ACEC-BC Engineering Excellence Awards 2016

ACEC-BC Awards 2016 - CJI - RBRC Partners at Roberts Bank

The 27th annual Awards for Engineering Excellence Gala highlighted achievement in B.C. engineering. Congratulations to all the winners!

Collings Johnston Inc. received an honourable mention at the event for our “Program Management of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program – An Unprecedented Collaboration” submission in the soft engineering category.

The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program was an unprecedented collaboration of 12 funding Partners to deliver 9 overpasses and road improvements along this 70-kilometre rail through 4 municipalities. The Program supported trade, while minimizing train impacts to communities, and improving safety. Partners included industry as well as all levels of government, and all held a financial stake in the success of the Program.

As Program Managers, Collings Johnston Inc. (CJI) oversaw the development and implementation of the Program. This included the organisation and management of the partnership, and the production of the implementation and delivery plans. CJI  managed First Nations, public communications and environmental interests at the Program level to reduce risk, develop strong relationships, and maintain consistent messaging and approach. This successfully facilitated delivery of the $307 million Program infrastructure on time and under budget.

Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program Wins Premier’s Award for Partnership

Excellence in partnership drove the success of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program – an unprecedented collaboration of 12 public and private funding partners. The project delivered eight rail overpasses and a rail siding project along a 70-kilometre trade corridor that connects terminals at Roberts Bank in Delta with the North American rail and road network.

Read more about the Premier’s awards here.

Qualifications Based Selection and the P3 Project Delivery Model

IanRokeby2The following article is written by CJI principal Ian Rokeby, P.Eng., MBA, and was featured in the ACEC Engineering in BC fall 2015 supplement to BIV Issue 1353.

View BIV digital edition.

View ACEC Engineering in BC fall 2015 supplement.

Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) has long been demonstrated to be a superior method of selecting engineering consultants for today’s important projects. This is particularly true in the world of public-private partnerships (P3). The P3 delivery model typically includes the design, construction, finance, operations and maintenance of an infrastructure project by a single party (often referred to as the concessionaire, or Project Co.) over an extended period, typically 30 years. In exchange for providing the infrastructure in accordance with predetermined performance requirements, the owner may, depending on the cost recovery model, make a series of “availability payments” to the Concessionaire over the term of the agreement. P3 has been used for a substantial number of public-sector roads, buildings and other infrastructure projects in the U.K., Australia and more recently in Canada. Arguably one of the more complex infrastructure delivery models, P3 offers public-sector owners significant advantages over other delivery models for many larger projects.

A number of Canada’s consulting engineers have gained substantial experience in application of this model since its Canadian introduction approximately 15 years ago. In order to facilitate the successful procurement and delivery of P3 projects, the owner assembles its team of professionals, including an owner’s engineer, to advise on the development of the project concept and the procurement approach. It is essential that owners select engineering teams for this work on the basis of their qualifications. This will enable owners to secure the requisite experience and competencies, thus setting the stage for successful P3 projects.

Since the P3 delivery model is typically used for large, high-profile projects, which often have unique risks and unusual features, a highly collaborative approach to developing the project procurement documentation is required. This ongoing dialogue and discussion will involve the owners, technical and legal consultants, and business advisers. It has been found that the optimization of the overall project, including financial, risk, commercial and long-term ownership considerations, may require the engineering consultant to adopt tactics that differ from those that might be applied in a more traditional setting. P3 projects exist within a different legal and commercial framework than traditional design-bid-build contracts. With the long-term financing and maintenance obligations to the concessionaire, it is important that engineering consultants supporting P3 project owners have familiarity with some of the basic legal and financial concepts underlying the P3 model. In particular, understanding the transference of risk through performance-based contracting and the ways in which well-intentioned directives to the concessionaire can inadvertently undermine this important feature of P3 contracts are essential to project success.

