The construction industry accounts for as much as 10 per cent of global GDP.
It is a major driver of the world economy, generating jobs for as much as seven per cent of the total employed workforce around the globe.
The construction sector also consumes more energy than any other. Estimates are that construction accounts for about 40 per cent of the world’s total consumed energy – almost half of the total global resources used.
The importance of a vibrant construction industry is clear.
It’s critical to recognize that our industry drives economies, and equally critical to recognize that outside forces drive our industry.
Often, those forces are unique to our location, and must be identified and managed by a united sector on the home front.
At the B.C. Construction Association (BCCA), we see four trends shaping the sector.
Need for more skilled workers to support increased construction activity;
Focus on public procurement and fair tendering practices, driven by a more decentralized approach from the province;
A demand for sustainable construction practices; and
The emergence of technology as an essential tool.
We’ve been working on solutions and tools to support our sector adapt successfully and with strength to these trends.
We are developing a fast-track, demand-driven HR service for our industry that we believe is unmatched anywhere else in the world:
The BCCA has increased its work with underutilized labour pools, finding them work and steering them to apprenticeships through our Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP).
We’ve initiated a Foreign Skilled Worker program (FSWBC), providing custom immigration assistance to B.C. employers who need to bring foreign trained workers into the marketplace.
We’ve launched the Job Match program to fast-track candidates into entry-level jobs in the industry across the province. The BCCA continues to co-chair the BC LMI Committee, working with the Construction Sector Council to ensure that we have good labour market information to guide our strategic directions.
Standards and practices continue to be another important area of activity.
Together with our regional associations, we work with government to improve public procurement practices by promoting the use of standard documents and fair, open and transparent tendering procedures.
Look for exciting enhancements to our Bid Central and EBS online bidding and project management toolkits in early 2013. Our goal is to provide the industry with the best one-stop online technology toolkit available and we’re well on the way. EBS has already successfully facilitated more than 100 B.C. construction projects.
Tied in with public tendering and procurement practices is the growing requirement for sustainable buildings.
The rapid growth of LEED and other rating systems requires the industry to continually learn and innovate.
While the BCCA and its members are strong supporters of sustainability, there is still a need to understand the implications which come with new practices and products.
The BCCA continues to actively participate in the Building Safety Advisory Council, the Council of Construction Associations, the Homeowner Protection Office Provincial Advisory Council, and the Public Construction Council, the B.C. Common Ground Alliance, and the Professional Builders Institute.
The construction industry is already mobile and flexible in both design and delivery methods, but the future is always at the door, continually challenging us to manage increasing pressures for innovation and productivity while providing excellent products and services.
Many thanks to the industry in the province and to our colleagues nationally and internationally for the vital collaboration and hard work throughout the past year.
Working together we accomplish so much more!
Manley McLachlan is the president and CEO of the B.C. Construction Association. Manley is also a member of the Journal of Commerce Editorial Advisory Board. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.