Women in construction and how they are paving the way – construction canada

When I started university, I was originally enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Psychology program. A semester into my program, I felt psychology was not the right field for me. I have always enjoyed math and sciences and my brother was studying civil engineering. I realized engineering was better suited to my personality and so decided to make the switch.

There were only a handful of women studying civil engineering when I was at school. That said, I never felt any gender bias. Quite the contrary; the male students and professors always made us feel accepted in the classroom and in social activities. I was also fortunate I landed in a company where the boss, Stephen G. Revay, gave men and women the same opportunities.

There is definitely a struggle between career and family responsibilities.


My husband and parents were very supportive. This allowed me to continue working full-time in a demanding career without the stress of daycare drop-off and pick-up and other issues mothers without a close support system face. That said, parenthood consumes all your time when you are not at the office. This does not end with your child’s early years; I find it is as important, if not more, to be present in my teenager’s life. As such, my son is still my first priority and this bears on every decision I make, both personal and professional.

In the recent years, construction projects and contracts have been going through an incredible transformation. Projects are getting bigger and more complex, contracts are becoming increasingly intricate. Players are in untested waters and stakeholders are taking on bigger risks, at times without even recognizing that they are doing so. I wanted to offer OsgoodePD students a perspective that has been informed by my work as president of Revay and Associates Ltd., construction claims consultants. Our mandates often intersect with the legal aspects of construction. My perspective has also been enhanced through my involvement as chair of CCA, which represents more than 20,000 construction companies.

We are also observing an increasing number of construction companies and engineering firms involved in mergers and acquisitions. The consolidation of construction companies is now a significant trend. Consolidation or the necessity to consolidate is, in part, due to the companies adapting themselves to the market; the ever-increasing project scope, size, and the associated financing requirements; the gap in the succession planning; and shareholders demanding more return on their investment. These factors coupled with the political stability we enjoy in Canada create an opening for foreign investment. As a result, there has been a significant increase in foreign investors in the Canadian construction market.

Along with, or perhaps as a consequence of, the growing size of projects, there are significant changes to the construction contracts. In the recent years, there has been a surge of new and different, or what we call “atypical” construction contracts. In the past, one could count on an owner issuing similar contract documents regardless of the project. This allowed for some familiarity regarding risk and responsibility. Those days may be behind us and a careful review of the entire contract is now necessary when responding to request for proposals (RFPs) and tender call to ensure the proposal and bids consider all inherent risks.

In the coming years, innovation through robotics is expected to have a significant impact on our industry. While we are familiar with prefabrication and drones, there are also 3D printers creating larger and larger components, self-driving vehicles performing excavation and even bricklaying robots. Innovation can help reduce costs, speed up delivery time and improve safety by performing dangerous tasks. It can also help round out our labour force as the number and magnitude of projects in the market are beyond our capacity. However, we must ensure innovation is a complement to our current workforce, not competition.

I graduated from university in the middle of a recession and accepted the first formal job offer I received, which was working at Revay and Associates Lt. As it turns out, I loved the work and discovered it was a perfect match for my interest and skill set! Revay is a premier consulting firm specialized in the resolution of construction disputes. In most cases, Revay becomes involved when there are disputes regarding schedule and cost overruns. Our mandates involve different types of projects; institutional, industrial, or commercial. Some of our projects include high-profile mandates and most are large in size and complex in nature. It is a fascinating field as our work involves many facets of construction projects—legal and contractual aspects, engineering, and construction as well as schedule and cost. When a case is not settled, we are called upon to provide expert testimony.

• The Newfoundland Transhipment Terminal, which involved a jetty and tug basin built to transport crude oil production from the oil fields located offshore Newfoundland. Tankers arriving from oil fields offload the crude oil through a piping system to a waiting tanker, which then transports the oil to its destination, a refinery. This project was a milestone in my career as it was the first time I testified in court.

That phrase is becoming less relevant today. Construction methods, for the most part, have adapted to climatic conditions and work often continues throughout the winter. The same can be said of geographic and cultural differences. With large construction projects occurring in every province, the workforce is mobilized from across the country.