Catalyst Strategic Consultants

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What drives Major Project Sponsors crazy?

Experienced project sponsors watch in frustration if design and /or construction team alignment starts to fray. They know what’s coming:

  • Delay
  • Cost overrun
  • Expensive and time consuming rework
  • Poor anticipation of foreseeable problems
  • Avoidance of accountability
  • Political infighting and positioning
  • Ponderous adjustment to the inevitable change construction brings
  • Claims, lawsuits….

Need we say more? We understand the costs when a project starts to go down this track. We call it “the game”.

Everybody in the building world knows how to play the game. When a project turns this way, we are no longer looking out for the project; we are looking out for #1. And #1 is the interests of our selves and our company.

In the face of the difficulty every project runs into as the best efforts to design and plan meet actuality, project sponsors want their project to come through on time, on budget and with the expected quality and minimal disruption. They want project predictability.

So when the game begins, the pain is acute.


Team alignment is vital so that:

  • Parties to the creation of paradigm changing projects achieve the intense level of alignment that can stand up to the challenges of
    o A daunting project with
    o Major collateral impacts which is
    o Constructed fully in the public eye.
  • The members of a newly established team can gain a quick and strong bond of confidence in each other and can fully operate within understood roles
  • The team can fully transition from securing the contract to executing the design efficiently
  • The parameters of design and attendant engineering process can be fully launched and productive communication understandings laid in along with effective modes of dealing with issues
  • The team has had an opportunity to set in place a great climate and tone for collaborative construction that will stand up through the whole process all the way to commissioning and handover.

Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd. has had extensive experience in creating these outcomes with some 80 projects under our belt. High levels of alignment and strong project links have recently been forged in.

Catalyst’s Partnering Process

Our way is to build a strong platform at the outset, then stay with the project to keep the project current with emerging challenges.

Foundation Sessions

We begin with building greater alignment on the project team as it moves into the construction phase. This we do together in two meetings.

The first is only among the Principals of the project. Arriving at an intersection for this phase and planning the accomplishment of a strong and positive project culture as a lever to project performance is the agenda. Chemistry at the top is the chief determinant of the resilience of the project team to inevitable requirement to react to change as the project proceeds.

The second session is with the wider group of key players [including all of the above – whose attendance is mandatory to the accomplishment of project objectives] including the key sub consultants [executive, project manager and execution level].

The purpose of this session is to smooth increased identification of purposes concerns and circumstances governing the partnership, heighten collaboration, focus on key project passages, and form culture and tone for the project.

Each of these sessions is a full day. Partners must agree to make themselves available to accomplish this agenda. Assumed location is at site or a city nearby and timeframe for this session is beginning at 8:00am and concluding at 5:00pm with a possible reception to follow. Receptions to close on a festive note are usual and a valuable contributor to team solidarity.

After the second session you can expect a report including a project partnering charter, results of the partnering session, an issue resolution mechanism and a facilitator’s summary.

Pre-session alignment with the facilitator will be achieved through extensive telephone conversations with the sponsors.   I expect significant pre-workshop contact between myself, the owner’s project managers, the users and contractors, and the designers.   Detailed pre-workshop planning will be undertaken.

Cementing the Project Culture:

Ambitiously scaled projects are built by people who build pride themselves on being able to reconcile differing interests and put the building together in a way that will honor the requirements of all parties. However, some will take more grease than others to effect the fit.

Why are some a bit tougher?

  • More complex – larger scale, many stakeholders, differing contracting arrangements, more fore-planning, longer time frames, more milestones
  • Structural drivers of parties carry a high collision likelihood
  • Unusual project expectations – cost, schedule, construction environment, economic overheating
  • Early signals of potential trust deterioration that if not headed off, spell trouble down line
  • Past history casts a shadow of disinclination to high speed collaboration

We understand that this project will require long term attention.  We look forward to discussing how to build structural ways to cement a strong culture that will ensure THE GAME never impairs your project.


We’ve helped create Project Predictability in:

Honua Kai: a $1b collaboration of IntraWest and Ledcor to develop, design, sell out and construct the first new condo project on Maui’s Kaanapali shore for many years. With co-facilitator Don Kasian of Kasian Architecture – a national design firm – we formed up the construction phase team.

Walter C. MacKenzie Health Center: The $450m redevelopment of the University of Alberta’s Hospital involved several projects proceeding in parallel:

  • The Stollery Children’s Hospital
  • A new emergency facility
  • The world class Cardiac Unit relocated and expanded
  • And several others

All partnered by our firm in a resilient culture that stood up to the challenge of uninterrupted service in a major treatment hospital that was significantly rebuilt by PCL and the Cohos Evamy design firm.

Vancouver Airport Link Project: a centerpiece of the high concept International comes into place in the building of this dramatic design launched by a process led by our firm.

