Construction Business in British Columbia

To start a construction business in BC, you will need a detailed business plan, financing, permits, and good understanding of the construction industry.

Plan Your Business

The first step is to do market research and learn more about your target market, potential customers, current trends, competitors, and more. Think of the type of structure for your business, i.e. whether a co-operative, corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Consider different options when it comes to setting and location as well.

Business Plan and Details to Cover

Companies that need external financing benefit from a detailed business plan which shows financial institutions that they are serious about succeeding in the construction field. A good business plan includes information about the company and services offered, including utilities installation and repairs, remodeling and design, plumbing and painting, etc. Additional services include building cement foundations, alterations, carpentry services, permitting, and others. You may want to include sections on your mission and goals, keys to success, past performance, potential customers and buying patterns, and anything else you can think of. Finally, it is important to outline your sales and marketing strategy to convince financial institutions that you are on the right track.

Financing Offered by Private Providers

There are different sources of financing for your construction business, including finance companies, caisses populaires, credit unions, banks, peer to peer lenders, angel investors, and others. Credit unions usually offer low-cost loans with flexible terms and schedules. Banks also offer competitive rates which are higher than credit unions, but they advertise a large selection of products to choose from. There are various financial products to choose from, including commercial mortgages, secured and unsecured business loans, start-up loans, and others. Different financial institutions offer loans to help businesses invest in land and purchase equipment and machinery. They offer start-up financing and access to working capital.

Funding through the Canada Small Business Financing Program

Another option is to apply for funding through the Canada Small Business Financing Program. Businesses benefit from low-cost financing of up to $1 million. Borrowers apply through financial institutions participating in the program, including credit unions, banks, and other providers. Participating financial institutions include Scotiabank, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal, ATB Financial, Servus Credit Union, and many others. The loan can be used to purchase production equipment, software, hardware, and computer equipment, leasehold improvements, land, etc. When reviewing applications, financial institutions take different factors into account. These include credit history, number of years in business, number of employees, type of collateral offered, and others.

The interest rate varies from one institution to another and can be fixed or variable. Some financial institutions offer different options for applicants to choose from. Some banks, for example, offer fixed rate principal that includes interest, interest plus fixed rate principal, floating rate that includes interest, and interest plus floating rate principal. The term and schedule depend on the type of loan. Some banks offer real property loans with a term of up to 15 years, leasehold improvements with a term of up to 7 years, and equipment loans with a term of up to 10 years.

Fees and Other Details

A registration fee applies and is 2 percent of the loan amount. Keep in mind that some financial institutions charge additional fees, including administration and registration fees and renewal, application, and document preparation fees.

Businesses applying with participating institutions are also asked to offer some asset as collateral. This means that you will get a secured loan that goes with a competitive interest rate. The federal government guarantees up to 85 percent of the loan amount.

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Concrete Industry in British Columbia

Concrete is the most common and widely used material in construction. The use of concrete in construction offers multiple benefits, including resilience, optimal thermal mass, versatility, ease of maintenance, and durability, among others. Additional benefits include recyclability, lower carbon footprint compared to other materials, and good sound and vibration insulation. The fact that there is no off-gassing is an added benefit. And while concrete offers multiple benefits, the industry faces some major problems and challenges. Demand for skilled concrete laborers is high in British Columbia while the lack of formal industry organization is still a challenge.

Industry Overview

BC Labor Market and Jobs in High Demand

In British Columbia, construction companies are hiring servicers and repairers, installers, construction traders, supervisors, contractors, and concrete finishers. About half of the concrete finishers are aged 35 years and older. They are also in high demand because the vast majority of construction projects, whether small- or large-scale, require concrete finishers. They have experience with different types of concrete and knowledge of how additives and mixes affect curing, setting, and strength. The female employees in the concrete sector range from 0 to 10 percent.

At present, there are concrete job openings for field technicians, painters, carpenters, installation technicians, and general laborers. Companies are also hiring fireplace installers, plumbers, flooring installation laborers, and maintenance supervisors. Other in-demand jobs include positions such as mechanic, civil worker, construction supervisor, taper, and drywaller. In fact, experts predict a shortage of more than 15,000 skilled construction laborers in the next couple of years.

Companies and Professional Services

BC-based companies and concrete contractors work on commercial and residential projects and offer specialized services to build backyard patios, driveways, and sidewalks. Contractors build commercial complexes, condominiums, townhouses, and residential homes. Concrete producers in British Columbia specialize in and produce different mixes such as no slump, heavyweight, light insulating, and colored and white concrete.

Stakeholders and Industry Organizations

When it comes to industry stakeholders, the main players in BC include labor unions, specialty contractors, concrete suppliers, industrial contractors, and residential and commercial contractors. However, the fact that there is no formal industry organization means that the industry has no single voice to raise concerns and protect the interests of companies and laborers alike. There are no formal standards and operation procedures as well. Concrete BC is one of the key players, with a membership base consisting of suppliers, contractors, manufacturers, and producers. At present, Concrete BC has a membership of 72 suppliers, over 120 production plants, and more than 65 concrete producers. The organization works to offer information on issues such as organizational leadership, sustainability, concrete technology, and safety training, among others. Members participate in different events such as golf tournaments, annual conventions, training sessions, and others. Training sessions and other events are organized to inform members about business opportunities, new programs and regulations, and current market trends. Established back in 1962, the major goal of Concrete BC is to promote concrete as a sustainable material by developing relationships with contractors, the local authorities, and end consumers. Members are offered different programs to learn more about compliance and safety products and group health benefits. They also benefit from networking opportunities, services, and programs that aim to reduce the negative impact on the environment and improve safety and competitiveness.