The Construction Source


All the best, The Editorial Team We will keep adding business units that enhance our offering and separate us from our competition. “ ” Editor From The Dear Reader, Welcome to the latest issue of Construction Source Canada, the magazine that highlights the best in building and building products across the country. In this edition, we’ve highlighted a true variety of companies and organizations from across the construction industry. In particular, we’ve taken a close look at the topic of ‘health and safety,’ and at some of the companies and organizations that are pushing the industry forward in that arena. Keystone Environmental is a strong example. They are a knowledge-driven, solutions-oriented environmental consultant firm with a history stretching back nearly 40 years. Externally, their services are all about keeping the environment healthy, or at least returning it to health, and internally they have continually emphasized and invested in the wellbeing of their staff. We spoke to President Raminder Grewal about that investment, what it’s entailed, and the strong returns they’ve seen on it. The BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA), meanwhile, is all about health and safety. They are a not-profit organization serving their province’s construction sector with a mandate to engage employers and employees and assist them in making construction safe. Their current slate of services includes best-insafety programs, no-cost safety training, consultation services, and other tools and resources. All of the items in their offering are valuable and sought-after, but among the most sought-after is the Certificate of Recognition (COR®) program. Vernita Hsu, Director of COR® & Injury Management, talked to us about that certificate, its value to industry members, and the empirically proven results it has achieved on safety outcomes. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), is also currently highly focused on health and safety, and has been throughout the pandemic. We spoke to CEO Kevin Lee about that focus. We also discussed the other challenges facing the industry, and the work the association has been doing with government to address them. For more on those stories – and more stories like them, from across the construction spectrum – just keep reading.

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APRIL 2022 Keystone Environmental A BC-based Environmental Consultancy Accomplishing Important Work and Making Big Moves BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) Making safety simpler Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) Part of the solution New Dawn Developments The Kootenays’ most experienced builder Urban Arts Architecture Building community DPAI Architecture Impact-driven design Sturgess Architecture _SA 2.0 Zoom Painting A painting powerhouse Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Pushing the boundaries of innovation Vanmars Drilling Safe. Reliable. Quality Chapman Mechanical Complete safety meets perfect quality INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS INCINERATING TOILETS IN THIS ISSUE APRIL 2022 VANMARS DRILLING CHAPMAN MECHANICAL



THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Water connection not required Requires little space No odour Easy installation No frost protection needed Secure for children ash to be emptied No waste handling, only and more Bunkies, For Home, Cottages, Shops, 3 - 4 visits per hour High capacity Propane&Electric models ABOUT CINDERELLA ECO GROUP Cinderella Eco Group is a family-owned company located in the north-western coastal community of Midsund in Romsdal, with deep roots in the beautiful Norwegian fjord-landscape. We have more than 20 years’ experience with the Cinderella Incineration Toilet, a water-free, ecological solution for the management of toilet waste. Cinderella, the natural first choice for those who place high demands on quality and functionality. HIGHLIGHTS OF INCINERATION TOILETS:

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A BC-based Environmental Consultancy Accomplishing Important Work and Making Big Moves

Keystone Environmental is a knowledge-driven, solutions-oriented environmental consultant firm with a history stretching back nearly 40 years. Across those many years, the company’s goals, culture and methodology has continuously grown and evolved, as has the reach and depth of their services. Today, their team is over 115-strong, and includes professional engineers, geoscientists, toxicologists, agrologists, biologists, environmental scientists, Geographic Information Systems professionals and more. Their clients, meanwhile, include organizations of all sizes in both the public and private sectors – including those in the transportation sector (airport, public transit, ports and railways), infrastructure and development industry, forestry sector, liquefied natural gas, and mining industry. In recent years, they have worked increasingly close with Indigenous communities, and have invested in cultural awareness training to make those projects and relationships successful.

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Celebrating teamwork Over their longhistory, Keystone Environmental has continuously invested internally, in the wellbeing of their staff. They recognize that their employees play a critical role in their continued success, and as their team has grown, they have strived to promote a culture of employee engagement and collaboration. Their efforts in that arena have been repeatedly award-recognized – for five consecutive years, since 2018, the company has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Small & Medium Employers and Canada’s Best Employer for Recent Graduates, and in 2020 they were named Top Employer at the ECO Impact Awards. Raminder Grewal is the President of Keystone Environmental. He joined in 2000 as an environmental engineer conducting fieldwork, he became a partner in 2007, and he was named to his current role in 2013. In his time with the company, he says one of their “main focuses” has been THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA The river off the Alaska Highway in northern BC. For over 34 years, the company has a proven track record of providing expert environmental services in-and-around the Province.