Snap Lake Diamond Mine – de Beers Canada: $975m in the most forbidding and constrained construction environment around. Building trust and cooperation after a difficult period, Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd. took a tough team on a sustained drive to achieve key project milestones: work that is ongoing.

References: available on request


Bob Pullen
Vice President, Western Region
Ledcor Industrial Projects Ltd.

“I am pleased to write this recommendation for Doug Bouey of Catalyst Strategic Consultants.

“Ledcor is a large industrial construction company that was the successful bidder on a $300 million project in Northern Alberta. Early into our project it became apparent that we were developing alignment issues between the owners; the engineers, the construction managers, and the constructor. We were concerned that we would not be able to perform at our usual high level and achieve our agreed upon goals.

“Doug was brought aboard by Ledcor to help get the team focused on the project challenges instead of the perceived short comings of individual team members. In one quick session with the senior leaders, Doug helped us to identify the key problems. A second session was quickly organized to pull the various teams together, followed by one additional session, adding more junior members of the teams. Through this process we were able to create an aligned action plan that led to vastly improved communications, morale and problem solving at all levels. All of this, in only one day.

“The project is now over 80% complete and Ledcor’s performance is among the very best. This is the second time that Mr. Bouey has been asked to support Ledcor and his interventions have resulted in significantly improved performance in both.”



Strategic Alliance was a fad. It coursed through the Calgary business community and seemingly had run its course.

Leverage is just now quietly entering a more serious and real phase. But it has remained a viable alternative for cost savings, speed and innovation among serious practitioners: those who are prepared to work at it, to search out barriers to collaborative work and root them out.

Alliance has become a byword for those who have the staying power to get past the superficial startup glamour – the short term interest – into the real payoffs that can come with hard work:

  • blended work forces
  • creating unique work processes
  • on the basis of assumptions that are not possible without alliance
  • that can accomplish unheard of speed to finish
  • wiping away bureaucracy
  • reducing cycle time and complexity
  • cutting cost
  • preserving capacity

Our alliance building is focused on:

  • The underlying nature of strategic alliance and partnering
  • What’s really driving partnering now
  • Differences between partnering, alliance, preferred relationship, and leverage
  • The varietals that are possible
  • The challenge of true partnering: Trust: how it works
  • The phases of experience in the development of strategic alliance
  • Where partnering has been explored and dropped
  • Why alliance will fail and why it will succeed
  • What it takes to be a player in partnering
  • Who wins, how and how long does it take?
  • Measuring success
  • Competition and Alliance
  • What strategic alliance is, and isn’t
  • The future of partnering: Where it can go? How far can you take it?



Doug Bouey is a partnering veteran. The facilitator of over 80 partnering and alliance workshops, Doug has promoted collaboration and opened the way to new and more productive ways of building since he started partnering work on the Fanning Centre in 1994.

Doug has helped to create a constructive climate for some very pivotal projects including:

  • Snap Lake Diamond Mine: $1b in a forbidding climate, pulled back on schedule to a very successful completion for a demanding client
  • Honua Kai: $1B new condos on Maui: with Don Kasian as co-facilitator
  • Quest Alliance: Radical integrations of oil and gas facilities design and construction for Quantel Engineering and B P Amoco. Shortened hookup of gas facilities by 1/3.
  • Design team for the Edmonton International Airport Expansion
  • Water and waste water facility for the Municipality of Lake Country, near Kelowna, a project that had once threatened the viability of the community and, thanks to Earth Tech, Maple Reinders and a dedicated team, was completed to everyone’s delight
  • Alberta Court Facility: $250m in downtown Calgary: Ahead of schedule!
  • $500M Walter C. MacKenzie Hospital (U of A Hospital, Edmonton) Redevelopment, including 6 individual projects – all constructed while the hospital was fully performing
  • 1 Service Battalion HQ at CFB Edmonton, constructed for $21M around a huge aircraft hanger during the awful 1998 winter – delivered on time in 10 months.

He has worked across the West in everything from significant involvement in the pioneering partnering initiatives of the Defence Department at CFB Edmonton, to waterworks, to shopping centres, from the pre-design, and design phases, to construction, and midcourse correction, and, most gratifying, many celebrations of completed, well-done jobs. Doug has also helped design and bring about longer haul strategic alliances in the oil and computer industries.

“Oil and gas facilities engineering have carried the principles of partnering philosophy far beyond the usual terms of construction partnering. My indepth experience with some of the most adventurous and far reaching examples in the Calgary environment gives me a sense of the possibility and the future of construction partnering that is otherwise simply unavailable. My background as a lawyer with considerable experience in drafting and working with construction companies, owners, designers in both the drafting of agreements and dealing with construction disputes and litigation covers some 20 years and, while not the backbone of my practice, is very extensive and multifaceted. Now I have moved on from law and call myself a ‘recovering lawyer’. My work is almost exclusively in helping groups and executives accomplish what will be deeply satisfying.”

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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