CIQS – Prairies and Northwest Territories
Oct. 22, 2018

CIQS – Prairies & NWT Cost Connections October 2018

Executive Update
Message from the President
Fall is always a busy time of year as most of us have returned from vacation, have re-energized and are ready to tackle the weighty issues that have appeared on our desks over the summer.
This is true for many of our 8 to 5 jobs. It is also very true for our CIQS positions. Our organization has accomplished an incredible amount this year, but a great deal remains to be done to achieve our nation-wide goals of increasing the profile of CIQS and its members, getting more members involved and increasing the recognition of the value our members bring to projects.
I attended the CIQS Board of Directors meeting held in Winnipeg in mid-September. This was the first meeting that included all the presidents of the former affiliates since the national vote to restructure CIQS was held in the spring. Not surprisingly, the lion’s share of the meeting dealt with items arising from the new governance structure.
In a nutshell, our Prairies and Northwest Territories group is one of the chapters – no longer affiliates – of our national CIQS organization. All chapters are now developing plans to wind down the functions associated with our former roles as corporate affiliates.
You have already seen some of these changes with all financial transactions and most event promotion being managed nationally. More functions traditionally handled on a local/regional basis will also be managed by the umbrella organization for consistency of message and best use of human and fiscal resources.
At the same time, we are working on our new structure as a chapter, including our traditional “chapters” in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg based on population. We need to ensure we have a system in place of leader, past leader and city chapter reps to ensure continuity, to offer events and to give our members an opportunity to gain valuable Board experience.
Part of the value of our organization is to build capacity for future national leaders in our profession. That leader development starts at the local and regional grassroots level with hands-on work on committees, special projects and on the Board.
While these important steps of dissolution and growing our chapter take diligence and time, your Prairies and NWT Board is also committed to keeping the momentum moving forward with a number of initiatives throughout our region. These include site tours, industry presentations and some events hosted jointly with construction associations. Looking at joint events is one means of developing more valuable relationships with the several construction associations within our chapter area – and of continuing to increase the profile of quantity surveying and our QS professionals.
The Board is also actively developing strategies to continue our program of advocacy with the major municipalities in the region. We want to get Board members more involved in face-to-face meetings with City Council members where we can engage these decision-makers in discussions on the benefits of using quantity surveyors.
At the same time, we want to continue our long-standing commitment to touch base each year with the local colleges in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. This advocacy work has proven mutually beneficial, with instructors and students in a variety of related disciplines learning more about our profession and professional organization at the same time we are updated about with their issues, assumptions and aspirations.
On the national front, CIQS has chosen a national graphic design firm to give our promotional materials a fresh, updated look and feel so these materials support our local efforts as effectively as possible.
The lobbying firm hired some months ago has started its initial work in completing an environmental scan across Canada. The intent of the assessment is to help gauge the level of information governments know about quantity surveying and the services our members provide. The assessment will also include the best approach to be taken with each government.
The Education portfolio, headed by our own Wendy Hobbs, PQS, is calling for expressions of interest to become an education volunteer. It’s very important to have every region represented on these national committees, so I hope to see some of our members step up to the plate and submit an expression of interest. Please check out the CIQS website for more details.
As ever, please feel free to email me anytime should you have any feedback or questions about CIQS. I commit to getting back to you as quickly as my schedule allows.
Michael Gabert, PQS
President, CIQS – Prairies & N.W.T.
Michael Gabert, President

CIQS Update
CIQS Education Committee:
Call for Expressions of Interest
Are you a PQS with great organizational and communication skills? Do you have experience with professional designation education policies and programs? And are you looking for a way to increase your knowledge of national CIQS – and build your leadership abilities within our profession?
Consider submitting an Expression of Interest to join the CIQS Education Committee. The primary role of the Education Committee is to organize, implement and facilitate educational policies that will provide prospective members with the opportunity to achieve the level of knowledge and skill necessary to obtain a CIQS professional designation. The Education Committee is advisory only, and reports to the Board.
Interested candidates are to provide a cover letter and a resume outlining related experience and qualifications by October 31, 2018, to Sheila Lennon, Executive Director, CIQS at execdir@ciqs.org.

Industry Update
BuildWorks Canada: Effective Construction Procurement
BuildWorks Canada is the effective result of hard work and collaborative partnerships. According to its website, it is also the premier procurement and business development platform for the construction industry across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Developed and offered in partnership by 14 local Western Canadian construction associations, BuildWorks connects members with a national network of regional experts, qualified providers and opportunities for work. The service replaces COOLNet Alberta.
The site offers help specific to your role in the construction industry.
Owners and consultants can post projects privately, or publicly for greater exposure.
General contractors can choose their option of a private invitation to bid, pre-qualification or open tender.
Sub-trades and suppliers can gain access to the largest source of relevant project opportunities to find more work and building connections with companies looking for your services.
The service also offers users a range of support resources including training videos, lunch ‘n learns, one-on-one visits with local industry experts and in-tool help resources.
For more information, contact your local construction association or the business development contact for your area. Got a minute? Watch the introductory BuildWorks Canada video.
BuildWorks Canada

