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MUN Core Science Building project receives Newfoundland’s first Gold Seal certification

The Canadian Construction Association has granted Gold Seal certification to the $325-million MUN Core Science Building project, being led by Marco Services Ltd. It’s the first construction project in the province to earn the distinction.
The Canadian Construction Association has granted Gold Seal certification to the $325-million MUN Core Science Building project, being led by Marco Services Ltd. It’s the first construction project in the province to earn the distinction.

The Memorial University Core Science Building is still three years away from opening, but the $325-million construction project on Prince Phillip Drive celebrated a golden accomplishment Monday.

Representatives from the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Association (NLCA) and primary project contractor Marco Services Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding recognizing it as the province’s first Gold Seal certified project.

“It’s really about a commitment to saying, ‘We’re going to do things better going forward. We want our trades to do things better. We want our own staff to do things better,’” said Kees Cusveller, chair of the CCA’s Gold Seal committee.

“It takes an effort to do it. You have to have a contractor or an owner that’s pushing it and the people involved in the project have to be committed to doing it.”

The goal of obtaining certification is the exposure it grants the project and the construction industry. It also demonstrates excellence in construction management and underscores the benefit of individuals obtaining their own Gold Seal certification in construction management.

With more than 10,000 construction professionals already certified, it is considered the standardized program supporting the development of skilled and serious construction and heavy civil management professionals.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are 272 already certified, with another 36 currently registered as interns.

Cusveller says the CCA began applying the certification to projects in the late 1990s and to date there are only 30 or so across Canada. The CCA grants certification to only two or three per year.

Other projects designated include the replacement of the suspended spans of the MacDonald Bridge in Halifax, Montreal’s first vertical community known at Humanti and the RCMP detachment in Prince George, B.C.

To be considered eligible, a project needs the endorsement and commitment from all stakeholders — in this case MUN, Marco and the NLCA.

“Certainly the prime contractor needs to have most of their key staff certified or in the internship process,” Cusveller says. “If they can get some of the key trades on board, that’s wonderful, but that’s not mandatory.”

Within Marco Group of Cos., almost three dozen employees are certified, including MUN Core Science Building project manager Patrick Lafreniere.

“Marco and myself really value the certification,” he says. “We have a lot in our firm and we continue to promote the program.”
LaFreniere says construction of the state-of-the-art 450,000-square-foot facility is on time and on budget. It has yet to hit its construction peak, which should be in about 18 months and will mean close to 450 workers on site.

“That’s when the majority of the activities will be taking place for this project. As building envelope trades get flushed out, new trades come in for the finishing, but it’s a large enough project that the two will meet.”

 

kenn.oliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter: kennoliver79

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