Hundreds of billions worth of construction projects are on the drawing board in B.C. As a result, most construction contractors geared up for even more work this year, despite an already intense pace. This will keep the industry’s GDP and employment contributions growing at the same pace as the provincial economy.
There was a solid analysis of the business cost of Family Day in today’s Vancouver Sun by adjunct professor John H. Redekop from Trinity Western University. Tallying up the holiday pay and bonus pay in both the public and private sectors, and adding in lost businesses for the businesses (many of them construction companies) who had to close for the day – Redekop estimated that the B.C. economy took a $200 million hit.
It’s a great lesson in the real costs of something that too many people think is free.
There are rules around procurement in British Columbia and ICBA’s course Tender Law: Procurement in the Construction Industry aims to provide a refresher and update on the current state of the procurement and tendering laws in BC. Keeping current on what rights and obligations is critical to those who wish to successfully participate in B.C.’s vibrant construction industry.
The tender process will be examined with an emphasis on how to make the best choices and minimize legal risks in the tender process and avoid costly situations for all parties.
There has been plenty of commentary about the provincial budget delivered last week in B.C. The budget is balanced, which in the big picture is good. It sends a message to the global investment community that B.C. is a prudent place – and a safe haven for investment.
ICBA’s major worry ahead of time was that the budget would be balanced by slashing critical investments in infrastructure. Though the total provincial capital budget (made up of government and Crown corporation projects) is going down (bad), it’s by a relatively small amount (good). Capital spending in B.C. will drop from $6.7 billion in 2012-13 to $6.2 billion in 2013-14, and then to $5.8 billion by 2015-16. As we pointed out in our recent Construction Monitor, infrastructure investment grows both the construction industry and the economy.
One of the challenges ICBA members face is finding the right person for the right job. With skill shortages looming in British Columbia, companies are having to look further and further afield for new hires.
But small companies face a challenge – how do they tap into the vast pool of skilled workers ready to come to Canada and work? ICBA members now have access to recruitment fairs around the world at a discount thanks to a new partnership with Working In, the company that puts on these recruitment events across the globe.
Changes are coming to the online system system used by contractors to purchase their gas and electrical permits from the BC Safety Authority. While permits are currently obtained through the BC Online system, as of April 15 all permit purchases will go through a revamped My Connections site.
Probably the biggest change is that clients will be required to provide a postal code for where the permit will be located. It’s a good idea to make sure you collect this information as a part of all projects moving forward.
Nothing impacts construction like the BC Building Code – which is why it’s important to have an overview of recent changes introduced in the 2012 BC Building Code and its effect on the construction industry. ICBA’s new training session, presented in cooperation with the Building and Safety Standards Branch, will help companies tap into the changes and what they mean.
The 2012 BC Codes include over 800 changes, and the presenters at the session will highlight the changes that are anticipated to have the highest impact. This includes new provisions for radon mitigation, new Part 9 lateral load design requirements, new spatial separation requirements and the creation of a new B-3 residential care occupancy classification. A review of administrative edits and changes will also be presented.
The Coalition of B.C. Businesses had a column in today’s Vancouver laying out the concerns in the small business sector about revisiting B.C.’s labour laws. Labour activists are already calling for a return to the old card based certification for new unions – a move that would scrap workers’ right to a democratic vote on whether or not to join a union.
The article by Mark von Schellwitz, the Coalition and vice-president, Western Canada, for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, lays out some compelling arguments why tilting labour laws towards unionization would hurt rather than help workers.
ICBA is getting out the message about the importance of provincial infrastructure investments in advance of Tuesday’s provincial budget in British Columbia. Our column in the Journal of Commerce ran today on their website making the case that infrastructure builds the construction industry and the economic backbone of the province.
The voice of B.C.’s Open Shop construction industry will have a voice at provincial government’s new group tasked with helping renew B.C. the policies and guidelines and procurement and delivery of infrastructure projects. ICBA President Philip Hochstein will act as an advisor to the new government group.