By Chuck Brady,  Business Development Manager, Colliers Project Leaders

The next two years will be a critical time for Post-Secondary Institution’s (PSI)  across Canada.

Is your school well-positioned to take advantage of SIF? You need to assemble a team of expert partners to assist you with your project. They need to be able to help meet the program’s tight deadlines, as SIF projects are expected to be substantially completed by April 30, 2018, a mere 18 months from now.

PSI campuses are composed of thousands of square feet of new and aging infrastructure. This makes capital asset management for today’s facility managers an even more challenging task. Value for money is a fundamental concern for the provincial ministries responsible for higher education. However, it’s just as important for the universities themselves. They need quality facilities to stay competitive. Campuses have to provide the kind of learning and research experience which will attract the best and brightest students, faculty and staff. They also have tobe able to secure partnerships with industry to further their advancement.

Do you have your strategic partners who understand the importance and significance of these challenges to your project and institution?  Partners who will work hard, hand-in-hand with your school to not just deliver the project on time and on budget, but to make your academic ambitions a reality?

When retaining design and construction professionals to deliver your facility, you need leadership, tools, experience and expertise. Your partner should understand the intricacies of construction management, as well as the importance of multi-phase project implementation. They will need to have worked through industry-standard contracts (CCDC 2, CCDC 5B and CCDC 14) with the relevant provincial ministries, and internal procurement and risk management departments. They must also understand more detailed elements of your project, such as AIT, NWPTA, CAMF, CARG, UCIPP, apprentices, transparent procurement, value for money and total cost of ownership.

An additional challenge is completing infrastructure projects in a 24/7 operational environment. It’s of the utmost importance to minimize down time and shut down coordination. You must also handle security, health and safety concerns, stakeholder engagement and diligent risk management.

Ultimately, the partners you choose will go a long way to determining the success or failure of your project. They need to understand both the detail of your project and the wider context of the effect on your campus. Find the right partner  who can successfully handle challenging and demanding role.

The next two years will be very busy, and not without challenges, but with the right partners you can have peace of mind knowing you’re positioned for success.