On-Site Magazine

New Brunswick construction industry prepares for next decade of building

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March 27, 2012 by CNW

With careful planning, the New Brunswick construction industry should be able to draw on its own workforce to meet labour requirements for most of the next decade.

Construction Looking Forward, 2012 to 2020 Key Highlights for New Brunswick says the province came off a historic high level of construction activity, but residential activity has been trending down, government stimulus programs have ended, and several major non-residential projects are nearing completion.

The just-published Construction Sector Council (CSC) forecast stresses that even as overall construction activity slows, industry will still need to plan carefully to sustain all the systems necessary to support the construction workforce, including retention, career promotion and training.

“With stronger construction markets in other parts of the country, the challenge lies in keeping the skilled workers here when they are needed to replace retiring workers,” says Tim flood, president of John Flood and Sons (1961) Ltd.
Mining and other resource-related projects will be the main source of new jobs, but there will also be moderate increases in employment in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors.

Those job openings compensate for the losses in engineering-related work caused by the completion of major projects and the end of government stimulus projects.

When it comes to housing, overall losses in employment reach almost 20 per cent over the entire forecast period. The downward trend occurs mostly in new housing, while renovation and maintenance follow a gradual and steady increase in employment.

The industry’s labour force is estimated to decline by almost 2,700 workers from 2012 to 2020 as construction investment weakens. This decline will be offset by the expected retirement of 4,200 workers. Industry will still need to recruit more than 1,500 workers to replace retirees and sustain a skilled workforce.

“That means keeping apprenticeship, career promotion and skill upgrading on the front burner at all times,” says Gary Ritchie, president of the New Brunswick Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council.

Each year, the CSC releases nine-year scenario-based labour forecasts following consultations with industry leaders, including owners, contractors and labour groups, as well as governments and educational institutions.

The national and regional reports will be available online at www.csc-ca.org this spring. Forecast data is also available at www.constructionforecasts.ca.

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