Wednesday, 28 October 2015

CSC Awards - Specifier: October 2015

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Spec Golf 2015 - Specifier: October 2015

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Education Report - Specifier: October 2015

The Principles of Construction Documentation (PCD) is scheduled to begin October 19th and there is still time to register. Feedback from previous students is the classroom learning environment is the best way to help learn and better understand the subject matter. The PCD is the first course, and a prerequisite, for all of the CSC education streams. These are Certified Technical Representative, Certified Construction Contract Administrator, and Certified Specification Practitioner. It is also a strong foundational course for people who are new to the construction industry or want to better understand construction documentation (specifications, drawings and schedules), products, bidding procedures and contracts.

The focus is to emphasize the relationship that exists between specifications and drawings, and the role of the industry participants. Contract documents and the project manual have an intrinsic relationship with each other, with standard pre-printed contract documents, and with associated documents; this course explains these relationships.


Construction Process: Players and Roles; Owner Expectations; Budget Process; Project Phases; and the Bidding Process

Production of Construction Documents: The Project Manual; Format Documents; Specifying Methods; Language and Style; Specification Writing, Editing and Co-ordination; and Document Interpretation

Forms of Contract: Contract Delivery

Codes and Standards: Codes and Code Content; Standards and Testing Agencies; Zoning By-Laws and Permits; and Environmental issues

Risk Management Issues: Risk and Liability

Legal Issues: Legal Issues; and Contract Law and Court Decisions Building Science: Basic Building Principles; Product Evaluation and Selection; Sustainability Issues; and Diagnostic Methods, Non-Destructive Testing

Contract Administration: Authority of the Contract Administrator; Time Management; Submittals, Alternatives and Substitutions; Changes in the Work; The Commissioning Process; and Performance, Termination and Dispute Resolutions

Communications: Communications and Projects on the Internet

Trends in the Construction Industry: The History of Standardizing Construction Information; New Initiatives in Standardization; and Professional Development

The CSC Vancouver chapter was planning to have a Construction Contract Administration begining this fall. However, there were not enough students registered and otheres that required the PCD pre-requisit. Based on the schedule of those that were going to register the Chapter has postponed the course until the beginning of 2016. When the dates have been confirmed I will e-mail those who have contacted me in and post the information on the website.

The CSC Vancouver chapter has reached out to a few potential instructors about teaching previous courses. If you are interested in teaching a full course or would like to help co-teach a course please contact me to discuss your interests.

For further information please contact me at

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Membership Report - Specifier: October 2015

As we continue to promote CSC, the need for value in the construction industry is greater than ever. During the month of September, the Vancouver Chapter has increased by three new members which bring membership to 154.

Please help us to welcome three new members:

  • Mr. J. N. Adkins, President, of Northwest Inspection Ltd.
  • Ms. Tina Letourneau, Admin Mgr, of Craven Huston Powers Architects
  • Mr. Michael Watts, Arch AIBC, NCARB, of Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership

For More Information on Membership:

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Does Delay by Contractor Justify Termination by Owner? - Specifier: October 2015

By: Bill Preston, Q.C.

A recent Ontario case, Urbacon Building v. City of Guelph, tackled this question and concluded that: it may be possible, but damned unlikely. This case arose out of the following language of GC 7.1.2 of the current standard CCDC contract documents:
7.1.2 Contractor neglects to prosecute Work properly to a substantial degree and if the Consultant has given a written statement that sufficient cause exists to justify such action, Owner may give the Contractor Notice in Writing and instruct the Contractor to correct the defaults in the 5 Working Days immediately following, or provide a satisfactory schedule.
Briefly, the facts were as follows:

