Numerology: The B.C. industry constructed around late payments

Independent building contractors want their clients to hurry up and pay already

Credit: Sources: B.C. Construction Association, National Trade Contractors Coalition of Canada

$3.7 billion

That’s the estimated share of the $71.5 billion in construction costs for projects under way in this province that are associated with late payment, according to the B.C. Construction Association (BCCA).

As April brings the province’s first annual Construction Month, independent contractors are struggling under the weight of insurance and loan interest while they wait for clients to pony up, says BCCA president Chris Atchison. “Smaller contractors are refusing to work for certain individuals, or they’re changing occupations—which isn’t helping our workforce issue,” Atchison explains. Ontario enacted prompt-payment legislation last December, and B.C. is considering it; meanwhile, the BCCA is pursuing an automated payment system, powered by blockchain technology, that would transfer funds instantly on a project’s completion. That could boost stability for contractors nationwide, Atchison says. “We hope this can be the thin edge of the wedge.”