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building a strong corporate culture and retaining staff. “We want Keystone Environmental to be a place where people come for a career, not just a job,” he says. “That’s been a big focus of ours for several years. We’re committed to providing a career path for everyone who works here.” That commitment is reflected in the makeup of Keystone Environmental’s senior staff. All the department heads, except for two have been with the company for at least 10 years. They all started in junior positions and promoted based on their performance. “Our goal is to one day be a company where we’re only hiring people directly from universities and then only promoting from within,” Raminder says. “We want to provide career paths. We want to give people opportunities. That’s extremely important to us.” Mike Farnsworth, Senior Project Manager and Team Lead, is a good example of someone who’s walked that path – he joined the company in 2005 and has been there ever since. “There’s a core team of us with over 15 years’ experience with the company,” Mike explains. “There are about 12 of us now, and two of those people have been here over 25 years. That shows you something about this company. Once you get hired here, you want to stay. I think that might be hard to say about other companies.” Mike, personally, says he’s stayed with the company partly because of how interesting the work is. Keystone Environmental works in a THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA With a foosball table in the head office lunchroom, the company’s culture encourages employees to work hard and play hard.

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variety of sectors, on different projects, and the corporate culture is very collaborative. “Everyone has a voice,” Mike says, and employees “get to wear a lot of different hats and try a lot of different things – that keeps things interesting.” Also, Mike says he has enjoyed growing alongside his colleagues, many of whom have stuck around just as long. “It really does become a second family.” Raminder, meanwhile, credits thecompany’sretentiontomany factors – which, again, have been vetted and affirmed by organizations such as Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers competition. Between 2018 and 2022, the company won that distinction five years in a row in recognition of their growth (they hired 34 new employees in 2021 alone), the social events and celebrations they hosted to keep employees engaged (including a Christmas dinner and dance, a company picnic in the summer, mini golf tournaments and staff appreciation lunches), and the variety of financial benefits they offer (including year-end profit-sharing / performance bonuses for all employees, an RRSP matching program, and generous employee referral bonuses of up to 6,000). In 2021, the company was commended for a lot of the same reasons. Additionally, they were recognized for THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA “We want Keystone Environmental to be a place where people come for a career, not just a job.” “That’s been a big focus of ours for several years. We’re committed to providing a career path for everyone who works here. ” Staff having an impromptu mid-day coffee break.

helping employees balance their day-to-day responsibilities through alternative working options, including flexible hours, shortened work weeks, and tele-commuting. They were also praised for starting new employees with three weeks of paid vacation and considering previous work experience when setting vacation entitlement for experienced candidates. Of course, the 2021 award also considered the company’s pandemic response. Keystone Environmental was applauded for quickly moving employees to workfrom-home arrangements, cancelling in-person meetings and transitioning to online meetings, implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, and providing onsite employees with needed personal protective equipment. During that tumultuous time, Raminder admits it was challenging to reconcile their two biggest priorities – keep everyone safe and healthy, and preserve their carefullycultivated team culture. Migrating in-person activities online was only part of the solution. Prior to the pandemic, he personally had an opendoor policy, and the company worked very collaboratively between departments. To replicate that atmosphere, they utilizedseveral solutions.Oneof the more amusing-but-effective solutions was roving iPads – employees at home could log in via their devices to drive the wheeled apparatus around the office, which remained open throughout the pandemic, to find and talk to the person they were looking for. “We wanted people to still feel connected,” Raminder says. “We wanted to do everything we could to make sure people still felt engaged.” APRIL 2022 Keystone Environmental works with various Indigenous communities across Canada, and is committed to further building relationships and working with Indigenous Peoples, governments, and organizations.

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA The roaming IPad was implemented for staff to stay connected during the pandemic.

