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Regulation blamed for high cost of building projects

 

Updated: Wed May. 05 2010 6:58:33 AM

 

ctvmontreal.ca

 

Quebec's heavily regulated construction industry is, according to a new paper, a serious factor driving up the cost of building projects in the province.

 

The Montreal Economic Institute suggested there would be benefits for all Quebecers, including project bosses and workers themselves, if the province's strict rules were relaxed.

 

But the province's construction commission replied Tuesday that the demand for specialized workers with specific skill sets is exactly what the market wants.

 

Provincial rules set out 26 different construction trades -- compared with just six in Ontario, for example -- and employers can only hire workers who hold very specific certifications to do specific jobs.

 

A contractor installing hard floors and carpets in the same building would, for example, need to hire two different sets of workers -- some with a permit to do tile settings and others with the permit for resilient flooring layers.

 

The economic institute says it's clear that because of those rules it takes more time and more employees to finish a job in Quebec.

 

"We can do better because we have regulations that prevent us from being more effective," said Descoteaux, a researcher at the conservative think-tank.

 

"We have about 30 trades like that and if you compare it to the rest of Canada, the average is about 15 to 20, so there is room for more flexibility here."

 

He says the paper released Tuesday does not include new research, but is a compilation of publicly available data.

 

Looser regulation would benefit contractors, taxpayers, building owners, and employees themselves because, he says, they'd be able to get more work on the same site.

 

Quebec's construction industry has been under the microscope since a number of scandals emerged in 2009 linking alleged cost overruns to organized crime and corruption.

 

The paper references a 2008 figure from the construction commission that says workers, on average, worked 963 hours a year. That amounts to only 28 regular-time weeks of work per year.

 

But Quebec's construction commission, which oversees the $30 billion-a-year industry in the province, said that number is skewed.

 

Spokesman Andre Martin said the numbers quoted are wrong because they include thousands of employees who work bare minimum hours just to keep up their credentials.

 

In fact, the industry is forecasting job growth up to 2012 and will need at least 10,000 new workers per year in all sectors.

 

There is no appetite in the industry for talk about reducing the number of trades, Martin said, adding that construction is no different than any other industry with specialized workers.

 

"The employers are looking for ultra-specialized people and the demand is there for them," he said

 

The paper cites a 2002 report by economist Pierre Fortin that the impact of Quebec's regulations raises costs by about 10.5 per cent.

 

But Martin said there's no indication that number is correct and other estimates about roadwork are hard to corroborate because different provinces have different calculations.

http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100505/mtl_building_100505/20100505/?hub=MontrealHome

 

Surprise surprise.

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This smells like anti-regulation wharrgarbl. Regulation is vital.

 

Just look what happens when an unregulated oil company has lackluster backup and safety systems and causes a catastrophic spill in the gulf of Mexico...

 

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That being said, i don't know if 26 trades are necessary or if we can get by with fewer. Since i know little of the construction industry, i'll abstain from further comment!

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This smells like anti-regulation wharrgarbl. Regulation is vital.

 

Just look what happens when an unregulated oil company has lackluster backup and safety systems and causes a catastrophic spill in the gulf of Mexico...

 

--

 

That being said, i don't know if 26 trades are necessary or if we can get by with fewer. Since i know little of the construction industry, i'll abstain from further comment!

 

You also forgot about de-regulation of US banks, look what happened there.

 

Anyways, over the weekend I met this Serbian taxi driver and he was talking about his first job here in Montreal. He use to be a construction worker and all he had to say is, almost every level in that sector is corrupt :eek:

 

The way I see it, if we de-regulate we will have more problems than we have now. We should just keep is regulated but re-regulate it so it could work better.

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That being said, i don't know if 26 trades are necessary or if we can get by with fewer. Since i know little of the construction industry, i'll abstain from further comment!

 

I would say that 26 is way too much!

 

A contractor installing hard floors and carpets in the same building would, for example, need to hire two different sets of workers -- some with a permit to do tile settings and others with the permit for resilient flooring layers.

 

These examples are the kind of things that frustrate me so much about my Province.

 

I worked at Réno-Dépôt for 9 years in the flooring department. I used to give seminars to the public on how to install Carpet, Ceramic, Hardwood floors, Vinyl Tiles etc.etc.etc. If I was able to do the work adequately, I don't see why you would need people with different permits. It's a waste of Time and money!

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This smells like anti-regulation wharrgarbl. Regulation is vital.

 

Just look what happens when an unregulated oil company has lackluster backup and safety systems and causes a catastrophic spill in the gulf of Mexico...

 

--

 

That being said, i don't know if 26 trades are necessary or if we can get by with fewer. Since i know little of the construction industry, i'll abstain from further comment!

 

I have to disagree with you here. Construction costs something like 40% more in Quebec than in Ontario. Now it isn't as if Ontario is extremely deregulated. Ontario is probably a little bloated too. But would it be so hard to deregulate things in Quebec so that our laws are at least similar to Ontario's?

 

With all that construction going on in Ontario, do you ever hear of shoddy construction or lots of major workplace accidents there? The answer is a resounding no.

 

Now obviously corruption in Quebec's construction industry is an issue too, and the whole difference isn't solely based on increased regulation.

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My first comment was a small rant about deregulation and the ideological stand that some have against any form of regulation at all. This wasn't aimed at you either :)

 

As for the subject at hand, in the construction industry, from the looks of it, perhaps we could stand to cut back a little... 26 trades? I know nothing about construction, so pardon my ignorance, but what are these 26 trades exactly? I thought there was only one trade: Construction worker. Okay okay, maybe electrician as well. How do you subdivide into 26?!

 

Window specialist? Wood specialist? Insulation specialist?

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Construction costs something like 40% more in Quebec than in Ontario.

 

Actually, it's 30%...But it doesn't change the fact that this is unacceptable!

 

How do you subdivide into 26?!

 

Window specialist? Wood specialist? Insulation specialist?

 

Easy, like this...

 

A contractor installing hard floors and carpets in the same building would, for example, need to hire two different sets of workers -- some with a permit to do tile settings and others with the permit for resilient flooring layers.

 

Electrician, Plumber, HVAC Specialist, carpenter etc...

 

Instead of having one guy do all the floors (ie: Hadwood, ceramic, Carpet etc...) you need to have a specialist for each...which is simply ridiculous! Just another reason why our construction industry is bloated!

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be electrician as well. How do you subdivide into 26?!

 

Window specialist? Wood specialist? Insulation specialist?

 

In another article i read on that subject, one example was interior walls. You need someone to do the framing, and then someone else to install drywall because they are 2 different trades.

 

But then, hire any of those 2 guys to do your basement, and the guy will do both the framing and dry wall with no problem, because he know's how to do both.

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