  • City wishes to, in 2 phases, build a Civic Admin and Provincial Admin complex which will incorporate an old Fire Hall as a heritage site.
  • The initial Contract Budget was approximately $40M in 2006.
  • The City had engaged Moriyama and Tishina to provide a detailed prescriptive design.
  • In July/06 Urbacon signed a CCDC2 – 1994 contract to achieve Substantial Performance by May/08.
  • Soon after promptly starting, Urbacon and its trades discovered that the design documents were terrible while the Owner was insistent on continually making Changes.
  • Thus, by December/07 the parties had signed an Extension Agreement –
    • Extend Substantial Performance schedule to August 15, 2008 though Urbacon sought to September 30, 2008.
    • City pay an additional $534.6K.
    • Consultant respond to Request for Change Order (RCO) and Request for Information (RFI) in 5 days.
    • Landscaping Work was removed from Substantial Performance requirements.
  • Nonetheless, relations between the parties continued tense and by the summer of 2008:
    • The Consultant would not distribute its copies of Site meeting minutes until the eve of the next meeting.
    • Site meetings frequently focused on scheduling and the language used “would not be heard at a church social”.
    • Consultant was way behind on the 5 day response requirement concerning Change Orders (CO), Change Directives (CD), RFIs and RCOs.
    • Urbacon was issuing Written Notices of Delay and Claims for dollars together with schedule extensions.
  • So, on September 4 and 5, 2008 the City’s Property Manager, who had some prior experience with terminating contractors, demanded that the Consultant issue a written statement of “Sufficient Cause” to terminate Urbacon.
    • At this point, Urbacon’s initial base Scope of Work was 98% complete while it’s performance of issued COs and CDs was 78% performed and there were still some COs and CDs which the Consultant had not yet issued.
    • Further, the City later during the trial admitted that at the time of its request for the Consultant’s written statement of Sufficient Cause:
      • Urbacon would likely obtain Substantial Performance by early November.
      • The Mayor was publically acknowledging that the Project delays were “inconsequential”.
      • And, the City had no evidence that a delayed Substantial Performance to November would cost it any additional expenses.
  • Further, the trial Judge concluded that the City then ought to have known that it could not find an alternate contractor to come in an obtain Substantial Performance sooner than Urbacon.
  • Yet, on September the 5th the Consultant issued its letter of “Sufficient Cause”using much of the Property Manager’s proposed wording and a very sparse description of Urbacon’s defaults.
  • And, on September 19, 2008 the City, rejected Urbacon’s responsive schedule to obtain Substantial Performance, and sent out the City Police to refuse Urbacon and its trades access to the site!

I trust now you see my conclusion: the facts in this case make neither the Consultant nor the Owner look very sympathetic. And, the Judge so concluded by ordering that the City’s termination was unlawful and that it must thus pay Urbacon damages usually measured by its lost economic opportunity because it was denied an opportunity to complete the Project and have the City pay the full adjusted Contract Price including reasonable value for unissued COs and CDs.


What makes this case worth discussing is the Judge’s answers to the below three central issues arising out of the language used by CCDC in GC 7.1.2.

How serious must the Contractor’s Default be to be “a Substantial Degree”?
  1. The answer involves a circumstantial balance: is it better to leave the Owner to collect delay damages from the unpaid Contract Price it is still withholding, or better to permit the Owner to find another contractor to complete sooner than what it appears the Contractor will complete?
  2. Thus, where the construction services market will take time for another contractor to come up to speed, likely the balance will favor the conclusion that there is no default to a Substantial Degree.
  3. While, if there are serious defects or deficiencies which are being covered up, the Consultant’s written statement of “Sufficient Cause” should detail these so that the contractor is not blindsided.
  4. Finally, given CCDC has adopted the words “a Substantial Degree” which originate from ancient cases, the Court should adopt the following words from these ancient cases:

    “So serious and fundamental a default as to undermine the thing the Owner bargained for.”

    What level of detail must the Consultant provide in its Written Statement?
  5. This document is critical to the validity of the Owner’s termination process and thus Judge’s will quickly second guess the Consultant’s judgment.
  6. Thus, the Consultant must clearly detail each act or omission it relies upon so that the Contractor has a fair opportunity to provide a responsive schedule contemplating rectification of each defect/deficiency.

    When the Consultant is considering issuing a written statement of Sufficient Cause, what ought to be its Attitude?
  7. Keep in mind that the CCDC documents prescribe “the Consultant will not show partiality”.
  8. Judges, particularly since a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision, will thoroughly second guess the Consultant’s attitude to assure that it is not favoring the party who pays its fees and/or may soon be proffering another design project.
  9. Clearly, the Consultant should never let the Owner draft its written statement.

