Be vigilant: If you’re not, someone else is going to be

Last summer I wrote an article about the value of association membership. My point was that associations support you, your business and its bottom line. The main example I gave was the Risky Clauses program, a joint endeavor of MCABC and ECABC (Electrical Contractors Association of BC).  I wrote of the program’s purpose: To provide members with an inventory of legally reviewed risky contract language that the trades often encounter these days.  I highlighted the fact that resources like this program become the reason our members support the association with their membership dues.

Today I direct some praise to a sister association – BCCA (BC Construction Association) – and its efforts to combat the same issues through project alert notices recently issued on BC Housing projects tendered in Prince George.  We keep BC Housing contracts in the Risky Clauses library for the very same reason BCCA felt it necessary to issue these alerts:  BC Housing seems to have strayed from its guiding principles and founding policy requirements provided by BC Capital Asset Management Framework (CAMF), and produced tendering terms that place severe conditions on bidders.  BCCA issued alerts on two BC Housing projects in February which include details of variations to accepted policy and practice.

Part of the role of associations is to hold government and its agencies to account and to provide them with guidance to set and adhere to generally accepted practices.  The fundamental principle at stake is fairness.  Whether it is BCCA challenging tendering terms or the Risky Clauses oversight committee vetting sub-contract agreements between general contractors and trades, the objective is the same: to create a place where risk and responsibility are fairly distributed, in order that the client – the purchaser – can take delivery of a structure built to specified standards at a fair market price without overburdening any of the contracting partners with unfair risk.

Regarding the BC Housing projects in Prince George, BCCA met with the key procurement folks at BC Housing about these alerts. Apparently, BC Housing resisted a suggestion to engage an independent third-party expert to work on their procurement conditions. However, the parties have begun a review and hope to meet soon to discuss their findings. The reaction of local general contractors to the alerts has been to NOT bid on BC Housing projects given the conditions of the bid documents. Needless to say, contractors were pleased with the alerts.

With such similar objectives, there is an opportunity here for BCCA, MCABC, ECA, and others impacted by BC Housing projects to leverage their collective strength and collaborate in order to solve an industry problem.

Meanwhile, our Risky Clauses program continues to collect, review and provide legal interpretations of contracts to help our trades contractors administer their contract documents.  Use of the program is increasing as demonstrated by some recent statistics below:

  • Last 90 days – Total page views: 171
  • January 2019 page views: 145
  • Total downloads of contracts and appendices since documents were made available: 295

Stay vigilant – the contracts you sign depend on it.

Access the Risky Clauses Program HERE. Need login credentials? Voting contractor members can request their personal password HERE.



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