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Canadian Construction Association concerned about project managers

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Some Canadian Construction Association (CCA) council and committee members are fed up with project managers and their role in the construction process across the country.

Some Canadian Construction Association (CCA) council and committee members are fed up with project managers and their role in the construction process across the country.

At the CCA’s recent spring board meeting in Victoria, members highlighted the inconsistent quality of project managers, the absence of a unified governing body, and a lack of guiding ethics and standards for project management professionals.

The issue was discussed at the board meeting’s Vertical Building Forum.

The forum is designed to facilitate discussion between members of various CCA councils and committees involved with vertical construction.

It was explained that the duties performed by project managers used to be worked out between contractors and owners, or owner’s representatives.

It was an arrangement that members said worked well for the construction industry.

However, in the 1990s, as companies trimmed the fat during the recession, project management firms became more prominent and filled the void.

Members said there is huge gap in the talent pool for project managers, with some being highly unqualified.

Alberta, B.C. and Ottawa members noted these managers are causing issues on projects in their respective provinces.

John Owens of Revay and Associates told the forum that some of these project managers push supplementary general conditions and fail to adhere to industry standards.

He said that they add a layer of bureaucracy between owners and contractors.

He also explained that there is no unified governing body to contact for the project management industry, nor is there a guiding set of standards or ethics to hold them accountable.

Jason Ball, president of Ball Construction, shared his thoughts at the forum.

He said despite their mixed performance, project managers are here to stay so the CCA needs to connect with them.

It was generally agreed that the CCA should encourage project management firms to form some sort of association and that they need a set of guidelines.

There was also some talk about inviting project managers to join the CCA or to possibly form a project manager association within the CCA itself.

“Let’s bring them closer to us and educate them,” Ball said. 

Ross McLean with the B.C. Construction Association and Houle Electric on Vancouver Island suggested that the CCA should create a position paper to inform contractors about these ongoing issues with project managers.

The Vertical Building Forum is used to generate discussion and ideas. No formal motions or task forces were struck to further investigate the issue.

by Russell Hixson

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