Words from the Chair - Specifier: October 2015

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable summer! I just arrived in Victoria and while I very much enjoy this beautiful city I can’t help but ask myself where are the days going? Halloween must be right around the corner. (getting dark at 7pm, what happened?) We’ve been through a very dry summer, and now it seems the rain has arrived. I never thought I would say it, but I actually missed it. We saw a terrible storm that pulled trees up so easily due to the lack of rain. We saw the “Ride to Conquer Cancer” event get cancelled mid day because it just wasn’t safe to have people continue. We’re happy to see that nobody was injured and we can continue the fight again next year.

I would personally like to thank the CSC Vancouver chapter for welcoming me as the new Chapter Chair. We have a great team that has supported the Chapter for many years and I personally look forward to the exciting journey up ahead. I can only hope that I am able to continue the great leadership carried by my predecessor and now Director Kim Tompkins. Kim has become a close friend and mentor to me over the years and I hope I can carry the torch as far as she did. As the board struggled to find attendees for golf this year, we are looking for new ideas for future years. Is it a “9 and dine” event people want, or is the location bad. We’ve struggled in previous years to find attendees for this event, but maybe the members want something different, please bring your ideas ahead. The open door policy means we are always looking for your feedback!

We have some new faces on the board this year and of course the die hard few that just won’t leave (thankfully). It makes me think of the national conference coming to Vancouver in 2017. We have the conference planning committee in full motion, and the ideas coming out of it are outstanding. We encourage more members to get involved, let’s see if we can make this the best conference ever. With Halifax coming in 2016, I think this will be a tough one to beat! I’ve always wanted to visit this city, and can’t wait to see what the Halifax Chapter has in store for us.

I hope to bring a few tidbit comparisons of Vancouver (Kelowna) over the coming months. Let’s see how the 2 regions compare. “While the east coast has Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Vancouver has Lighthouse Park. I think they have us beat there, but have you tasted Pacific Salmon?” Please bring your thoughts on comparisons between the two regions, I’d love to hear from the more experienced that have actually visited Halifax. Maybe I’ll stay a couple extra days in Halifax in May 2016.

James Kelly CTR
Chapter Chair CSC – Vancouver Chapter

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Monday, 26 October 2015

CSC Vancouver Construction Fair - Building Better Buildings

November 18, 2015

The Vancouver Convention Centre - East, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC

For your benefit, Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) Vancouver Chapter is bringing together – for one day only – over sixty (60) local manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of construction products!

This Fair will provide easy, uncluttered access to each product and each sales representative will be available to take your questions. You will be able to see, touch and discuss the specifics of the latest, greatest, and most innovative construction products – all under one roof!

This “Simple but Revealing” approach towards gathering product and technical information for your next specification, architectural design or construction project is a streamlined version of the larger building exhibitions – but without all the associated fanfare and hype!

The CSC Vancouver Construction Fair offers your firm the opportunity to show, inform, network with, and educate people from the Greater Vancouver area regarding your construction-related products. As everyone knows, meeting potential customers’ in-person is an invaluable experience and solid avenue to promote future sales. By keeping the exhibits simple and unobtrusive, CSC’s Simple but Revealing” construction fair offers both the visitor & the exhibitor an uncluttered line of sight which permits everyone to see and be seen.

Register Online

Register by Fax


Murray Frank; Building Consultant, Constructive Home Solutions:
"BC Building Codes" - Discussion on the various code changes and what Designers/Architects need to be aware of in designing new buildings.

Brian Palmquist; Architect AIBC MRAIC Intl Assoc AIA BEP CP LEED AP & Marsha Gentile; Construction Sustainability Specialist LEED AP BD+C, Ledcor Construction:
"An Architect's Specification Guide to Green Building Construction" - A short discussion of LEED projects and the challenges of implementation.

Dirk Laudan; Attorney-Partner Construction Group, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP:
"Current Challenges in Contract Administration and Drafting" - Green Construction specific liability risks as well as a discussion on certificate of completion under the BC Builders Lien Act.

Refreshments and lunch will be available for purchase on site from 11:00am-3:00pm

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Trade Show Update - Specifier: October 2015

On November 18th, 2015 CSC Vancouver Chapter is hosting the fifth annual Trade Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The committee members have been working hard for months to ensure the event is well attended and provides the essential education required from the design authority on current topics and issues related to the industry. The “NO FRILLS” name has been derived from the Ontario based show as CSC works to create a national name across Canada. This year the organizers have developed a theme around, “Building Better Buildings” highlighting green building and energy code changes which impact local construction in our area. The day will feature three separate guest speakers:

10:30AM – 11:30AM: “BC Building Codes”— Discussion on the various code changes and what Designers/Architects need to be aware of in designing new buildings. — Murray Frank; Building Consultant, Constructive Home Solutions.

