully, 500 industry peers, clients and engineering students.

1999 ACEC National Convention Open to All

The National Convention is only 6 weeks away and many of you have yet to register. Federal government attendees include senior officials from CIDA, EDC, PWGSC, Industry Canada and DND. Additional speakers have confirmed their attendance since our last communication with you. They include representatives from the University of Calgary who will present an outline of the "value engineering" course they have developed with Consulting Engineers of Alberta, and a representative from AICQ who will provide an overview of the Project Management Guide produced by industry practitioners in Quebec for engineers and clients alike. Both presentations will take place on Thursday, June 10th from 10:30-noon before the ACEC/CENB Luncheon. Make plans also to attend the Thursday afternoon seminar on working with the media. If you have not received a Program Outline or a Registration Form, please contact Clara Higgerty at the National Office.


Canadian Construction Documents Committee

Welcome to Anthony Karakatsanis of Morrison Hershfield who will be joining David Thompson of Campbell Woodall and Associates in representing ACEC on the CCDC.

Performance Specifications for Design-Build Projects

ACEC has been invited by PWGSC and by DND to participate in the testing of a new software product designed to draft specifications for design-build projects. The software, called "PerSpective", was developed in the U.S. by the Construction Specification Institute and was released for commercial use in the U.S. on April 4, 1999. It has the following features:

PWGSC and DND are looking at introducing performance specifications into their own design-build work because they believe that it will encourage innovation and ensure project performance is verifiable. For more information, contact Anne-Marie Schneider.

Design-Build Update

ACEC has all but exhausted its efforts to reach consensus with the Canadian Construction Association on appropriate language respecting the role of the consultant in design-build work, i.e. CCA Documents 14 and 15.

For two years, ACEC has objected to the design-builder's requirement that its consultant certify progress payments and certify substantial performance. We have consistently recommended to members and to the CCA that the Owner should have his own advocate for purposes of certifying progress payments, if no in-house capabilities exist. At a minimum we have said that the consultant to the design-builder should retain the option of certifying or not. CCA is not willing to accept our position and we are at a stalemate! We believe that the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and many of its member associations share ACEC's concern on the role of the consultant. Be careful if you are presented with CCA Document 14. For more information, contact Anne-Marie Schneider at the National Office.


CIDA Accepts Industry Recommendations to Improve Procurement Process

ACEC has learned that CIDA has agreed to revise its procurement practices based on the conclusions of a pilot project conducted with ACEC's involvement. CIDA has committed to ensure greater transparency and greater opportunity for the business community to compete for CIDA development projects. This brings to a positive conclusion, two years of ACEC lobbying through our CIDA Liaison Committee and its Chair, Jack Baker of Agrodev Inc. Congratulations Jack. You can review the Pilot Project's conclusions and Action Plan on the CIDA Website at For more information, please contact H‚lŠne Schneider at the National Office.

ACEC Joins FCM as Supporting Member

As part of its outreach to client groups, ACEC has joined the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as a Supporting Member and will participate at the FCM's upcoming Annual Meeting in Halifax. Our objective is to encourage FCM and its members to endorse the use of Standard Contract documents developed by our industry, to encourage the use of QBS in consultant selection and, to co-ordinate with them in the lobbying for infrastructure investment by the federal government in the next budget. The ACEC National Business Survey reported that municipal government work accounted for 40% of members revenue emanating from the domestic public sector.

ACEC Participates in Infrastructure Lobby

ACEC participated in an important Infrastructure meeting of federal and provincial politicians in Ottawa, April 14 and 15. "Highways for the Next Century" was co-chaired by John Redfern of the Coalition to Reconstruct Canada's Infrastructure and by Joe Fontana, Chair of the National Liberal Caucus. The meeting attracted cameo appearances by federal Ministers Collenette and Martin. Importantly, it also attracted 7 Provincial Transportation Ministers and senior bureaucrats.

Industry representatives included ACEC, roadbuilders, contractors, financial institutions, tourism, the CAA, etc. The federal representatives asked for help to elevate the priority of infrastructure spending. The provincial representatives said they were ready to support a 50-50 cost share on highway infrastructure. The business representatives said to get on with it!

The feds had $2 billion to invest in infrastructure back in 1993 when the country was laboring under a $42 billion fiscal deficit. Why is it difficult to make an investment decision when the fiscal environment is so much rosier? The private sector also reminded government representatives that private money was ready to support highway construction and that the costs of replacing roads is much higher than the cost of repairing them.

To assist with its own lobbying efforts, ACEC has hired a lobby firm, Association House, to report on the positions of key federal decision-makers with respect to infrastructure issues. The lobby group report is due by the end of May and will be used by the ACEC Transport Committee to implement its lobbying strategy. Contact: Anne-Marie Schneider at the National Office.

Parliamentary Buildings Advisory Council

To improve the management and contracting practices of heritage building projects on Parliament Hill, the Minister of PWGSC has created an Advisory Council and has invited ACEC to nominate representatives from the design community. Frank Leblanc, past Chair of the ACEC Contracts Committee and formerly with Whitman Benn and CBCL has been appointed by the Minister. Mr. Leblanc has agreed that he will not bid on or be party, in a business sense, to any parliamentary precinct projects during his tenure on the Council.


ACEC By-Law Change to be Proposed at '99 National Convention

The ACEC Board will recommend a by-law change at its general annual meeting on June 12 after having consulted with Member Organizations and Past Presidents. The change will allow for non-engineers employed by member firms to sit on the ACEC Board. The Board believes that the move is consistent with the direction of our industry and has already been adopted by several MOs.

ACEC Website

Visit the ACEC Website and find our newly produced Y2K Manual which offers advice on how to deal with clients and suppliers and with your own corporate processes. Feel free to download the document and apply it to your own circumstances. The manual also includes information on the federal government's tax credit for a Y2K computer and software purchase program, an offer that expires at the end of June '99, as well as a list of web-based resources.

New Members

Please extend a hearty welcome to ACEC's newest members from the following provinces. Consult the upcoming ACEC Directory for their co-ordinates:


B.C. Ontario