Furthermore, Keystone Environmental also recognized that the prolonged pandemic and isolation were taking a toll on the mental health of their employees. To combat that toll, they implemented an Employee and Family Assistance Program to ensure that employees and their families could get the support they needed throughout the crisis. That program is emblematic of the “holistic approach” that Keystone Environmental takes, where they place as much emphasis on mental and personal well-being as they do professional development. “We care about our staff,” Raminder says, “andnot just our staff, but also their extended families. We know we play a big part in their lives. We take that responsibility seriously.” That holistic approach, Raminder reiterates, is a big part of howthe company retains people. Equally important, however, is that they identify people they want to retain in the first place. “We’ve put a lot of focus on hiring the right people and making sure the fit is right to begin with,” he says. “We feel like we can train the technical side – it’s more important that we find people who fit our culture.” Part of that culture is diversity. Keystone Environmental employs a large roster of both men and women of diverse backgrounds. Raminder personally knows that hasn’t always been the case in their industry. “When I first started going to networking events, it was not diverse,” he recalls. “But I give a lot of credit to the senior staff here – they are very open and welcoming and really want to promote people based on their abilities. There is no glass ceiling. To me, that’s a big part of what makes us special.” Keystone Environmental hasn’t invested so much in being special just for the sake of their staff. They firmly believe that by having a longstanding and engaged workforce they can provide better solutions to their clients. “It leads to better quality of work,” Mike says. “When you’ve got people who’ve been around for a long time, people who are tried, tested and true, you can find solutions faster and easier.” It also helps, Mike says, when you have an engaged staff that likes working together and knows how to collaborate. That kind of teamwork can result in solutions that wouldn’t be possible in offices where employees worked more separately and independently. Raminder gives an example: therewere somemajor changes to the Ministry guidelines a few years ago, which made for a very stressful time as they had to get reports in by a certain time and date. “We had people working around the clock to make sure we hit those deadlines,” he says. “But what really made me proud was that I saw emails going around of people saying ‘Hey, I’m done my project, does anyone need help?’ That said a lot to me. That showed we have each other’s backs when times are tough.” APRIL 2022 Keystone Environmental staff are diligent when completing field work.

Relationshipbased Currently, Keystone Environmental is made up of three main technical departments: Contaminated Sites, Biological services, and Engineering services. All three departments service the company’s diverse client base. They also have a subsidiary company (Sterling IAQ Consultants) that provides Indoor Air Quality and related services. These days, Raminder believes that their clients in those sectors mainly choose Keystone Environmental due to the relationships they have built together over the years. “We’re very relationship based,” he says. “We get to know our clients very well. We really try to understand their business objectives. We try to understand how the environmental piece of their project fits into the bigger picture. Then we can show them the hurdles they’re going to face and map out a way for them to get through them and achieve THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

the result they want.” “We’re seen as trusted advisors for many of our clients,” he adds. “They’ll call us early on to discuss a site and seek our advice.” Many of Keystone Environmental’s clients go back a decade or more. Raminder believes that the company has earned that loyalty, at least partly, by being so responsive. “Our goal is to always get back to clients within a couple of hours. That doesn’t mean having all the answers all the time, but if there’s an outstanding email or a call, it means acknowledging it. Just writing back ‘I got your email, let me get back to you’ goes a surprisingly long way. That’s earned us a lot of good will, I think because it shows that we understand the urgency. We know that if a client is calling us, they’re calling us for a reason.” Another key part of retaining customers is providing value, Mike adds. That’s where Keystone Environmental’s three departments and multidiscipline staff come into play. “We don’t just specialize in one thing,” Mike explains. “We have multiple skillsets. We could be working with a client on a contaminated site and say ‘Hey, did you consider this biological challenge or this engineering issue?’ Andwe don’t just present the problem; we also come up with solutions. That can save clients a lot of time and money down the line.” That ability to come up with solutions, Raminder reiterates, is a credit to the company’s staff and collaborative culture, as well as to their commitment to helping clients’ realize their end-goals. “This is a result of sitting down with everyone involved right from the start,” he says. “We make sure everyone understands why we’re doing the project, what the purpose is, what our client’s objectives are. We make sure everyone on the team, no matter how junior or senior, is all on the same page.” APRIL 2022 Different modes of transportation, including float planes, are necessary to access the most remote parts of a project area.

