The Western Journal 2012 - (Page 17)

UPDATES from Alberta O verall, activity is picking up in Alberta; in December 2011, 920 major construction projects totalling $208.8 billion had been recently completed, were under construction, or were proposed to start within two years. That’s up from $182.5 billion in December 2010. But there are differences across the province and industry sectors are experiencing varying levels of activity. In Calgary, there was less activity in the commercial sector last year than contractors would like to see, but there was work to be had and that’s expected to continue in 2012. “We’ve been pretty lucky because we had some very large hospital-type projects keeping us busy in 2011 and now, as they come to a close, we are starting on a major project at the Calgary airport,” says Mike Watson, Mechanical Division Manager/Director, Trotter and Morton. “Others have had a very slow 2011.”Watson says that while there are fewer large projects in the works for 2012 than in years past, there is a lot more to bid. “I would say that, in general, things are improving,” he says. In the northern part of the province, 2011 was a better year than 2010. “There was a bit of an upswing in volumes, but there are still lots of bidders, still lots of competition out there. Everybody is going after same work so it kept the pricing down a bit,” says Doug Hill, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, HVC Canada. Hill is hopeful that increased volume in the oil sands will lead to more commercial and institutional work in 2012. There are few mega projects in the works, but he predicts plenty of small and medium jobs as well as infrastructure work to keep contractors busy, especially in the last half of the year. “There are a lot of new hospitals in Alberta, but there are also a lot of old hospitals that need upkeep,” says Hill. When it comes to residential work in Calgary, Alex Chupik, president of Canyon Plumbing & Heating Ltd, says they were reasonably satisfied with 2011. “Although overall sales remained at the same level as the previous year, they came through very evenly, allowing us to maintain a good labour force and to improve on efficiencies and quality control,” says Chupik. “Consistency in sales, labour and quality, and a low fluctuation in material prices, made for a more positive bottom line. Chupik expects to stay on the same track and is projecting a 10 percent increase in sales for 2012. In the Lethbridge-Medicine Hat region, located in the southeast part of the province, it was another relatively slow year and 2012 is expected to be much the same. Projects for 2012 in Medicine Hat include $12.2 million in water and sewer capital projects, a $6.4-million cultural centre expansion, $36 million in improvements to a family leisure centre, and a $200-million hospital expansion. In Lethbridge, there is a Lethbridge-Chinook Regional hospital redevelopment project valued at $112.7 million scheduled for 2012 to 2015 as well as $32-million worth of 2011 was disappointing as projects didn’t ramp up as rapidly as expected and the projected big increases in activity in the second and third quarters of the year didn’t happen. work going on at the University of Lethbridge in the form of new student residences. Most of the work, however, is still in the design stages. “There are promises of things coming but they are slow coming to fruition,” says Tim Padfield, president of Pad-Car Mechanical Ltd. in Medicine Hat. “We don’t anticipate them creating a large amount of work until fall of 2012 at the earliest.” Neil Tidsbury, president of Construction Labour Relations – Alberta, agrees that 2011 was disappointing as projects didn’t ramp up as rapidly as expected and the projected big increases in activity in the second and third quarters of the year didn’t happen. But there was some good news from the unionized contractors’ perspective. A new bargaining process was introduced in 2010 through a binding memorandum, and proved to be a success. The process involves holding initial framework bargaining meetings on a multi-trade basis to address common issues prior to trade-table bargaining. “We entered into four-year collective agreements, providing for long-term stability. The agreements have wage adjustments based on the cost of living and benchmarked oil price, as well as enduring solutions to problems that have plagued our bargaining for some time,” says Tidsbury, who adds that signs point to increased activity over the next three years, with oil sands projects driving a healthy, and perhaps overheated, heavy industrial sector. ■ MCA Alberta Events on the Web Visit Mechanical Contractors Associations of Alberta, B.C., Manitoba & Saskatchewan 2012 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Western Journal 2012

MCA Canada Message
Alberta Message
British Columbia Message
Manitoba Message
Saskatchewan Message
Alberta Update
British Columbia Update
Manitoba Update
Saskatchewan Update
World Plumbing Day
Victim of Its Own Success
First of Its Kind in Canada
A New Approach: The Future of the Construction Sector Council
Protecting One’s Right to Timely Payment
Clean Energy Pays Big Dividends to Environment and Bottom Line
Index to Advertisers

The Western Journal 2012