MHCA acknowledges it is located on Treaty One land and the homeland of the Metis Nation

Fuel prices, timely locates, prompt payment top discussion by MHCA Board

The MHCA is awaiting feedback on its suggested changes to fuel price adjustment clauses it has received from the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure in the last week.

The adjustment clauses will be included in construction contracts for the coming construction season. The province has proposed a clause that would adjust for indexed price increases or decreases on construction and bid-hourly work, depending on when bid prices are submitted. The City’s proposal to date considers just road construction work under contracts, and would set monthly adjustments when the indexed fuel price rises or falls beyond 15%.

A synopsis of the discussions was presented to the MHCA Board of Directors at its meeting April 6.

The Board was told the MHCA fuel price sub-committee is working to see the City’s clause amended because the proposal sets out a formula for adjustment, calculating fuel costs at 2.2% of total construction bid price.

“The industry feels both proposals are good starts toward consideration of extreme price fluctuations, such as we’ve all seen since mid-February,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.

“We need some further work before we’d be comfortable with the clauses proposed. Some changes are minor tweaks; in other cases, we’d like to see revisions that get closer to our calculation of fuel costs but also the inclusion of work not currently contemplated by the proposal.”

The board was also informed the MHCA, a member of the Manitoba Common Ground Alliance, is working to see locates of underground utilities provided in a timely fashion in the coming construction season. A meeting with Bell MTS is set for next week.

Lorenc said the MHCA will look for rapid, marked improvement to locate times this season. In the event of failure to provide consistent improvement both in terms of accuracy and timeliness, the industry association members of the MCGA are committed to press for legislation in Manitoba, as exists in other jurisdictions, setting out a turn-around time for response and locates.

Of critical importance, Lorenc noted that the Board is alarmed about the significant problems associated with Bill 28 tabled presumably to address prompt payment issues afflicting the full spectrum of construction industries. The Board was visibly agitated to learn that Bill 28 was tabled without prior full industry wide consultation.

The Board directed continued advocacy to persuade the provincial government to follow the expert recommendations of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission 2018 report. The Commission unequivocally concluded after an extensive multi-jurisdictional review, that the competent successful approach is not through standalone legislation, but though amendments to the Builders Liens Act.

The Board noted with exasperation that it was completely illogical for the provincial government to ignore what clearly works in other jurisdictions and in particular, ignore the expert advice from the Manitoba  Law Reform Commission.

Other priorities discussed Wednesday included:

  • The Board agreed to establish a WORKFORCE Development Committee (WDC) to be chaired by Board member Tony Teixeira of JC Paving. It will be tasked to shape a diverse skilled workforce development strategy for the heavy construction industry. Members will be drawn from within the MHCA. In addition, the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) will be invited to participate.
  • Rental Rates Committee:
    • will highlight the need for accurate information when companies submit on bid-hourly tenders. Inaccurate information, such as incomplete or wrong model numbers, puts at risk a bidder’s opportunity for a tender award
    • the 2023 Equipment Rental Rates Guide will include loader groupings by weight classification
  • Events Committee:
    • The Inaugural Chair’s Reception April 5 was a hit, with a large turnout that included Premier Heather Stefanson, a number of Cabinet and deputy ministers, city councillors and senior City administration
    • The Spring Mixer is scheduled for June 1 at the Assiniboia Downs; the Golf Classic, at Quarry Oaks, on August 10; Chair’s Gala, on November 18, at the RBC Convention Centre
  • The City of Winnipeg Committee:
    • met with IRPW Committee Chair Coun. Matt Allard recently, to discuss roadbuilding specifications for base and sub-base aggregate materials, specifically for recycled concrete aggregates. The MHCA will send Allard a “next steps” summary laying out a work plan to fulfill the work requested by the IRPW in June, 2020. That request directed the public service to make recommendations for the increased use of RCA
    • has reviewed new City specifications for concrete mixes, to be trialed in 2022 for implementation in 2023; suggestions for adjustments will likely be returned to the City
  • Aggregate Producers Committee:
    • MTI proposed changes to the chip seal program have been reviewed; the committee continues to work with the department on this item
    • A meeting recently with the Mines Branch was productive and appears to be leading to improvements to the online quarry lease applications and permitting system, called iMaQs. The system has been a concern for many years, including the response times to emails and phone calls