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.
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.