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Busy year ahead for B.C.’s construction industry: ICBA Survey


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January 6, 2015 by STAFF REPORT

British Columbia’s open shop construction companies expect 2015 to be even busier than 2014, according to survey released by Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. (ICBA).

“This is welcome news because the construction industry is a strong indicator for the rest of the economy,” said Philip Hochstein, president, ICBA. “If our guys are busy, then we know our economy is doing well.”

The survey revealed that 47 per cent of companies are predicting increased work in 2015 and 50 per cent believe their business volume will stay the same. One of the biggest surges in business is in the north with 58 per cent expecting an increase in work in 2015. Overall, the expected change for 2015 is nine per cent higher than the net change predicted for 2014.

“In construction, excavators are the canary in the coal mine,” added Hochstein. “We are seeing that they are even more confident than last year. This bodes well for the entire industry. When there are holes in the ground, it means we’re building, growing and attracting investment to our province.”

The ICBA commissioned Sentis Market Research Ltd. to survey its members in November 2014.

More Trades Needed

The survey also revealed that companies are largely looking to hire more tradespeople in order to meet the rising demand. Four times as many companies plan to add employees than to increase existing employee hours (42 per cent versus 10 per cent). This continues the trend from 2014 when 35 per cent were planning to hire and 8 per cent were planning to increase hours.

Other interesting trends identified in survey results include:

  • Open shop construction companies in BC are budgeting on a 4 per cent overall wage increase for trades in 2015 and another 4 per cent increase in 2016. The wage increases expected in 2015 are highly consistent across the trades.
  • Just over half of companies pay a premium to their workers when they work in remote areas of BC. Across the various trades, the hourly premium that is paid for work in remote areas tends to fall between $4 and $5, with the overall average premium standing at $4.65.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. services and represents B.C.’s construction sector. ICBA is the single largest sponsor of construction apprentices and trains the largest number of management personnel in B.C. Its 1,200 members build in the multi-family residential and industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction sectors and are involved in virtually all major capital projects in British Columbia. A copy of the survey report can be downloaded here.


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