June 2021 - ICBA


The following first appeared on EnergyNow.ca on June 1, 2021.

Watts 1Watts Projects Inc. is Western Canada’s leading facility, pipeline, and secondary containment construction company. Since 1996, we have been building exceptional projects – from single well-site construction to large gas processing plants, they can handle all of your construction needs.

Watts Projects is a family-owned business with deep roots in the oil and gas industry, and is committed to safety, innovation, and the community. With offices across Alberta and British Columbia, they have been able to expand themselves as a company, and their communities in which they live and work. As a culture, their focus on innovation and smart solutions encompasses everything they do. They are always looking for ways to increase their efficiency in projects and within their own organization. They work to stay at the forefront of safety and environmentally responsible construction for support safety and deliver quality work and service.

Their experience has given them a deep and comprehensive understanding of the markets they serve, as well as the ability to effectively manage people, projects, and equipment; proactively identify challenges; avoid pitfalls; and overcome obstacles to meet expectations for schedule and budget.


Watts Projects Inc. responsibly thinks, designs, and implements solutions for facility and pipeline projects. They always look at the future, never losing the focus on the current technical knowledge. Their goal is to implement sustainable solutions for the new generations. Their driving force for success is, above all, the employees that belong to the Watts family and its future.


Their expertise and technical resources fuel the delivery of their services. As a leading provider of construction services, Watts Projects focuses on providing solutions for facility construction, pipeline construction, fabrication, secondary containments, and spray coatings.


Capability Range – contract values up to $25+ Million


Watts Projects are equipped and experienced in the areas of Sweet Gas, Sour Gas, Oil, and Condensate. Their team of expert Fabrication Welders and Pipefitters combined with excellent in-house fabrication facilities and equipment, allow them to be very cost effective while providing the utmost in quality control.


Watts Projects is well experienced in all aspects of pipeline construction. Their well-trained and highly qualified crews have completed countless pipeline projects in challenging and adverse conditions, on schedule and with attention to quality control and safety at the workplace.

watts 2


Watts Projects offers a complete compliment of manufacturing and fabrication services, all in-house at their Red Deer Facility. Their fully equipped welding and fabrication shop capabilities saves their customers time and money, supports schedule limitations, and helps reduce risks posed by inclement weather and labour shortages.


Watts Projects specializes in the supply, fabrication, and installation of high-quality geo-synthetics and civil construction projects that support critical infrastructure while helping to protect the environment. With extensive installation, sales, project management, and technical expertise they excel at working with you in the consultation, planning, and execution phase of any Secondary Containment project to get the job done right, on time, and on budget.


Watts Projects spray-applied Secondary Containment coating systems are some of the strongest in the industry. Backed by over 20 years of experience, their projects provide environmental protection and meet regulatory requirements for their clients throughout Western Canada.

For more information on Watts Projects Inc., visit their website at www.wattsprojects.com.

Wellness Wednesday #1: Mental Health is About Biology

Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out icba.ca/wellness for details.

After nearly a year of working on the ICBA Wellness program, we are so excited to see more than 50 companies now involved. And ICBA itself is one of them! Thanks to our Wellness Champions (Mina, Jenny and Kerry) for getting us started us on the program.

Every week, I’ll post a recap of our ICBA Wellness journey.

Today, I’m pondering this slide, and how different this understanding is from what many of us thought about mental health not that long ago.

“Mental health is dependent on brain circuitry function”: it’s obvious, but important.

I love history, so I think of Abraham Lincoln and his struggle with “melancholy” – which today we would call depression. Or Winston Churchill, who wrestled with suicidal thoughts, calling his depression a “black dog.”

They didn’t have the language or understanding we have now. I’m glad we’re making progress. There’s more to do, for sure, but moving mental illness into the realm of biology is a huge step.

CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATIONS: Talking with Steve Zahm of Procore Technologies

Procore Technologies is a proud member of ICBA’s 2021 Builders’ Circle.

Chief Culture Officer and President of Procore Technologies Steve Zahm has worked in the construction field for 17 years, and he is still excited with how much growth potential there is within the industry. In fact, having a front-row seat to its growth has been one reason why he has continued to work for the leading construction software company.

The goal at Procore is one he takes seriously: “to connect everyone in construction on a global platform.” The goal of the company and therefore Zahm is to “improve the lives of everyone in construction” and to “make it more efficient at a higher level of quality with less rework.”

