Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 81

Contracting out In 1987, the federal government’s White Paper on Defence called for renewal of the military, a policy change that would ultimately lead to another increase in work for DCC. DCC’s 1988–89 Annual Report noted that “in keeping with the trend towards greater private sector involvement, the number of projects designed by consultants and the extent of consultant supervision during construction has increased.” The subsequent Annual Report noted a further increase: “This practice proves to be advantageous for major projects, whereas the effectiveness of our own staff cannot be surpassed for the Department’s regular construction and maintenance programs.” The way in which consultants were inventoried and selected also changed during this period. After years of maintaining its own inventory of consulting firms, DCC engineering staff worked in conjunction with PWC to develop a national consultant inventory and selection system. Known as SPEC (Selection, Prequalification and Evaluation of Consultants), the new computerized system was to be used by both DCC and PWC beginning April 1, 1989. BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA SPEC was designed as a qualifications-based system, in which the experience of registered consultants was entered into a database. When DND required a consultant, DCC entered the necessary capabilities into the system, and the computerized system chose a consultant that matched them. SPEC also provided an equitable distribution of work, by using a points system based on contracts awarded or invitations to compete for larger projects. If these two criteria still resulted in the equal ranking of two or more firms, the system would make a random selection. Examining within In 1989, DCC underwent its first Special Examination by the Office of the Auditor General, which Crown corporations were initially required to go through at least once every five years; now every ten years. The auditors noted four deficiencies, and by 1990, a number of actions were being taken in response. Additional performance indicators were being developed, data would soon be gathered to generate a discussion regarding changes needed for construction contracts, a formal internal audit policy was developed for DCC by PWC, and a consultant was being hired to help develop a new classification system that would comply with Equal Wage legislation. 71