What We Learned from 2020

By Chris Atchison, President, BCCA 


The construction industry is used to dueling.  In fact, we thrive on it. We go where others don’tevery day, facing down myriad risks inherent in the work we do.  Whether its extreme weather, physical hazards on a job siteopaque procurement documents in the office, late payments, labour or supply shortages, equipment malfunctions, biased political moves, new taxes, tariffs, or demonstrators, we face challenge every day. And we prevail. And we build. 


Risk, carefully calculated and balanced, is part of the construction life.  Each day, as owners, as employers, as skilled tradespeople, we look it in the face and weigh our choices based on experience, knowledge, and instinct. We know that the decisions we make affect our families, the projects for which we hold responsibility, the workers we employ or work alongside, and the British Columbians who will live and work inside the structures we build.   


If there are miscalculations along the way, we learn from them.  It’s when we achieve our goals and stand back to recognize a job well done, that the payoff comes.    


This has been a year for risk like no other. We added pandemic to our list of challenges 


And we learned a few things. 


Most obviously, we learned how to manage the risks of COVID-19 on our job sites and continued as essential workers throughout the pandemic.  This doesn’t mean that our industry escaped unscathed. Contractors already struggling to make ends meet were pushed into closure, projects were cancelled or delayed, costs got bigger and margins smaller, workers lost their jobs, a handful of sites had COVID outbreaks. It was stressful.   But overall, we iterated, we kept going, and we did it safely. 


We learned how well we can collaborate.  The level of competition in this industry is legendary and can be our Achilles heel: sharing what works for us helps our competitors, and so it doesn’t come easily. But during COVID-19 that melted away like the snow in spring.  Larger contractors with more resources willingly published protocol guidelines and best practises widely. Industry associations and stakeholder groups came together to amplify each other’s work, everyone pitched in, communicated, and served for the greater good. 


British Columbians learned something about the construction industry. Thousands of employees from other sectors had to stay homeand if they walked their dogs past a jobsite they saw our teams going to work every day. They saw our skilled tradespeople, deemed essential, continue to earn, and contribute and provide for their families.  The role of our industry as the #1 employer in BC’s goods sector, our massive contribution to the provincial economy, was on display, and we have benefitted from that. Despite the challenges of this year, we have seen an influx of new entrants through BCCA’s workforce development programs such as the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP). 


We learned how quickly governments can act when it determines there is a need to do so, but also how ideology can get in the way When there is a protection that is required to secure the health and safety of a large portion of the population, and when there is a political benefit to acting, there is no force so strong as that of political will.  It will move mountains to achieve what it seeks, and this year that resulted in a stronger NDP government for BC. 


To close, I want to leave you with what the team at BCCA learned – or, more accurately, had reaffirmed. The uniqueness of our role as the only provincial representative of the industry at large.  We are an apolitical, non-partisan organization that seeks only to ensure the productivity and resilience of BC’s industrial, commercial, and institutional construction industry.  We are here to work collaboratively with the governments that the voters choose. Ideology has no role. 


I’m going to say it straight. BCCA is here for the employers, regardless of their labour affiliation. Every day, as President, I have the opportunity to discuss issues like prompt payment, compulsory trades, community benefits, and industry culture with contractors who use union workers – whether they be Building Trades or Progressive Unions  and those who run an open shop. And here’s the thing: for the most part, they agree on the big issues. They want the same things. And they look to us to help them get there. 


So, we’re all heading into 2021, in many ways stronger and smarter than we were before. We don’t know what new risks are in store, or what fresh opportunities are on the horizon.  But we do know that infrastructure spending is one of the main keys to restarting the economy post-COVID-19, and we know our industry is ready to get the job done.  


BCCA is working with our provincial government to represent you. To get Prompt Payment legislation passed, to ensure that skills training is accessible via a system that is relevant and productive, and to improve the culture of our industry so that all workers can thrive regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or race. 


We know that you will be here too, staring down new challenges and risks, and together we’ll get the job done. 


I send you all my best wishes for a safe, healthy, and rewarding 2021. You deserve it. 


