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High Labour, Materials, and Borrowing Costs Push Builders to Breaking Point in BC

The BC Construction Association warns that contractors face significant financial risk as they deal with higher costs for materials and labour, and the debt carried while awaiting payments.

BCCA President, Chris Atchison says “the construction industry is massive, essential, and struggling.”

He says many companies are reaching a breaking point, and warns that our urgent need for more housing and other infrastructure “hangs in the balance.”

Atchison says contractors face higher costs for goods, labour, and borrowing.

The BCCA notes the provincial government has failed to deliver on prompt payment legislation and taking on increased debt costs will increase the threat of bankruptcy as they wait 90-120 days to be paid.

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According to Atchison, “slow payment for services rendered is unique to our industry, and with costs of goods, labour, and borrowing all rising, many BC contractors are reaching crisis. Prompt payment legislation is not experimental, it is proven. Unlocking cash flow is an economic necessity and in the best interests of every community in BC.”

The association says the number of tradespeople in the industry has dropped five per cent over three years.

The competition to hire workers pushed average construction wages 26 per cent higher that 2017, with an increase of 11 per cent since last year.

The association adds that contractors struggle to balance declining commercial demand with rising materials and labour costs.

Key statistics from BC’s construction sector:

  • Construction is the No. 1 employer in B.C.’s goods sector
  • B.C.’s construction industry accounts for 9.7% ($25.4B) of the province’s GDP
  • More than 236,000 people rely directly on B.C.’s Construction industry for a paycheque
  • Number of credentialed tradespeople: 171,470
  • Roughly 85% of construction workers are non-union
  • Number of credentialed tradeswomen: 9,774 (5.70%)
  • Number of construction companies in BC: 26,262
  • Average yearly wage of B.C. construction employees: $66,101 ($15.6B cumulative yearly wage)
  • Value of proposed construction projects in British Columbia: $220 billion
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