Construction industry backs plan to evaluate city contractors

Ottawa’s construction industry is largely supporting a city plan to implement a rating system to grade the work done by construction companies that receive contracts from the city.

By Jacob Serebrin

City Auditor General Alain Lalonde recommended that the municipality create the rating system in his report on construction contracts released on Thursday.

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Construction companies don’t have a problem with the plan, said John DeVries, the president and general manager of the Ottawa Construction Association.

He said the OCA is “well aware” that the city has been considering putting an evaluation system in place and has an “excellent ongoing dialogue with their procurement and construction folks.”

The OCA surveyed its members in March on the issue and the “vast majority of respondents support a pre-qualification process to weed out inexperienced or unqualified firms,” said Mr. DeVries.

However he would still like to the city’s system include a chance for companies to give input.

“With a rating system, the challenge is in the details,” he said. “Many times with a problem job there are two sides to a story, sometimes three.”

While the OCA’s survey showed support for an appeals process, Mr. DeVries said the group isn’t calling for any specific rating system.

“This is going to be an evolutionary and collaborative process in my view,” he said. “The city construction and procurement staff want to work with industry.”

Mr. Lalonde made the recommendation about the rating system to help cut down on construction companies that weren’t living up to expectations.

“Past performance of contractors should be documented and a rating system established to enable the city to take the contractor’s past performance into account when they are competing for new work,” the report reads.

According to the management response from city staff included in the report, a system to grade contractor’s work will be implemented by the fourth quarter of 2014.

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