Sprinkler Issue Emerging Again
that history repeats itself can be found in renewed discussion of
whether sprinkler systems should be required in all new homes. This is
despite national studies dating back to 1989 that concluded the cost of
sprinklers in new one- or two-family homes far exceeded benefits.
Subsequent studies reached the same conclusion.
did not extinguish the discussion. After failing at the national codes
level, fire departments and sprinkler manufacturers turned to provinces
and municipalities. That’s why the issue was on Calgary city council’s
agenda in 2010 when it chose not to mandate sprinklers through a bylaw.
the issue may be coming back – again. Discussions of sprinklers for
seniors care facilities at a recent fire summit in Edmonton could
broaden into another debate about whether they are needed in all new
homes. And there are questions in Calgary about whether a builder may
have to install sprinklers in single family homes.
at the local, provincial and national level consistently supported
cost-effective fire control measures for single family homes over
mandatory sprinkler regulations. And while we’ve engaged in this long
debate, the case for sprinklers has weakened further with a decline in
deaths and injuries in residential fires. Inexpensive smoke alarms
included in new houses since the 1980s are a key reason.
is a reminder that we must remain vigilant for attempts to revive
misguided ideas and be prepared to act as advocates for evidence-based
regulations for our industry and customers.
Jim Rivait, CEO, CHBA – Alberta
Key Reviews of Legislation Underway
– Alberta is working hard to ensure our industry voice is heard on two
key pieces of legislation this summer with potential implications for
consumers. Both the Condominium Property Act (CPA) and the Municipal
Government Act (MGA) have been under review for some time now, and CHBA –
Alberta has been involved every step of the way.
CPA Amendment Act was tabled in the legislature this spring to receive
comments and recommendations from stakeholders. CHBA – Alberta has
established a working group from throughout the province to identify
concerns and propose solutions. While there are many positive elements
in the revised legislation, there are a number of items identified by
the group that would hamper the ability to provide multi-family housing
in Alberta. The working group will be providing recommendations to the
Minister in July, and following up in subsequent months to ensure a
vibrant and affordable condominium sector is part of Alberta’s future.
latest submission as part of the MGA review, 10 Steps to a Stronger
Municipal Government Act, was provided to Municipal Affairs in June.
Building on our previous work, this document makes recommendations on
the top issues we’ve identified through the process. We will carry these
messages forward in continuing discussions with the Minister. As the
review drills down to more specific items, it will be even more
important to have the expert opinions of those in the industry to
propose solutions that will lead to a 21st century MGA.
T.J. Keil, External Affairs Manager
Housing Starts Continue to Climb
starts for June released in the next few days will provide the data for
the first half of 2014. Through the first five months of the year,
total starts in Alberta’s seven largest cities were up 5% from January
to May 2013 to 13,690 units. Single-family starts in urban areas were up
by 2% to 6,371 units while multiple dwelling starts were up by 8% to
7,319 units, largely on the strength of a resurgent new condominium
apartment market in Calgary.
Canada also reported last month that Alberta’s population growth
remains at the head of the pack in Canada, attracting close to 21,000
net newcomers in the first quarter of 2014. CMHC's rental market report
showed apartment vacancy rates remain low while rents are rising. The
combination of a growing population and a tight rental market will
encourage many newcomers to buy homes once they become established in
Check our website for complete market reports.
Richard Goatcher, Economic Analyst
Notice of Annual General Meeting
CHBA - Alberta will hold its Annual General Meeting Friday, September 19 at 9 am at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. For complete AGM information and to get on the Voters' List click here.
Plenty to Hear at BUILD
We are excited to have a sold out conference and a great program in store for attendees. CHBA - Alberta is thrilled to have keynote and Olympic Gold Medalist Jon Montgomery kick off our morning with a presentation on how one’s success as an athlete is directly tied to their ability to work collaboratively with their team. This Olympic star will be on hand to do a couple of photo ops with his 2010 gold medal at BUILD Sports Centre costume party Thursday and the following day at the trade show. On Saturday
morning veteran political pundits Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play,
and Rick Bell of the Calgary Sun will offer insight into Alberta
politics and beyond.
Click here to be added to this year's waiting list.
Noteworthy Number of Award Submissions
The CHBA - Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing received 420 entries to this year's competition. The entries are now being judged by over 160 volunteer judges. Watch for the finalists to be announced Wednesday, July 30.
Interested in sponsoring a housing award category? Two sponsorships remain - click here.
Laara Braz, Member Services Manager
New Home Buyer Protection Update
call volume is still high at the New Home Buyer Protection Office
(NHBPO), calls are shifting from mainly builder and warranty providers
to owner-builders. Turn-around time for corrections and deletion of
entries to the New Home Buyers Database is still an issue, but
additional computer programing staff and changes to the software in the
first week of July should bring improvements. The NHBPO, CHBA – Alberta
and warranty providers will meet on July 16 to deal with outstanding
issues and clarifications. Some items up for discussion include
clarifications about distribution and delivery systems, commencement
dates, the BAR and communication from the NHBPO. CHBA – Alberta’s
Provincial Technical Committee is also preparing to review the
Check our website for complete July Technical Report.
Joan Maisonneuve, Manager, Policy & Industry Issues
WCB Seeks Input on Pricing Proposal
Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) would like to make presentations to
each CHBA Local in Alberta this summer to gauge members’ reaction to a
new custom pricing option called the Experience Rating Option. This
option was created for builders in the WCB Residential General
Contractor category. It would increase the maximum discounts and
surcharges allowed by an employer from 40% to 60%. It would not change
the total premium collected from the industry, but it would adjust from
which companies it is collected. Better performing employers will pay
less, employers performing poorly will pay more. If CHBA – Alberta
members favour the proposal, WCB will poll all companies under the
general residential contractor industry code. Look for information on
the sessions through your local CHBA.
First Employer Review Levied
June, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) levied its first Employer
Review against a construction company in Alberta. Tickets are also being
written. In June and July OHS is conducting a focused inspection
program in the residential sector.
All of the information collected will go into the internal OHS
database, allowing it to focus efforts on sectors, employers and prime
contractors with safety issues.
Check our website for complete July Safety Report.
Joan Maisonneuve, Manager, Policy & Industry Issues
The next edition of the CHBA – Alberta newsletter will be distributed on Sept. 3. Have a great summer.
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Edmonton, AB T5K 2L9