Key takeaways from CHBA’s recent Home Building Week in Canada

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Sue Wastell

By SUE WASTELL, CHBA President

In February, for the first time after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, leaders of the industry gathered for CHBA’s Home Building Week in Canada, a week of intensive association business meetings where we discussed today’s issues and challenges, explored new opportunities and celebrated the best in homebuilding and renovation from coast to coast.

Forward thinking

The event took place in Banff. While there, we honoured the national presidents who served their fellow members over the last few years who didn’t get a proper send-off previously due to the circumstances. Stefanie Coleman, from Ontario, who brought her passion for building science and forward thinking to the role; John Meinen, also from Ontario and one of the biggest membership champions out there; Larry Clay, from British Columbia, who is an enthusiastic proponent of how being a member gives you a leg up in your brand development and business success; and, most recently, Miles Kohan, hailing from Alberta. Miles led us back to in-person meetings and events, and visited several HBAs across the country while volunteering his time on the executive committee. It was fitting that we got to thank him for his dedicated service while we were in his home province, at our national conference that many are saying is the best in memory.
Don’t miss the next one in Saint John, NB, May 6 to 10, 2024.

After several years of “pivoting” and “alternative programming,” I feel very fortunate to begin my term as CHBA national president at a time when I can attend your events and hear from you face-to-face about what matters most to you and your businesses. During Home Building Week in Canada, I had the opportunity to participate in association meetings and get the latest on what’s going on across the country and how you’re being affected by the many myriad facets of our industry.

Increasingly complex

There is no question that residential construction is increasingly complex these days, with all the building code changes coming our way, the zoning reforms needed if we’re to create more “missing middle” housing and more supply overall, the advancements in energy efficiency innovations and requirements, the role that factory-built construction can play in alleviating our labour shortages, what’s in store for home adaptations for aging in place, and much more.

I’ve learned that many of the issues we face across the country are similar – if not identical. However, there are always regional nuances and considerations, which is why our three-level organization, which operates locally, provincially and nationally, is able to work for members so effectively. I’m looking forward to hearing more about how your part of the country can best be served by our association, and sharing with you what we’re working on at the national level.

In addition to the meetings that took place in Banff, it was a true honour to be part of the celebration of our industry during the main conference. We recognized the outstanding work of dedicated volunteer members – as well as the leadership shown by our local and provincial HBAs and their EOs – with our national Association Leadership Awards. You can read about the winners and their contributions on page 26 of this issue.

National Awards for Housing Excellence

We ended the week on a high note, with the CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence gala. As per tradition, as incoming president, I was part of the panel of judges this year (though I’ve volunteered my time for this many times before). Like previous years, judging provided an expansive inside look at the incredible work that our members are doing. The entries I saw – from entry-level multi-family units to high-end luxury renovations, to community development, and the marketing talent that enhances our work – were a wonderful representation of the full breadth of our industry. Congratulations to all the companies that got to walk the red carpet and celebrate in style. A full list of winners can be found beginning on page 20.

I wish you all a productive spring, and look forward to visiting with many of you in the year to come.