April 6, 2016

 


Housing Affordability a "Critical Issue' for Alberta 
It was gratifying that CHBA – Alberta was invited to attend the Legislature this week by  MLA Robyn Luff. The Calgary-East MLA is sponsoring Bill 202, the Alberta Affordable Housing Review Committee Act. The MLA committee will report on improving access to safe, appropriate and affordable housing. “The aim of this bill is to hear from many Albertans and to take a big-picture look at this crucial issue,” explained MLA Luff.  Home builders are included in the short list of major groups to be consulted by the committee as it gathers information for its report.

A review that includes affordable home ownership as a priority is consistent with CHBA – Alberta’s advocacy and a welcome change from what is often a piecemeal consideration of housing sector issues. We hoped to make the point that government needs to consider the “big picture” when we hosted Affordability Matters – A Home for Every Albertan.

Some concerns have been expressed that the Affordable Housing Review Committee will recommend policies that industry would oppose. That’s why it was reassuring to hear Brian Mason, the Minister of both Infrastructure and Transportation, say that the government is not considering rent controls. “Quite frankly, I think that the key here is to increase the supply of housing, particularly the affordable housing, and to let the market work,” said Minister Mason.

We look forward to sharing information and exploring solutions with the committee, after its members have been appointed, and it begins its nine-month assignment to improve access to and the affordability of homes. 

Jim Rivait, CEO


 

 

Coalition Communicates Economic Concerns to Premier 
CHBA – Alberta joined a number of industry groups to advocate that the provincial government take steps focusing on the economy and jobs, and to avoid doing harm at this critical time. A joint letter from the Alberta Coalition on Employment and the Economy and subsequent news release garnered plenty of media attention throughout Alberta. The coalition has requested a meeting with the Premier, and we are optimistic this will be granted. CHBA – Alberta is always looking for strategic partnerships and chances to build coalitions that advance common interests. This group represents most of Alberta’s industries and could be a valuable resource on a number of fronts.

Budget Likely to Precede MGA Review Introduction
MLAs returned from a two-week constituency break on April 4. The provincial budget will not be introduced until April 14, leaving some time to deal with other legislation. It is unlikely that changes to the Municipal Government Act will be introduced in the lead-up to the budget, or during the work that is required subsequently to debate and pass the budget. The MGA changes may not be introduced until towards the end of Spring session, which is scheduled to continue until early June.
the CHBA – Alberta/UDI Alberta MGA Review Committee has scheduled a presentation for Lethbridge April 21. Members will hear why the MGA matters to their business and how they can help support advocacy initiatives when the legislation is released.  Watch for dates to be announced for presentations in other cities.  

T.J. Keil, External Affairs Manager




Housing Starts Trend Down 
Total housing starts in Alberta’s urban areas over 10,000 population decreased in February by almost one-half from the same month in 2015 to 1,596 units. On a seasonally adjusted basis, housing activity in Alberta’s cities slowed to a rate of 20,528 units (SAAR) in February compared with a revised rate of 21,184 units (SAAR) in January. For the year-to-date, total starts in Alberta’s urban centres have declined by 50% from the first two months of 2015 to 3,062 units.

Population growth in Alberta remained above the national average in the fourth quarter of 2015. A strong increase in international migration helped offset a sharp decline in interprovincial net migration. Alberta’s overall population growth rate decreased in 2015 to 1.7% from 2.4% in 2014. 

See our monthly Market Updates for details on housing trends for individual cities.  

Richard Goatcher, Economic Analyst


 

Seeking Sponsors and Exhibitors for BUILD
BUILD has great opportunities to showcase your company.  Participate in the trade show (starting at $599) or become a sponsor (starting at $1,000).  We have fabulous opportunities for companies who want to get their name in front of Alberta's top builders and developers. If you would like to hear more about exhibiting or sponsorship options, contact me for details

Attending the conference with a group people? Consider reserving a signature cabin with multiple rooms and a large common area (Point Cabin - 5 rooms or Stanley Thompson Cabin - 4 rooms).  These luxurious cabins are great for team building or hosting a private reception.  Contact Laara for more information on these cabins.

Awards of Excellence in Housing - Start Compiling Your Submission
Get ready to shine, Alberta!  The CHBA – Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing Criteria for 2016 is ready for you to start assembling your submissions.  The housing awards were reviewed to ensure that we continue to deliver an exceptional awards program.

This year, there have been a few changes to the categories including the addition of the Mid Volume Builder of the Year!  Visit www.buildexcellence.ca for all this year's award information.  

Laara Braz, Member Services Manager


 

New Safety Award Categories
This year’s Safety Awards feature a variety of changes including new categories and questions. Three categories will be available for submission for the Builder Safety Leadership Awards and entrants will see a change in the two General Member categories. These changes have been made to encourage members of all sizes to enter the awards. Questions this year will focus on innovation, COR/SECOR, contractor management, professional development, and the unique challenges encountered by the residential sector. The Safety Leadership Awards recognize member companies that go above and beyond in workplace safety. Those that place in the top three of the Safety Leadership Awards will also receive points towards becoming CHBA – Alberta Builder of the Year. For all the criteria visit the Safety Awards website.  Deadline is noon on Wednesday, June 1.  It’s free to enter!

Building to SECOR Reaches Milestone
CHBA – Alberta and the Alberta Construction Safety Association are very pleased to announce that two companies that participated in the Building to SECOR/COR pilot project have received their SECOR and COR certificates.

Congratulations to Vicky’s Homes (Edmonton) for achieving SECOR and New Interiors (Calgary) for achieving COR. The latest company to earn their Temporary Letter of Certification is Infiniti Master Builder (Edmonton)

Please see the monthly Safety Report for more information.

Brittany Baltimore, Safety Coordinator



 

Codes Sessions in Medicine Hat and Red Deer 
CHBA – Alberta is offering an information session through the Locals on the new requirements contained in Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code.  These requirements begin transition on May 1 across the province.   Dates for the next sessions:
   -    Medicine Hat, Thursday, April 21
   -    Red Deer, Wednesday, April 27
Sessions have already been presented by CHBA – Alberta in Grande Prairie and Lethbridge.  Additional information on the codes such as summaries and resources are available on the CHBA – Alberta website.

New National Codes Now Available 
The next set of national model codes, the 2015 Building Fire and Plumbing Codes, have been released by the National Research Council (NRC).  These are the next codes that will be adopted by Alberta sometime in or after 2017.   If you want to have a sneak peek at what will likely follow the adoption of 9.36, the national codes are available for sale through the NRC website.  The province will begin to review these codes and add any Alberta-specific changes or additions over the next year.  CHBA – Alberta is involved through the Building Sub-Council and the Alberta Provincial Residential Technical Committee.


To read more, please see the monthly Technical Report

Joan Maisonneuve, Policy & Issues Manager



 

Canada-Alberta Job Grant Access Made Easy
CHBA – Alberta and the Government of Alberta have partnered to launch a pilot program to help our members access the Canada-Alberta Job Grant to fund training. Through this program, CHBA – Alberta members will be able to access training from a number of providers for one-third of the regular price. The other two-thirds will be covered by the Canada-Alberta Job Grant, which is funded by the Government of Canada.  An up-front financial commitment will not be required; members will be billed by CHBA – Alberta after registration is completed.

Click here to to register.





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