The NBACA is an organization made by builders for builders with 40 members

Article by Bill Hornbostel/image supplied

With the construction boom in Northumberland County, a group of local builders have formed the Northumberland Builders and Construction Association (NBACA). Keith Herring, President of the NBACA, says, “This area is all booming construction because the Toronto housing market has forced construction out this direction, and there’s never been a stronger set of constructors and builders in our area than there are right now.

Herring adds, “This idea is past its time, we need representation for Northumberland, otherwise we’re going to get passed by on some of these issues with federal funding, provincial funding, just keeping people in check and creating a good association.”

According to the NBACA website, “The association will provide public and private advocacy, a shared voice with shared interests from informed leadership can advocate on members behalf confidentially and effectively to municipal and regional governments.”

The NBACA is an organization made by builders for builders. “We made the association,” says Herring, “what we thought we’d like an association to be for us, based on our previous experience in construction with municipalities and with other associations, and what we thought would work for people in our area specifically.”

Herring talks about what the NBACA can do for its members. “It’s about economies of scale, getting discounts, getting trade, making deals where there are deals to be made for buying local, supplying local, with subcontractors who are local.” He adds, “Making sure they’re top-quality people, so giving the seal of approval to our other members so that they know that they’re dealing with quality people who can be counted on and, and are good for our community.”

“In larger sense,” continues Herring, “it’s for Northumberland County. A builders’ association can represent our interests across the province. We’re not going to be as strong a voice as a Toronto construction association, but at least we’ll be at the table. We’ll be talking to MPs and MPPs who can put federal and provincial dollars into the local coffers to be spent by local people and hopefully advocate for local jobs in Northumberland County that don’t go to a Toronto construction firm just because we haven’t gotten ourselves organized. That’s good for everybody.”

“We also offer strategic advice to our members, we offer training and organization of those compliance type for things that the red tape stuff that every little person has to deal with,” Herring says. “The association has a training room here in Cobourg, so they don’t have to take a day off for their people and send them away for the day.”

“We also deal with the local community terms of development of people,” Herring states. Speaking about training high school students recently, he says, “Because we’re an outside entity, and we’re not in the school, we were able to have the training in a COVID-safe manner and limited numbers. We could host and facilitate that, and with our buying power we were able to get a discount for the local program on their compliance training for working at heights.”

“We host the training, we get a discount, we hope that those kids are able to move forward in the community to help our local builders and contractors by being good employees and available employees,” Herring adds. “Those are good jobs, [and we’re] showing them that those jobs are here, in our community, and they can stay here and raise their family and be part of the community.”

Herring also talks about how the NBACA backs the affordable housing strategies of Northumberland County and the municipalities. “We certainly support affordable housing strategies, and our members are very involved in the greening strategies and those types of incentives to make our carbon footprint smaller as well.”

Giving an example of how the association will work with its members on government initiatives, Herring says, “If the government says you have to have one unit out of fifty that’s for low-income housing, but doesn’t define what that is and isn’t clear about those directives, then one developer interprets that one way and one developer interprets that the other way, they put one at a disadvantage. You want to communicate with them about clarifying and making smart decisions in those clarifications, so that there’s no opportunity for shenanigans in any of any type.”

“In terms of greening, we are on the forefront of that,” Herring says. “One of our developers, who’s on the board of directors, works for Stalwood. Zero waste housing and net zero is part of their program.” He adds, “We’ve taken that on as one of our priorities this year, to give tools, give information to out to our people, so that they can choose to do it in a greener, better way.”

Membership is up to forty so far. “We’ve got representation across Northumberland County and all the various sectors: electrical subcontractors, builders, developers, road builders, those types of people all represented in the membership,” Herring states.

Talking about the NBACA’s board of directors, Herring says, “They are an extremely dedicated group, in terms of their community give-back, before they even started with this association. They give back through coaching hockey, they give back through donations to local sports teams, they give back through incentives for work for people to be employed, for greening initiatives. They are a community group already, and this is just another way that they’re giving back. The type of people that are on the board of directors are the best type of people in our community, and I’m really fortunate to work with them.”

For more information about the Northumberland Builders and Construction Association, you may visit their website, nbaca.ca.

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