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The ripple effects of construction projects

In a recent TEDx Talk in Brantford, Toronto construction lawyer Janice Quigg tells her audience about the many and varied positive ripple effects of construction projects.

“As I was preparing for the TEDx Talk, I was thinking about the value that construction brings to the world. Every time a new school is built hundreds of kids are being educated, and when roads are constructed they enable us to connect to so many places,” Quigg tells

The founder and principal of Janice Quigg International Inc. says the construction of Toronto’s Pape Recreation Centre changed her life when she was growing up in East York.

Now called the Matty Eckler Recreation Centre, named after the centre’s director, Quigg says she spent countless hours there as a child.

“I started going there when I was five-years-old and I won my first two trophies that first year," she says.

“I can literally remember coming home even to this day, sporting pigtails and matching hair ribbons and carrying these two trophies.” 

The programs were free and Quigg says she participated in tap, baton, gymnastics, swimming and other sports.

Quigg would go on to become a provincial champion gymnast.

She says lessons learned at the centre taught her that she could achieve anything in life if she was willing to do the work. When Quigg decided she wanted to be a lawyer, some of her peers told her that only rich kids become lawyers.

Quigg says she didn’t listen but instead turned to the Pape Centre to earn income to support her dream by teaching various programs to children and seniors.

She attended Osgoode Hall Law School and eventually focused on construction law.

“I just fell in love with the construction industry. I love the complexity and uniqueness of the projects and the legal issues that come up. I really enjoy working with the people in the industry,” Quigg says. 

“I’ve learned all about the intricacies of a building project.” 

Quigg recalls providing legal advice in the construction of a hospital.

“As a lawyer, you learn technical issues about building the hospital. For example, when they're putting in the Code Blue system, the contractors must get that system absolutely correct because people's lives depend on it.” 

Quigg says the main challenge during most construction projects is to complete them on time and within budget. 

“There’s often a domino effect in play with so many trades working on a project. If one trade or one supplier is delayed, it can create all sorts of problems for the whole project,” she explains.

“If someone is installing windows and there's a delay with the supply, then it can start to delay other areas of the project.”

One small delay can have a negative ripple effect, she says.

Ultimately, Quigg’s TEDx Talk was an opportunity to pay tribute to the construction industry, she says, and to encourage young people to consider a career in the trades.

“I wanted to say thank you because I've benefited in so many different ways.”

Quigg, a Harvard-trained mediator, continues to train leaders for tomorrow’s construction projects.

She recently launched a construction law boutique firm called Janice Quigg Professional Corporation and also does speaking, leadership and conflict resolution training and consulting.

“What I'm doing now is really exciting because I'm working with some extremely talented people in the industry,” says Quigg.

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