The Canadian Home Builders’ Association
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association has been “the voice of Canada’s residential construction industry” since 1943. The homebuilding industry is one of Canada’s most critical and exciting. The CHBA represents more than 8,000 member firms across Canada, and is made up of companies involved in new home construction, renovations, land development, trade contracting, product and material manufacturing, building product supply, lending organizations, insurance provision and service professionals.
What the CHBA does
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association is built on a vision “of a strong and positive role for the housing industry, and a commitment to support the business success of members and their ability to provide affordability, quality and choice for consumers.” The association is focused on three key areas, according to their website:
Achieving a stable business environment for members. The CHBA is committed to a fair and competitive marketplace, where all members have the opportunity to operate their business profitably.
Promoting and protecting the interests of consumers. The CHBA believes that all Canadians have the right to decent, safe and appropriate housing. They also believe that all Canadians have the right to a reasonable opportunity to own a home.
Supporting the professionalism of members. Skills, experience and integrity are the cornerstones of professionalism. CHBA provides members with opportunities to learn, grow and take pride in what they do.
The CHBA advocates the interests of the housing industry at all government levels.
In addition, the organization creates alliances with private and public research agencies to promote the industry’s needs and growth including solutions and demonstration projects. According to the CHBA, the association “joins forces with national partners on marketing activities to inform consumers and promote professional new home builders and renovators.”
Local and provincial HBAs work together to provide a forum for members to share information and report on important issues. President of CHBA Greg Christenson told CBJ that the strategy for the association is “very relationship-driven” in this way, and is “about communication, respect and trust: building those three elements for the good of members.” He says that the CHBA has a very proactive approach to doing the work they do; it’s not all about “grieving about government regulation and policy.”
Currently, the CHBA is focused on sustainability issues and building codes with green building in mind. Christenson says when it comes to sustainability, it’s “not just about energy, but waste management and water management also.”
CHBA is also working on labour force development which is a critical aspect of the industry. “The problem we have in some provinces, especially Alberta, is we have high labour costs and transient labour. In the oil and industrial sector often workers are flown in and at labour camps. Cost to the employer is very high.
You don’t attract wives and girlfriends, which results in a highly transient and highly male workforce which has a high social cost,” Christenson explains.
With Alberta specifically, the CHBA is looking at a longer-term more strategic approach to labour force development. “The biggest component of building a house is labour. Unless you attract families you don’t really have a labour force, and 80 per cent of economic activity is in the northern part of the province. The human capital issue is a big issue for our members. We’re a big building block in attracting the labour pool,” Christenson continues.
For now, communication with member boards and executive officers of local branches is a major function of each provincial office, and the CHBA is continually committed to building a better building industry.