The MHCA and the industries it represents remain concerned about the failure to date to reach resolution with Public Works related new roadbuilding specifications, including road base and sub-base materials.
At a meeting June 27 with two Public Works representatives, a room full of industry members – from across the sectors of heavy construction – stressed that the stringency of aggregate gradation specifications, the number and frequency of testing at the pits and the worksite, and the risk born by contractors and suppliers awaiting the return of results from lab testing are making it very difficult this year to comply with the standards set.
The update on the challenges with the City of Winnipeg specifications was provided by MHCA President Chris Lorenc to the June 29 meeting of the association’s Board of Directors.
“We remain at a standstill on the industry’s frustrated attempts to meet the new roadbuilding specifications for use of aggregates and the Public Works department’s intent to move ahead with the specs,” said Lorenc, adding the sentiment was shared universally by those who attended the meeting.
“We are not easing up on our work to collaborate with the Public Works department on this very important issue for our industry and we’re hoping that further efforts can result ultimately, in a resolution,” Lorenc said.
Industry’s experience, expertise should be heard, considered and engaged to round out the work that has been done, academically in arriving at the best, most practicable application of roadbuilding materials – in other words, ensuring that the rules for using and applying materials works in practice, he said.
The specifications discussion also touches upon the continued attempts by industry to encourage Public Works to respect the role that recycled concrete aggregates can play in roadbuilding. RCAs have been used for about 20 years as a road base or sub-base material; the new specs have made it difficult to continue to do that.
Touching upon that issue, Lorenc told the Board there is good progress in MHCA’s efforts, with the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, to work with the province of Manitoba to promote a policy for widespread adoption of construction, renovation and demolition waste recycling.
The MHCA and the WMR are pressing for a working group to present recommendations to the province on policies, guidelines, resources and potential regulations that would encourage recycling of these waste materials, most of which today end up in landfills.
In other priorities discussed at the Board:
- Tender ad schedule: Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure is experiencing challenges in getting the highways, structures and water infrastructure tenders out for bidding. The highways program is behind the scheduled advertising targets for the season while the tenders for structures and for water infrastructure projects appear to be even further delayed.
- MHCA presented its tender advertisement analysis to the department; the two are working collaboratively to see the programs are fully rolled out this construction season.
- Civic elections: MHCA is preparing a priorities document to present to mayoral and council candidates for the October 26, 2022, municipal elections. The candidates will all be asked about their plans to advance economic growth for their municipalities.
- Locates: a meeting recently with Bell MTS heard that locates were being provided within 10 days 78% of the time in rural Manitoba and 82% of the time in urban areas. The Manitoba Common Ground Alliance has asked for a report on a year-to-date comparison, against 2021. Another update will be provided August 9.
- Prompt Payment Legislation: The provincial government intends to launch a public consultation regarding the best way to proceed with prompt payment legislation. The MHCA and other partners in the construction industry are pressing for the adoption of prompt payment provisions within amendments to the Builders Liens Act.