Canadian Contractor


SIPS and ICFs help with Gulf Island construction labour shortage

On Mayne Island, BC, contractor Bill McCance has a tough time getting labour because "the young people" are in their sixties!

I read with interest John Bleasby’s article about labour shortages.

On an island out here in the Pacific, the “younger people” are in their sixties so no local labour is available. So I have been choosing prefab homes from Purcell Timber Frame and Trout Creek SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) because their crews can come to install. Speed of construction is fast and I don’t have to lift anything.

I also always use ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms) for foundations for these packages, again very fast and economical.

We just hosted an AMVIC ICF course in Burnaby, BC and had over 30 attendees, most of whom have never seen ICF before. They are feeling the need to convert from tradition and attempt their first ICF builds. On March 9 in Delta, there was an ICF Expo where builders were told by forming contractors who recently switched completely to ICF , that they would never touch plywood forms again. Now their careers are prolonged by 15 years. BC building code changes are leading smart builders to get on the bandwagon now with R-30 ICF walls for future builds to meet stiffer codes. Could be R-32 in 10 years.

Bill McCance, Mayne Island, BC


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1 Comment » for SIPS and ICFs help with Gulf Island construction labour shortage
  1. Wolfgang Scheuer says:

    as a recently retired HVAC – mechanical contractor from Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands wanted to point out that the construction industry is very busy in this area and finding skilled labour is a problem. We have tried techs who came from Alberta but they normally have the wrong skills (heavy industrial and welded piping installs) and have limited knowledge of HVAC or even basic plumbing as their careers have been on the industrial pipefitting side of the industry. Also they are used to and expect to make top dollar but that also sets up a conflict as productivity is low and this business does not have big margins to allow for mistakes. So good luck to all you contractors finding labour, maybe look south to the USA might find some folks looking to move North.

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