After months of fires and floods devastated the province and sprung builders into action, B.C. is once again celebrating the construction sector.
The month of April is Construction Month, where the skilled trades people and plethora of other roles in the sector are recognized for their essential contributions to society.
Chris Atchison, president of the BC Construction Association (BCCA), explained the past year has shone a bright spotlight on the industry.
“We’ve always known that construction is important to the economy, but COVID and extreme climate events have made the essential nature of construction much more widely understood than it ever has been,” he said.
He stressed most construction companies are not massive entities. Around 90 per cent have less than 20 employees and are juggling multiple challenges, including changing COVID-19 safety protocols, escalating costs, new provincial policies and a shortage of skilled workers.
During Construction Month, BCCA will highlight the various issues it is doing advocacy work on, including prompt payment legislation, transparent procurement practices and Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) alternatives.
“We are offering a respectful and appropriate alternative to the CBA in terms of aligning with its objectives and helping meet the province’s goals,” said Atchison.
The association will release a new stat pack that Atchison says will reveal good news about wages and progress being made on the skilled trades shortage. The group will announce the winners of this year’s Procurement Awards, which recognize owners of choice in the various regions of B.C. The group plans to go a step further and unveil new tech they say will help the industry report on transparency issues related to public project tenders.
The group’s Builders Code program, which encourages companies to pledge their support for a high standard of ethical conduct, will also be announcing a major expansion. And a new program designed to develop the construction workforce through mentorship is going to be unveiled.
Back for another year is the Construction Month’s support of the Lunch Box Challenge. The campaign encourages construction companies to pour money back into their communities by treating their workers to lunch at local restaurants. The Construction Month team is offering grants to participating companies as well as Construction Month swag.
“Other sectors have been hit hard by COVID and we want to pay it forward and make sure our sector is helping support other parts of the community,” said Atchison.
In addition to the Lunch Box Challenge, the Construction Month team is encouraging people to nominate candidates for the Leadership Awards which will this year will recognize those in the construction sector who have gone above and beyond in their response to B.C.’s fires and floods.
Atchison noted the BCCA is also releasing the second season of its Inside Construction podcast series, which will feature interviews with the association’s diverse board members and their experiences in the many different construction markets of B.C.
Most of all, Atchison wants the public to take the opportunity to thank construction workers if they walk by a jobsite or post something on social media.
“Thank the construction workers in your life,” he said. “They aren’t used to it. They are used to doing good work quietly. They have earned the respect that is starting to manifest for them now. Thank them for what they are doing to keep B.C. going.”
All month the hashtags #ConstructionMonthBC #BuiltRight and #LBC will be used for messages related to the event. To nominate recipients for awards, apply for a Lunch Box Challenge Grant or learn more about Construction Month, visit constructionmonth.ca.
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