Canadian Industrial and Construction training
Labour supply, technological change and regulatory challenges spur innovation and higher industry standards
Canadian Design and Construction Report staff writer
Interconnected labour supply issues, technological changes, and regulatory challenges have spurred innovation and adaptation by Canada’s industrial, institutional and commercial roofing contractors.
The industry has deep roots. celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2014 with a renewed commitment to higher and more reliable quality industry standards. Meanwhile, across Canada, the industry has dealt with many challenges from internal and external sources, and is preparing to tackle many more in the coming year.
executive director Bob Brunet says labour has been the biggest challenge. “Skilled labour shortages and demographic forces are reshaping the roofing industry’s workforce, ” he said. “Our workers are getting older and trying to attract the younger generation is a challenge.”
While technological improvements are intended to make things easier and improve quality, these have created challenges for contractors. Brunet says everything from GPS technology to BIM (Building Information Modelling) to modularization of roofing components “has and will continue to impact our contractors.”
Looking ahead to 2015, Brunet says roofing contractors will be further challenged, in some cases with the fundamentals of how they do business. “I believe we’re going to see that the evolving payment terms will cause serious risk and cash-flow problems, not only for the roofing industry, but all of the construction industry, ” he said.
In addition, increased competition, and not only from outside of Canada, is a concern. “Our industry has to be aware of inter-provincial competition as well. Workers will continue to be mobile and relocate where the work is and in Canada the hot spots are mainly in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, parts of Ontario and Newfoundland.”
Brunet says labour supply will continue to be an issue until a basic mindset change occurs. He says construction careers are still seen as a second or third choice to the younger generation. This is unfortunate because the perception is incorrect.
“Anyone opting for a trade career can look forward to a challenging career with excellent opportunities for advancement, ” he said. “Students entering a career in the trade sector will usually enter the workplace with much less debt than if he or she was coming out of university.”
He says it is important for people to understand that roofing has become more complex and requires a different skill set than in the past with less reliance on physical work and more on mental efforts.
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