March 11, 2005


First female chair

Westeinde was busy on number of fronts

When Ottawa-area construction executive Shirley Westeinde took over the helm of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) a year ago, she encouraged association members to make the most of the fact that she was the first female chair.

Shirley Westeinde

“Many of you took me up on the challenge,” she said in remarks prepared for the association’s annual general meeting today in Cancun, Mexico.

“I was more than impressed by the events organized around the idea of women in construction that I was able to attend throughout the year.”

The Calgary Construction Association, for one, hosted a gala women in construction evening in May.

Westeinde, chair of the Westeinde Group, an Ottawa-based developer and general contractor, said “it is the member associations, the member firms and the many, many individuals” who make CCA what it is.

“I was extraordinarily lucky to be able to meet as many people as I did this year.”

Westeinde’s first priority in becoming chair during an election year was ensuring that the issue of infrastructure investment was front and centre in the minds of federal candidates and politicians.

To that end, the CCA surveyed the federal parties on their positions on various infrastructure-related matters and posted the answers on a special election watch Web site.

The association welcomed the recent budget announcement of allocation of a portion of the federal gas tax for municipal infrastructure as well as renewal of some existing infrastructure programs and an injection of $300 million for the Green Municipal Funds.

However, CCA was disappointed that the government will not move more quickly to ramp up the gas tax. The association also was disappointed that there was no new funding for the national highway system.

“CCA will continue to lobby for a national program to repair and upgrade Canada’s deteriorating national highway system,” Westeinde said in her prepared remarks.

She said the environment continues to be a major issue for the industry.

During the past year, CCA published mould guidelines for the industry.

It is developing an educational curriculum to complement that information. An environmental best practices guide for asphalt plants also was published.

She said CCA has kept “a close eye” on the Environment Canada task force. It has volunteered the construction industry to be the first to test the use of energy-labeling techniques.

Through its member associations, CCA has joined with the Canada Green Building Council to offer Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) awareness and green building seminars.

During the past year, CCA convinced the government to eliminate the monthly subscription fee for the MERX electronic tendering service.

“That resulted in our members saving $360 a year —more than twice the CCA integrated membership fee,” Westeinde said.

On another front, the association was involved in development of Public Works and Government Services Canada’s request for proposal for the new real property management and project delivery services contract under the department’s alternative forms of delivery procurement initiative.

CCA also issued an information bulletin to alert members of rapidly escalating material prices and supply problems. The association was “heavily consulted” on the federal construction contract form. Westeinde said a new draft is expected to be available shortly for review.

“Last, but not least, CCA, through the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC), has most recently issued CCDC 23-2005,” she said. “The document is intended to provide owners and consultants with recommended best practices for procuring construction services using the lowest bid selection method in a competitive bidding process.”

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