Ontario Insulators look to the future as poor practices are being uncovered.
Lee Loftus, Business Manager for the BC Insulators, and Ken Walsh, Business Manager for Insulators 95 joined forces in February 2013 to address the Mechanical Insulation Association of Ontario (MIA) AGM in Toronto. The topic of their talk was the greening the Mechanical Insulation Industry.
MIA members are mostly made up of insulation contractors and suppliers.
Lee Loftus spoke of an urgent need to increase political and public awareness of the insulation trade. Despite a significant culture shift in public attitudes towards green initiatives, the insulation trade has not benefited.
This sentiment couldn’t have better timing for the Ontario MIA members.
Nearly the entire residential condominium insulation market has buckled to the low-bid system. This has created a two-tier system which has driven professionals out of the vocation and encouraged the non-unionization of a significant percentage of our workforce along with the insulation businesses. This two-tiered system has created a collapse in demand for qualified union members who are trained to use high-quality techniques as well as a loss of interest in installing materials in concealed areas.
People and government often ignore the easy green payback that can be achieved with a little strategic investment. Mechanical Insulation unfortunately is a “hidden” trade. Many people don’t know what it is. Mechanical insulation mostly takes place hidden from view behind closed walls. As a result value engineering or “green washing” has become an excellent place for contractors and sub-contractors to skimp and even omit altogether.
Just like the BC Insulators, the Ontario Insulators and the MIA need to invest efforts in their messaging of the benefits of their trade. Our collective prosperity depends on it. We need to play a major leadership role in the future direction of our industry if we want to survive.
Ontario Insulators are beginning to profile construction projects to find poor practices across Ontario. Third party inspection and the enforcement of will be a key component in preventing shoddy construction practices.