RISK ALERTS ISSUED FOR TWO PROVINCIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
CONTRACTORS WARNED OF ONEROUS BIDDING CONDITIONS ON SOCIAL HOUSING
Victoria BC, February 25, 2019 – The BC Construction Association (BCCA) has today issued two Contractor’s Alerts warning BC contractors of “Onerous Bidding Conditions” on two Prince George construction projects being procured by BC Housing.
The projects are a building envelope remediation on Westwood Court and renovation work on the Hart Haven Group Home at Dagg Road, both in Prince George. Total value of both projects is $9.5M – $5M on Westwood Court and $4.5M on the Hart Haven project.
“We certainly support government investment in infrastructure and social housing, and we applaud Premier Horgan’s intentions to improve housing availability and quality for British Columbians. But we are very concerned at the growing lack of fair, open, and transparent procurement processes with some public owners,” says Chris Atchison, BCCA President. “It is always our first choice to celebrate the wins rather than draw attention to the problems, but we felt this step was necessary to protect contractors and taxpayers.”
The provincial government has committed over $7BN to social housing construction in the province, and in Tuesday’s budget reaffirmed approximately $17BN in capital spending on transportation, health, schools and other infrastructure.
BC’s construction sector is booming, with over $100M in current projects underway and another roughly $200M scheduled. Construction contributes 8.7% of BC’s GDP and is the #1 employer in the province’s goods sector with a workforce of approximately 250,000. Even so, workforce shortages are expected in the face of major public and private projects such as the LNG Canada facility, Pattullo Bridge and Highway 1 Expansion Projects, and Site C.
“Procurement is a subject that most people don’t pay much attention to, but it’s critically important,” says Warren Perks, VP of Industry Standard Practices at BCCA. “We work closely with contractors and owners to ensure a fair, open and transparent process as outlined by the Capital Asset Management Framework (CAMF), which is there to guide all construction procurement paid for by provincial tax dollars. Those guidelines are excellent yet they are increasingly bypassed. It was time to do something publicly to inform contractors of the risks.”
“Unfortunately we expect that Contractor Alerts on public projects may become more common,” says Scott Bone, CEO of the Northern Regional Construction Association. “With this much construction underway, contractors need to choose projects wisely. They’re looking for owners’ of choice. If a project starts with a tendering process that doesn’t meet industry standards, it will probably lead to budget and delivery problems down the road. We want to avoid that.”
The BCCA encourages public owners to contact the Regional Construction Associations or BCCA for guidance very early in the procurement process, and also to follow the CAMF document as the best baseline for fair, open, and transparent processes.
“Let’s work together to ensure taxpayer spending on public construction doesn’t create unnecessary risk for BC’s contractors,” says Perks. “The Onerous Conditions alerts are a form of tough love. It hurts, but we’ll all be better off in the end.”
Media Contact: Greg Descantes
Phone: (250) 646-3564
The British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) works with four Regional Construction Associations (NRCA, SICA, VICA and VRCA) to serve more than 10,000 employers in the provinces industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) construction industry. BCCA’s programs and services include employee benefits (BCCA Employee Benefits), technology tools for bid and project management (BidCentral), and employment programs (Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP)). BCCA advocates on behalf of all employers to ensure British Columbia’s construction sector remains strong.