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How Builders Associations Are Responding to the Pandemic4 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutesHow Builders Associations Are Responding to the Pandemic

Even months in, we’re all still adjusting to the crisis.

But the world can’t simply stop. There’s work to be done.

And when it comes to homebuilding, the ones doing that work are probably members of the NHBA.

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That’s why we spoke with Chuck McShane, Executive Officer for the Niagara Home Builders Association, and learned how home builders are carrying on in these trying times.

He covered:

  • The mission of Niagara Home Builders Association
  • The Canadian government’s role in home building
  • How the pandemic is changing home building


The Niagara Home Builders Association covers 12 lower-tier municipalities within their jurisdiction as an association and one upper-tier municipality in the Niagara region.

And their members are numerous.

They have 145 builder and supplier professional members who all want to be involved — and be the best of the best when it comes to building and providing desperately-needed housing across the region.

The association is also a member of the Ontario Home Builders Association, which is, of course, even larger at 4,000 member companies.

Add to that their membership with the Canadian Home Builders Association and their reach spans the country.

The association’s mission is to work together with local municipalities — building, planning and elected officials — to make sure home builders are bringing forth a product that meets the needs of the communities they serve.

“We have 200,000 people that require housing right now. And we’re mandated with a growth plan in Ontario equating to a million new houses in 10 years.” — Chuck McShane

And with so many needing housing, both in the near-term and for the future, the association’s role has never been more important.

But in the throngs of a global pandemic, its members are facing unprecedented challenges to meet that demand.

The government’s role

The Canadian government is also, unsurprisingly, facing challenges of their own, scrambling to enact policies that might curb the epidemic.

And some of those policies may potentially present major hurdles to home builders.

That’s why Chuck and the association are working with ministries to discuss how to move forward and keep producing much-needed housing in a safe and responsible manner.

One of the first orders of business, once the crisis struck, was to encourage the government to recognize builders as essential workers.

And this was a pretty simple task. If they wanted to achieve their ambitious housing goals, builders are essential.

When it comes to other restrictions, many members of the association have taken it upon themselves to go further than what the government was being asked of them.

“We want to ensure that we’re not just following the rules right on the edge, but that we’re creating better rules.” — Chuck McShane

Some members like Reliance Home Comfort™ started providing smaller water tanks to be put in garages. Others started providing cheaper washbasins to improve sanitary conditions.

The essentials of building

Throughout the pandemic, Chuck has been consistently taken aback by the resourcefulness and resiliency association members have demonstrated.

In fact, he doesn’t have much advice for how they should get through these trying times — members are too financially competent and very aware that this industry comes with its ups and downs.

Though, he does want to counsel the essential workers fighting on the frontlines of housing to stay patient.

And he also warns those in the industry to look after their mental well-being — which is good advice for anyone working in these high-stress times.

And despite some confusion over some of the rules and restrictions, he hasn’t heard many complaints.

Instead, members have overwhelmingly expressed gratitude for being able to continue serving those in the community who rely on their work.

“We are going to come on to this bigger, better and stronger as an industry. Whether it’s 12 or 18 months to get back to where we were before this started, we’ll get through it.” — Chuck McShane

No one can predict how the pandemic will shape the future.

But Chuck has faith that the strength and resiliency on display by the men and women in the industry means they will do more than survive…

They’ll thrive.

This post is based on a Business Optimization podcast with Chuck McShane. The views, information, or opinions expressed during the podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Reliance Home Comfort and its team members.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to Business Optimization here. If you don’t use Apple, you can find us here.