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Opportunities abound for Canada’s construction economists

By Adam Freill   

Construction Law Leadership Risk Management Skills Development

The annual Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors Congress was an opportunity to discuss forward paths for the organization and the industry.

Incoming CIQS chair, Tammy Stockley. (Photo by Adam Freill)

From legal and technology discussions to infrastructure and decarbonization outlooks, this year’s CIQS Congress featured a strong lineup of speakers and panellists, as well as awards recognizing contributions to Canada’s construction industry from members of the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS).

The organization, which represents professionals who ensure that the costs of large construction and infrastructure projects are accurately estimated based on initial requirements and project specs, held its annual event in Toronto this year.

“Although I focus on the legal documents, the majority of problems on our files are driven by cost related issues,” said keynote speaker Danna Donald, a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP as she discussed such issues as the need for new and renewed infrastructure projects throughout Canada.

“I think all of us in the room need to understand the impact of the infrastructure deficit that we have in Canada today,” she said. “Every day, we all use our shared infrastructure and many of the core components are failing.”

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She pointed to a 2021 report on infrastructure that indicated that a third of Canada’s core public infrastructure was in poor condition, adding that there is opportunity for quantitative surveyors to play a role in the projects that will help fill in the $200 billion to $1 trillion infrastructure gap – a figure that varies since, as she pointed out, Canada does not have a way to formally track the full infrastructure picture.

Other opportunities for members of CIQS exist in the carbon market, explained Ross Huartt of MBC Group, who discussed the movement towards assessing and measuring carbon for the construction sector.

“Whether it’s quantity of bricks, quantity of dollars, or quantity of carbon, in this case, we have an opportunity to be at the forefront of an emerging market,” he explained.

The organization welcomed in a new board of directors during the congress, including the incoming chair, Tammy Stockley, who will serve a two-year term as Arif Ghaffur moves into the past-chair role. Additional board members include Seán Hollywood, Ibrahim Oladapo, Mykola Pulnuyev, Kerry Mohur, Marc Brown, David Dooks, Ajibola Soboyejo and Sheila Lennon.

Stockley said that some of the priorities she plans to focus on are the enhancement of professional development, as well as advising the association’s members on such emerging subjects as artificial intelligence. “And increasing our brand awareness with stakeholders and collaborating to be engaged earlier in projects is very much what we are working towards,” she added.

Ghaffur, who was recognized with the Gordon Pattison Award of Merit for extraordinary service to the institute, said that he is proud to have helped bring a greater appreciation for the role of Professional Quantity Surveyors (PQSs) and Construction Estimator Certified (CEC) professionals, and that he continues to value the connections he has while working on the CIQS board.

“The fun has been in the giving back and most enjoyment has been dealing with people and developing relationships that are long-term and sustainable,” he said.

Next year’s CIQS Congress is scheduled to take place in Winnipeg. Watch for details to be posted on the organization’s website.

www.ciqs.org

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