Stantec Tower officially opens
Wednesday, Sept. 26 was a big day – a HUGE day – for Stantec, Edmonton and Edmonton’s ICE District. That’s the day Stantec’s new global headquarters, Stantec Tower, celebrated its grand opening.
As the related Stantec news release offers, at 69 storeys high (66 functional floors), Stantec Tower will be the tallest building west of Toronto – and a key pillar in Edmonton’s ICE District. The impressive structure can be seen from 40 kilometres away.
The tower will house 29 floors of commercial workspace for Stantec’s 1,500 Edmonton-based employees, Dentons Canada LLP, DLA Piper and PwC Canada, as well as 483 premium SKY Residences condos.
Since the project began, 343 Stantec employees have invested more than 145,000 hours on the impressive tower, providing full architecture and engineering services for the structure, which is targeting LEED Gold certification (exterior), LEED silver certification (interior) and FitWel certification.
It is expected to reach its final height of 251 metres by the end of 2018. SKY Residences will be completed in fall 2019.
The 1,500 Edmonton-based Stantec employees are scheduled to move into the new headquarters sometime this month.
Check out the video of the grand opening. More coverage of this transformational event in the history of Edmonton architecture:
Stantec Tower
Photo credit: Faizal Jessani, Edmonton Construction Association

Snapshot: Prairies Economic Overview
According to RBC stats presented in WesternInvestor.com, Alberta appears poised in 2018 and 2019 to increase its GDP by 2.4% and 2.5% respectively. Canada’s GDP is expected to grow 2% and 1.8% in 2018 and 2019 respectively so, again, Alberta is ahead of the national growth predictions.
Alberta is also showing signs of increasing commercial real estate investment, the numbers show. Commercial transactions in Calgary hit an impressive $2.5 billion during 2018 Q2, led by Oaktree Capital Management’s $107 million acquisition of First Tower.
Trends in the prairie market:
Commercial and industrial real estate (Q2 2018)
Downtown office
vacancy rate
vacancy rate
Labour (End Q2 2018)
Unemployment rate
(August 2018)
Average weekly wage
(June 2018)
Building permit values (July 2018)
$508 million
$383 million
$29 million
$70 million
$171 million
The City of Calgary forecast calls for the Calgary Economic Region (CER) to expand by 2.5% in 2018 and by a modest 2.0% in 2019. The slowdown in growth is the result of increasing employment into industries that pay lower wages while rising interest rates give investors pause before spending in Canada.
The forecast for total employment indicates improving job prospects in Calgary with 897,500 jobs in 2018, and 910,000 in 2019.
Construction activity in the housing sector is expected to remain below average due to lower levels of net migration, lower household formation rates and higher interest rates.
The office vacancy rate in Calgary is expected to remain elevated above industry norms in the forecast period. The unemployment rate in Calgary is dropping but the job makeup in Calgary is shifting. Job losses because of oil prices dropping in late 2015 were mainly in engineering and technical service jobs, mostly downtown but also in Calgary’s suburbs. Today, those jobs are being replaced by service level jobs that generally don’t require as much office space.
The combination of weak population and employment growth and higher interest rates is expected to depress future building permit values. Relatively high vacancy rates in the multi-family residential and non-residential markets should also weigh on the construction of new space. The forecast for building permit values is $3.6 billion in 2018, down from $4.5 billion in 2017.
The City of Edmonton reports moderate good news from the second quarter of 2018.
After experiencing a modest decline in the first quarter of 2018, employment in metro Edmonton stabilized and began to expand over the course of the second quarter. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2018 is estimated to be in the range of 2.6% for Edmonton, accelerating slightly to 2.7% in 2019.
With a return to employment growth, average weekly wages in 2018 increased as the number of hours worked rose and employment in some high-paying sectors such as manufacturing and professional services recovered some of the losses seen in 2016. This allowed for gains in real disposable income across metro Edmonton even though inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), rose above 2% in the first half of 2018. These income gains will help to sustain activity in the housing, retail and personal services sectors. This progress will continue through 2019.
In 2019, growth is expected to improve marginally as the economies of the province and the city continue to recover, assuming stability in oil prices.
Building Permits
Construction intentions in the Edmonton metro region increased in the second quarter of 2018 compared to both Q2 2017 and Q1 2018. Residential and non-residential builders in the Edmonton CMA took out permits valued at almost $1.4 billion combined in Q2 2018, representing a gain of 6.8% on a year-over-year basis and a 4.4% increase compared to Q1 2018. The quarter-over-quarter lift in construction intentions in Q2 2018 was attributed to a marginal gain in residential building permits and higher non-residential building permits, specifically for commercial buildings. Residential building permit values were almost 1% higher in Q2 2018 on a quarter-over-quarter basis. The gain was driven by higher construction intentions for multi-family dwelling units.
On the non-residential side, the value of building permits rose almost 11% quarter-over-quarter in Q2 2018. The gain was attributed to an almost 37% increase in commercial building permit values, which more than offset declines in the industrial and governmental components.
Saskatoon Region Economic Development reports that Saskatoon continues to grow economically.
The recent announcement of Nutrien’s relocation to River Landing means Saskatchewan’s tallest office building will be built. Eighteen (18) storeys of new office at this site coupled with the World Trade Centre announcement of another 125,000sq.ft. and the revamped police station of 60,000 sq.ft. (now River Quarry) prove developers’ and investors’ confidence in the long-term viability of the market in Saskatoon.
While American tariffs continue to provide some economic hardship and uncertainty, Saskatchewan is quietly on pace for above-average growth across the economy. This growth is attributable to a strengthening natural resources sector backed up by a correction in agricultural markets, including a re-opening of the Japanese wheat market.
Economic Development Regina, in its Conference Board of Canada Forecast for Regina, forecasts that Regina’s real GDP will grow 2.2% in 2018 and 2.1% in 2019. Employment is expected to increase 0.4% in 2018 and 1.5% in 2019. A similar moderate pace will prevail over the next few years, lifting Regina’s GDP to a level that will be double the 1997 volume by 2022. This implies an average annual increase of 2.7% over this period, strong by national standard.

