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VRCA awards to honour best of B.C. construction

Russell Hixson
VRCA awards to honour best of B.C. construction

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) is once again poised to honour the best of construction in B.C. with its 2017 Awards of Excellence gala on Oct. 25.

Gold Award winners will be chosen by a judging panel from a list of Silver Awards of Excellence winners that were announced in August.

This year, 45 Silver Award winners have been selected in 15 project categories on the basis of criteria that includes the use of innovative techniques, new materials or exceptional project management.

Ninety-five companies were nominated from 50 project submissions.

The total value of the projects is $1.1 billion, more than double last year.

VRCA president Fiona Famulak said last year many large projects hadn’t reached substantial completion to be included in the competition.

"This really reflects on the status of the projects in the marketplace and we are really pleased with the uptake," she said.

Project award categories include general and trade contractors, mechanical and electrical contractors, manufacturers and suppliers who deliver an entire project or a component of a project according to specific financial and non-financial criteria.

Covering industrial, commercial and institutional projects, submissions included major upgrades to sewage treatment facilities, rapid transit systems and biohazard manufacturing plants, renovations to marine facilities, new buildings at universities and hospitals and new residential towers.

This year’s awards will include the new General Contractor Tenant Improvements project category, to recognize the work of the local construction industry in tenant improvement projects.

This new award comes after the VRCA began to notice a trend of many large tenant improvement projects this year and last year.

"This year the trend continued and we felt it was important to give them their own category," said Famulak. "It reflects the status of the marketplace, the need for more functional space. In addition to brand new builds I think we will continue to see tenant improvement projects across the industry."

Famulak said judges also saw a continuing trend of projects focusing on sustainability, high performance and a lower carbon footprint.

"I think there is a real effort by the industry to monitor and manage their environmental impact," said Famulak. "I think demand is going to expect the industry to build faster, greener and cheaper so I think this is a trend we will continue to see."

The VRCA will also present participants in the Christ Church Cathedral Restoration and Renewal project in Vancouver with the association’s special Heritage Award. The award is given out at the judges’ discretion.

"It really is on an as-identified basis," said Famulak. "It’s designed to recognize the rich architecture that Vancouver has in many cases, and work that is being undertaken to preserve that look and feel of the building. (Christ Church) was quite an undertaking. The results are stunning and our panel felt it was important to acknowledge the project and how it was managed."

Other special awards to be presented include Outstanding Achievement Awards, including Lifetime Achievement, Education Leadership, an Outstanding Woman in Construction, Innovation and Productivity, Safety, the VRCA Member of the Year, U40 Excellence in Construction and Construction Workplace Health and Safety.

At the gala, the VRCA will also award Life Membership to an individual in honour of their significant contributions to the industry and the association.

"The event itself will have around 500 to 600 attendees and the audience is really from small, medium and large companies from across the Lower Mainland," said Famulak.

"They are leaders in their field. It’s a great opportunity to network with leaders in the industry and a great opportunity to see firsthand the types of projects that are being recognized and why."

Famulak said the event often inspires attendees to begin thinking about their own projects and nominating themselves or partners in the future.

"What we find is that the Silver and Gold Award winners most years appreciate the profile and they not only appreciate the coverage but they carry that award decal in their email banners and letterheads," said Famulak. "It helps to signal to clients and the industry that their company is an award winner and their commitment to excellence."

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