KeystoneEnvironmental isalsohighlycollaborative with their extended team, and Raminder credits that collaboration as well. He says they have formed partnerships with a variety of other firms and consultants – and not just in BC, but all over the country. Together, Raminder says they can now tackle virtually any project, no matter where it’s based geographically. For example, the company has established a strong partnership with QM Environmental – a leading Canadian environmental and industrial services firm with offices and qualified teams located across the country. They offer everything from specialized services to large, complex endto-end solutions. They have worked closely with Keystone Environmental on several significant projects and both parties look forward to working together more. Keystone Environmental has established similarly strong relationships with other suppliers and sub-contractors. The company has an approved sub-contractor list with each company’s insurance, safety details and COVID-19 vaccination information already collected. They have developed a communication strategy to work effectively with their suppliers and subcontractors as a single team to ensure seamless project management for their clients. One such trusted partner is Underhill, one of the country’s most trusted professional surveying companies. Over their long history in business, they have continuously upgraded their technical capabilities and maintained the highest professional standards to service the rapidlydeveloping needs of their clients. Today, they provide services throughout BC, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and all of Canada. Another close partner is Summit Earthworks – an experienced and conscientious construction contractor specializing in site remediation, site preparation, and habitat restoration. They service the Lower Mainland from their office in Mission, BC. Like all Keystone Environmental team members, they have a proven and certified commitment to quality, safety, and the health of the natural environment. The same goes for VanMars Drilling, a partner based in Abbotsford BC. They are an innovative and evolving company dedicated to excellence in all aspects of drilling and environmental services. Their commitment to the health and safety of their clients, employees, and environment is also proven and industry-certified. THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

Opportunity & growth Recently, Keystone Environmental has been working more andmore with Indigenous communities, who are now partnering with developersmorethaneverbefore. “We’re seeing a lot of partnerships between Indigenous communities and our developer clients,” Raminder says. “We’re kindof their go-to environmental consulting firm when it comes to developing land and going through the permitting process. Because we have these longstanding relationships, it’s a good fit. It makes sense for them to come to us.” There’s also a federal government program to return the management of land back to Indigenous communities. As part of that transfer, Keystone Environmental is frequently brought in to assess the land for environmental liabilities. “That’s a big part of our business now,”Mike says. “We do focus a lot on it.We’vehad a consultant come in and train our staff on cultural APRIL 2022 Keystone Environmental field staff travel to various project locations and are able to enjoy the beauty of BC and abroad, including the Nootka Sound located on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

awareness when working with Indigenous people.” Also, on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – which is not a statutory holiday in BC – the company decided to give employees the day off to learn about residential schools and share what they learned the next day. “That was pretty successful in terms of getting people engaged and increasing their awareness,” Mike says. Moving forward, Keystone Environmental intends to continue promoting that engagement as their work in that sector continues. At the same time, they also intend to continue expanding their client base and service offering – but never to the point where their customer service suffers. The company is currently at a size where they can be responsive to clients and flexible internally, and they never want to compromise that. “If anybody here identifies a concern, or if they have a good idea, action can be taken fairly quickly,” Raminder says. “We don’t have to go through a head office and wait for a decision. That’s the advantage of being a midsized company and not a large one.” “Wewant to stay at that size,”Mike adds. “That’s part of our mandate. Wearefar-reaching intermsofour client base and where we work, thanks to our valued partnerships with other firms, but we never want to grow to a point where we can’t be nimble and responsive.” All that said, Raminder believes there is still room for Keystone Environmental to expand. “Before the pandemic, we were about 80-ish people,” he says. “Now we have about 115 staff. THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA The company completes many projects along the Alaska Highway, especially for its federal government clients.

We’re continuing to grow and hire people.” “There are a lot of opportunities that keep coming our way,” he adds. “In October, we acquired a company called Sterling IAQ Consultants, which does indoor air quality and asbestos work. Now we have another service line. That’s a way we’re growing as well.” Lastly, as previously mentioned, Keystone Environmental has formed relationships with similar firms outside of BC. That has been in response to clients asking them to look at sites out of province, and Keystone Environmental wanting to oblige. “We’re growing geographically,” Raminder concludes. “We’re seeing what kind of work we can generate in other regions – but we’re taking a measured approach. We want to stay relationship-based. We take the trust we have earned from our existing clients very seriously and we want to make sure they continue to achieve all their objectives.” APRIL 2022 Keystone Environmental staff working after business hours to accommodate limited site accessibility. The company’s Biological Services department provides freshwater environmental services and are experts in assessing aquatic ecosystems.

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For much more on Keystone Environmental, including their history, values, past and present projects, the sectors they work in, and the services they provide – plus all the latest news – visit

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Making safety simpler The BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) is a not-profit organization serving British Columbia’s construction sector, with a mandate to engage employers and employees and assist them in making construction safe. Today, that means providing health and safety services to over 52,000 companies employing over 220,000 workers. Those services are all compliant with WorkSafeBC requirements and emphasize straightforward and practical assistance to help contractors meet their health and safety requirements.

