Construction association heads to awards gala

South Okanagan has won several of the commercial building awards in the past.

A record number of nominations are expected for the Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA) Commercial Building Awards, the results of which will be announced on Oct. 17.

The nominees are being judged by a three-person jury and SICA CEO Bill Everitt said the full list of nominees hasn’t been released.

“I know we have a number of nominations that have come out from the industrial-commercial-institutional side, but I don’t know which particular projects they are,” said Everitt. “That’s purposeful. We’re trying to keep all of that under the hat until the judges have a chance to review them against the set criteria.”

In the past, Penticton and area have done well in the awards. Out of the 33 finalists last year — from 70 nominations — four local buildings made it onto the shortlist including the new Summerland RCMP detachment, Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery in Oliver as well as Canadian Helicopters School and the Shatford Centre in Penticton.

Three got to take home bragging rights: Canadian Helicopters was honoured in the industrial category, Mirado in hospitality and the Shatford Centre for commercial renovation and restoration.

The Shatford Centre of Penticton was a 90-year-old building, neglected and on the brink of demolition, with no future or clear vision in place. Now, it is a creativity centre and community gathering in the heart of Penticton and home to the Okanagan School of the Arts, read the judges’ comments.

This is the fifth annual awards gala, which honours the best in commercial and industrial construction in the region, coordinated by Invest Northwest Publishing Ltd.

This year, nominations have been extended to match the membership area covered by SICA – the Thompson-Okanagan region, as well as the East and West Kootenays.

This means eligible properties can come from Kamloops throughout the Okanagan to Osoyoos, through to Cranbrook east to Fernie and north to Golden, including Revelstoke and Salmon Arm.

“The Southern Interior Construction Association, representing over 600 commercial, industrial and institutional builders is proud to sponsor the SICA Commercial Building Awards,” said Everitt. “Commercial construction often involves advanced architectural designs, environmentally sensitive materials and energy-efficient systems, and yet rarely gets recognized for its efforts.

That, said Everitt, was one of the reasons the awards were founded five years ago. While the residential building community had a number of awards programs and ceremonies, there wasn’t a similar function to honour those building commercial and industrial projects.

“We are building schools and hospitals and prisons and they are often tasked to come up with low environmental footprint, green building initiative … there are all sorts of requirements for innovative and best practices moving forward,” said Everitt.

These awards, he said, now recognize the innovation and design work that goes into commercial buildings.

This is also the first time, Everitt said, that the Southern Interior Construction Association is the title sponsor for the event.

“We’re happy to be part of it. For us, it’s an opportunity to build our own brand and get that out there in front of everyone,” he said.