Equal footing: Builders will help smaller operations

Small-volume home builders should find themselves competing on more level ground, thanks to the creat

Small-volume home builders should find themselves competing on more level ground, thanks to the creation of a new buying group.

The Canadian Alliance of Residential Builders was recently formed from members of Progressive Home Warranty Solutions and Pacific Home Warranty Insurance Services. The combined membership of those two organizations, which provide warranty coverage to home builders and renovators, is about 900. Most are in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

“We have about 300 builder-members in Alberta,” said Grant Ainsley, CEO of the Canadian Alliance of Residential Builders, or CARB.

The new organization consists mainly of small builders who lack the buying power of bigger companies, he said.

“Our typical builder is probably four to eight homes a year.”

By working as a group, they can take advantage of their numbers to place themselves on more equal footing with bigger competitors, said Ainsley.

CARB has already forged relationships with several national companies, including Bell Mobility, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Merit Canada — which offers an owner-operator benefits plan — and Verico iMortgage Solutions. More are pending, he said, including a major building materials retailer and a national bank.

The longtime executive officer of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association — Alberta, Ainsley said it always struck him that home builders were not taking advantage of central buying.

“That’s OK when you have larger builders. Smaller builders, you don’t get as many breaks.”

Ainsley expects CARB to also provide a collective voice for its members with respect to dealings with government. And it will provide a vehicle for education and the exchange of information, he said.

CARB is not looking to steal members from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, he stressed, pointing out that the CHBA tends to represent a different classification of builders and provide different services.

“I think we can both exist and flourish in this market.”

Last year, said Ainsley, the builders and renovators who now make up CARB spent an estimated $1.8 million, including land purchases.

“That’s not small stuff.”

CARB is based in St. Albert. Additional information about the organization can be found online at www.mybuildersalliance.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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