Address - P.O. Box 13172, Station “A”; St. John’s, NL; A1B 4A4
2020 Year in Review
2020 YEAR IN REVIEW – WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED
Throughout the past year, ACEC-NL continued to speak out on several issues to create a stronger business climate for our members. We are proud of the important work we have accomplished over the past year on behalf of you, our members. Below is a snapshot of what we achieved.
COMMUNICATIONS AND ACTIVITIES IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
As we are all aware, the current economic climate in our province appears to be one that will be challenging in the short term. Due to oil price reduction and related uncertainty around new project commitments, activity has been contracting in the oil sector, which provides many direct and indirect benefits for our member firms. As well, the Covid-19 pandemic has constrained the Province’s ability to execute projects and allocate budget to public infrastructure.
During the height of the pandemic ACEC-NL maintained an open dialogue with provincial Department of Municipal Affairs, Transportation and Works, and the Public Procurement Agency around issues specific to Covid-19 and impacts on the consulting engineering industry. Early on, based on feedback from member firms we were instrumental in successfully advocating for changing to fully electronic submissions for RFP responses to Tendering and Contracts.
On March 26, 2020 we sent a letter to Premier Ball with the following recommendations:
- Do everything possible to ensure that current and recently awarded design projects and studies move forward as planned.
- Encourage staff to move planned projects out to the consulting industry as quickly as possible through applicable procurement procedures.
- Encourage staff to divert projects, which were previously planned to be executed by internal resources, to the consulting industry.
You can read the full letter here.
We continue to share and receive information on issues affecting consulting engineers as it relates specifically to Covid-19.
SPEAKING OUT ON PROCUREMENT ISSUES
The Board continues to seek input and feedback from member firms on their experiences with work being delivered under the New Procurement Act.
Brad Dawe and Mark Stuckless were invited to present to the Procurement Advisory Council in October 2019. They presented generally on Qualifications Based Selection as well as the industry’s desire to see the Provincial Departments and Agencies adopt a median based fee selection evaluation for the financial component of proposal submissions. We continue to advocate for a model more similar to the one currently being used in Nova Scotia and other jurisdictions, where the price component is held at a maximum of 25-30% and median basis is used for point scoring. More work to be done on this in the coming year.
Also, Brad Dawe and Mark Stuckless have recently joined the PEGNL Guidelines Committee as consulting engineering industry representatives. The initial focus will be on the development of a new Sustainable Procurement Process guideline focused on selection by ability/fee.
We also continue to advocate for the following when issues arise:
- Consistency in the use of the Procurement Act across Government agencies
- Better scope definition for projects less than $100K
- The removal of perceived unfair provisions in some RFP’s.
- Proposal level of effort to be consistent with scope and fee value.
BEST BUSINES PRACTICES – THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF EMAIL
The Board organized and hosted a professional development lunch and learn seminar held in February 2020. The topic was presented by Bob Marshall of HUB Insurance. The session was well attended and the Board plans to host more professional development opportunities in the future. You can view the full presentation here.
PRIME CONTRACTOR SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
The Department of Municipal Affairs’ implementation and imposition of Prime Contractor Safety Requirements has been a major concern for many of firms providing services in the realm of Municipal engineering. ACEC-NL has recently sent a letter to DMAE outlining major issues and discrepancies with the document and its contents. There is a significant amount of ambiguity with the document and conflicting information contained therein. In addition, there is lack of consistency with standard industry documents, practices, and other jurisdictions as well as questions having been raised around insurability for many of the provisions.
The reputation of consulting engineers continues to be disparaged by certain project management firms in the media. ACEC-NL has written letters in response to recent St. John’s Board of Trade publication in The Telegram condemning language used to describe consulting engineers We’ve received a response on the letter from BOT expressing regret in not having more closely screened the content, and an offer to provide content in a future publication.
In addition, we have written to the local CBC branch condemning recent comments related to consulting engineering fees, and offering our input to provide balanced news reporting on issues related to consulting engineering.
THE YEAR AHEAD
We continue to advance strategic issues as well as find new advocacy initiatives impacting the business of our member firms.
Looking forward to 2021 we continue to believe that the support of all firms practicing in this Province in a consistent and united business approach is in the best interest of the consulting engineering industry.
Thank you to the board of ACEC-NL:
Brad Dawe, Past-President
Mark Stuckless, President
Calvin Hollett, Vice-President
Vanessa Barry, Treasurer
Chris Newman, Secretary
Michael Tiller, YP Representative
Finally, we want to recognize that we are a member supported association, we want to thank all our members for their support which makes all that ACEC-NL does possible!