19 Eylül 2010 Pazar

By Hayley Mitchell

By Hayley Mitchell

Manley McLachlan, President of British Columbia Construction Association (BCAA) feels positive about the future of construction in B.C. and suggests that there will be enough work to go around. “We see a strong future for construction in British Columbia,” says McLachlan, who is encouraging BCCA members to have confidence in the economy. The major projects inventory for the province lists $180 billion in construction projects, indicating a high level of investment planned for BC. These projects will most likely come to the market in the next five to seven years.

For now, the recent downturn in the economy and the federal and provincial infrastructure stimulus packages that emerged, have changed the focus of construction activity from private projects to public. This shift has resulted in increased activity for the BCCA around public procurement, particularly tendering procedures. The BCCA has a long history of developing and advocating for industry standards in the procurement process and with the increase in public construction activity they have quickly found themselves back in the thick of the issues once again. “In the public arena, where taxpayer dollars are being spent, there is no substitute for open, fair and transparent tendering policies and procedures,” notes McLachlan, “and the BCCA will work diligently with Government to ensure that message is heard and adhered to by public agencies.”

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Looking to the future, however, McLachlan predicts that the skilled labour shortage will soon return as workers retire from the industry. “We believe that the key issue for most contractors in the years to come will be the loss of existing talent,” says McLachlan. While previous concerns about skills shortages related to the high level of construction activity, the problem into the future with be the baby boomers saying good-bye to the workforce. The Construction Sector Council’s Labour Market Information (LMI) report, Construction Looking Forward, predicts that there will be 30,000 retirees in B.C.

over the next five to seven years. McLachlan says that the timing could not be worse for this depletion of skilled labor as that $180 billion in major projects requires skilled labourers and not a new, green workforce. The industry will not just need new people, according to the BCCA, but highly skilled people. His advice to the industry is to start training now so those skills are available in the years to come


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