Roads & Paving
Navigating Infrastructure Ontario contracts
By Andrew Snook
February 6, 2018 – Navigating the future was the theme of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association’s 91st Annual ORBA Convention & AGM held at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on Feb. 5 and 6.
To help its members navigate the future, ORBA hosted presenter Gerry Russ, national director for growth innovation and insight for the Global Construction Group of Aon Risk Solutions. Russ discussed trends in Ontario’s infrastructure marketplace, policy directions and performance measures, and adoption of innovations and approaches for managing associated risks.
Russ started by telling the crowd that he sees some significant changes facing the roadbuilding industry in the next little while, but that he believes the outlook in Ontario is fantastic – his evidence stemming from Infrastructure Ontario’s projected spending.
“Their big spend for the first time ever is not focused on social infrastructure, it is on transit and transportation – 51 per cent of their $18-billion budget is in those areas,” he told the crowd.
Although there is greater opportunity in the province, he added that there is also greater competition, for the first time, at a global scale.
“There is a reason that foreign companies are buying up our capabilities, and it isn’t because there’s no work to come,” he told the crowd. “The Irish are here, the French are here, the Chinese may be here. This is one of the last strongholds of significant infrastructure spend anywhere in the globe.”
Russ warned attendees not to get too far ahead of themselves related to preparing for upcoming projects, since there are always delays in regards to projects getting rolled out.
“We have an election coming up, which will impose its will or change some of the scenarios, but what we will end up with is a terrific marketplace for civil construction,” he said.
Good corporate governance key for winning contracts
The ability to show how you manage your business has never been more paramount in the eyes of Infrastructure Ontario than it is today, Russ told the crowd, adding that to get on the list for bidding contracts with Infrastructure Ontario that companies have to get an audit done, which will put your corporate governance to the test. Russ said that without the auditor signing off that a company has the necessary tools in this regard, that they will not see any work from Infrastructure Ontario.
Even if you have the ability to bid, Russ adds that companies should focus on trying to land the projects they can excel best at, not necessarily the ones with the most dollar signs attached to them.
“It’s about finding the right project – the project that you can actually excel in,” he said. “It’s finding the project that fits your capabilities best. It’s about finding the project where you can bring a valued equation into the scenario… At the end of the day, it’s the ones that look forward, that are going to bring the best value through money into the equation, and find the avenues for success, that are the companies that become the winners.”