Canadian Consulting Engineer

Coalition calls for fair practices in construction materials

The CONVERGE 2013 conference held in Vancouver on October 15-16 was the first national conference to focus on fair and transparent construction practices. According to the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC-ICCA), which has issued a...

November 19, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The CONVERGE 2013 conference held in Vancouver on October 15-16 was the first national conference to focus on fair and transparent construction practices. According to the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC-ICCA), which has issued a statement following the event, CONVERGE brought together leaders from 28 members of the National Coalition for Fair Construction Practices, comprising national and provincial industry associations, corporations and unions.

The central theme of the conference, says CISC, was the need for the primary building material industries — steel, wood and concrete — to work together and agree on common science-based, performance oriented approaches to promoting their building materials. The conference also recognized the need for the different sectors to develop a standardized and transparent way to report on the environmental and sustainability impacts of their products, using indicators such as life cycle assessments and environmental product declarations.

According to CISC’s press release, the Coalition members expressed serious concerns with the wood industry because of its aggressive campaign to have provincial governments enact legislation that would mandate the use of wood over other building materials for public projects. Known as the “Wood First Act,” such legislation would bypass the system of checks and balances provided through our building codes, notes CISC.

Ed Whalen, president of CISC, was part of a panel discussion at CONVERGE. “We are here to promote a transparent, fair and competitive construction marketplace that is driven by innovation, sustainability and the highest performance and quality standards,” said Whalen. “The wood industry cares about their own survival versus sustainability. I see it as greed over public safety. They want legislation versus free choice. They want legislation as opposed to the rigour and safety of the building code process. This will hurt the entire construction industry.”

Tareq Ali, director of marketing at CISC, said in the release: “Converge is about the entire construction industry coming together to share and brainstorm ways in which we can more effectively work together to better inform, inspire and serve our customers and end users. The wood industry’s aggressive lobbying efforts to enact legislation that forces consultants to use their products and bypass our building codes limits competition, stifles innovation, strips away creativity and choice from the design and consulting community, and ultimately threatens public safety.”

The Coalition for Fair Construction Practices has existed for over six years and consists of 28 members. They are drawn from industry associations and manufacturers in the metals, concrete and masonry industries, as well as other organizations like the Canadian Construction Association and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

To see the full list of the Coalition members, click here.

To read the CISC-ICCA press release about CONVERGE, click here.


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