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CCInnovations continues its network growth and seeks federal funds

Warren Frey
CCInnovations continues its network growth and seeks federal funds

CCInnovations (CCI) is looking for a boost from the federal government to future-proof the Canadian construction industry.

The Canadian Construction Association’s innovation and technology committee at the association’s annual conference in Mexico received an update about CCI’s future plans regarding projects and funding. The institute is waiting on the March 22 federal budget to see if the government will provide funding for the organization.

The update from CCI board chair John Bockstael included a report from December 2016 containing a budget submission requesting a five year, $150 million investment by the federal government, matched by an equivalent contribution from the Canadian construction industry.

It is possible, Bockstael said, that the institute will receive no funding in the federal budget, in which case CCI will appeal to its membership for funding.

"We’re at the end of our three-year mandate and we’ll be going back to current members, and we’re constantly looking for new members," Bockstael said. He added even with government funding, CCI will continue to look for new membership. CCI was established in 2013 to provide leadership and a framework to encourage innovation in the construction industry.

Should the partnership with the federal government be approved, CCI has identified several projects it would initiate, including collaboration with the Department of National Defense, the Ontario Good Roads Association and other partners on "digitization of Canada’s construction industry."

Other innovative technologies highlighted by the CCI submission include curing concrete in cold climates, adoption of warm mix asphalt, modernization of fire suppression and implementation of Envision, a sustainability rating system for infrastructure similar to LEED.

The institute would also deliver a strategy on construction talent and a strategy for the North and indigenous people, according to a companion document to the report detailing the logistics of CCI’s submission to Finance Canada.

"If we have new technology, the talent has to be developed to go along with it," Bockstael said.

Currently CCI continues to work on a "clearinghouse" portal which acts as an innovation information centre for the industry, and is also working on an incubator for the heavy civil sector on energy conservation. CCI is working with NRCan and Statistics Canada and has initiated three case studies to find ways to improve energy use data acquisition for the construction industry.

CCI has also enrolled in "The Challenge," a four-year program administered by a not for profit organization to promote Canadian high performance building. CCI submitted its proposal on December 14 "in pursuit of its goal to be a key stakeholder and partner of the federal government in the implementation of its innovation agenda," the report said.

The committee was also informed that SNC-Lavalin is now a member of CCI and will soon nominate a candidate to serve on the institute’s executive committee and board of directors. Spectrum 28, represented by co-founder and general partner Lyon Wong, has also joined CCI and now serves as a board member.

CCI has also begun planning for a national conference to be held in Toronto in the fall. David Bowcott of AON will chair the conference planning committee.

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