ACEC taking action on QBS
As I travel across Canada and consult the boards and chairs of the Member Organizations of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, two issues keep rising to the surface. In fact, these issues are not only similar from province to provin...
As I travel across Canada and consult the boards and chairs of the Member Organizations of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, two issues keep rising to the surface. In fact, these issues are not only similar from province to province to territory, but come up in discussions with FIDIC and ACEC-US as well: insurance and qualifications-based selection (QBS).
QBS is an ACEC priority. This January, in order to manage the issues surrounding selection methods, ACEC formed a task force on QBS that is developing a strong common position that all Member Organizations will be encouraged to adopt at the ACEC Summit at Deerhurst June 23-27. Having a cross-Canada endorsed position on QBS will strengthen our ability to persuade lawmakers to adopt a fairer selection method.
ACEC has actively promoted QBS by holding meetings with Ministerial staff and Members of Parliament from different parties, including the Official Opposition Critic for PWGSC, Mr. Leon Benoit. Through these meetings, ACEC has also promoted the introduction of federal legislation similar to the Brooks Law in the United States, spoken with MPs to garner support for the bill, and met with a senior staff member of Stephen Owen, Minister of PWGSC.
ACEC joined forces with the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada (RAIC) in several cases, co-signing a position paper on QBS submitted to PWGSC and jointly making representations to federal government departments to refine the current process for the selection of design consultants. Specifically, ACEC and RAIC recommended two immediate improvements:
1. Adjusting the scoring to reduce the importance of price by having fees up to and including the average given the full 10 marks, and then decreasing in stepped increments (8,6,4,2,0) on fees over the average.
2. Having mandatory grading of the technical proposal to force greater differentiation between firms prior to calculating the price component in order to reduce the emphasis on price.
Finally, ACEC has made use of outside resources to increase awareness of QBS by publishing editorials in industry newspapers to promote the concept, and by liaising with ACEC-US, which has an excellent section on its website dealing with QBS: http://www.acec.org/advocacy/qbs.cfm
On insurance, ACEC has focused its efforts on the federal government and has requested that a special task force on insurance be set up. This task force will bring together the design, construction and insurance industries and the major federal players such as the Treasury Board Secretariat and PWGSC to give the government a better idea of the insurance challenges facing our industry.
With consistent cooperation from the federal government, ACEC is seeing progress on our major issues. With the power of a united national industry behind us, ACEC member firms will soon begin to see positive change.
K. GARRY BOLTON, P.ENG., CHAIR
ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTING ENGINEERS OF CANADA