Winter 2013

Free service to municipalities for review of proposal call documents

The CAA will soon be offering public owners (starting with municipal purchasing offices) a free review service of RFP, RFQ or RFEOI documents when they are planning for a new building, renovation or feasibility study.

Our goal is to assist them in clarifying and standardizing the language within their proposal calls to architects so that the intent, and therefore the client's needs, are well articulated - making it easier for consultants to respond. The members of our Procurements & Contracts Committee will volunteer their time to support this initiative. The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) has agreed to raise awareness of this service to their members. The roll-out of this new service will begin mid-March.

Advocacy Update - what have we done lately?

The CAA represents our member firms in a variety of ways, including participation in industry committees, political action, and direct advocacy with client groups, both public and private.

Following are a few examples of our recent activities and successes:

  • Alberta Infrastructure to provide honoraria - in case you missed the notice in the busy lead up to Christmas break, you may be interested to know that Alberta Infrastructure confirmed their intent to offer honoraria for all future design build projects. For quite some time, the CAA had been advocating on behalf of our member firms for an increase in the level of honoraria provided to design build teams.

    Alberta Infrastructure has committed to follow the guidelines established by the Canadian Design Build Institute (CDBI) for more appropriate levels of remuneration. CDBI just published their updated Procurement and Award Guide. A copy is available here >>
  • Medicine Hat - Also on the topic on honoraria, the CAA called attention to the amount of work required and the inadequate honorarium stipulated in the RFP for the City of Medicine Hat's new Regional Event Centre project. We also encouraged them to limit their short-list to reduce the burden on the respondents.
  • Proposal requirements adjusted by private developer - A private developer had shortlisted some CAA member firms on a project, but the wording in the RFP suggested that the developer was looking for design work as part of the response to the proposal call, and that significant weight was being allocated on these elements. Following communication with the CAA, the developer respectfully adjusted their wording to clarify that design work was not required. 
  • Design and Construction Trends Analysis Committee - On a semi-annual basis the CAA participates in this cross-industry committee to share our observations about activity within our industry. In return, we gather intelligence from other participants that we can use to inform our advocacy activities. At the January 31, 2013 meeting we heard from the City of Calgary's Economist and our industry partners. 
Click here for a copy of the Economic Review and Forecast from the City of Calgary's economist >>
Click here for a copy of the meeting minutes with observation on trends from industry partners >>

Advocacy Update - what we're working on now . . . 

We continue to work on both a reactive and proactive basis to represent the business interests of our member firms.

Our Advocacy Committee has been meeting to develop a more formalized advocacy strategy. We have identified the core issues facing our member firms and are developing standing positions as appropriate. A proactive communications strategy will follow.

The Scope & Fees Committee is gearing up for the next phase. Building on the work done two years ago, members of the Scope & Fees committee (a CAA and CEA initiative) will begin working on further refinements to this important document.  Contact Linus Murphy if you wish to participate in this committee.

Our Procurement & Contracts Committee meets monthly to discuss a variety of issues and strategize solutions.

  • Alberta Health Services agreements - We continue to work towards a more balanced approach to the Prime Consultant Agreement. We are also looking closely at their procurement process, including their approach to disbursements.  We hope to have a follow up meeting with AHS in the near future.
  • Covenant Health agreements  - They have been using the AHS agreements, but making some adjustments. We have communicated with them about our concerns and anticipate meeting to discuss these agreements.
  • Debriefing processes - We are working on a formal position and recommendations in regards to the debriefing process followed by public owners. We will communicate our position with a goal of introducing more transparency, consistency and fairness to this process.
  • Decision Matrix - Alberta Infrastructure (through the Design Build Advisory Committee) has been consulting industry about an approach to determining the best delivery method for any given project. We have been providing our input into a draft "decision matrix". We will continue to contribute to the discussion around this important topic.
  • MacEwan University RFP - A recent RFP issued by MacEwan University is being reviewed by our committee for a variety of issues. We anticipate following up with representatives from the university in the near future.
  • Proactive owner education - While it is important to respond to issues as they arise, we are also looking at ways we can be proactive in communicating what we feel are best practices. With such high turnover rates amongst procurement specialists at all levels, there is an opportunity for the CAA to offer some assistance to these individuals who are new to their positions within municipal and provincial government departments. We are looking at the potential for educational events and for sharing of best practices through webinars and online. There is much more work to be done in this area.

Buildings Committees - joint committee with CEA - The Edmonton and Calgary groups continue to meet on a regular basis. The Calgary committee is currently tackling the City of Calgary's building permitting process.

The CAA is also represented on an ongoing basis on external committees:

  • Construction Management Advisory Committee
  • Design Build Advisory Committee
  • Design and Construction Trends Analysis Committee
  • Institutional Infrastructure Partners Committee

For more information on our advocacy activities, or to get involved in any of our committees, please contact our Executive Director, Barbara Bruce, or the Chair of our Advocacy Committee, Craig Webber.