Zahm believes that the Procore software is very capable of doing this, and the more construction companies pick it up the more data they and Procore can analyze, which in turn leads to new information. For instance, one interesting factoid Zahm shared is that the app-based software stores information as users continue to contribute to it. So while its primary use on a construction site is to help the various contractors and workers and specialties collaborate, it has broader applications to the construction industry as a whole.

He explained that one thing they have noticed is how “data-intensive” construction is. This large amount of data allows Procore to identify future trends and benchmarks by studying patterns. So what this means to one individual contractor or worker is they can look at how long a project took, or how much it cost, and get a better idea of what to expect on similar projects. In the end, software users learn  “how they can work better, how they can work with a higher level of quality, and more importantly, how they can work more safely.”

In order to continue to collect data, one thing Procore has always focused on is simplicity. The app is very user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy for anyone with a smartphone to figure out and utilize. They believe this approach is what makes it so appealing to collaborators in the construction world who come from many different backgrounds.

Zahm is proud of Procore for the way “we treat our employees” and the “great strides they are making in terms of driving diversity, inclusion, and belonging.” He went on to note that he is “tremendously proud of how the entire construction industry has been working hard on building diversity.”

TRAINING THURSDAY: Writing Effective Emails (Live Online Training)

Writing Effective Emails (Live Online Training)
Wednesday, June 9th, 2021 (1 to 2:30PM) – Online

How do you write emails that are effective, clear, and concise? With an increase in reliance on working and connecting remotely, emails are more important than ever as a key communication medium. Clients and colleagues expect your emails to be clear and to the point, whether they are reading from a mobile phone or device.

This 90-minute webinar is focused on giving you the tools to write effective emails. We will cover key topics, including:

– Writing persuasively for different audiences
– Having clear subject lines
– Structuring your emails—using a direct approach for maximum impact
– Incorporating clear topic sentences

We’ll review effective and ineffective emails and you’ll be able to immediately incorporate key takeaways for your writing. There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions as well. Sign up: https://icba.simplesignup.ca/en/7391/index.php?m=eventSummary All ICBA courses: icba.ca/courses ICBA Wellness: icba.ca/wellness

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: The Impact of Concussions on Mental Health

Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out icba.ca/wellness for details.

I’m about halfway through this month’s learnings, but I find myself thinking about this slide a lot – how a trauma or brain injury (think concussion) can make a person more likely to experience mental illness.

This hits home in a couple of different ways.

First, my son is a young hockey player, and concussions are something his minor hockey association talks about a lot. There are Hockey Canada Safety People at all games and practices, keeping an eye out for concussions and other injuries. He is taught how to protect himself, and we’re taught what to watch for. We do baseline testing every year, just to have a fresh set of exams to compare with, in case something bad happens.

But the link to long-term mental health isn’t always spelled out – and probably should be. In the old-school hockey culture, a concussion for too long was just a nuisance, at worst a reason to have to miss a game or two. That’s been changing in recent years, but needs to go further. There are long-term physiological implications to a concussion.

Second, I think of the thousands of construction workers ICBA represents. I’m sure many of them have had a concussion in sports, everyday life, or on-site, even with the growing understanding and added protections. That puts them at risk. It’s important we learn and communicate the signs of concussions to try and help people deal with the ramifications. This is one of the risk factors for construction workers and (likely) one of the reasons why our mental health statistics are so concerning.

As hard as it is, if you have a concussion, please take the time to heal… both for today and down the road.

ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 50 companies, and thousands of construction professionals, better understand mental health. The program is free for ICBA members — see icba.ca/wellness.


TRAINING THURSDAY: CCDC Contracts, COVID-19 Recovery, HR Toolkit & ICBA Wellness

A packed Training Thursday episode has Kerry and Jordan talking about a number of ICBA Training items, including:

All ICBA courses at www.icba.ca/courses

Gold Seal: 1 Credit
Tuesday, June 15th – Thursday, June 17th, 2021

What has caused these changes to industry standard contract clauses?  Allocation of risk often gets modified in contract clauses based on Project Owner’s or their lawyer’s past experiences. The issue with modifications to contract clauses is the lack of understanding of what the clause means and its associated risks to Project Owners, Consultants, Contractors and other Stakeholders.

