Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario (CDAO) have developed a framework document that offers guidelines to help protect local segments of the design and construction sector in regard to the bundling process.
The document comes after a year of meetings and discussions between the IO staff and various leaders in the construction industry, related to the challenges and opportunities linked to project bundling.
“We were concerned that there was no framework around the bundling process,” said Clive Thurston, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA), an active member of the CDAO.
He said the trouble with bundling is it has the potential to take work away from smaller contractors, engineering and architecture firms that depend on those jobs to see them through. Thurston said there will be ongoing consultation between IO and various members of the industry before future bundling projects hit the market.
“We’re very pleased with the framework and it will lead to more discussion and more innovation to ensure the local domestic market continues to get access to work,” said Thurston.
The IO’s process for requests for qualification (RFQ) competitions is also being modified.
A new points section, called Local Construction Knowledge, will now account for 10 per cent of the overall scoring.
“Following consultation with the Ontario construction industry and direction from the Minister of Infrastructure, Infrastructure Ontario has established a new category for the request for qualifications (RFQ) stage of Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) projects to reward local construction knowledge,” said Tom Boreskie, corporate communications advisor for IO. “RFQ submissions will be scored to evaluate bidders' knowledge of construction project delivery in Ontario, including their approaches to resourcing, understanding of standards such as the Building Code and commitment to health and safety standards.”
Thurston applauded the IO’s decision.
“There needed to be some sort of recognition that if you do work in Canada that should count for something,” he said.
The decisions to modify the bundling process and RFQ competitions come after years of work. Thurston said the CDAO having been working to address these types of concerns since its inception three years ago.
The OGCA released a statement in response to IO’s recent decisions.
“We are proud of the role OGCA members played through the CDAO in working collectively with both Ministry and IO staff to achieve a very important revision. The Minister [of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli], his staff and the IO representatives are to be congratulated for making a hard decision, to step up and do what is right for Ontario, its taxpayers and its construction industry.”