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Home Builders’ Associations


Third Party Certification for Builders & Renovators
Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia
J. Whitemarsh, Chief Executive Officer

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia (CHBA BC) recognizes that the decision to seek education must be seen as a business decision. The most effective way in which this can be achieved is through a certification program, at the end of which builders have something tangible they can use to promote their business and keep a competitive edge in today’s economy. Participation in these certification programs will continue to raise the level of professionalism and set a high standard for entry and success in this important economic sector.
CHBA BC has invested considerable time, energy and money to create the first industry-driven self-certification programs: the Registered Housing Professional (RHP) and Registered Renovation Professional (RRP) and Registered Master Builder (RMB).  Certification allows builders and renovators to demonstrate compliance with high standards established by a credible third-party, and a commitment to continuing education. It also provides the association with a vehicle for disciplining unethical or incompetent builders and renovators as the certification can be stripped should there be sufficient evidence of a wrongdoing.

It’s Time to Act—Now
Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia
Doug Wittal, President

2012 won’t be without its challenges as B.C. faces the fallout transitioning from HST back to the GST/PST will cause. Sales diminish as consumers adopt  a “wait and see” attitude, waiting for the 18-24 months transition rules before eliminating the additional tax HST added to new homes and renovations. The first and foremost item on my agenda as President, CHBA BC, will be convincing government to act now before our industry sees a mass exodus of trained professionals leave our province to find work elsewhere, to act now and stifle growth in the underground economy that will occur as consumers are convinced to pay cash rather than wait, to act now and enable our industry to continue its huge contribution to the economy of our province.
Our bright spot will be the successful implementation of the Professional Builders’ Institute’s requirement for education and training tied to the license B.C. builders are required to have, eliminating part-time black market builders. Our success will be realized by embracing a positive attitude and demonstrating honesty and integrity to ourselves, our customers, our staff and our industry partners.

Hold Onto Your Hard Hats
Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association
Peter Simpson, President and Chief Executive Officer

Housing, affordable or otherwise, continues to be a hot topic. In many Vancouver-area neighbourhoods, selling prices often exceed asking prices. One nondescript home in a desirable Richmond community attracted 47 offers two days after it was listed for $860,000. It sold, with no conditions, for $1.3 million—$440,000 over list price. Mainland Chinese money is flowing into the region. But will this fast-flowing river of cash turn into a dribble in the near future? The pundits’ crystal balls are cloudy on this one.
While residential construction in some regions of B.C. is experiencing contraction of various magnitudes, the industry in the Metro Vancouver is performing remarkably well, considering the significant angst surrounding the uncertainty created by the lack of clarity on HST transition rules. Moreover, Metro Vancouver housing starts are expected to reach 16,300 this year, up from 15,217 in 2010 and nearly double the 8,339 starts in 2009. Were it not for a last-minute starts surge in December 2009, the year-end result would have been the worst one-year total since the 1960s. This timely rebound generates a positive ripple effect for all contributors to residential construction: A record $4.4 billion will be spent on home renovation, improvement and repair this year in Metro Vancouver. The fly in the ointment is that the underground economy continues to flourish.
Looking ahead to 2012, housing starts are expected to increase marginally, and if attendance at our fall home show is any indication, people are keen to give their tired homes extreme makeovers.
There’s always a caveat, right? Lawmakers are working diligently around the world to strengthen financial policy, but if the global economy tanks hold onto your hardhats—all bets will be off.


Political Changes Bring Similar Outlook and Clear timeline
Canadian Home Builders’ Association - Alberta
Jim Rivait, CEO

Things have settled politically in Alberta as 2011 ends and we look to 2012. New Premier Alison Redford was recently sworn in and subsequently appointed a Cabinet that features plenty of new faces as well as continuity. The relationship based approach that CHBA – Alberta has focused on building will serve members well into the future. Political timelines have also become much clearer, as there will be a fall and spring sitting of the legislature, followed by a provincial election, likely in June 2012. This means that key discussions around issues such as mandatory warranty, fire issues and building codes can continue in a meaningful way.
Weaker oil prices and investment losses are likely to push Alberta’s deficit for the 2011 fiscal year higher than last forecast which indicated a $1.3 B shortfall. A deficit was also forecast for 2012, but the pressure will be on Premier Redford and new Finance Minister Ron Liepert to get Alberta into the black before the forecast election; a deficit would be a major weakness for the governing PCs.
The Alberta labour market is accessible at this point, with unemployment at 5.6 per cent as of September 2011. The population of Alberta is growing at an accelerating rate, leading the country in interprovincial migration and quarterly growth in total. Analysts continue to indicate there will be a labour crunch shortly due to a large number of energy-sector projects that are being restarted.
Single detached and multi-family starts have been sluggish, projected to be down 10 and 8 per cent respectively. Growth is expected in 2012, as inventories become depleted.


On Track as Canada’s New Economic Leader
Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Saskatchewan
Alan Thomarat, CEO

Saskatchewan’s strength is the confidence of industry leaders, businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals and families who believe that Saskatchewan will remain the best place to invest and will continue to be the best place to call home. The province’s strong and diverse economy will continue to attract investment and new residents from our neighbouring provinces and around the world. Year to date, Saskatchewan’s communities have seen a 28 per cent growth in the number of housing starts and demand for housing remains high.
During our provincial election campaign, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Saskatchewan has partnered with the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce to present the “On Track” campaign. The campaign seeks to reinforce the message that even through difficult global economic times, Saskatchewan’s innovative business community and economic diversity is driving the province’s market stability and growth.
Saskatchewan’s latest population numbers indicate that we are at 1,057,884, which is an increase of 25,000 people over the last two years. Our province has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and industry continues to recruit for new workers.  With an estimated 25,000 new homes required over the next five years, Saskatchewan’s residential construction industry will continue to lead the country for years to come.


