As part of a recently launched pilot project, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has issued its first request for proposals using qualifications-based selection (QBS) for the procurement of architects and engineers on federal projects.
The RAIC, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies — Canada, and other stakeholders have been lobbying the federal government to implement QBS as a substitute for price-based contracting.
Quebec architects and engineers reject lowest-bid procurement proposal
The Association of Architects in Private Practice of Quebec (AAPPQ) and Quebec’s association of engineering consulting firms (AFG) are calling on the Government of Quebec to reject a proposal to award contracts for professional services based on the lowest bid.
AAPPQ and AFG have each submitted briefs to the government expressing their opposition to clauses in the proposed amendment to the Regulation respecting certain service contracts of public bodies which would, as of September, allow Transports Quebec ((MTMDET) and the Quebec Infrastructure Society (SQI) to award professional architectural and consulting engineering service contracts using formulas that favour the lowest bidder.
"Do we need another tragedy to remind us that we cannot compromise public and environmental safety when we build infrastructure?" asked AAPQ Executive Director Lyne Parent and AFG President and CEO André Rainville. "Lowest bid contracting should never be used for professional architectural and consulting engineering services to identify the best solution for each project,” they said. “This can be achieved only through good planning and engineering. And that means harnessing the best resources available, not the cheapest.”
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) last month provided input on forthcoming legislation concerning promptness of payment and adjudication on federal construction projects.
The legislation would result in a simpler and quicker process for resolving payment disputes between owners and construction contractors. The new process would result in payment disputes being resolved in months rather than years.
The RAIC, together with the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada and Interior Designers of Canada, expressed concerns that the tight timelines of the new process may compromise consultants’ responsibility to accurately and thoroughly review applications for payment and certify the work. Following a lengthy discussion, it was resolved that consultants’ responsibilities could be exercised without challenging the requirement of the new legislation.
The three associations also strongly advised that any new legislation must apply to the holder of RP-1 and RP-2 contracts – BrookfieldGlobal Integrated Solutions (BGIS).The exercise would be almost meaningless if these large contracts were excluded, said the three groups.
Representatives of the RAIC, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada and the Interior Designers of Canada met with independent experts Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel from Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLPon March 27 in Ottawa. Reynolds and Vogel have been contracted by Public Services and Procurement Canada to examine payment and dispute resolution practices on federal projects in Canada’s construction industry and to seek input from industry stakeholders across the country.
They will prepare recommendations by May 1 to inform the development of legislation that will direct terms of payment and provide for an adjudication process to ensure contractors, trades, and sub-trades working on federal construction contracts get paid in a timely manner. The legislation is also intended to address gridlock created by disputes.
The RAIC was represented by Don Ardiel, MRAIC, Director of Practice, Maria Cook, Manager Communications and Advocacy and RAIC volunteers Toon Dreessen, FRAIC, Past President of the Ontario Association of Architects, and Martin Tite, FRAIC. Also present were ACEC President and CEO John Gamble, ACEC volunteer Andrew Lawton and Ester Ritchie of Interior Designers of Canada.
March 26, 2018
March 26, 2018
Peter Inglis, of Cullinan Studio in London, England, sent a letter to the V&A Museum explaining why the firm will not bid for its new facility. The flaws in the how the V&A is appointing architects is part of a growing trend in public procurement, says Inglis.
March 7, 2018
The industry consultation on Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) for the procurement of architects and engineers by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) closes on Tuesday, March 13.
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada (ACEC) will be responding directly, but it is critical that PSPC also receive responses directly from architectural and consulting engineering firms. A strong supportive message from our membership and industry partners is critical to a successful QBS pilot and subsequent adoption by PSPC.
This consultation offers our industry an important and unprecedented opportunity to encourage the public sector to respect and leverage the value provided by architectural firms and to abandon low-cost bidding for architectural services.
To assist firms in responding to this consultation, we have provided these links to the following documents:
PSPC Request for Information(EP765-182598/A)
- Use the RAIC/ACEC response as you see fit. However, personalizing these responses in your own words and reflecting your experience.
- Questions on QBS and Social Procurement may be viewed as two separate consultations (i.e., the decision whether to proceed with the QBS pilot is NOT dependent upon the responses to Social Procurement questions).
February 20, 2018
The RAIC and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC) met recently with senior management of Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions (BGIS) to discuss concerns with the firm’s procurement and contracting practices.
BGIS is a real property service provider for the federal Department of Public Services and Procurement (PSPC). As the holder of the RP-1 Contracts, BGIS provides ongoing support for most federal, Crown-owned assets and leased space administered by PSPC as well as assets of other government departments.
