On-Site Magazine

CCA conference navigates disruption, creativity and technology

By Adam Freill   

Construction Leadership

Singer and AI user David Usher puts focus on the use of creativity and technology to navigate change in the industry.

(Photo by Adam Freill)

“Change is the new normal,” proclaimed David Usher, keynote speaker, lead singer of the band moist and founder of artificial intelligence creative studio Reimagine AI, as he helped open the 2024 Canadian Construction Association conference in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. “Big disruption is coming to all industries.”

The singer and life-long learner shared his insights with the more than 700 attendees at this year’s conference, explaining into how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is augmenting the creative process in music as well as many other sectors, including construction.

“If you want a modern example of what a massive disruption looks like to an industry, the music business is really the perfect place to look because we really lived through the first modern wave of mass technological transformation,” he said. “When digital hit music, it transformed everything about the medium – the manufacturing and the distribution system – and I had a front row seat to that revolution.”

Rather than roil against technology, Usher embraced it, using technologies like AI to help his own creative processes.


David Usher. (Photo by Adam Freill)

“I really do love playing music, but the truth is what I’m most passionate about is the creative thinking that lives underneath the music and the song writing… at its core, it is the same methodology that allows me to work in all these other genres… It is one creative process, but it can be applied to many different verticals,” he explained, adding that creativity is what will allow companies to benefit during times of disruptive change.

“In this rapidly changing world, creative thinking is your competitive advantage,” he advised. “You don’t have to like this revolution, but you absolutely have to understand that you need to understand how to use a computer, you need to understand how to use the internet, and now, you need to know how to use generative AI.”

As the business sessions got underway, Geza Banfai of McMillan LLP and Glenn Ackerley of WeirFoulds LLP discussed Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) documents, as well as key issues impacting contractors and their contracted agreements, including project delivery models and clauses such as force majeure.

“CCDC is unique, I think in the world, because it is the only organization among many that publishes standard form contracts that require the agreement and acceptance of every participant around the table,” said Banfai. Those parties to the documents include public and private owners, general contractors, trade contractors, architects, engineers and spec writers, he explained.

During the event’s panel session discussing infrastructure, Shane Mulligan of Heidelberg Materials explained, “Sustainability is a growing parameter that requires more attention.”

He acknowledged that it is a newer consideration but is now one of the elements that needs to be included when evaluating a project. “I think, from an innovation standpoint, what’s really going to help us drive a lot of that along is data,” he said, adding that AI can assist with the analysis of the data.

Several individuals, companies and associations were recognized during CCA’s National Awards ceremony, celebrating excellence in innovation and environmental achievement, community leadership, safety and workforce excellence.

Award winners were:

  • CCA 2023 Community Leader Award – Ledcor Group of Companies
  • CCA 2023 Community Leader Award – Vancouver Island Construction Association
  • CCA 2023 Environmental Achievement Award – Giatec
  • CCA 2023 Excellence in Innovation Award – Ledcor Pipeline Ltd.
  • CCA 2023 Gold Seal Award – Kinetic Construction
  • CCA 2023 National Safety Award – Graham Group
  • CCA 2023 Partner Association Award – Construction Association of Nova Scotia
  • CCA 2023 Pinnacle Leader Award – Dave Filipchuk
  • CCA 2023 Workforce Excellence Award – Ledcor Group of Companies
  • CCA 2023 Young Leader Award – Ryan Davis

The annual exploration of new products, the Innovators Pitch, featured presentations from three companies that have benefited from mentorship from CCA members, with one winner being selected from the trio.

Jordan Spencer of Ladder Spike. (Photo by Adam Freill)

Siamak Akhlaghi of Correct-AI, presented a camera system that enhances safety for workers around heavy equipment, the Prox-Eye; Taylor Davis of Pure Pave Technologies provided and overview of his company’s porous surface product; and Jordan Spencer of Ladder Spike explained the origins and need for his company’s novel ladder safety system. After a vote by the audience, Ladder Spike earned top honours in the competition.

The 2024 CCA conference continues through Friday.






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