October 15, 2012

Heritage restoration added to annual awards program

The UBC Faculty of Law Building earned a VRCA Silver Award of Excellence for ITC Construction Group and is in the running for a Gold Award at the gala on Oct. 17.

Awards for Heritage Restoration are being offered for the first time at this year’s Vancouver Regional Construction Association's (VRCA) Awards of Excellence.

A total of 36 awards in 13 categories are part of the 24th annual event.

Seventy projects, worth about $2.078 billion were entered through 267 award submissions from all over B.C.

This year’s Silver Award winners will vie for Gold, with the winners announced at the Awards of Excellence gala at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Oct. 17, 2012.

Between 600 and 700 people are expected to attend.

Brian Martin, chairman of the awards committee, said the Heritage Restoration Awards recognize contractors, who have developed a skill in renewing, restoring and renovating heritage buildings.

The Silver Award winners in the Heritage category are Scott Construction Group Ltd, for the Hotel Georgia; Scott Construction Group Ltd. for Honour House; and ITC Construction Group for Burns Block – 18 West Hastings, Vancouver.

“Heritage buildings are important to the history of the community,” Martin said.

“To do it well is quite a skill. It often involves reproducing types of construction that are no longer done.”

As an example, Martin cited the Art Deco plaster moulding on the ceilings of the Hotel Georgia renovation project.

“The general contractor, Scott Construction, had to bring in tradesmen, who are in their 60s and 70s, to do the job,” he said.

Martin added that there will be more call for heritage restoration work in the future.

“More people are realizing the importance of maintaining our heritage architecture,” he said.

“People have started to change their ideas about old buildings. They’re beginning to realize it’s worth the expense of maintaining them. It’s a comment on the region’s values. Fortunately for us, Vancouver has one of the largest stocks of old buildings in Western Canada.”

In addition to this being the first year for a Heritage Award, 2012 is also the first time in several years that awards for sustainable construction have been handed out.

The Silver Award winners in this category are Ledcor Construction Limited for the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre and UniverCity Childcare Centre at SFU; and PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. for BC Hydro Bridge River Generating Station Townsite Redevelopment.

Martin said the Heritage Award combined with the Sustainability Award makes for an interesting balance.

“The heritage award shows the maturing of the city and the growing trend to preserve the past, and the sustainability award recognizes the latest technology that is leading the way into the future of building design and construction,” he said.

Martin said sustainability and heritage preservation reflects the current state of society.

“We need to move forward, while at the same time we want to appreciate the past,” he said.

“Sometimes the two get combined in the same project.”

Tony Everett, chairman of the judges committee, said 12 jurors, including himself, evaluate the VRCA Awards of Excellence submissions.

“Most of us are retired members of the construction industry, although there are also some working members,” he said.

“Between us all, we cover most aspects of the industry.”

Everett said there are many award criteria that the jurors consider.

They include the site visit, the quality of the presentation (hand-out materials, graphics), project challenges, innovative processes, safety record, sustainability features and materials management.

The jurors want to know if the entrants met their budget, and if not, why.

They also want to know if they met the project schedule.

Other criteria are the quality of construction, site co-operation (how did the general contractor handle the trades?), aesthetics, profitability and “wow factor.”

Keith Sashaw, president of the VRCA, said he’s very impressed with the way the construction industry has responded to the awards.

“The industry is taking the awards very seriously,” he said.

“The presentations are becoming more sophisticated. Great pride is being taken every year. I think it indicates the industry is paying more attention to and taking a greater interest in the awards for marketing purposes.”

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These projects have been selected from 500 projects with a total value of $2,096,783,397 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Tuesday.


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