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THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA BCCSA’s current slate of services includes best-in-safety programs, no-cost safety training, consultation services, and other tools and resources. All of the items in the Alliance’s offeringarevaluableandsoughtafter, but among the most sought-after is the Certificate of Recognition (COR®) program – a voluntary incentive program that recognizes companies who develop and implement health and safety systems that meet an industry standard. That program rewards those employers who take a “strategic vision to workplace safety,” and those who are “committed to reducing both the human and financial costs of workplace injuries,” according to Vernita Hsu, Director of COR® & Injury Management. COR® certification is offered by WorkSafeBC and delivered through ‘Certifying Partners,’ with the BCCSA being the certifying partner for employers in the construction industry. All employers that are registered through WorkSafeBC are eligible to participate in the COR® Program, and all companies in the construction sector are automatically eligible to participate in BCCSA’s COR® program. (Companies outside the construction industry that are interested in pursuing a BCCSA COR® should first search for the Certifying Partner that services their industry before submitting an application for review.) “COR® has been and will continue to be an effective and respected initiative for our industry as it works to reduce injuries – most significantly, serious injuries,” Hsu says.

Although available to other industries now, the COR® program actually has its origins in construction – it found its genesis in the construction sector in Alberta, and was first made available to BC employers in 2002 as a pilot program for the construction sector. Back then, Hsu says the sector saw an opportunity to bring a “made for construction” safety audit/certification program to the province in an effort to decrease the human and financial loss associated with workplace injury and disease. Since then, the program has been continuously honed and refined, and that effort has paid dividends. In BC, there is now empirical evidence that COR® certified employers exhibit reduced injuries and therefore improved safety outcomes. “COR® has been and will continue to be an effective and respected initiative for our industry as it works to reduce injuries – most significantly, serious injuries,” Hsu says. “We know the current audit tool produces empirically proven positive safety outcomes. Any program that can help construction employers in decreasing financial and human losses associated with workplace injury is a success for the industry we serve.” Currently, approximately 33 per cent of all workers in BC’s construction sector work for COR® certified companies. The BCCSA has seen that number increasedemonstrably in recent years – since 2010, for example, there has been almost double the number of participants. Hsu credits that participation, in part, to the fact that more general contractors and owners are making it preferential for bidding purposes, and in some APRIL 2022


cases they are making it a prerequisite. She also credits its proven efficacy. “Our sense at the BCCSA is that COR® demand will continue to grow – particularly, as mentioned, because the program has been empirically proven to reduce injuries,” she says. “There is no other person, product or system that can claim that.” This spotlight is continued in our next issue. For more on the BC Construction Safety Alliance and the COR® Program, its many advantages, and what goes into obtaining certification – along with some spotlights on some COR® certified companies – check out our next issue. APRIL 2022

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Also, for more on the BCCSA and their other services, designations, and resources, visit

Part of the solution The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has been the “voice of Canada’s residential construction industry” since 1943. They represent one of the largest industry sectors in the country, and their goal is a strong and positive role for that industry in Canada’s economy. To achieve that goal, they support the business success of their members. They do that by providing educational services, networking opportunities, and by working with government at all three levels – national, provincial, and local – to resolve housing issues and provide real solutions that benefit consumers.

APRIL 2022 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence Winner RND Construction receiving trophy

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA CHBAworkstoensureCanadians have access to homes that meet their needs at a price they can afford to pay, and that the interests of homebuyers and homeowners are understood by governments. Since the onset of the pandemic, Canada’s housing industry has experienced a number of challenges, many of which are still ongoing. Over the past yearand-a-half, CHBA has met those challenges head on. “In the beginning, we figured out how to work safely,” says Kevin Lee, CEO of the association. “Then we worked closely with government to support our members through the worst of it. Now we’re ensuring the industry is part of the solution moving forward.” Kevin has personally spent his entire career in residential construction, serving in a variety of roles. He’s been a tradesman, he’s been an engineer, he has a Master’s in Architecture from McGill University, and he’s spent decades working in both the public and private sectors. In 2013, he accepted the position of CE0 of CHBA. He took on the role because housing has always been his passion – he wants Canadians to be “one of the best housed populations in the world,” and he wants to do his part in achieving that. Since he joined, Kevin has seen the association expand “In the beginning, we figured out how to work safely,” says Kevin Lee, CEO of the association. “Then we worked closely with government to support our members through the worst of it. Now we’re ensuring the industry is part of the solution moving forward.” Cdn PM Trudeau at CHBA Conference w CHBA Pres Stefanie Coleman and CEO Kevin Lee

