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Winnipeg City Council seeking improved infrastructure procurement


January 13, 2017
By MHCA

January 13, 2017 – Winnipeg City Councillor Marty Morantz, chairman of Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works, has given Winnipeg City Hall’s administration 60 days to come back to his committee with a report on how to move toward improving infrastructure procurement.

The IRPW committee, at its Jan. 10 meeting, recommitted to creating a task force that includes Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) representatives, which would draw up recommendations for “improvement of project scheduling, engineering consultant procurement, early tendering and time contract awards.”

MHCA president Chris Lorenc told the committee the association has been asking since 2011 that the City of Winnipeg make its procurement process more efficient.

With an earlier adoption of the city’s capital budget each year, and changes to the way administration issues calls for design engineering work, Winnipeg can tender in the fall and winter. That allows for contract awards to the construction industry early in the new year, Lorenc said. Starting public works when the thaw is out of the ground can add 10 weeks to the construction season.

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That gives value to the city through more competitive bidding, reflecting lower prices for material and equipment in the off-season months.

Morantz said he believes procurement reform can begin, but that the changes will be made incrementally.

The city has an entrenched and complex procurement policy, written expressly to protect the public interest, he said. Morantz said the administration’s report may be ready as early as the next IRPW meeting.

The MHCA sent letters in early January to Mayor Brian Bowman, Morantz and Finance Committee Chairman Scott Gillingham on the issue.

“We’ve worked with city council and the administration in the past on procurement,” said Lorenc. “I think the Mayor and Coun. Morantz are committed to moving this ahead now.”