Yukon devising checklist
Post-project evaluation system to go on database

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 29/97) - "This public money is being spent and there's no checks or evaluations of the work," says a Yukon architect, regarding the Yukon government's approach to follow-up on exclusive government building construction contracts such as schools, nursing stations.

Charles McLaren is a Yukon architect who has been contracted by his government to devise an evaluation checklist of how government funds are spent on publicly-funded construction projects. His firm is Charles A. McLaren Architects Ltd., is based about 20 kilometres east of Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway.

The checklist is called the "post-project evaluation system."

McLaren has researched what's already in place in provinces across Canada and has come up with a draft checklist in conjunction with Yukon's government services.

"It became clear next to no one was doing this," he says.

The Yukon government will be proceeding with this project, says Michael Cowper, senior project manager, with Yukon's government services. Five of seven phases are now complete.

"The idea is to evaluate every (government) project offer, loop the system on a database to benefit future projects," says Cowper.

The project involves setting up a database of how contractors have performed in Yukon on past projects.

The checklist draft details for example, if there's been difficulties in the past, how the consultant has performed, how the buildings performed after construction, what design features work in a harsh climate, and what maintenance was necessary. Budget schedules, administration, contracts, approvals obtained in a timely fashion, and if necessary documents obtained are other items being evaluated, says Cowper.

McLaren says a checklist will discourage "people persuaded by a friendly lunch, who forget that a building may have fallen."

Many provinces were contacted for input and P.E.I. responded that "their auditor general was recommending government put in place a system to evaluate how public money is spent," says McLaren.

Cowper of the government's property management agency says such an evaluation system identifies difficulties of different kinds and shows where things could change, such as tendering time, project timeframes, or changing orders that were too slow.