Chris Atchison 

President, BCCA 






2020 Annual Report Cover Image.png
September 21, 2020

BCCA Releases it's 2020 Annual Report

On Friday, September 18th, The BCCA held it's Annual General Meeting and shared it's latest Annual Report which covers the fiscal period between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020.
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BCCA Builders Code Champion Awards Finalists.jpg
November 29, 2019

Inaugural Builders Code Champion Awards Celebrate Construction Sector Leadership

Nine months after unveiling the resources to help the industrial, commercial, and institutional construction sector set a standard code of conduct on worksites in B.C., the Builders Code has honoured six companies for their leadership at the inaugural Builders Code Champion Awards. Hosted by the BCCA and Minerva BC at the Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria yesterday, the awards recognized companies with advanced policies and practices that seek to ensure all employees can reach their full potential in the skilled trades.
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November 26, 2019

BCCA Celebrates National Construction Day with New Worksite Behavior Training App

As part of its ongoing efforts to address bullying, hazing, and harassment on B.C. construction worksites, the BC Construction Association (BCCA) is marking National Construction Day with the beta launch of a new Builders Code Crew Training App that uses animation and humour to help construction workers recognize the difference between “Cool or Tool” behavior on the worksite.
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August 23, 2019

BCCA Welcomes Trans Mountain Announcement Resuming Work on Pipeline Expansion Project

The BC Construction Association welcomes Wednesday’s (Aug. 21) announcement by Trans Mountain Corporation President and CEO Ian Anderson that construction work on the project will resume in communities along the route, including an immediate return to work at B.C.’s Burnaby Terminal and Westridge Marine Terminal. According to Trans Mountain, this will see 4,200 contract workers working along the route in B.C. and Alberta in the fourth quarter of 2019.
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August 20, 2019

Builders Code Ramps Up Services Across Northern Region

New Builders Code training for site supervisors, forepersons and union business managers on how best to deal with the perpetrators and targets of worksite bullying and harassment was announced today in Prince George, along with a new local Employer Advisor for the northern region. The training, which supports the construction personnel that work most closely with tradespeople on construction sites, was announced by Northern Regional Construction Association (NRCA) CEO Scott Bone.
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July 04, 2019

Aligning the Construction and Technology Sectors

Construction is changing. With a skilled labour shortage and other pressures affecting our industry, it is more important than ever to innovate and become a future-forward construction company. New technologies that help us become more productive and efficient are critical to moving the construction industry forward, but can also feel overwhelming at times.
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June 27, 2019

Multibillion Dollar BC Construction Sector Untapped by Tech

In the midst of a sector-wide drive for greater innovation and productivity in the face of a booming industry and a looming skills shortage, a recent State of Construction Technology survey conducted by the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) shows B.C.’s construction employers are underserved by a tech sector that is largely unaware of the huge potential market they represent.
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March 19, 2019

Builders Code Expansion: First Advisor Now Available to Vancouver Island Construction Employers

Industry Seeks to Improve Retention of Skilled Tradeswomen by Addressing Worksite Behaviour. Construction employers who want to address diversity or harassment issues on their worksites but lack the human resources personnel or expertise to do so will now have access to confidential advisors with experience in HR management, mediation and conflict resolution as part of the Builders Code recently launched by the BC Construction Association and project partners.
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March 08, 2019

BC Construction Industry Introduces Worksite Conduct Standards to Improve Worker Retention

The Province of B.C. and the BC Construction Association (BCCA) marked International Women’s Day today with the launch of the Builders Code, a comprehensive program that aims to address B.C.’s skilled labour shortage by reducing harassment, bullying and hazing on construction worksites. The Builders Code defines an Acceptable Worksite and provides employers with tools, training and resources to improve and promote safe and productive worksite behavior.
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February 25, 2019

