VICTORIA — The British Columbia Construction Association’s (BCCA) Fall 2022 Industry Stat Pack is sounding the alarm on climbing costs and a shrinking labour pool.
The stat pack indicates investment in B.C.’s industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction sectors is down 10.9 per cent since February 2020, while the non-residential building price index went up 19.6 per cent.
B.C. is also at its lowest construction unemployment rate at 5.7 per cent and the average construction wage has risen 26 per cent since 2017 and 11 per cent since last year, the stats stated.
The provincial government has also “failed to deliver on prompt payment legislation. Without it, B.C.’s contractors will experience significant financial risk, taking on increased cost of debt and in danger of bankruptcy as they wait 90 to 120 days to be paid,” a BCCA release stated.
“Waiting to be paid is getting even more expensive. Slow payment for services rendered is unique to our industry, and with costs of goods, labour, and borrowing all rising, many B.C. contractors are reaching crisis. Prompt payment legislation is not experimental, it is proven. Unlocking cash flow is an economic necessity and in the best interests of every community in B.C.,” BCCA president Chris Atchison said.
Contractors are struggling to balance declining commercial demand with rising material and labour costs even as waning procurement standards for public sector projects add to project risk, the release stated.
The number of tradespeople in the industry has also dropped five per cent over three years and the average company size has decreased seven per cent over the last three years.
Though women make up 5.7 per cent of tradespeople, a 24 per cent increase since 2017, there has been a year-over year decrease of eight per cent.
“The construction industry is massive, essential and struggling. Make no mistake: many employers are reaching a breaking point. The urgent need for more housing and other infrastructure development hangs in the balance,” Atchison said.
The stat pack is available on BCCA’s website.