Wednesday, 12 July 2017 10:49

No winners in new legislation

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The recently-passed Bill 17 in Alberta will have huge implications in the construction industry with ripple effects experienced in every corner of society.
The new banked-time policy with overtime being banked at one and a half times will handcuff owners, general contractors and sub trades to any proposed schedules and scope of work.
Gone will be the flexibility to complete jobs on time and on budget regardless of delays, weather or acts of God, unless of course the owner is prepared to pay an extra 50 per cent on the massive amount of labour required to complete a project that has been delayed, which is just about all of them.
Once an industry, business, institution, homeowner, service provider, non-profit, individual or anyone else I’ve missed has made a commitment to build and notices given, their fate is sealed.
They will no longer have the luxury of time available for doing their diligence on planning, approvals or improvements.
Every single delay, change or item on their wish list will now result in extending the schedule or cost 50 per cent more to complete. Any errors or omissions by architects, engineers, or consultants will result in change orders, adding to the schedule or cost an additional 50 per cent over and above the expensive cost of midstream changes.
Construction tendering is a fiercely competitive process and overtime is not built into the pricing. Prudent contractors will qualify their bids that any delays out of their control will add to the schedule day for day or maintained at an extra cost of 50 per cent. Labour overruns are the biggest challenge faced by construction contractors and the term “throwing gasoline on a fire” comes to mind.
Not having the flexibility to have employees bank their time hour for hour during crunch times and enjoy the paid time off during slow times is going to cost everybody millions of dollars and please no one.
There will now be no benefit for banking time and construction workers are going to miss it deeply.
This new legislation will also have detrimental effects on the relationships between all the trades and consultants and fester conflict within the construction team.
Rob Coleman, PEC, Lethbridge

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