Nine members of the BGIS management team attended the February 14 meeting in Ottawa. Interim Executive Director Bruce Lorimer, FRAIC, and Don Ardiel, MRAIC, RAIC Director of Practice represented the RAIC. On behalf of ACEC, President and CEO John Gamble and volunteer Andrew Lawton were also in attendance.
They discussed the following issues:
- Public safety and engagement of non-professionals to do work which requires architects or engineers;
- Arduous insurance and liability clauses;
- Incomplete procurement documents which lead to coordination problems during design and construction with commensurate additional costs.
“BGIS was responsive and positive,” says Mr. Lorimer. “They appreciated our input and will be looking into these items and taking appropriate actions.”
The discussions are expected to continue.
February 12, 2018
By Don Ardiel, MRAIC, Director, Practice Support
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies Canada (ACEC) and the Interiors Designers of Canada (IDC) are moving ahead on negotiations with the federal government to change the 90%-10% imbalance in assessing consultants’ RFP responses. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has begun the consultation process for its long-awaited plans for the Qualifications-Based Selection pilot project. The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates was treated to an impassioned presentation from ACEC’s President and CEO John Gamble in support of Qualifications-Based Selection. And we started the week on a high note, celebrating the commitment of Ottawa architect Deborah Farrow, FRAIC, as she stepped down from her long-standing volunteer commitment as the RAIC’s representative on several government-industry committees.
The 90%-10% Imbalance
In 2015, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) held 12 workshops across the country to discuss the quality of design documents, with a focus on federal government projects. In 2017 the CCA’s Quality of Documents Working Group, of which I was a member, issued a final report. Insufficient fees were cited as one cause of possibly inadequate drawings. Of concern was the current method employed in evaluating the fee component of a consultant’s proposal for federal projects. The method used values disproportionately to the lowest fee. Recognizing that the design and construction industry see this as a major problem, PSPC has initiated a task group comprised of federal representatives and members of the design consulting industry including Bruce Lorimer, FRAIC, RAIC’s Interim Executive Director. The objective is to improve the method of evaluation to support the best value to Canada, rather than the lowest fee. Their second meeting will take place the week of February 26.
House of Commons committee hears why QBS is “better value for taxpayers”
“We’re trying to do timely delivery. We’re trying to do fiscally responsible delivery, and we’re trying to encourage quality and innovation. And at the centre of this is of course the public interest and the tax payers’ dollars.”
This is how John Gamble, President, and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC), began his testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimating in Ottawa on February 6.
Mr. Gamble presented a strong, articulate, and passionate argument for the adoption of Qualification Based Selection (QBS) in hiring architects and engineers.
“I would suggest to you that the engineering fees and the architectural fees that you pay at the beginning of a project should not be viewed as an expense to be minimized but as an investment to be leveraged.”
Public Services and Procurement Canada seeks input on QBS
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) plans a trial use of Qualifications-Based-Selection (QBS) for procuring architectural and engineering services and has issued a Request-for-Information seeking feedback on QBS from the industry.
The RAIC strongly encourages members to respond to the questionnaire by the March 13 deadline.
“The RAIC and its members have long been concerned about the undue influence of fees on selection processes,” says RAIC President Michael Cox, FRAIC. “We see this RFI as an excellent initiative to explore a consultant-selection method that will respect the experience and approach that architects will bring to a project and allow them a fee base to provide their clients with a high quality of response.
“We encourage PSPC to continue with its plans to apply QBS to some pilot projects,” says Mr. Cox. “Members should review this RFI and if applicable respond to it. If there are any concerns, please inform the RAIC office.”
PSPC, which typically uses two-phase RFPs, seeks input on:
- The industry’s interest, capability, and willingness to participate in a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) and selection process using QBS as a means of identifying the winning proponent;
- The industry’s assessment of the advantage of using QBS in Canada;
- Opportunities, risk, and suggestions on use of QBS for procurement of architecture and engineering services.
February 8, 2018
The collapse of contract giant Carillion shows the need to rethink how to procure and manage public sector contracts, says the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
In a public statement, RIBA said the current system leads to a reliance on a small group of large companies, reducing the talent pool and concentrating risk in too few hands.
The crash of Carillion, a company that also operated in Canada, has triggered scrutiny of the role of the private sector in public infrastructure – including public-private partnerships and outsourcing contracts for building and running public services. Here’s an article in the Architects’ Journal.