12 (Noon) – 1:00PM: “How Designers can specify Green building products so Builders can build them!”— Brian Palmquist; Architect AIBC MRAIC Intl Assoc AIA BEP CP LEED AP & Marsha Gentile; Construction Sustainability Specialist LEED AP BD+C, Ledcor Construction.

1:30PM – 2:30PM :“Current Challenges in Contract Administration and Drafting”—Green Construction specific liability risks as well as a discussion on certificate of completion under the BC Builders Lien Act.— Dirk Laudan; Attorney-Partner Construction Group, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Some exhibitor spots are still available, so if you are interested please reach out to Todd Gerrard — for more information. We hope to see everyone out this year as this year’s event is shaping up to be very influential.

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Luncheon - Parking Structures: Design, Construction and Maintenance - CSA Standard S413

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Presented by Sylvie Mercier, BASc, P.Eng., LEED® AP | Principal at RJC Ltd.

Parking structures are unique. They are exposed to many severe influences such as de-icing salts, freeze-thaw cycles, temperature changes, wear and snow removal. And even though they are subjected to these influences, they are quite often the most neglected part of a complex from both a design and maintenance point of view. In many cases, immediate savings are pursued in design and/or construction, which is then followed by minimal maintenance, resulting in potentially significant short and long-term consequences.

Design of parking structures is regulated by the Building Code (4.4.2) which requires design in conformance to CSA-S413. In this presentation, the design requirements in CSA-S413 Parking Structures will be reviewed. The importance of the requirements will be discussed with examples on what can happen if they are ignored both at the design phase and long-term occupancy phase.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will acquire an understanding of architectural and structural design requirements of concrete parking structures under CSA-S413.
  • Attendees will understand what can happen if these requirements are ignored both at the design phase and long-term occupancy phase.

Sylvie Mercier specializes in the evaluation and repair of concrete structures, prime consulting and the functional planning, Design and restoration of parking facilities. Her wealth of experience includes facility condition assessments, project management and design of parking structures, institutional, research and commercial buildings, as well as seismic upgrades and renovations. After completing her education at the University of Waterloo and working at an engineering firm in Montreal, Sylvie joined RJC Vancouver in 1992.

Sylvie is an active member of the Canadian Parking Association, and keeps abreast of current trends in parking design throughout North America.

Sandman Hotel, 180 West Georgia Street, Vancouver 
Enter Moxie’s Classic Grill escalator entrance. The ballroom is located straight through the restaurant at the back of Moxie’s.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm - Luncheon (full course self-serve buffet style)
12:15 pm - 12:30 pm - Chapter Business
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - Guest Speaker Presentation

$32.00 plus GST for pre-registered CSC members / Association Executive Directors
$48.00 plus GST for non-members

Sandman Hotel Parking: Enter off Cambie Street, pass the Sandman Hotel Breezeway, underground parking to the left, press buzzer to access parkade and take elevator to restaurant level. Cost is $1.25 per 15 minutes.
Easy Park: Across the street on the corner of Georgia and Cambie Streets. Cost is $1.50 per 30 minutes.

Exit at Stadium-Chinatown Station. Walk 2 minutes.

Online at Karelo by VISA, MasterCard, or Interac Online.

The registration form is available at Payment can be made at the door by cash, cheque, or VISA only.

Pre-registration ends at 2:00 pm on the Wednesday before the meeting.

Missed the deadline? Did not pre-register? You may still attend at $50.40 per person, space permitting, BUT please call 604-868-8406 beforehand.  If you pre-register and do not attend, we may invoice you for the cost of the meeting. If you have special dietary (meal) requirements, please notify us at least 24 hours before the event.

CSC Vancouver is a Registered AIBC Provider.
AIBC Members will receive 1 core LU (Learning Unit) for attending this event.

RCI has approved this meeting for 1 RCI Continuing Education Hour (CEH).
Members to request attendance certificate.