This week Journal of Commerce digital media editor Warren Frey and staff writer Russell Hixson take a look at stories they’ve covered recently, including a debate over community benefits agreements at Buildex Vancouver where for the first time the stakeholders on each side of the issue faced each other. Russell also took a look at the recently announced British Columbia budget, which has committed to substantial capital spending on construction projects.
Warren detailed the Buildex Vancouver sessions he intended, including one where Matthew Claudel, MIT Design X’s head of civic innovation, explained how smartphone apps are turning urban landscapes into “the city as a service,” which isn’t necessarily a panacea. Another panel looked at the effects of technology on the industry and how tech has to solve problems and works when there’s buy-in from not just management but also from the bottom up.
Russell and Warren also looked at Ontario stories such as the continued controversy swirling around both the Prime Minister’s Office and SNC-Lavalin, as well as a look at technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence and gradual progress towards adopting these methods for payment amongst construction companies.
We also have an interview between Daily Commercial News staff writer Don Wall, who talked to Cliff Meidl, who survived a horrific construction industry accident to become an Olympic level kayaker and now speaks for U.S.-based Call Before You Dig initiatives. Warren also has two interviews from the British Columbia Construction Safety Alliance’s “Mental Health and the Construction Industry”, the first with Scott Construction human resources manager Kellyann Williams about her company’s efforts to put mental health front and centre, and the second with ex Canadian Football League player Shea Emry, who is working to help male-dominated industries better deal with mental wellness.