The Procurement Committee of the CAA is working to enhance the success of our member firms’ practices by simplifying and streamlining procurement practices across Alberta’s Public and where applicable, private sector clients.
The committee will be proactive in this regard, but also work to address the concerns our members raise relative to specific RFP’s and procurement practices.Committee Co-chairs: Doug McConnell and Jan Pierzchajlo

Issue:  Specialty Consultants


(February 2012) – In the past few months two proposal calls were brought to our attention which included a requirement for the Prime Consultants to directly engage the services of hazardous material consultants.  This arrangement was a mandatory requirement within each RFP.  The City of Edmonton made this request in their Kennedale Eco Station project, and Alberta Health Services put the same requirement in their conveyance modernization upgrade project.
The City of Edmonton relented in their position, and took this requirement out of their RFQ .  Alberta Health Services did not.
In February, 2012, CAA wrote a letter to Alberta Health Services to outline our position on this matter.

CAA Position

  • Engaging specialty consultants (included: hazardous materials, geotechnical, and land surveyors) is the owner’s responsibility.
  • Due to the risk and the liabilities that these disciplines are exposed to, liability insurance providers recommend that their contracts are with the Owner.  In many cases, an architect’s liability insurance may be void if they take on this added responsibility.
  • It is recommended that the Owner should directly engage these specialty consultants, and the prime consultant can then coordinate the work.
  • We encourage our member firms to make their clients aware of our position on this matter, and to stick with the industry standard practice of the owners directly engaging these specialty consultants.


As with any contract issue, we encourage our member firms to consult with their insurance providers and their legal advisors prior to signing any agreements.

Issue:  Model RFP


The committee is reviewing best practices and samples of good quality Requests for Proposal (RFP) to assist them in developing a model document for the use of both member firms and their clients. The final document will be accessible online.

Current Status

The document is in its earliest draft stage. Our goal is to bring forward a draft to our membership and key clients for their input in September 2011.

Issue:  Public sector purchasing practices


Procurement of design services is significantly different from purchasing of products and other types of services, but not all public sector purchasing practices recognize this difference. There is great variation in the manner in which design services are procured. The committee is working to identify the range of approaches, highlight best practices and develop a strategy to encourage public sector clients to either adopt new practices or adapt their existing ones. The goal is increased clarity and more streamlined, consistent, fair practices that ultimately deliver enhanced results for both architect and clients.

Current Status

The committee is currently reviewing procurement practices with major clients including Alberta Infrastructure, and the Cities of Edmonton and Calgary. We will be meeting in the fall of 2011 with representatives of these key clients to discuss their processes.

We are also looking to reach out to procurement professionals across the industry via their existing associations. More information will be coming on this strategy.

Issue:  U of A Best Value procurement model


The University of Alberta is embarking on a new approach to procurement of goods and services using the Best Value model developed by Arizona State University. The first pilot project was the procurement of campus custodial services and the U of A is currently considering applying this model to the Cyclotron project on the university’s Balmoral site. University sources have told us that two additional projects are being considered for application of the Best Value process. Project details may be available as early as this fall.

Click here for more information on the Best Value Process on the Arizona State University website. You will also find a copy of the presentation made at the U of A to industry representatives on June 29th, 2011.

Current Status

The Procurement Committee will follow the early implementation of this new model as it relates to design and construction services, and report back to our member firms. In addition to participating in any future presentations made by the U of A, we will gather information from our industry colleagues involved in the Cyclotron project.


Issue:  VRAES system


Now that the VRAES procurement system (established by Alberta Infrastructure) has been in operation for over a year, the CAA will be looking to provide feedback to Alberta Infrastructure on how this system is working for our member firms.

Current Status

We have a meeting scheduled with Alberta Infrastructure in the late August 2011.