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by Daily Commercial News last update:May 10, 2007

Two thousand and four proved to be an exemplary year, showing how working together can achieve extraordinary results.

Two thousand and four proved to be an exemplary year, showing how working together can achieve extraordinary results.

Developing and maintaining relationships with the industry, clients and government leads to a better understanding of how the architectural profession fits within these structures. I believe by taking into account the broader impact of our profession we significantly increase the effectiveness of our decision-making.

An excellent example of this is the work ongoing with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in concert with the Ministry of the Attorney General. The very positive and constructive relationship that has developed with those two ministries has allowed the OAA to work towards the development and ultimate recognition of a parallel system for architects related to the requirements for building code knowledge.

In particular, the co-operation received from ministry staff, specifically acting director of the Building and Development Branch, MMAH, David Brezer, and Ministry of the Attorney General, Senior Counsel, Policy Division, John Twohig, has been outstanding, resulting in considerable progress being made on the development of a parallel system in a very short period of time.

Similarly, a very constructive relationship has developed between the OAA and the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) along with Consulting Engineers Ontario (CEO) and Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA).

Common determination

With a common determination to come together and address, head-on, mutual concerns from procurement to value-versus-cost to quality assurance, the Strategic Issues Committee (SIC) comprised of senior elected officials and the leadership staff from each group was established.

Building upon this momentum, the groups held a full-day symposium in Toronto in late May. Participants from the four organizations as well as clients and ministry representatives developed constructive working relationships, networked, shared ideas and identified opportunities.

It was here that ORC president and CEO Tony Miele praised the initiative and stressed the importance of relationships and relationship building as a way to do business. “It’s an initiative that, I think, will be the template for a lot of other associations and a lot of other departments within our corporation, and I think, in general, even governments, or other agencies.”

With a shared goal of quality service, these achievements were possible and as well reflect the vital working relationship between the construction and design sector and the ORC.

An emerging and far-reaching issue this year was procurement. In the OAA’s submission to the new Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, the new ministry whose mandate is to deal with the deficit of public infrastructure in the province, we expressed our position that the design of buildings should remain under the control of the public side of any public-private partnership (P3) initiative. Concerned that the disconnect between the end user group and the architect does not bode well for a well executed program, the OAA suggested a Made for Ontario model which would provide for a more transparent process.

Some of the procurement/financing models currently in place are a major concern for architects, but also for government, constructors, engineers, financiers, and the institutions and service providers themselves.

We need a procurement model that is equitable, workable and cost-effective; a “Made for Ontario” solution for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of public building infrastructure. I believe that our collective energies and creativity can easily lead to a procurement model that meets our objectives.

Information on this initiative continues to be posted on the OAA Web site at www.oaa.on.ca . I encourage you to get involved and keep up to date with its development and the opportunities for input into a very important initiative.

As part of the building industry, you are well acquainted with the Request for Proposal, (RFP) a formal process of competitively tendering and choosing a service provider or product supplier. This method is increasingly becoming a standard for a variety of projects beyond the public sector.

The process can be onerous, detailed and time-consuming. The OAA’s architectural societies raised concerns and questions regarding RFP processes and queried: “Isn’t there a better way to manage a proposal call?”

Council became determined to address the issue by setting an objective to develop a Model RFP that could be used by clients, large and small, in managing their proposal calls.

The project got underway last fall. Societies will provide key input into the first draft of the document early this year. Key client groups will be invited to be part of the development process as we work toward adopting the final RFP model to be rolled out in the coming months.

For the first time, the OAA set out clear and detailed expectations and procedures for architects providing General Review During Construction with the collaborative effort of the EABO Committee. In a letter of support for this initiative, Clive Thurston, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association, stated: “The OGCA supports these initiatives that, as you state, are proving essential to protect the interest of the public and to ensure safe, soundly constructed buildings.”

Templates for standardized General Review Reports, the Final General Review Report and a checklist for occupancy-related code matters were designed and are now the standard format to be used across the province. This series of Practice Bulletins is available to the public on the OAA website. (Find all OAA Practice Bulletins at www.oaa.on.ca — under ‘Services and Resources.’)

In addition, the OAA’s Construction Permit Review (CPR) program, a mediation service to resolve issues and concerns related to permit applications and General Review services provided by architects, was launched last March to assist architects and building officials throughout Ontario.

The CPR program provides a positive and proactive measure. The presence of the program has encouraged practitioners to co-operate with the municipality prior to calling upon the OAA. The program is reciprocal; both architects and building officials can request a review by OAA staff.

The development of the program was a successful, collaborative effort between the OAA and the Chief Building Officials and senior Building Department staff in four municipalities who participated in a pilot project in 2002 and 2003. EABO’s insight was integral to refining the guidelines and procedures for the final program.

Information about the program, Guidelines, Review Request and Evaluation forms are available from the Services and Resources area of the OAA website at:

http://www.oaa.on.ca/client/oaa/OAAHome.nsf/web/Service and Resources!OpenDocument.

The OAA has continued to develop strategic working groups with another large client group, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC). In 2003, OAA Council established a joint advisory committee with MOHLTC to establish some “best practices” in the design industry and to address some of the recurring issues identified by architects working in this sector.

Updated draft

Three task groups were established and are working towards making recommendations on critical planning, construction and design issues. An updated draft of the Capital Planning Manual will be available for public consultation early this year.

The OAA Membership Model was a priority for council this year. One aspect of the Membership Model is issues related to Internationally trained professionals (ITPs).

This issue is also a priority for the government; the minister has set high expectations for the regulators to substantially resolve this issue this year.

Earlier this year we collaborated with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), Access to the Professions and Trades Unit and developed a fact sheet, “Access to the Profession of Architecture in Ontario,” to provide information to new immigrants, or people thinking of immigrating to Canada who have an architectural education, or have practices in countries other than Canada or the U.S. We will continue to participate on the “Access Ontario” steering committee, comprised of regulators working together to research issues around internationally trained professionals.

The OAA was invited by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers to respond to a survey on the foreign credential recognition models being used in Canada by various professions, including architecture.

We are monitoring the Professional Engineers of Ontario’s Provisional Licence that permits an ITP to practice under the supervision of a professional engineer in Ontario while obtaining the necessary experience to qualify for a full licence in Ontario.

Issues faced by ITPs are widespread and affect many; through advocacy and partnerships we’ve gained a better understanding of the situation.

For more information on the status of these as well as initiatives that will be prioritized for the coming year, visit the OAA website.

I believe forging and maintaining positive working relationships is key to success. Goals cannot be accomplished in isolation. We all need to get together, to work together to design solutions. With leadership and determination we can make it happen

The architects of Ontario are committed to working with our partners in this industry to improve the process of delivering Ontario’s built environment.

The Ontario Association of Architects is the regulatory body and professional association for Ontario’s architects. The OAA is established under, and administers, the Architects Act, a public statute. As a self-regulating and self-governing profession, Ontario’s architects recognize the importance of fulfilling their responsibility under that statute to “regulate the practice of architecture . . . in order that the public interest may be served and protected.”

last update:May 10, 2007

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