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March 28, 2005

Directors approve bid depository education plan

The board of directors of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has given its blessing to implementation of a bid depository education strategic plan developed by its trade contractors council.

The board’s approval was contingent, however, on the proviso that it is not for CCA to promote bid depository use but rather to develop generic materials or tools for use by the local construction industry and that it is not the intent to amend the current CCA policy statement on use of bid depositories.

That policy stipulates that the association supports use of this system “in those areas where bid depositories are in regular operation and are operating under rules and regulations endorsed by local professional and construction associations for those trades served by them.

At its Cancun meeting, the board endorsed a so-called endorsement version developed by the trade contractors’ bid depository task force. Development of the strategy was prompted by concerns related to declining use of bid depositories outside Quebec.

In the 10-page document, the task force made a series of recommendations aimed at maintaining, enhancing and/or supporting promotion of the use of the bid depository system in Canada.

It argued that CCA is in the best position as a national body “to provide the resources, network and influence” needed to implement and deliver a uniform program to meet the objective of ensuring the long-term integrity and viability of bid depository use at all levels.

A key recommendation is for the association to develop a set of “model” standard bid depository rules for consideration and adoption by all jurisdictions. Appendices or modules would be drafted to support local and provincial conditions or legislation.

“Although it is recognized that having a model set of rules is not an educational strategy unto itself, uniformity is viewed as being fundamental to achieving greater acceptance of the bid depository system,” the task force said. “In essence, improving the product itself is seen as a major step forward in improving its marketability.”

Those rules are to be developed within an 18-month period.

The task force further proposed that CCA design, develop, host and administer an Internet-based Web site providing comprehensive information on the purpose, locations/contact information, benefits and rules associated with the bid depository system.

It also recommended that:

— CCA develop, produce and distribute to local construction industry stakeholders and partners a comprehensive student curriculum kit and reference guide for use by engineering and architectural academic institutions.

— CCA develop, produce and distribute to local construction industry stakeholders and partners a comprehensive educational seminar package targeting bidders, owners and tender-calling authorities at the local level.

— CCA develop, produce and distribute to local construction industry stakeholders and partners an education-oriented advertisement for use by local bid depositories and other industry partners and national trade associations. Owners and tender-calling authorities would be the primary audience.

Based on input from the general contractors council, the task force recommended that the plan be implemented with CCA’s primary role as that of a facilitator and that implementation be conditional upon CCA receiving participation commitments from a majority of local bid depositories, industry stakeholders and national trade associations.

If necessary, these organizations would be required to contribute both financial and in-kind resources to ensure the plan’s implementation.

In the document, the task force said it recognizes that implementation of “any and hopefully all” of the recommendations will not only help to maintain but significantly enhance the use and industry’s knowledge of the bid depositary system.

“The most important factor to the success of this plan will be the demonstrable support and participation of all partners and stakeholders,” the task force said.

“Having all partners both support and actively participate in this effort can demonstrate the ability of our industry to work collectively under the leadership of CCA ....

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