News / Real Estate
The Medicine Hat Chapter of the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) exists to advocate for local builders and increase cohesion and collaboration among local builders. President Aaron Brost has been in the homebuilding industry since 1999, when he began to join his father on site at locations across the region at Brost Developments, and has personally seen a lot of changes and growth to the industry- something that the CHBA can help its members navigate through.
“The CHBA group is fantastic. Members would find the advantages outweigh the small fee they pay every year. At least weekly, if not daily, we are collaborating and exchanging ideas and solutions to help improve the industry as a whole on a local level.” -Aaron Brost
In addition to his work with the local chapter, Brost also sits on the Provincial Technical Committee for Build Alberta, which is part of the provincial organization that the CHBA is under. In addition to this, there is also a national CHBA group that receives input from local and provincial bodies to help them shape building codes.
On multiple occasions the local chapter of the CHBA has taken concerns from the local body and actually affected changes to building codes. One example is the national body’s push to raise insulation values on new home builds. Due to the strong winds that homes in Medicine Hat must endure, that code will not work for our environment. By raising insulation values, studs are reduced, which would affect the structural integrity of homes that need to withstand the famous gusts of Medicine Hat. The Medicine Hat CHBA made a report and had the recommendations amended, as the imposition of that expectation would directly impact the quality of the homes that are built locally.
In addition to this work, the CHBA also has representatives with the Planning & Development Services department at the City of Medicine Hat, and collaborates with other industry partners to ensure that all parties are working together towards a common goal; a safe, efficient, and innovative industry.
This kind of collaboration is ever more valuable as builders adapt to meet the challenges of COVID-19 on their worksites and across their operations. The safety aspect is always top of mind for homebuilders, and procedures and policies are constantly evolving to change when needed and become a part of day-to-day work. Because of this, when new social distancing measures were put into place, builders were quickly able to change practices and COVID compliance became just one more item to check off on the list of safety measures.
One of the most important pieces is the accurate scheduling of on-site workers and trades. Whereas prior to COVID worksites may have had 10-15 tradespeople on at any time, scheduling has been dialed into so that the number of active workers is reduced and it is easier to maintain distance. Workers have proven to be very cooperative, as they are excited to work and have had little to no problems adjusting to stricter scheduling. When on site, the same way you would give space when performing a hazardous task is relatively the same as social distancing, making these habits easier to form and maintain.
By arriving and leaving on time and ensuring schedules do not overlap, the builders are efficiently able to keep operations on track as well as prioritize safety of those working. Ironically, Brost has actually noticed a reduction in sick days, as workers are coming less into contact with germs in the community as well as in the workplace. Aside from precautions taken early on when a few people presented with sniffles, they have had zero instances where they felt anyone may be compromised.
According to Brost, the hardest part has been keeping eager homeowners away, as they are enthusiastic about coming onto site and checking out the progress of their new home. To accommodate this, builders are scheduling their visits on weekends and evenings when workers are not present. Additionally, if working on a renovation they ask that homeowners do not enter the worksite whenever possible.
Currently builders are able to experiment with new finishes than what we are typically used to seeing, such as different panels, metals, and mixed finishes that give homes a modern feel. Local builders are also prioritizing super air-tight building envelopes. In fact, making the most air-tight building has become somewhat of a friendly competition among local builders. The CHBA believes that there is a lot more knowledge available to builders these days, and it gives them the ability to test the latest and greatest technologies to find what they are capable of.
“We have always been technology junkies, trying new things and seeing how much further we can push it, seeing what we can do to make a home perform to it’s best and bringing value as best we can to our clients.” -Aaron Brost
Although not immune to the ebbs and flows of the economy, the CHBA believes there is no better time to build than right now. Local builders are always innovating and looking for the opportunities to find the next best thing.
“We take people’s dreams and ideas and turn them into reality. It’s a day and age where you can find pretty much everything and make it happen. We don’t take no for an answer, we are willing to tackle anything. Right now is a great time to build, when it is not a peak time where demand is outrunning our ability to stop and take a look and truly innovate.” – Aaron Brost
To learn more about the Canadian Home Builders Association of Medicine Hat visit their website here.