The increasing prominence of the P3 delivery model for major Canadian public projects requires the successful integration of important project considerations in the technical, legal and commercial/financial realms. Without experience in P3 project delivery, important technical considerations may not be appropriately reflected in the procurement documentation. Ensuring that the public’s interest is protected while obtaining value for public funds requires a thorough understanding of the P3 model as well as the long-term performance requirements of the asset. Achieving a competitive market response from P3 bidders is essential to realizing the benefits of the P3 model. This will depend on the development of appropriate contract terms by the owner’s engineer that secure the required infrastructure performance while facilitating innovation in the infrastructure design. Retaining experienced consultants through Qualifications Based Selection is the only sure way to provide the needed expertise: owners who select consultants without consideration of these important factors may compromise the long-term performance of important infrastructure, with enduring consequences for public-sector owners.

The Consultant and Delivery through Partnership

David CollingsThe following article is written by CJI project manager David Collings, M.Sc., and was featured in the July 2015 ACEC BC Young Professionals Group Quarterly Newsletter.

Simply put, a packaged delivery model is one where a company coordinates multiple disciplines of a construction project. This can add the responsibility of design to that of construction (a design-build or DB). It can further add long-term operation or maintenance of the asset (design-build-operate-maintain or DBOM). If adding financing responsibilities to the mix, it morphs into public-private partnership (P3 or DBFOM). These terms are commonly used in the infrastructure industry here in western Canada.

However, it quickly gets confusing when you move industries or countries. For instance, engineer-procure-construct (EPC) is similar to a DB, but used more commonly in the resource and energy industry. A private finance initiative (PFI) is the UK’s term for a P3.

But enough of boring terminology. Of greater interest is the dynamic these delivery models create between organizations and how they adapt to the move away from traditional design-bid-build contracting. The owner cedes much of its former project responsibilities to a private partner. The contractor is elevated from a pure “doer” role (building stuff) to coordinating the engineer and driving innovation between construction methods and design. The concessionaire provides the overall leadership, financing and input into long term life-cycle costing.

The most profound role change is to the engineer. Research in BC has found that consulting engineers participating in P3s and DBs need to alter business practices to keep up. Engineers will need to adopt less hierarchical and more decentralized organizations. This makes sense because of a fundamentally changed role. Their client shifts from an owner to a contractor; they operate in a more dynamic “fast-tracked” environment with a higher degree of complexity (more relationships between diverse and often international partners).

To illustrate this, picture yourself as an engineer embarking on a new P3 assignment. Your team is awarded the job and immediately backhoes start pushing dirt around. You are expected to produce construction drawings at light-speed and at the same time innovate and dream up new groundbreaking ideas. Wouldn’t it be nice to speak directly with the project manager and other engineers, and avoid all the usual bureaucracy? How else would you know that your new idea is going to work for everyone else on the project? Imagine waiting for head office approval of a new idea while a construction crew is waiting for your drawing?

Perhaps the most exciting change for consulting engineers is the abundance of new opportunities within the DB/P3 project. These complex projects need all parties to understand the technical challenges, while many may lack the expertise to do so. Hence owners, contractors, concessionaires, banks and lenders all hire engineers within their team. As the industry evolves and dabbles with progressive new ways of getting things built, consulting engineers will be relied on to address the problems of the entire industry, not just produce designs.

Brie Hemingway joins Surrey Search and Rescue

MIT Class of 2015
MIT Class of 2015

Brie Hemingway, management coordinator at Collings Johnston Inc., has been accepted into the 2015 recruits for Surrey Search and Rescue (SSAR) as a volunteer Member-in-Training.

Founded in 1973, SSAR is a registered non-profit society devoted to the recovery of missing persons primarily in the Southwest region of British Columbia. Powered by a dedicated group of volunteers, SSAR also provides personal preparedness education and resources to the community through participation in special events and public engagements. Our members train and practice regularly so that we are always ready to answer the call. SSAR primarily covers the municipalities of Surrey, White Rock, Delta, and Richmond. Mutual Aid Support is also provided to other search and rescue organizations across British Columbia. The team’s many capabilities include: ground search and rescue, rope rescue, mountain rescue, swiftwater rescue, inland water rescue, evidence searches, evacuation assistance, spotting and tracking.

Congratulations to John Collings, recipient of ACEC-BC’s 2015 Meritorious Achievement Award

ACEC-BC annual awards gala at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.  (Photo by Kim Stallknecht)
ACEC-BC annual awards gala at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.
(Photo by Kim Stallknecht)

John Collings, P.Eng. of Collings Johnston Inc. was presented with the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies BC in April. This award is presented annually to an individual for significant lifetime contributions to engineering, the industry and the community. John has been a leader in the transportation industry and has worked hard to achieve engineering excellence.