at a steady rate. Today, CHBA is made up of roughly 9,000 member companies – including home builders, renovators, land developers, trade contractors, product and material manufacturers, building product suppliers, lending institutions, insurance providers, and service professionals. Kevin believes the majority of CHBA’s members initially join because they are interested in the networking and marketing opportunities – often they want to make business connections, or theywant to participate in the associations’ well-recognized award programs. Members also like to be connected to CHBA’s brand, as it provides them credibility with customers and trade partners. Upon joining the association, however, members tend to discover that “the information and education benefits of being a member are hugely important,” Kevin says. Kevin explains that members learn a lot not just from the association, but from each other. The learning accelerates when they get involved in committees and councils. That involves volunteering their time, but getting valuable industry knowledge and experience in return. “If you ask any member who’s been involved, they’ll tell you, ‘You get so much more than you put in,’” Kevin says. After joining, members also come to understand the important role the association plays in working with government and helping shape policy. As it turns out, that’s potentially the association’s most valuable function. APRIL 2022 CHBA National Board Meeting in Ottawa

“Not too many members join because of the government advocacy, but as they get involved they learn just how important it is,” Kevin says. “They learn how much it helps their business.” “We engage with municipal governments, we engage with provincial governments, and we engage with the federal government,” he continues. “The changes we’re able to effect, the policy decisions we’re able to inform – they make a huge difference in the business success of our members. And our members are at the front end of that. They are providing the input that we’re bringing to government.” CHBA also ensures that their members are among the first to be made aware when policy changes are in the works. If they are concerned about something, members know they will have the opportunity to voice that concern, and there’s a peace of mind in knowing that CHBA will address it on their behalf. “Not a lot of people will join the association because of that,” Kevin reiterates, “but as they get involved, they start to recognize how valuable it is to have a voice. It often makes them want to get more and more involved.” Kevin credits the success of CHBA’s advocacy, in part, to the size of their membership – again, they have 9,000 member companies across the country, and they are constantly adding to that number. That size gives their recommendations authority and weight. It makes the relevant authorities pay attention, in ways they never would to individual companies. THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Advocacy Day on the Hill - CHBA members and staff with MP Ed Fast of Abbotsford

Kevin also credits the association’s surveying and data-gathering capabilities. He explains that “informing government policy requires having well-substantiated, objective information,” and that the CHBA is effective at gathering that intelligence. Also, Kevin says, the association is “constructive and respectful” in their dialogue with government, and he believes that respect goes a long way. “Often we’re in a position where we have to oppose something that’s being proposed, but if you can do that in a respectful and informed way, and bring intelligent arguments one way or the other, then you’re able to have good dialogue with policy makers,” he says. “No policy maker is trying to do something wrong,” he adds. “They’re trying to make the best decisions with the best information they can get their hands on, and an important role of the association is to provide that best information and the view from the industry.” “When you’re advocating with government it’s really important to understand what they are trying to achieve, what their goals are,” he continues. “A lot of the time, what we work on is trying to find the alignment. Government might want to do something, and we don’t agree with how they are trying to do it, but maybe there’s a way that what they’re trying to achieve can align with what’s important to our industry.” As an example of finding that alignment, Kevin points to the ongoing debate on energy efficiency in housing codes. The government has declared some ambitious timelines, and the CHBA has pushed back – but it’s not because they don’t share the same goals. “We know climate change is a big issue,” Kevin says. “We’ve been a leading organization for decades on energy efficiency. We literally wrote the book on it.” He’s referring to the CHBA Builders’ Manual, which is a 450+ page textbook on how to build energy-efficient housing in Canada. The latest edition, which members can purchase for a discount, even addresses how to build net-zero housing – i.e., homes that produce as much energy as they consume each year. “So we’re very supportive of energy efficiency,” Kevin explains. “The challenge right now is an acceleration of regulation to try to get that energy efficiency into the code as fast as possible. There’s a goal of being ‘net-zero ready’ by 2030.” Again, the CHBA is mostly on board with that goal. The problem, however, is the technology is not yet affordable for most Canadians. “So what we’re doing is telling government that, ‘Yes, we want to get there as well.’ In fact, we already know how to get there. It’s just expensive right now. So what we need to do is work together to find the technical solutions to make it more affordable. We want to see the timelines for regulation align with affordability, so that we’re not making housing less affordable for Canadians.” Kevin admits that the alignment isn’t 100 per cent there yet, but that the dialogue is progressing well. He is confident that industry and government will find a way to achieve their common goal together. APRIL 2022