Risk Alerts Issued for Two Provincial Construction Projects

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) has today issued two Contractor’s Alerts warning BC contractors of “Onerous Bidding Conditions” on two Prince George construction projects being procured by BC Housing. The projects are a building envelope remediation on Westwood Court and renovation work on the Hart Haven Group Home at Dagg Road, both in Prince George. Total value of both projects is $9.5M - $5M on Westwood Court and $4.5M on the Hart Haven project.
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February 07, 2019

Supporting BC's Skilled Workforce

LNG Canada and the BC Construction Association (BCCA) today announced that Marissa McTavish, an electrical apprentice from Prince George, has become the 1,000th participant in LNG Canada’s Trades Training Fund (TTF) and her employer, Primus Electric, the 500th employer to sponsor an employee with the Fund.
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January 22, 2019

British Columbia Construction Association Selected to Provide Pre-Arrival Services

Pre-arrival settlement services are a key element of Canada’s immigration program. They provide newcomers, including refugees, with the information and settlement support they need to make informed decisions about their new life in Canada before they arrive, such as how to prepare for finding a job. To help deliver these important services, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be providing funding of $3.4 million to the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA).
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September 17, 2018

BCCA Integrated Membership Update 2017

There are a record-breaking number of significant issues applying pressure to BC’s construction industry this year, and BCCA is working at the provincial level to make sure industry’s concerns and recommendations are heard loud and clear.
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August 30, 2018

Response to Federal Court of Appeal's Trans Mountain Pipeline Decision

BCCA is extremely disappointed by the Federal Court of Appeal's Trans Mountain expansion project decision today which undermines Canada’s economy and role on the global stage. This blow to investor confidence comes at a time when BC is already under pressure from new tariffs, taxation, and policy directives.
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August 24, 2018

New BC Building and Plumbing Code 2018

The new BC Building and Plumbing Code will be effective December 10, 2018 and will apply to building permits applied for on or after that date. The BC Fire Code is anticipated to be adopted in the fall of 2018 and effective December 10, 2018. Buildings with permits in place under the previous 2012 BC Building Code will generally not be affected by the adoption of the new code.
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August 02, 2018

Industry Voices - Industry Must Come Together

Premier Horgan's Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is the most dangerous and disruptive policy to be introduced by any government into our industry in recent memory. Whether you are a union or an open-shop employer, your basic rights and freedoms as Canadians are being blatantly disregarded, as is government's obligation for fair, open and transparent procurement practises.
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July 27, 2018

Pattullo Procurement Strategy Takes BC Construction a Bridge Too Far

The new Pattullo Bridge Community Benefits Agreement patently illustrates what is unfair with our current government’s policy decision to mandate the nature and extent of procurement requirements in major public construction projects. For BCCA, an association that hinges its principles on fair, open and transparent procurement practices, this agreement is taking public policy in construction tendering a bridge too far.
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July 18, 2018

Response to the Province’s Community Benefits Agreement Announcement

BCCA is working with our counterparts at the local, provincial and national levels to inform government on the risks of Community Benefit Agreements, and to educate public owners on the use of fair, open, and transparent procurement processes which are an obligation and responsibility of government to taxpayers.
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June 21, 2018

Tackling the Late Payment Epidemic: What Will It Take?

"Prompt payment” is a familiar issue in the construction industry. Of course there’s nothing prompt about it. It’s the LACK of prompt payment that makes it an issue, handicapping our industry, squeezing the small contractors, and pushing risk down into the supply chain onto those who can least afford to carry it.
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May 30, 2018

Understanding Risk British Columbia (UR+ BC) Video #URBC

The Understanding Risk British Columbia (UR+ BC) symposium, hosted April 16 & 17, 2018 in Victoria BC, marked the first time the construction industry played a leadership role in bringing together builders, designers, engineers, scientists, and policymakers to tackle the challenges of hazard mitigation and increased resilience in the industrial, commercial, and institutional built environment.
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May 29, 2018

BCCA Response to Federal Purchase of Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 Billion

Official Statement - The BC Construction Association has long been a strong public supporter of BC’s oil and gas strategy and of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in particular, recognizing the significance of the project for the economic prosperity of British Columbia and the rest of Canada provided that all environmental safety stipulations are met.
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