CDBI releases updated Design Build guidelines

Just last week, the Canadian Design-Build Institute (CDBI) released revised versions of the CDBI Design-Build Practice Manual Series 100 “Introduction & General” and Series 200 “A Guide to Procurement and Award,” which have been updated to address the current industry operating environment and concerns.

“As the design-build environment has changed and evolved over time, the Canadian Design-Build Institute wants to ensure we can address this ongoing evolution by making available current and up-to-date information and guidelines,” said Neil McFarlane, chair of the Canadian Design-Build Institute. “With the feedback we have received from across Canada, these updates provide the relevant information required for those involved in design-build projects.”

Of the updates incorporated into the new documents, Series 200 has been expanded to provide more detail on how to calculate the amount of honouraria owners should be paying, including matrices to help calculate honouraria on low, medium and high complexity projects. Read more >>

Benefits corner

We have partnered with The Silverberg Group to offer customizable employee benefits plans to CAA member firms. The following information is offered by The Silverberg Group:

The importance of a workplace wellness program.

With growing focus on employee health, corporate wellness programs are increasingly becoming the order of the day. Research shows that those individuals who exercise frequently stayed home from work on an average 2.11 days annually compared to 3.06 days for individuals who don't exercise regularly. These statistics alone stress the importance of setting up corporate wellness programs. Read more >> 

Customizable Benefits

For more information on how to take advantage of your CAA membership with a customizable benefits plan from The Silverberg Group, please contact either Doug Silverberg (Edmonton area) or Scott Silverberg (Calgary area).

Steel Design Awards

Join the Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction at the "Academy Awards" of steel design and construction on March 21st in Edmonton. Don't miss this opportunity for industry partners to re-connect and celebrate Alberta's innovations and accomplishments together.

Please purchase your tickets here >>


Sponsor profile . . .      


Quadrant Insurance Services work exclusively with design professionals and has been providing professional liability insurance, risk management and loss prevention services to Alberta’s consultants since 1995.

Quadrant is the exclusive regional broker for the XL Design Professional (XLDP) Insurance program and is a member of the PLAN (Professional Liability Agents Network), an association of almost 50 brokerages across Canada and the US.  PLAN members provide service to more than 15,000 design firms. Contact Mike Feeney by email or 800.837.8521 for further information.

Upcoming Events


Last chance
to register!

Feb 27, 2013

[5.25 Core Learning Hours]

The following buyers of consulting services will be in attendance to hear the perspective of all the industry players. It's a great opportunity to represent your sector. Only a few seats left!
  • Alberta Infrastructure
  • Calgary Board of Education
  • Calgary Catholic School District
  • City of Calgary
  • City of Fort Saskatchewan
  • City of St. Albert
  • Defence Construction Canada
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada
  • SAIT Polytechnic
For program details and registration form CLICK HERE.
The 2013 Corus Entertainment Distinguished Lecture presents:

Dr. Richard Buchanan, Professor of Design, Management and Information Systems at Case Western University
Future trends in design move the discipline beyond the creation of artifacts to engagement in organizational decision making. How can designers move into organizations and affect change?

Monday March 18th, 2013

Haar Theatre, Centre for the Arts and Communications, 10045 156 Street, MacEwan University

5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Reception
6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Lecture      7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Mixer
There is no need to RSVP. This is a free event hosted by MacEwan University's School of Communications with funding provided by Corus Entertainment Ltd.

aceBIM presents

Leveraging BIM to Maximize Your Project's ROI


Learn how you can create a structured approach to maximize and measure return on your BIM investment on every project and motivate your team.

Attend this powerful and enlightening workshop that has been used 47 times in 8 countries, and has been refined over 5 years. As BIM has matured as a technology and the culture of project communications has embraced it, the ROI keeps growing larger. In the last year it has produced predicted results of 1.8 to 10.2% net savings on the modeled project, usually 60% of which goes to the owner and 18%to the Construction Manager.

Calgary March 19th      Edmonton March 20th

Click here for further information.

Thank you to our annual sponsors

Diamond Sponsors


Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsor


Silver Sponsors

Blue Rock Builders

BPTEC DNW Engineering

Clark Builders

COOLNet Alberta


Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Stuart Olson Dominion



Associated Engineering

Golder Associates

ISL Engineering and Land Services

Jones Brown Insurance Brokers & Consultants 

MMM Group Limited

Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd.

Thurber Engineering

Subscribe to this newsletter! 

If you would like get this newsletter directly, please send us your e-mail!

Contact Us

Toll Free  +1-877-488-8780
Phone   780-488-8878