Canadian Consulting Engineer

Consulting engineers in Alberta asked to hold fee levels

February 24, 2015   By CCE

In response to the decline in oil prices and the impact on Alberta’s economy, Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA) has asked its member firms to hold their fees at 2014 rates.

Matt Brassard P.Eng., president of CEA, made the announcement early this month.

Every year the association establishes a recommended rate structure and two months ago it recommended a 3.3% rate increase on 2015 contracts. Brassard pointed out that by holding their rates to 2014 levels on new contracts, CEA members stand to reduce their revenues by a total of $70 million. (Annual revenues for consulting engineering services in Alberta amount to approximately $2 billion.)
He pointed out that the $70 million saved is enough money to pave Highway 2 from Edmonton to Calgary and back to Red Deer again.

Brassard said: “We also believe that it is incumbent upon Albertans to recognize the financial difficulties facing our province — we want to be part of the solution. Today we are calling on all firms who do work for the public sector to consider the action we have taken. By working as a team we can get through these difficult financial times.”

He also recommended that planning and design for infrastructure should continue despite the economic downturn: “We know the provincial government has to reduce expenditures to address the $7 billion shortfall in provincial revenues. We recommend, however, that special consideration be given to infrastructure. In past downturns when infrastructure spending was postponed, there was significant deterioration in existing infrastructure and major cost increases when funds eventually became available. Building infrastructure in a slow economy is far more cost-effective. At the same time, even if infrastructure spending is curtailed, planning and design should continue so that when funds are available projects will be shovel-ready and can start immediately.”

Brassard also recommended that the province implement Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) for procurement of consulting engineering services.

In Alberta CEA represents 100 member-firms who employ over 10,000 professional engineers, technologists and support staff.

Meanwhile, an official with one of the Alberta oil sands giants, Steve Laut of Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL), told contractors and companies that service the industry to cut their costs and eliminate inefficiencies. If the oil sands industry does not become more efficient and lower production costs, said Laut, it could be doomed.

To read the Consulting Engineers of Alberta press release, click here.

To read the article in the Globe and Mail, click here.

 

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