The Manitoba Common Ground Alliance has written to the president of Bell Canada, drawing his attention to the serious issue of delays in locates, which are holding up progress on construction projects in Manitoba.
The letter follows an April 13 meeting of the MCGA, of which the MHCA is member, along with the Construction Association of Rural Manitoba, Manitoba Home Builders’ Association and Winnipeg Construction Association.
“For decades now, the issue of locates has plagued the ability of industries reliant on them, to do work they are legally contracted to undertake. It has cost significant millions over the years, created strained project relationships between project owners and contractors, shifted the risk and cost onto an industry that should not be burdened with expense of locates,” the April 14 letter to Bell President Mirko Bibic said.
Budgets in all construction sectors are expected to increase and therefore the pressure for timely locates will only intensify, the letter explained, adding that the broad construction industry needs to see significant improvement in locates response in 2022.
MHCA President Chris Lorenc said the construction industry has run out of patience and, failing good response from Bell this construction season, it would contemplate approaching the provincial government for legislation to regulate the delivery of timely, accurate locates.
“We’re working as part of the Manitoba Common Ground Alliance, where other industry representatives meet to discuss issues with utility owners, to see this problem resolved but we have not noticed acceptable improvements from Bell,” Lorenc said. “The construction industry has defined completion dates in their construction project contracts, and contractors face stiff financial penalties when missing deadlines.
“Getting delayed for weeks on locates of underground utilities can be a serious impairment to completion and therefore to payment.”
Bell has yet to reply to the letter.