If the risk materializes:

  • disputes arise,
  • relationships are damaged,
  • project costs can increase,
  • schedules can be compromised,
  • bidders can jeopardize their businesses and
  • the potential for litigation increases.

BE AWARE:  In the nuances of the prime contract clauses, there are implications to all partners including the Consultants and Subcontractors.

With decades of experience, the project partners (Owner, Consultant, and Contractor) will, from their perspectives, assist you to:

  • Understand WHAT the risks are in CCDC, CCA and provincial standard contracts that have been modified by supplementary conditions
  • Discover WHY these clauses are modified
  • Develop strategies on HOW to address the impact of these clauses
  • Apply what you have learned to determine COSTS associated with these clauses

You will experience all this through the eyes of the project partners – Owner, Consultant, and Contractor – a team of multi-discipline trainers. Experts from each sector will share their insight, knowledge and explain the “why”, “what” and “how” to address the impact of these clauses.  You will test your understanding by engaging in a process to examine several non-standard contract clauses.

Who should attend: Understanding the impact of non-standard clauses is important for all industry partners!  This course is most applicable to mid-management personnel from the following roles/disciplines who are familiar with standard contract clauses.

  • General Contractors and Subcontractors:
    • Construction Company Owners/Managers
    • Project Managers
    • Commercial Managers
    • Estimators
    • Business Development Managers
  • Project Owners
  • Third party Project Managers (for the Project Owner)
  • Architects and Engineers
  • Bonding and Insurance specialists
  • Lawyers

Important Note: This workshop requires full face-to-face interaction and participation from both the instructor and students. In order to attend, you must make sure you have the following:

Webinar Dates:

  • Day 1: June 15, 2021 – 7:30am – 11:00am Pacific Standard Time
  • Day 2: June 16, 2021 – 7:30am – 11:00am Pacific Standard Time
  • Day 3: June 17, 2021 – 7:30am – 11:00am Pacific Standard Time


Dean SlaterP. Eng., GSC. Dean Slater is a Professional Engineer APEGA Life Member with 40 years’ experience in the construction and development industry.  He is a Past President of the Calgary Construction Association (CCA) and has held various executive level positions working in General Contracting, Development, and the Alberta Health Services (AHS) project management group.  Dean has worked on many significant projects in Alberta including Calgary’s Petro-Canada (Suncor) Centre, the Olympic Saddledome, the Hyatt Hotel, Telus Convention Centre, SMART Technologies Building, major hospital expansions, and the South Health Campus.  His roles spanned estimating and construction management as both the General Contractor with CANA (Vice-President) and Ledcor Construction, Project Manager on the Smart Technologies Building, and Project Owner’s representative / Vice-President with AHS and Triovest Realty Advisors.  Retiring in January 2018, Dean has embarked on a new role as a fundraising volunteer with Wellspring Calgary – a cancer support group providing programs and education to individuals diagnosed with cancer.  Due in part to his volunteer efforts, Dean was recognized in 2018 with CCA’s “Person of the Year” award.

Bill Chomik, AAA, SAA, OAA, AIBC, FRAIC, RCA, Kasian, Senior Principal, Vice President Institutional. A leading Canadian architect and considered a visionary in his field, Bill has 40 years of experience in architecture, overseeing the design and construction of over 750 buildings worldwide.  Bill’s accomplishments include the University of Calgary’s Taylor Family Digital Library; National Music Centre, Calgary; Calgary Courts Centre; Guangzhou Planetarium, China; Alder Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois; Grande Prairie Library and Art Gallery, Red Deer Performing Arts Centre and Simon Fraser University Trottier Observatory.  As a Senior Principal at Kasian, he leads the delivery of architectural, strategic planning (master planning and programming), and interior planning and urban planning services.

Elisa Brandts, AAA, OAA, NSAA, FRAIC, Stantec, Managing Senior Principal. Elisa is a Senior Principal and the Business Centre Managing Leader for our buildings group in British Columbia. Her role combines active senior team leadership and financial and studio management with managing significant projects, particularly of large-scale alternate delivery scope, IPD and those integrating Lean process. Elisa’s accomplishments include Eric Hamber Secondary School Replacement Project, Vancouver; Camosun College Alex and Jo Campbell School of Health Sciences, Victoria; Canalta Centre, (2015)*, Medicine Hat, Alberta; Sault Ste. Marie Event Centre, (2006)*,  Sault Ste Marie, Ontario; Youngstown Convocation Center, (2005)*, Youngstown, OH, USA; Rideau Carleton Raceway, (2000)*, Ottawa.

