Canada’s construction innovation hub is looking to become part of a bigger industry picture.
During the Canadian Construction Association’s recent meeting of its Innovation and Technology Committee in Banff, Alta., which took place at the 100th anniversary conference, Bockstael Construction president and CCInnovations (CCI) chair John Bockstael explained to members that in order to continue its mission of bringing innovation to the industry, the organization should join forces with the CCA.
CCA president Mary Van Buren explained the association’s 2018-2023 strategic plan to members at the board meeting and explained a key component is to refocus the association on industry innovation and technology.
Bockstael said CCI could be a key part of that change.
“Hitting the refresh button at CCA, and this adoption of bringing in CCI as a division of CCA, means we’ll be one of the tools of that step forward in the strategic plan,” Bockstael said.
A CCA task force is being formed, Guildfords Inc. branch manager Kevin McEvoy said, to look at the role of technology as a whole, with a possible merger between CCI and CCA is one of the factors being considered.
“The first step is the CCI model coming into CCA, but there will be lots of conversations on how we funnel our energies with innovation and how can we work together to be the hub of technology and innovation,” McEvoy said.
“There’s a lot of potential there for both parties.”
The executive has asked for a business plan, McEvoy added, which will be presented at the CCA’s next set of board meetings in Montreal in May. Until that point, no decision will be made.
A 2009 CCA report highlighted the need for the Canadian construction industry to step forward and provide commercially viable innovation. CCI was formally created in 2013 to provide leadership and a framework for innovation within the industry.
When CCI began, Bockstael said, their role as an innovation facilitator wasn’t part of the CCA’s plan, but “we’ve kind of come full circle.”
With the election of the Trudeau government in 2015, there was a new emphasis on innovation and the use of “superclusters” which would compete for federal funds.
The government recommended CCI best fit with an Alberta-based supercluster led by Stantec, Bockstael said, but that group ultimately did not secure funding.
In December 2016, the organization issued a report with a budget submission to the federal government requesting $150 million in funding to be matched by the Canadian construction industry, but that funding did not materialize.
There are sources of funding both inside and outside government, Bockstael said, “but it became evident we need the heft, size and reach of the CCA.”