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For over 50 years, the British Columbia Construction Association has worked to ensure that B.C. is home to a world-class construction sector

By Paul Adair

 

For more than 50 years, the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) has steadfastly represented employers of all sizes within the industrial, commercial and institutional construction industry across B.C. Membership ranges from general and trade contractors, to manufacturers and suppliers, as well as the wide variety of professional service providers for the construction industry. Incorporated in 1970, BCCA today is one of the largest and most diverse construction associations in the province, serving more than 10,000 employers from all labour affiliations, and offering a wide array of direct services to the provincial construction industry.

BCCA is administered through a unique organizational structure that has served British Columbia’s construction industry quite well over the years. BCCA members do not join the association directly, but rather through the four Regional Construction Associations: Vancouver Island, Northern Region, Southern Interior and Vancouver Region. When a company joins any of these regional associations as an Industry Member, they automatically become a member of BCCA (the provincial organization), as well as a member of the national organization, the Canadian Construction Association.

“There is no better way to network for your business than through the associations,” said BCCA president Chris Atchison. “Because each area of the province has its own unique market opportunities and challenges, this kind of regionalization is very important, as each regional association is able to best speak to its own member value propositions.”

Membership with one of the four regional associations – and BCCA because of it – delivers both direct and indirect benefits for members.

Directly, an industry association is the most effective path to addressing the many daily issues that challenge a construction firm’s ability to operate their business successfully. Whether matters of prompt payment, access to skilled workers, training supports, challenges with public sector procurement documents or a myriad of other important issues, BCCA is there to elevate those concerns to the people in positions to make positive, concrete changes.

“By supporting the regional associations through membership, our members are able to indirectly support the advocacy work we do, in addition to taking advantage of the programs we offer on behalf of the construction industry at large,” said Atchison. “BCCA’s overreaching goal is to help optimize productivity and resilience for British Columbia’s construction industry, and the significance of your membership dollars in making the work we do possible cannot be overstated.”

Among BCCA’s many successes over the last 50 years is perhaps the association’s most significant achievement: maintaining the collaborative network of its Regional Construction Associations that work independently within their local markets, while also aligning with each other and BCCA at the provincial level to represent the industrial, commercial and institutional industry as a whole, regardless of labour affiliation, location or role in the industry.

BCCA’s benefits program, the BCCA Employee Benefits Trust, was first established 50 years ago to meet the unique needs of construction employers better. Even today, BCCA continues to provide one of the most competitive, flexible and full-service benefits plans possible for the province’s construction industry. BCCA recently added a retirement savings plan to its offerings, an addition that will be particularly important for the construction industry in the years ahead, considering that 60 per cent of the current workforce is over the age of 45.

BCCA has also created some of the most successful, long-serving workforce development programs in the province. Announced in 2019, the Builders Code is a baseline code of conduct standard for the industry that sets an ‘acceptable worksite’ as the starting point for reducing risk and ensuring a safe and productive environment for all workers. The Builders Code comes with a suite of free tools to help employers modernize their workplace culture and aims to put an end to hazing, bullying and harassment in the construction sector. Another significant program, BCCA’s Skilled Trades Employment Program, has been operating since 2006, and has placed more than 14,000 British Columbians into construction jobs.

In addition, BCCA was among the first associations to enter the online procurement world, an indication of the association’s ability to keep up with the ever-changing nature of construction. As one of B.C.’s largest construction bidding marketplaces, BidCentral offers current and pre-bid project information. Built by the industry to serve the industry, BidCentral is a go-to resource for many in the industrial, commercial and institutional industry, and the project information is available industry-wide.

“Our BidCentral platform was first launched more than 20 years ago and is the precursor to the competitive platforms you see today,” said Atchison. “We still offer the biggest and most up-to-date inventory of current project opportunities and an unparalleled contractor directory. And since we’re a non-profit, our revenues get invested right back into serving the sector, which enables us to partner with BCBid.”

BCCA also emphasizes inclusion and diversity and works with private and public sector partners to ensure that all British Columbians have access to demand-driven career opportunities in the construction sector, and the training and supports they need to excel.

In 1992, BCCA joined forces with the Construction Labour Relations Association of BC to fund and co-found the Council of Construction Associations (COCA), a roundtable of industry groups focused on safety regulation and policy for the sector at large. In the years since, BCCA has remained a major funder of the Council and continues to provide operational support, enabling COCA to play a pivotal role in advising industry stakeholders on all decisions regarding safety issues within the construction sector.

Looking ahead, BCCA will strive to continue providing world-class, demand-side services to support British Columbia’s construction employers in successfully operating their businesses, and advocate with the provincial government for policies that make sense for the construction industry.

“Our mission is to ensure that resources and regulatory environments exceed employer needs and expectations,” said Atchison. “It’s a big challenge, but we’ve proven that we’re up to it and we’re all the more powerful if your construction company chooses to join us on the field, instead of watching from the sidelines.”

 

 

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.