Construction and Skilled Trades Month is a great opportunity to recognize the 236,000 British Columbians who keep this essential industry going and make a hefty contribution to the provincial economy.
It’s also important to recognize that our industry is under a lot of pressure and carrying a ton of risk. You’re under pressure to build more and faster, despite skilled workforce shortages and skyrocketing costs.
Contractors are working harder than ever but not always getting ahead, often due to issues related to non-payment and late payment, or unfair contract terms.
The result is that continued investment in infrastructure – including much-needed multi-unit housing – is becoming a catch-22 for all of B.C.’s contractors. Without complementary measures to reduce the extreme financial risks of late or non-payment our contractors and their workers face preventable financial hardship.
It sometimes surprises people to learn that 90 per cent of B.C. construction businesses have fewer than 20 employees. If you’re a small contracting business that’s struggling, you may feel trapped. Sure, demand for your services is high. But the economic situation is tough and without guaranteed timely payment, there can be too much risk.
At BCCA we think the most important actions government can take are:
- Introduce prompt payment legislation to normalize standard, reasonable payment terms of 30 days, ensure your proper invoices are paid, and give clear rights to your lien holdback monies.
- Make public sector projects more attractive to industry by having fair, open and transparent procurement processes, and reasonable contract conditions.
- Speed up the permit process with the authorities having jurisdiction, including municipalities and BC Hydro.
These are improvements that will serve everyone in industry, open shop and union.
No amount of infrastructure investment will succeed if we don’t reduce the pressures on B.C.’s builders. You can’t build the hospitals, the schools, the transit networks, the housing, if you can’t count on getting paid for the work you do.
As we gather for Construction Month this year, many of you are feeling the forces of change very strongly.
Whatever 2023 brings, BCCA, the four Regional Construction Associations, and our workforce development partners like LNG Canada, are committed to serving the needs of the people who work hard in our industry. We’re offering B.C.’s contractors free, valuable products and services to support your operations and build a stronger bottom line. You can learn more about what we do, including an opportunity to claim up to $40,000 in unrestricted cash by registering first-year apprentices, at www.bccassn.com/as.
Thank you for all you do for B.C.’s construction industry. Your dedication and expertise is crucial for the social and economic health of our province. BCCA is here for you.
Chris Atchison, President, BCCA