The importance of home Another challenge CHBA is contending with is COVID-19. Kevin remembers the onset of the pandemic, when the association’s first and foremost priority was the health and safety of workers. “The first order of business was keeping workers healthy,” he recalls. “That was really critical. We were engaged at all three levels of the association in finding the best health and safety solutions for work sites.” “Fortunately, we’re an industry that’s used to having to deal with health and safety. That’s always priority one on a jobsite. When it came to the pandemic, we were reasonably well positioned, but there was also a lot of work to be done, and a lot of work to do with governments so we could find the right solutions to keep operating.” Fortunately, residential construction was quickly deemed an essential service, and for the most part, it has remained so throughout the THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

pandemic. Canada was already suffering from a shortage of housing supply – which was part of the reason prices were as high as they were before, and part of the reason they are even higher now – and a stoppage would have only exacerbated that issue. Alsofortunately,thegovernment was able to quickly put in place supportive programs to help businesses weather the storm. CHBA was engaged with those programs very early on, and they remained engaged as the programs were modified and amended after rollout. “I have to give kudos to the government for rolling programs out very fast, and also for recognizing that they needed to make adjustments to those programs afterwards to make sure they were as effective as possible,” Kevin says. “We were consulting and providing information to the government all the way through that process.” As an example, he cites the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), a taxable benefit available to employers who experienced a drop in revenue due to COVID-19. When thatbenefitwasfirst introduced, the declining revenues were being calculated in a way that didn’t work for residential construction because of the industry’s long timelines. CHBA was able to influence changes to the subsidy so that it would better align with the realities of the homebuilding sector. The association was able to similarly influence other benefit programs, which led to a lot of relief for their membership. Again, Kevin credits the government for their adaptability and their responsiveness to the industry’s APRIL 2022

concerns. He says their collaboration over the course of the past year has been “very successful.” As a result of that successful collaboration, the residential construction industry has remained active over the course of the pandemic, and is now experiencing a very encouraging bounce-back. In particular, there’s a growing demand for home renovations – as homeowners were likely inspired to make changes by their time in quarantine. “It’s been very interesting to see how COVID-19 has changed Canadian’s outlook on housing,” Kevin says. “Canadians have always placed a huge emphasis on home, but during the pandemic, the importance of home has never been more highlighted. All of a sudden a home is not just a home – it’s a gym, it’s a school, it’s an office.” Also, homeowners who were able to keep their jobs through the pandemic likely saved money, as they were not able to spend it on things they typically would in the past, such as travel and eating out. “The statistics are showing that many people have saved money,” Kevin says, “and many are choosing to spend it on their home, because home has become even more important.” The residential construction industry is a key driver of the Canadian economy. The need for homes, and the increased importance of making sure existing homes work for people whose conditions may have changed, is what puts it at the forefront of Canada’s recovery effort in every community across the country. Moving forward, Kevin says CHBA’s goals are to ensure the industry THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

can keep working safely, and to address the issues that are getting in the way of housing affordability – issues such as the rising cost of housing and record-high lumber prices. CHBA also wants to keep working with government to achieve their mutual goals – goals such as achieving a more energy-efficient housing future. Recently, the government made grants available for property owners who complete energy efficiency retrofits, and Kevin believes that’s a great start. “That’s a perfect thing to do as a stimulus, but it’s also something that achieves government policy,” he says. “The goal is to achieve GHG reductions in the housing sector, and it’s really important we do that in the existing housing stock. New housing is very efficient and getting even more efficient, but the existing housing stock is where most of our GHG emissions come from. So how do we get at that? This type of grant program is a great way.” At the same time, increasing the supply of new housing remains essentially important. Addressing that national shortage is one of the CHBA’s main priorities, and likely will be for a long time “We need to work with all levels of government to put the focus on housing supply,” Kevin says. “We really need to be able to build more homes at a faster pace. We need to eliminate some red tape. We need to follow the rules, but we need to make sure the rules are well aligned to the reality of the situation, because supply is the solution to the affordability challenge.” Of course, delivering that supply will take some time. In the meanwhile, government’s temptation is to take measures to suppress the demand, but the CHBA strongly cautions against that. “It’s not the solution,” Kevin says. “It’s not about demandsidemeasures and trying to cool the market. It’s about providing enough supply to be able to respond to that demand. We’re definitely going to be talking about that a lot.” CHBA will also be talking a lot about careers in residential construction. Like many industries, they have a lot of retirements coming up in the next decade, so there is plenty of opportunity for young people and new Canadians looking to get in. Moving forward, the association will be promoting that opportunity aggressively. In addition, CHBA will continue educating homeowners and homebuyers. They want to help consumers make smart decisions and keep them away from unscrupulous contractors looking to take advantage of them and tarnish the industry’s reputation in the process. To guide consumers in the right direction, the association has initiatives such as their RenoMark program – which recognizes renovators who abide by a code of conduct, so clients can make informed decisions about who they hire for the project – and campaigns such as ‘Get It in Writing!’ – which teaches homeowners to do their due diligence when hiring, and discourages them from cutting corners and not signing contracts. “We do a lot of work to educate homeowners and homebuyers on how to avoid risks,” Kevin says. “We want to help consumers do it right, just like we help our members.” APRIL 2022

