Top 10 Tips For Effective Collaborative City Planning

By Bob Ransford, Vancouver Sun
February 2, 2013

Vancouver’s chief planner, Brian Jackson, was on the radio the other day talking about the need for a public conversation in the city about growth. I believe citizens of Vancouver are ready for that discussion. It sounds like city hall might also be ready for a wider and deeper discussion than we’ve heard lately about planning for the change that continued steady population growth will bring. There’s been quite a bit of passionate discussion over the last few years about a number of development projects that are responding to growth, but most of that discussion hasn’t been very constructive. It’s been vigorous, but it hasn’t made for good planning or effective decision making. More …

Perkins+Will Named a Top Employer

The Vancouver office of Perkins+Will Canada has been named one of the province’s Top Employers for 2013. The list, selected by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, recognizes the organizations that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Criteria includes community involvement; physical workplace; training and skills development; and health, financial and family benefits. Perkins+Will Canada was cited for employee support programs that include flexible hours, telecommuting, compressed work weeks; bonuses and profit-sharing; and subsidies for job-related courses and professional accreditation. For the full list of this year’s top employers, visit

RIBA Declares Turf War

7 February 2013
By David Rogers, Building Design

The RIBA is accusing Arb of muscling in on its remit to promote architecture, adding that it has “serious concerns” about the way it carries out its business. RIBA president Angela Brady recently wrote to Arb chair Beatrice Fraenkel warning off the registration body from stepping on its toes, which Brady said was “undermining and overlapping with the role of professional bodies such as the RIBA”. More …

Arb Boots 1,300 Architects Off Its Register (U.K.)

By David Rogers, Building Design
February 6, 2013

The number of architects kicked off the Arb’s register for failing to pay their fees on time has nearly doubled to 1,300. Architects wanting to remain on this year’s register were told they had until last Thursday to pay their £98.50 retention fee – or face being pulled from the register the next day. More …

Coast Modern Film Screening

On Tuesday, February 12, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation presents a film screening of Coast Modern (2012). Directed by Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome, the film showcases the pioneers of West Coast Modernist Architecture including James Steele, Barbara Lamprecht, Douglas Coupland, and legendary photographer Julius Shulman. The directors will be on hand to lead a post-show Q&A. It takes place at the Hollywood Theatre, 3123 West Broadway, Vancouver. Admission is by donation at the door. Concession is also by donation. Doors at 7:00 p.m., screening begins at 7:30 p.m.

Surrey Certified Professional Program Changes

The City of Surrey has updated its Certified Professional Program with new schedules that have been endorsed by both the AIBC and the Association of Professional  Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia. The individual schedules  can be found online here:

For comprehensive version of Surrey’s Certified Professional Program, go to

In addition, the city has also updated its British Columbia Building Code checklist. The 2012 version can be accessed at

Member Advisory: City of Pitt Meadows

City of Pitt Meadows Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) & Vendor Qualification
Architectural Consultant for Recreation Centre Upgrades/Improvements
Deadline: 12 February 2013

Concerns regarding this recent notice have been brought to the attention of the AIBC. Having reviewed the above-noted EOI, the institute is obliged to issue the following cautions:

The City of Pitt Meadows is not prepared to issue a budget nor a schedule for this project, while expecting architects to provide a proposal for fees, services and a timeline. As a result, and in accordance with the AIBC Council ruling as stated in AIBC Bulletin 64: Proposal Calls and Related Issues, no architect shall respond to this request for proposal.

Although referred to as an ‘EOI’, the city is requesting that architectural firms provide a fee, along with a schedule, and have stated that this fee will be used in the selection process. Thus, this is more than a solicitation for interested and qualified firms; it is a solicitation for a fee proposal.

Proposals that comply with this EOI/RFP as written would place architects and their firms in jeopardy with respect to professional conduct. Specific attention needs to be drawn to AIBC Bylaw 34.16, whereby an architect is required to provide fees and services in substantial accord with the Tariff of Fees for Architectural Services. With no information provided by the client on the project budget, nor the project schedule, an architect has no firm ground upon which to base a fee. Further, it would be impossible for an architect to design within budget if no budget is provided.

The EOI/RFP states that “This project is constrained by a budget and the consultant will work toward meeting or reducing the budget without compromising integrity of design, quality of work, or value for money.” The City of Pitt Meadows further states that there is no parallel RFP process in place or anticipated for cost consulting services in order to determine a budget. It is fundamentally not possible for a consultant to work towards a budget when one is not provided.

With no budget or schedule, and no sharply defined scope of work, any fee proposal for architectural services would be highly speculative. As such, it might be higher than one that was based on a clear budget and scope. On the other hand, the lack of budget, schedule and clear scope could lead to inadequate levels of service, or a fee for architectural services that is continually being adjusted upwards as the project progresses and the scope is revealed. It does not serve the citizens of Pitt Meadows to pay more for professional services than they might otherwise. It is well established that public sector projects need to be clearly defined and carefully budgeted in an open, transparent process.

Parallel to the budget issue, this EOI/RFP requires that the architect “establish a timeline” and “ensure” meeting that timeline for the project. Notwithstanding that any architect can only control his or her own time, and the total project time schedule will be highly dependent on construction procurement beyond the architect’s control, another fundamental requirement for any architect proponent to offer services is to know the client’s expectation with respect to schedule in order to determine if the architectural firm has the requisite personnel available and can meet the expectation. Projects of this nature (renovation of an existing facility) could be undertaken on a “fast track” basis of less than a year, or could be extended over several years in order to meet a client’s capital expenditure funding schedule. The client’s expectations with respect to schedule are critical in determining an appropriate fee. The least that must be provided is a proposed start date.

In a project such as this, where the client does not have the information to provide a budget, there are a number of actions that could be taken to move forward. An RFP for cost consulting services could be issued to qualified consultants, and in parallel, a request for EOI from qualified architectural firms issued, one that solicited from architectural firms their interest and qualifications but not a fee. A short list of architectural firms could then be developed based on qualifications. When the costing process has provided a budget and a schedule, an RFP (including solicitation of a fee proposal) could then be issued to the short-listed architectural firms.

The AIBC has shared these serious concerns with those responsible for this project and looks forward to the EOI/RFP’s amendment and reissue, so that architects and their firms are able to submit responsible proposals in keeping with AIBC Bulletin 64: Proposal Calls and Related Issues. However, at this time we have received no such response. As such members are advised to not respond.

Paul Becker Architect AIBC P.Eng.
Director of Professional Services
Phone: 604-683-8588, ext. 307