All Parties at the Table | SICA CCO Workshop

After the rush of the December holidays bring on the lulls of a quiet January, February is a month where people re-emerge and get back to the business of moving and shaking. It’s also when SICA invites members of the construction industry to meet, mingle, and partake in a series of interactive discussions and workshops aimed at knowledge, understanding, and cooperation.

The SICA CCO Workshop is designed to bring industry partners together to discuss everyday topics that effect everyone. It’s an opportunity to network, gain a better understanding of challenges faced by other parties, and to better understand the impact decisions have on others.

This year, the full-day event included a local project post-mortem, legal and safety updates, and workshop sessions on topics such as BIM, CCDC contract review, and MMCA review. A moderated panel discussion, which takes place each year, has representatives from each sector — contractor, consultant, and owner. It is an open forum that encourages discussion among the entire room by taking questions from the floor and getting opinions and outlooks from all parties.

“Everybody lays their cards on the table,” says Cameron Betts, president of Betts Electric, who represented trade contractors on the panel this year. “It creates a better understanding of the inner workings of the industry as a whole. It’s been amusing to see how things transpire.”

Betts says this year many people were on the same page, but admits in the past discussions have sparked some good — and loud — debates. “Many of the topics discussed are burning questions and this provides a forum for everybody to hear all sides and sometimes press a few buttons.”

He says in the end many leave with a better understanding of the big picture. “We aren’t of the mind of solving issues,” says Betts. “But by having all parties at the table, it’s an opportunity to hear opinions and find opportunities to collaborate.”

Forrest Klotzbach, project engineer at Urban Systems in Kelowna, says he and several others from his organization attend the workshop each year.

“The biggest advantage, from my perspective, is understanding the other parties who are involved in the process,” he says. “It’s always good getting other perspectives on how we can work together to better deliver our projects.”

He says getting caught up on the latest information, legal precedents, and contract information is another benefit to attending the workshop.

“It’s still challenging but it gives a better appreciation of what others are dealing with, why decisions are made from the owners’ standpoint, and why contractors operate in a certain way. Dialog and communication is always good,” says Klotzbach.

Also a great opportunity for networking, the workshop provides an occasion to connect with colleagues and assess how others are reacting and adapting to current standards and practices.

“It’s helpful seeing and understanding challenges others are facing. It’s also very interesting to see how consultants or contractors perceive some of our practices,” says Betty Wiebe, project administrator for the Interior Health Authority. As a public owner, Wiebe says many are not aware of the restrictions they have to work within including abiding by trade agreements and ministry policy. “It gives us an opportunity to explain our own processes.”

Wiebe says it’s beneficial to learn the perspectives and opinions of the different consultants and contractors as well as other owners and would recommend all industry partners attend. “It’s a good gauge for us to see what we are doing well and what needs improvement or more communication. It’s a good networking tool and a great exchange of information.”

The next CCO Workshop will be held in February 2018. For more information, please contact SICA’s project and events coordinator, Monica Bognar at monicab@sica.bc.ca.


This article first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of SICA's Construction Review Magazine. To read the entire magazine click here.

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