Leading innovation: Hundreds of delegates and sponsors to learn and share ideas about the construction industry’s future
Ontario Construction Report special feature
The eighth Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) Symposium will likely be the largest and best-supported gathering in the three-day event’s history, as a record number of sponsors have signed up and delegate registration is well ahead of schedule, OGCA staff say.
The bi-annual event at the Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood combines educational sessions with recreation and entertainment. Sponsors reduce the registration costs for OGCA members so much that member firms find it economical to register several employees each.
The association will also present the Ontario Builder Awards on April 12 at an event emceed by entertainer Mike Bullard.
Sponsors can exhibit in the meeting area where delegates have their meals and hear major presentations. “In 2011, we had 41 exhibitors,” says OGCA administrator and education co-ordinator Julie Burke. “This year we have 54.” In fact, she says the exhibit space has reached Blue Mountain’s capacity.
Sponsors appreciate the event because they are able to communicate and network with qualified general contractors. OGCA members, meanwhile, update their knowledge and learn about current issues and trends.
Thurston says he expects 600 to 700 delegates will attend. Burke says many more members will register once the symposium brochure is distributed in March, and hopes for a record-breaking interest.
“This is an event that has something for everyone in our industry and a number of our members send large groups from their organizations for full coverage of the educational sessions,” said OGCA chair David Blake.
Burke says the program has been designed for a diversity of interests and she believes spouses and women will enjoy many of the sessions.
For example, Bob Gray will speak about how you can train your memory for success, including a “wonderful method to easily triple your recall and store into memory the names of new friends and business acquaintances.”
Other seminars and events of special interest include:
Addressing the risks and liabilities of green building
Helen Goodland of Brantwood Consulting in Vancouver will explain some of the risks in building “green” and what contractors can do to mitigate the risks. “It’s a politically correct thing to do these days, but few people understand the risks and fall-out if you don’t understand them,” said Thurston.
Goodland will explain how “regulators are increasingly demanding measurable performance outcomes from building projects,” the OGCA says in its program materials.
“But the procurement systems, contracts, standards and programs in use today have yet to catch up and are potentially exposing builders and developers to unforeseen risks and liabilities. At the same time the market is flooded with new and unfamiliar technologies and approaches aimed at optimizing building performance.”
Transformation of the WSIB and Ontario’s occupational health and safety system
WSIB chair Elizabeth Witmer “will be speaking about the current and upcoming funding and operational changes to the WSIB.” Then, George Gritziotis, the Ministry of Labour’s chief prevention offer, will address the audience about the implications of Bill 160, which resulted in significant changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Humber River Hospital – Lean, green and digital
Two representatives from PCL Constructors Canada Inc. will describe the contractor’s work on “North America’s first fully digital hospital.” This program, especially relevant to project managers and supervisors, will “maximize the benefits of efficient building practices and technology to increase a commitment to patients and families who face health care challenges.”
In previous symposiums, the president’s panel has always been one of the most popular sessions. This year’s panellists include: John Aquino, Bondfield Construction Co. Ltd.; John Cutruzzola, Inzola Construction Inc.; Chris Gower, PCL Construction Canada Inc.; and Mike Reinders, Maple Reinders Construction Ltd.
“Hear from leaders in the construction industry on the future workforce they will need to employ, steps they are taking to meet future challenges in construction, (and) how they view the roles of the new stakeholders and owners,” the symposium program says.