11 May CHBA-Edmonton Region celebrates 65th anniversary
They’ve nailed it.
For 65 years, they’ve helped Edmonton’s residential home builders build this city.
Now, they’re ready to celebrate — at least a little — after lending a hand, a hammer, and a host of other valuable resources to greater Edmonton’s builders, renovators, land developers, trades and suppliers, and allied professionals.
Otherwise known as the Canadian Home Builders Association-Edmonton Region, they are there to help, said CHBA-ER president Bryce Milliken.
“The CHBA-ER is a non-profit, volunteer driven community for the residential construction industry that supports its members through advocacy, education and recognition,” said Milliken. “The CHBA-ER brings the experts in the industry together to lead the industry within the city and to be a partner with the city of Edmonton in order to plan and provide new housing that meets the housing demand.”
The goal, said Milliken, is to do this in an efficient and effective way.
“Essentially, the CHBA-ER offers its expertise to create best practices for residential construction to meet the needs of a growing city,” said Milliken, adding that the key is keeping housing affordable while offering superior housing choices.
But even though 65 is a major milestone, the CHBA-ER isn’t pulling out all the stops. Instead, it will celebrate in a bit of a more low-key fashion, marking the occasion at various events throughout the year including at its volunteer recognition awards and at a member appreciation Grill and Chill in June. Earlier this year, a little before its 65th, the CHBA-ER held its signature event, the Awards of Excellence, highlighting the best from its members in new homes and innovative products.
“Were thrilled to celebrate 65 years representing the residential construction industry within the Edmonton region,” said Milliken. “It’s exciting to be at the helm and have over 475 member companies that represent 45,000 jobs in greater Edmonton, $3 billion in wages, and $6.9 billion in investment value — it’s a wonderful group of members and a great testament to the city and region.”
This Old House
When the CHBA-ER’s original predecessor came on the scene in April 1954 things were different. Unfortunately, few records remain from that time.
Back then the CHBA-ER was known as the Edmonton House Builders Association. Over the years it would change its name seven more times.
But with some 47 years of membership under its belt, CHBA-ER legacy member Christenson Developments offers a glimpse into some of that past.
Greg Christenson, the current president and co-owner of Christenson Developments, followed his father Lloyd into the business. It was Lloyd who would bring the company into CHBA-ER realm. Greg, who would eventually serve as a past president of both the Edmonton and national chapters of the Canadian Home Builders Association, recalls a period when times were tough and an earlier version of the CHBA-ER provided a steadying influence.
For example, Greg pointed to an era when interest rates were above 20 per cent (in the 1980s), world oil prices collapsed and builders had to deal with the havoc wreaked on the housing market because of economic turmoil. Jobs were slashed. Construction fell dramatically. But he found somewhere to turn to, noting the CHBA-ER became a valuable resource. He still holds that opinion.
“When the chips are down, when you need advice, that’s where the CHBA comes in,” said Greg. “I think that’s why it stands the test of time.”
Blueprint for Success
The current president foresees a strong future ahead for the CHBA-ER.
Not only does Milliken note that the association has a diverse member base to carry it forward, there’s also recent work that has been done to lay the groundwork for the future.
“The greatest thing we done over the past few years is working with the city in all of the new choices and built forms being introduced … giving buyers a lot more choice,” he said, noting that the challenges and the complexity in residential construction are greater than they have been.
“Building code challenges, new standards whether safety, health or environmental, and energy standards, those are getting more complex and much higher; that’s what we work with the city on,” added Milliken.
Going forward he also sees an increased focus on net zero homes and energy reduction while still keeping homes affordable.
“In order to be a really great city, Edmonton and the Edmonton region need to have a competitive advantage in order to attract the best people here, to keep them here and provide them with a great quality of life,” said Milliken.
“Housing — affordable housing — is a key advantage the Edmonton region can offer.”
CHBA-ER OVER THE YEARS
A chronological history, by name, of how the Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Edmonton Region evolved over the years:
Edmonton House Builders Association: April 20, 1954
Edmonton Home Builders Association: Feb. 22, 1967
Edmonton Housing Association: June 29, 1970
HUDAC (Housing & Urban Development Association of Canada) Edmonton: May 7, 1979
Edmonton Home Builder’s Association: Nov. 15, 1984
Greater Edmonton Home Builders’ Association: Jan. 31, 1994
Edmonton Region Home Builders’ Association: Oct. 24, 2003
Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Edmonton Region: April 12, 2006