Mechanical contractors can expect more work in 2021, says Hamilton-Niagara agency
Association says its members worked about 65 per cent of their normal hours in 2020
Mechanical contractors and their workers whose hours were cut by the COVID-19 pandemic will have a better year in 2021, says a local agency, in Hamilton, Niagara, Halton, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties.
The Mechanical Contractors Association of Hamilton Niagara (MCAHN) says it expects hours to return to almost 80 per cent of the pre-pandemic amount.
In 2020, the association says, their members worked about 65 per cent of regular hours. Projects were delayed and halted, it said in a media release, as the industry waited to hear whether construction was "deemed essential."
While projects dropped over the year, a spokesperson with the MCAHN said, the sector generated $396 million in activity.
Moving away from 'stacking trades'
New health and safety protocols were required, such as mandatory personal protective equipment, heightened cleaning measures, and physical distancing. More trailer facilities were needed, and there were new guidelines about distancing in a pick-up truck.
The MCAHN says the changes affected "the way contractors work." One protocol included moving away from "stacking trades," which is when contractors with different specialties work together in a small space.
"Despite the fears at the start of pandemic and an influx of rapidly changing guidelines, contractors and companies adapted quickly," said the release.
Nathan Bergstrand, a business manager at United Association Local 67 Hamilton Niagara — a multi-craft union whose members fabricate, install and service piping systems — said "it comes down to the workers following new regulations to protect one another on-site."
"I am proud of our how our members adapted and quickly took the necessary steps to keep fellow peers and tradesmen safe during the pandemic," he said.
The MCAHN is a bargaining agency with the Ontario Labour Relations Board that represents unionized mechanical contractors.