Royal Alberta Museum Opens
It’s been a long wait of several years, but the new $375.5-million Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) officially opened its doors in Edmonton on Oct. 3. The 21,500 available online tickets for the opening were booked within six hours of their availability. In total, more than 40,000 tickets were available for the few days of the grand opening.
The 419,000-square-foot building offers twice the space of the former museum building beside Government House. That building closed in December 2015. Of the total space in the new RAM, more than 82,000 square feet is dedicated to exhibitions, twice as much as the former Glenora location.
The largest museum in Western Canada, the RAM features galleries galore with indigenous history commanding a prominent presence.
Check out the following media reports:
Edmonton Journal
CBC Edmonton and behind-the-scenes video
Royal Alberta Museum Opens
Photo credit: Royal Alberta Museum website

In the News
City wins award for mature neighbourhood planning, thanks Edmontonians (City of Edmonton, Oct. 2) – The City’s Mature Neighbourhood Overlay (MNO) Review project won the Alberta Professional Planners Institute 2018 Award of Merit. Winners were announced at an awards ceremony held yesterday.
University of Alberta asks province for $20M to build South Campus arena (CBC, Oct. 1) – The fate of a pair of new ice rinks for the University of Alberta's South Campus rests on investment from the provincial government, says a dean at the school. Staff at the university have secured about $45 million of the $65 million required to build two ice rinks southwest of the Saville Community Sports Centre and they hope the provincial government will chip in the rest.
City unveils four options for future use of exhibition lands (Edmonton Journal, Sept. 18) – It was hard to tell who was more enthusiastic — the two dozen or so Edmontonians inside the Bellevue Community League hall viewing giant, colourful posters on the wall or the project team unveiling its concept plans to the public for the first time. Tuesday served as the first public display of four proposed land use options for the 220-plus acre exhibition lands at Northlands in the city’s east end with residents flocking to the tiny hall.
Thinking BIG: Danish architects have a radical vision to build a distinct condo community in Toronto (The Globe and Mail, Sept. 12) – In Europe, Bjarke Ingels Group’s innovative approach has created buildings that feel like villages. Can they replicate that in North America?
Province fires contractor for Grande Prairie hospital project following notice of default (Edmonton Journal, Sept. 10) – The provincial government has fired the Calgary-based firm tasked with building the $763-million Grande Prairie Regional Hospital following a heated dispute over the project’s timeline and budget.
Province to hire new builder for Grande Prairie hospital (Everything GP, Sept. 10) – he province is looking for a new builder for the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. The Alberta government says it will soon issue a Request for Proposals after firing Graham Construction today.
'Untenable position': Calgary-based firm at centre of Grande Prairie hospital dispute to pursue legal action (Edmonton Journal, Sept. 11) – A Calgary-based construction firm formerly responsible for the $763-million Grande Prairie Regional Hospital project is pursuing a claim for damages. Graham Construction and Engineering said in a news release it is “deeply disappointed” the government has ripped up its contract with the firm, adding the timeline released by the province “omits a key fact.”
Alberta adds 406 seats to train students in face of projected tech worker shortage (CBC, Aug. 16) – Hundreds more Alberta students will be able to study in tech-related fields this year, after the province announced it was adding 406 additional seats at post-secondary schools.
Bigger, more 'dignified' emergency department set to rise at Misericordia hospital (Edmonton Journal, July 19) – Construction is expected to begin later this year on a new $65-million emergency department for the Misericordia Community Hospital that will triple the size of the current unit and add 34 new treatment spaces.
Policy brings more predictability to community amenity contributions (City of Edmonton, July 11) – City Council has approved a new policy that sets out clearer rules and expectations for developers regarding amenity contributions. The policy applies when rezoning land to a direct control zone ( DC1 or DC2 ) results in a larger building than what is permitted under existing zoning.


CIQS – Prairies and Northwest Territories

90 Nolan Court, Unit 19
Markham, ON L3R 4L9
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