Two construction associations have united to urge Quebec to reform its public contracting procedures and improve its project management practices, to save up to $14 billion over the next decade.
The coalition, which includes the Montreal chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI-Montreal) and the Centre for Expertise and Research on Urban Infrastructure (CERIU), highlighted the lack of expertise among clients, the cumbersome and complex processes, and payment delays as major issues. It also noted a drop in interest among contractors and construction professionals in public projects due to poorly designed calls for tender. Research performed by accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton shows 72 per cent of contractors and 82 per cent of professionals—particularly architects and engineers—reject public contractors because of the conditions they offer.
The figure of $14 billion is derived from a PMI Global study that indicates a 10 per cent optimization in financial resource usage can result from effective project management practices. This amount is based on the Plan quebecois des infrastructures 2022-2032, which allocates $142.5 billion towards investments. However, given the same principle could be applied to public contracts at other government levels, the $14 billion figure is likely an underestimation.
The coalition is calling on the province to establish better access conditions to public contracts and develop a centre of excellence in project management with certified professionals.
According to the PMI Global study, Quebec’s Ministry of Transport showed a higher ranking based on relatively standardized contracts, while municipalities ranked the worst when it came to identifying the sectors with the least amount of interest from contractors and other related professionals between 2016 and 2021. The Société québécoise des infrastructures, the health network, and the education network came in second, third, and fourth place, respectively.
PMI-Montreal said since Infrastructure Minister Jonatan Julien expressed interest at his address to the last conference of Corporation des entrepreneurs généraux du Québec (CEGQ) in improving project management practices, it is expected he will take an initiative and steer his government to achieve it.