More of the Same in 2012
Manitoba Home Builders’ Association
Mike Moore, President

All initial projections indicate that Manitoba will experience a similar number of starts in 2012 that we will have in 2011. To date, with starts already in the books and permit applications for the remaining two months of this year, 2011 is on track to be a carbon copy of 2010.
Now, before anyone thinks that new home building in Manitoba appears to be stuck in a rut, they should know that the number of starts in 2010 represented the most in the province for the past 23 years, since 1987. A combined single-family detached and multi-family total of 5,888 starts is a tremendous year and that was celebrated industry wide in Manitoba in 2010 after a harsh 2009.
A cooling-off period for 2011 was projected by all, calling for a slight decline of 8 per cent to 10 per cent in starts. However, it’s beginning to look like we were wrong, albeit in a good way; we could very well find ourselves exactly where we were a year ago with no signs of stopping for at least another year.
Immigration continues to be a key population growth driver. With unemployment numbers so low, Manitoba is a destination of choice for many young Canadians. The province’s diversified economy promotes stability. Numerous mega-projects such as the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, hydro dams in the north, the James A. Richardson International Airport, Centreport, the Blue Bomber stadium and a rapid transit system will continue to stimulate growth and employment.
And to top it all off, the Jets are back in the NHL.


Hi-rise, Lo-rise, Land & Demand
Ontario Home Builders’ Association
Michael Collins-Williams, Director of Policy

The residential construction industry is anticipated to close 2011 with slightly improved housing starts volumes over 2010, prior to moderating in 2012. CMHC is forecasting 62,400 starts in 2011 and 60,750 starts in 2012. Residential construction activity in Ontario has become defined by a buoyant high-rise condo market supported by strong investor activity in the GTA, and a weaker low-rise sector constrained by land supply issues and waning consumer confidence.
The GTA high-rise condominium market continues to advance at a record pace with a forecast by Urbanation for 25,000 sales in 2011, up from to 20,491 sales in 2010. The high-rise market is primarily being driven by investors that are attracted to the GTA by relative affordability as well as the perceived stability of the Canadian dollar and Canadian real estate. The volume of sales activity is creating pressure on the industry capacity to keep up with demand and to deliver completed units.
The low-rise market in the GTA and across the province offers a stark contrast in terms of activity and outlook. Low-rise starts and sales are losing market share to more intensified patterns of growth; land supply issues are impeding growth in a number of Ontario jurisdictions. Broader economic concerns and a stagnant jobs market in some Ontario locals are curtailing consumer confidence and ultimately demand for new housing.
Increasing levels of government imposed charges and an expanding regulatory environment is negatively impacting housing affordability, especially in the more expensive single-detached housing market. OHBA is concerned by the long-term impact of a heavier regulatory and taxation burden on housing affordability and choice.

London Takes a LEEP
London Home Builders’ Association
Shellie Chowns, President LHBA; Construction Project Manager, Union Gas Ltd.

Four years ago, Natural Resources Canada partnered with the London Home Builders’ Association and the City of London to pilot the first LEEP (Local Energy Efficiency Partnership) program. The objective was to have builders and renovators create a toolbox of energy efficient construction practices and building components that could be easily adapted into everyday practices of builders across the country, without regulatory reform.
The toolbox received national recognition and several of the technologies identified in that exercise have found their way into the Energy Star for New Homes program, while others will show up in the 2012 edition of the Ontario Building Code. The exercise was repeated in 2011-2012, and was opened up to four Home Builders’ Associations from distinct regions across Ontario. LEEP Phase 2 includes a Technology Adoption Pilot (TAP) component, and homes featuring the energy efficient components are under construction now.
Having had the opportunity to participate in both sessions, the takeaway for me was how willing volunteer participants were to bring fresh ideas to the table, and grind out the details to implement them. This couldn’t have been possible without collaboration from Building Officials and inspectors who are often bound by rigid code requirements that have failed to keep pace with the advancements in building science and technology.
The home building industry is an ever-changing landscape of emerging ideas from builders competing for sales, but when called upon, we are also an industry of fellowship and camaraderie. I highly recommend participation in any event that positions your business for the future while strengthening your relationships within your community. 


Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) Training
Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association
Paul Pettipas, B.Comm., LLB, Chief Executive Officer

The residential construction industry in Canada faces many challenges in the years ahead, one being an aging population. The industry loses workers to retirement, but it gains a huge potential market for its services: the Boomers and Beyond.
Starting in January 2010, 1,000 Canadians per day turn 65. Boomers are motivated to act with the resources to back up their action. This, however, is not a slam-dunk market. Boomers have expectations and we must be ready to meet them.
The Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association (NSHBA) is now the licensed provider of Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) training in Nova Scotia. The NSHBA is licensed through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) located in Washington, DC. NSHBA members will be trained to work with clients and allow them to remain in their homes, safely, independently and comfortably. They will also attain the Certified Aging in Place Specialist designation.
Participants taking the three-day course are required to successfully complete three CAPS courses: Marketing and Communication Strategies for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS I); Design/Build Solutions for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS II); and successfully complete Business Management for Building Professionals. The first course with 24 participants took place in Halifax on September 19 - 21, 2011.


Industry Leaders Speak 2011
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