Meeting 5: Return to Normal
Last week, government pandemic briefings included discussions on easing restrictions, some of which will support a return to the office. At the same time, we face the reality that some restrictions are likely to remain in place for many months, and possibly years. While we see positive signals from infrastructure owners that projects are proceeding on schedule – including road building, Port, transit and water / wastewater infrastructure – we recognize that normal looks quite different today than it did in the past. How we work is always evolving and this crisis is teaching us a lot about our work practices, like how we can use technology to make collaboration more efficient and what it means to build a resilient workforce.
The ACEC-BC COVID-19 Advisory Group is increasing our focus on longer term planning. At the same time, we are actively reinforcing the value of engaging consultants by facilitating dialogue between clients to share good practice and collaborate on critical issues of health and safety. This week we discussed several issues impacting engineering and construction projects in BC.
- Municipal Projects: We are aware that municipalities across BC are suspending projects and withdrawing tenders. While there are a variety of reasons for these actions, it remains a significant concern. Outside of the Advisory Group we are actively engaged with our partners in construction to identify opportunities for joint advocacy.
- Return to Work Planning: Member firms with multi-national presence will have the opportunity to develop and improve their plans as restrictions ease sequentially across the globe. At ACEC-BC, we continue to work with these firms to learn from their success and will share their experience for the betterment of consulting in BC. In turn we will be present to support our clients as they also consider how best to resume central operations over time.
- Protecting Vulnerable Communities: Across BC there are hundreds of rural and remote communities that are considerably more vulnerable to the risks posed by the pandemic than those of us in urban centres. Our presence in these communities may not be welcome, and those from vulnerable communities may not want to risk bringing the virus back to their community by attending sites or regions outside their home community. This concern is discussed at each Advisory Group meeting and we are sharing resources to support heightened safe work practices to further protect these communities.
When the ACEC-BC COVID-19 Advisory Group meets on Thursday, April 23 we will again be discussing health and safety and industry resilience.
- Contract Management: ACEC-BC is partnering with Singleton Reynolds to offer a webinar on April 29 on legal and insurance mechanisms to help manage delays in construction resulting from the pandemic.
- Liquidity: The Advisory Group will continue to monitor cash flow between parties, especially as clients publicly share concerns regarding financial health. This week we will also consider the impact of capital markets including insurance.
- Shifting to Digital: ACEC-BC is partnering with Notarius, the City of Surrey, and Binnie to support members and clients interested in adopting digital sign / seal for engineering documents.
Questions? Concerns?We want to hear from you. Submit your comments and issues through the ACEC-BC online feedback portal available on the ACEC-BC Resource Centre. Issues submitted will be forwarded to the Advisory Group for review and comment.