John grew up in what is now Zambia and completed his engineering degree at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa. In the early 1970s, he headed to Canada to work for what was then Delcan Corporation, where he participated on major transportation projects in every province and territory in Canada.

ACEC-BC annual awards gala at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.  (Photo by Kim Stallknecht)
ACEC-BC annual awards gala at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.
(Photo by Kim Stallknecht)

While raising the profile of the company, John sought out non-traditional opportunities. From creating and managing one of the first automated pavement management companies, establishing the first BC privatized Highway Maintenance Company to starting Standard Parking, a design-build-finance-operate parking company. With an appreciation for innovation and a focus on quality, he introduced the then new AutoCAD technology, and led the development of a corporate Quality Management system amongst other achievements. He went on to assist with the development of the first BC Ministry of Highways design-build procurement and delivery methodology for bridge and highway projects.

One of John’s ambitions was to have his own company, and in 1999 he and Robin Johnston, a fellow South African, established Collings Johnston Inc. From its early days, CJI has been forefront in leading some of the most challenging and interesting projects in Canada and Alaska.

But John’s career hasn’t been simply about engineering the next big project. He has been both a leader and promoter of the engineering profession, the industry and supporter of his colleagues. From his participation on the Transportation Research Board in Washington D.C., as a key member of some of the many committees of the Transportation Association of Canada, the Vancouver Board of Trade, or through his active participation in ACEC-BC, including as Chairman in 1991-1992, and ACEC-Canada, John’s influence, contribution and support of the industry is well recognized and appreciated.

Read more about the event here.

Collings Johnston Inc. Announces New Partner


Collings Johnston Inc. (CJI) is pleased to announce that Ian Rokeby, P.Eng. MBA has joined the firm as a Partner. Ian brings to the firm more than 30 years of experience in the management and execution of a wide range of planning, feasibility and development of transportation infrastructure in British Columbia and across Canada. Ian’s expertise includes marine & intermodal terminals, major highway programs and transit systems. He has extensive experience in leadership roles for multi-disciplinary technical teams executing major transportation programs.

Ian will support/augment/strengthen CJI’s existing practice in infrastructure project development and delivery, with particular emphasis on project justification and business case work as well as alternate project delivery systems‎ in the highway, transit, and ports sectors. He will be based in the firm’s Vancouver, BC office.

Collings Johnston Inc. is a technical management company providing advisory and management services to owners, lenders, and contractors for major transportation infrastructure projects. The company has extensive experience in the management, development and implementation of projects in Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Collings Johnston Inc. goal is to optimize the value of major transportation infrastructure projects while reducing risk exposure to owners. The company’s effectiveness results from recognizing the need to be innovative while working within a political framework. CJI keeps the “big picture” in mind and understands what is required to run a successful project.

Principals John Collings and Robin Johnston have developed particular expertise in the technical management of public-private partnerships and related turn-key project delivery since these procurements were introduced to Canada over the past 20 years. Current and recent projects include: South Fraser Perimeter Road, Coast Meridian Overpass, Fredericton-Moncton Highway, Golden Ears Bridge, Port Mann Highway 1, Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program, Ottawa LRT, Waterloo LRT, Powell Street Overpass, Sea-to-Sky Highway Upgrade and South Shore Corridor Project.

Unprecedented 12-partner B.C. project completed

Collings Johnston is the Program Manager for the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program. For more info on our role, view our Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program page.

Source: Journal of Commerce

Roberts Bank Rail CorridorThe opening of the Mufford Crescent overpass in Langley B.C. marked the end of all nine Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) infrastructure improvement projects.

With an unprecedented 12 public and private-sector funding partners, it proved to be a unique feat of organization and collaboration.

“One of the big challenges up front was getting the project to proceed in a manner that all 12 parties could buy into,” said Robin Johnston, a principal with Collings Johnston.

The company was the technical management company retained by TransLink as the program manager when it started moving forward in 2008. [Read More…]