FIRPAC - Summary of meeting June 29, 2016 | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

FIRPAC - Summary of meeting June 29, 2016

By Deborah Levine Farrow, FRAIC

Federal Industry Real Property Advisory Council (FIRPAC)

The Council provides a forum for the public and private sector to discuss issues pertaining to the planning and management of Federal Real Properties including the disciplines of architecture, engineering, construction, facility management, interior design, heritage conservation and landscape architecture. Common objectives consist of improved relations, information sharing and enhanced communications.

Topics of discussion

1. Security clearance and fingerprinting

A representative from the Public Services and Procurement Canada-Industrial Security Sector (PSPC-ISS) gave a presentation on security and highlighted the fact that the RCMP is to impose mandatory electronic fingerprinting for security screening of contractors starting this fall.

Industry and government department representatives voiced concerns with respect to the readiness of the Government of Canada to be able to implement such a change in process in a timely and responsive manner given the large number of clearances – about 3,000 clearances a week as stated at the meeting.

2. National Performance Standards for Office Buildings

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) presented information on a document and process they are working on called National Performance Standards for Office Buildings (NPS). The presentation stated that PSPC provides work environments for 110 federal departments and 87 percent of the real property is office space.

PSPC -The Real Property Branch (RPB) acquires space on behalf of all departments. PSPC-Professional and Technical Services Management has a national leadership role to provide planning, design and technical expertise. This includes developing policy and policy instruments to guide the delivery of real property. The National Performance Standards for Office Buildings is to be a companion to the document Workplace 2.0.

The objectives of the NPS document include:

  • To define minimum standards for design and construction of federal office buildings;
  • To form the standard for cost allocations for office projects;
  • To support sustainability goals of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy;
  • To work toward national consistency in design and delivery of projects;
  • To work toward good quality in design services.

The process has so far included development of a draft document and a “test-run prototype building” with an architecture/engineering consultant who reviewed the implications. The document has gone through several reiterations. PSPC is to advise of the schedule for implementation. FIRPAC has requested a copy prior to the next meeting to circulate to members for feedback. FIRPAC industry members have requested a link to the PSPC webpage when the document is posted.

3. PSPC Contracting

PSPC representatives were asked “Is there is a guideline that industry can be advised of as to when projects are contracted through RP-1/RP-2 or through Standing Offer direct to PSPC?”

PSPC response:

  • PSPC intends to ensure it has the capacity to deliver its program of work through the various approaches available including RP-1. PSPC recently exercised the option in the RP-1 contract for Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions (BGIS) to deliver projects over $1 million.
  • As a result of transitioning to this new tool, some decisions had to be made about which projects to transfer to BGIS, including some that had begun early initiation stages.
  • This is not “shopping around”, but a one-time transition issue that should not be repeated. PSPC is providing messaging, and developing tools to ensure project managers are appropriately transitioning projects.

The RAIC raised the following question particular to a project-tenant fit-up whole/ floor of a multi-storey office building delivered under RP-1 Contract. “Does PSPC, as owner representative have an oversight as to the use of professionals, including architects, engineers, and interior designers?”

PSPC response: While PSPC has rigorous and appropriate oversight of the delivery of services under the RP-1 contract, this is performance-based and we do not direct who the appropriate consultants would be for the scope of work in our buildings.

Industry representatives noted that a National Capital Region RFAP issued by BGIS (RP-1) in May 2016 was cancelled in June 2016 just before the submission date. Alerts had been circulated by the Ontario Association of Architects, Interior Designers of Canada and the RAIC voicing concern about the contract conditions.

3. BIM Bob Hildenbrandt of the Institute for BIM in Canada gave a presentation.

Representatives of government departments and industry representatives openly discussed what each might be experiencing in terms of their interest group, and as building owners/clients what are the policies and expectations?

Industry present at the meeting included the RAIC, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC), CEC, Construction Association (CCA), Canadian Association of Consulting Quantity Surveyors (CACQS) Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP), Engineers Canada (EC), Interior Designers Canada (IDC) and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CLSA). The departments represented were Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), Department of National Defence (DND), Defence Construction Canada (DCC), Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and National Capital Commission (NCC).

4. FIRPAC terms of reference

Revised Terms of Reference of FIRPAC were accepted.


Next Meeting: October 26 2016.