Hugh Loughborough P. Eng.  Hugh’s career in the construction industry spans over 40 years.  Hugh has held senior management positions related to contracts and risk management. Hugh earned a B.A.Sc (Civil) in 1980 and a M.A.Sc (Construction Management) in 1986 from the University of Waterloo, is a retired Professional Engineer registered in the Province of Ontario, and is a Gold Seal Project Manager.  Hugh has been actively involved in industry associations over the years, having served as an Executive Member of the Canadian Construction Association, Chairman of CCA’s Standard Practices Committee, CCA’s Trade Contractor Representative to the Canadian Construction Documents Committee and Chair of CCDC’s Insurance and Surety Sub-Committees.  He was also President of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Kitchener – Waterloo, a Board Member of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Ontario, and as a National Director of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada.

FACILITATOR: Debbie Hicks, B.Sc. DSH Consulting, Kelowna, BC. With a comprehensive education background (Diploma in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science, teaching credential, and in progress MBA) learning has been at the core of her career. As former President of the Southern Interior Construction Association in BC for 22 years, liaising with the buyers of construction services, architects, engineers and contractors in advocacy and education brings a solid base to her expertise.  In addition, her experience as the owner Rep for the construction of the new Clubhouse for the Kelowna Yacht Club has provided additional perspective. Through these experiences and teaching techniques, Debbie is able to bring both knowledge and interaction to the classroom – an ideal education environment.


Join us for a presentation from the Committee of Construction Associations (COCA) for a construction industry-focused briefing on what you need to know as we work through the later stages of the global pandemic in BC.

Get actionable information on how to navigate risks, manage issues, and employ practical solutions. We’ll also provide the latest update on closures, vaccine availability and rapid testing for BC’s construction industry.

• Dr. Grant McMillan, Senior Advisor – COCA
• Dr. Dave Baspaly, President – COCA
• Chris Gardner, President – ICBA

ICBA NEWS RELEASE: Construction Regulation Regime Misses Mark

BURNABY – The new compulsory program rolled out by the NDP Government today will make it more difficult for young workers to get into the trades and more confusing for construction contractors to hire workers, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA), which sponsors more trades apprentices than any other organization, union, or business in BC.

“Like many BC industries, we are facing a shortage of workers. But you don’t attract more people to the trades by closing the door to get into them and forcing contractors to navigate a sea of red tape. You do it by expanding opportunities to get into the industry – more training spaces, shorter wait lists for training spaces in colleges, updated curriculum, online delivery of training, and more opportunities to learn different aspects of construction,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President.

A 2013 study by the C.D. Howe Institute found that provinces that have imposed tight restrictions on entry into the trades have 44 per cent fewer workers in the trades than those without a compulsory approach.

“The industry long ago recognized the multiple pathways a worker takes to acquire skills to become a ticketed tradesperson or to pursue other career aspirations,” said Gardner. “The evidence shows that compulsory trades do not result in more people completing an apprenticeship.”

Today’s announcement does nothing to address two major problems facing apprentices and contractors seeking to train their workers: the lack of training spaces and long wait lists to get into classes. “There are too few trades schools – for many trades, there is only one school in the entire province serving nearly 250,000 workers,” said Gardner. “Compounding the challenge are wait lists at many schools of at least a year, and sometimes up to three years.”

“If we want to get more young people into the trades, we should be adding seats at training schools and modernizing the curriculum and how its delivered,” said Gardner. “Governments should not be dictating to contractors how many ticketed tradespeople should be working with apprentices – it’s a level of bureaucracy that merely adds cost and complexity and creates confusion.”

According to Gardner, what is needed is broad industry consultation and a more comprehensive approach to the workforce development and training challenges facing the construction sector. “We are emerging from a global pandemic, so now is exactly the time to bring people together for conversations that will help rebuild our economy and create jobs and opportunity. Limiting discussion and dialogue and rushing programs out the door will only serve to set us back not move us forward,” said Gardner.

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ICBA represents more than 3,300 members and clients in construction and responsible resource development, trains more than 5,000 workers every year, and is the single largest sponsor of trades apprentices in B.C. ICBA is also one of the leading third-party providers of group health and retirement benefits in western Canada.