Fernie trades find opportunity in B.C. building code changes
BC Building Code updates inspires local Fernie trade businesses to work collaboratively to improve building quality
In December 2014 the B.C. Government updated its building code to ensure better building practices throughout the province. In Fernie, three local businesses proactively chose to work together in order to better understand how these changes relate to each of their trades individually and collectively.
Among other changes, the updated building code broadens energy-efficiency standards to include, for example, the entire building rather than relying primarily on a building’s insulation to make it energy efficient. Given these changes, it is imperative that collaboration and communication between general contractors and sub-trades take place. As code changes for one trade may inadvertently rely on another trade doing things differently, the earlier in the life of the project this communication takes place, the better.
Darren Hatina of D's Drywall, Dan Moberg of Kootenay Insulation and Jen Mitchell of White Ladder Painting are three independent businesses in Fernie that have embraced the changes and chosen to work together to meet the new building requirements.
According to Hatina, the three trades are a natural fit as they all deal with a building’s envelope (walls, floors, roof, and openings such as doors, windows, skylights, etc.). By working together the trio is better positioned to ensure each trade maximizes the potential of the envelope to generate efficient weather, air and thermal barriers.
While no exclusive partnership has been formed, the three Fernie business owners have worked on many of the same projects over the past five years and have already realized the benefits of improved quality, reduced costs and fewer work delays due to their close communication. According to Hatina of D’s Drywall, the new code simply created a catalyst for the trio to work even more closely together.
“Construction is inherently partnership based, where different players have to balance their individual needs with what's best for the project,” said Hatina.
In industry terms, this is referred to as lean construction practice: the practice of eliminating waste and maximizing value to the customer through collaboration between trades.
Collaboration and partnership aside, there is still a learning curve involved with implementing the new building code changes. To assist with this learning curve, key tradespeople have attended workshops that introduce lean construction basics and in March 2015, building inspectors rolled out the building code changes to builders. While the presentation provided important information to the trades, it’s clear there are many pathways to be explored.
“There are many options to explore. It will take time to understand which are practical and demonstrate value,” said Hatina, adding that incorporating a new philosophy and novel building practices into existing culture takes time.
When asked if he had any advice for other trades that are currently working through these changes, Hatina recommended being open with your customers and fellow trades. “Explore needs, ask questions, share ideas and look at this as an opportunity.”
For more information on the recent changes to BC’s building code, visit the B.C. Government’s website.