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on the CHBA, their many services, their educational resources, and the latest industry issues, visit

The Kootenays’ most experienced builder

APRIL 2022

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Based in Cranbrook, BC, New Dawn Developments is one of the Kootenays’ most awardwinning and longest-standing construction companies. Since forming in 1978, they have completed a very long list of residential and commercial projects throughout the Kootenays and in Alberta. Over the course of those 40-plus years, they have built – and more importantly, maintained – a reputation for exceptional customer service and superior workmanship. Throughout their history, they have also remained a family company, powered by family values – founder Rick Jensen is still on board as Chairman and CFO, his son Chad Jensen serves as President and CEO, and his daughter Leanne Jensen serves as CAO. “I’m proud to have my son and daughter as business partners,” says Rick Jensen. “Chad and Leanne will continue to grow New Dawn to greater heights.” “I am fortunate to be able to work withmy son, daughter, and highly talented staff,” he adds. “We could not have achieved the growth we have without our highly talented staff and quality trades, some of whom have been with us from the start. I am inspired by Chad and Leanne’s knowledge, work ethic and ability to lead our teams. As I was a mentor to Leanne and Chad, they will be mentors to the next generation.” “I’m proud to have my son and daughter as business partners,” says Rick Jensen. “Chad and Leanne will continue to grow New Dawn to greater heights.”

Rick, personally, has been a mainstay of the Cranbrook community for over 40 years. Since coming to the city, he has contributed to its economic developments as a builder and developer, as an owner of the local Dairy Queen franchise, and as president of the Panorama Mountain Village ski resort – and he even served as Mayor for three terms, from 1983 to 1990. Over the years, however, Rick has continually returned to his first passion, which is building. In his previous home of Thompson, Manitoba, he co-owned a company called Woodland Builders for four years. After moving to Cranbrook, he quickly got into development. He first managed a company called Koocanusa Developments before founding New Dawn in 1978. New Dawn’s first projects were a couple joint venture townhouse projects with two other builders. Soon after, the company extended their reach, developing land throughout the East Kootenay. During the recession of the early 1980s, the construction and development industry went through a downturn – which is when Rick purchased the Dairy Queen franchise in Cranbrook – but since the economic recovery, New Dawn has continued to grow and evolve at a steady rate. Chad Jensen, for his part, grew up around the family business, and officially joined in 1996 after graduating from university. Leanne Jensen has also had long term involvement including taking over New Dawn’s sister renovation company in 2012. Since then, Rick has passed on the reins of the development business to his children, but he APRIL 2022

has no current plans to retire – “I’m having too much fun,” he says. Josh Lowden, meanwhile, is the COO of New Dawn Developments and has been working with the Jensen family for almost seven years. He rounds out the executive team, but he says he is one of many key staff members who have facilitated the company’s ongoing growth. Other key contributors include Ivan Colten, their production manager, and Tom Hong, manager of their estimating team. “A big part of what’s made us so successful is our team,” Josh says. “Everybody here has played a critical role in the company’s growth.” And New Dawn Developments has grown, Josh explains. In his time there alone, they have tripled the amount of work they do. Their growth was not even slowed by the pandemic, or the resulting supply chain challenges and pricing increases. “Our CEO, Chad Jensen has been a visionary with regard to operating over the last two years,” he says. “Supply chain issues and the pandemic led to some challenging situations that were quickly and efficiently resolved by our president, leading to some of the most productive years we have experienced.” “We’ve been working hard at increasing our staff and getting more subcontractors in place so we can continue growing. We’ve been very happy with our trajectory of growth.” Josh credits that growth to a number of factors. Near the top of the list, however, is the THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA