The rule of the lowest bidder concerned architects and engineers

La règle du plus bas soumissionnaire inquiète les architectes et ingénieurs

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
On 27 June, the government Couillard has proposed a draft regulation that would amend the Law on contracts of public bodies.

The rule of the lowest bidder, which could be applied by Quebec in the granting of contracts, real estate and road, concerned architects and engineers, who believe that the government has nothing that is withheld from the Charbonneau commission.

“The commission has been clear : he must get away forms of selection based solely on price. We learn nothing of the past, we did not draw any lesson, ” says André Rainville, president and ceo of the Association of consulting engineering companies in Quebec (AFG).

On 27 June, the government Couillard has proposed a draft regulation that would amend the Law on contracts of public bodies. Responding to a recommendation of the Charbonneau commission, he wants to diversify the means of selection of the firms, architecture and engineering, which is currently selected according to their skills.

Québec would thus be to the department of Transportation and the Corporation of the Québec infrastructure of resort to the rule of the lowest bidder.

The professionals involved had until Saturday to make their comments. The new regulation will be adopted at a meeting of the Council of ministers.

But the AFG, the Association of architects in private practice of Québec (AAPPQ) and other community stakeholders feel that responsible for the design of projects to companies the cheapest may compromise the quality of the infrastructure and the security of the citizens, while opening the door to collusion.

If the government wants to make savings by taking a professional cheaper, it takes the risk of letting the future generations pay the price, according to the director-general of the AAPPQ, Lyne Parent.

“The design stage is decisive for the durability and quality of the project. If it is poorly thought out, it’s going to need more maintenance, and it’s expensive, ” she said. We don’t want to just make something beautiful, we want that to be functional, durable and it adapts to climate change.” But the financial means and time are necessary to innovate.

The minister responsible for the file, Robert Poëti, judge of the concerns of the middle “unfounded” and ensures that the selection on the basis of the lowest bidder will not be applied in a systematic way, but rather ” in exceptional cases “.


“Why take this method denounced during the Charbonneau commission ? This is a non-sense “, says the president of the Ordre des architectes du Québec, Nathalie Dion.

The commission of inquiry has demonstrated that some of the companies most evil in the middle of the building — where the rule of the lowest bidder is applied — do not hesitate to play with the tendering process for ” putting money in the pockets “.

“The real question is why give the option to the lowest bidder to these two agencies that have the expertise and the staff necessary to assess the records of the firms,” says the general director of the Institute on governance, Michel Nadeau, for which the government is sending a confused message to the leaving the door ajar to the collusion.

For the president of Transparency International Canada, Paul Lalonde, also a member of the public Committee of monitoring of the recommendations of the Charbonneau commission, there was “nothing unusual” at what price is a top criteria for standard projects that do not require any in-depth technical or innovative.

“I do not believe that the replacement of a light system on a highway or the repair of the potholes that we need to choose the firm that has the most experience,” he says, pointing out that the company that offers the lowest price does not mean ” incompetent “.