While the world and our industry have changed over the past month and a half, the mission and work of BILD Alberta continues. Early on in this crisis our priorities shifted to ensuring construction sites remain open. As a result of BILD Alberta’s (and local associations’) strong relationships with government, and advocacy efforts, permits are still being processed and construction continues today.
In the early days of the pandemic, it became increasingly clear there was a risk that construction sites could be shut down, as was done in other provinces. BILD Alberta worked daily and often hourly with the provincial government to prevent this from happening here. By demonstrating the economic importance of this industry and the safety leadership of our members, we provided the government the confidence to declare construction an essential service.
Over the past month, CHBA National, local associations as well as BILD Alberta have developed and shared numerous resources for members in an effort to maintain safe worksites. These resources were supported with submissions to Minister Kaycee Madu (Municipal Affairs) and Dr. Deena Hinshaw (Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer), to reinforce industry strategies which support both the economy and public health. Our efforts continue with Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, encouraging education-based enforcement of safe work protocols.
Even with the added pandemic related advocacy, BILD Alberta was also able to quickly address an unexpected permit issue. Earlier this month, a Ministerial Order was issued that extended appeal periods to October 1, 2020. While unintended, this prevented municipalities from issuing permits. Due to the immediate actions of BILD Alberta, the issue was resolved and permits have once again started being issued.
While these efforts have helped keep construction going through this period, the focus must now shift to the recovery of our industry and economy. BILD Alberta continues to actively engage with multiple provincial departments and elected officials to identify programs, incentives and other tools that will assist. Specific initiatives include:
- Participating on a government-led panel to identify aspects of safety codes that can be relaxed or modified to facilitate more timely and cost-effective construction without compromising the public safety.
- Advocating for strategic government investments in infrastructure that will facilitate private sector projects (i.e. arterial roads, storm sewers, water infrastructure).
- Advocating for an indefinite delay in any energy step codes and other national codes that increase costs to businesses and home buyers.
- Continuing to advocate for revisions to city charters and the Offsite Levies Regulation to focus on core infrastructure needs and increase municipal accountability.
- Working with CHBA National and the provincial government to repeal or modify the mortgage stress test in Alberta.
- Supporting for the creation of a renovation tax credit for energy efficiency.
We continue to work with members to identify what the “new normal” will look like and how we can help governments at all levels make their processes more efficient, competitive and affordable.
It is safe to say that regardless of how long the pandemic and social distancing lasts, we will be entering a prolonged period of challenges. While many things have changed, BILD Alberta’s mission and resolve to advocate on behalf of member companies has not. As we navigate this difficult time together, we will continue to work hard to make our industry stronger and more resilient along the way.
We welcome your thoughts, feedback and support.