West End Home Builders’ Association Supports Ontario’s Decision to Re-Activate Below-Grade Construction of Condominium and Apartment Buildings


Hamilton, May 7, 2020 — The West End Home Builders’ Association and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) welcome the Government of Ontario’s decision today to allow the resumption of below-grade construction under the COVID-19 Emergency Orders. Each step that is taken toward returning to normal construction activity allows the industry to meet the housing needs of Hamilton, Halton and Ontario.

“We are still focused on the safety of job sites and workers.  Condominium and apartment buildings continue to be an important part of the housing choice and supply we need to provide our community.   Permitting the below-grade construction for these buildings means we can start to respond to the housing needs of the Hamilton and Halton areas,” said Robert Molinaro, We HBA President. 

Getting back to more normal construction activity will help lead the economic recovery in our areas.  “Residential construction is an engine of the Ontario’s economy, with every 1,000 housing units generating 2,600 direct and indirect jobs, paying half a billion dollars in wages and generating $600 million in economic activity.”  

Today’s decision allows for the resumption of below-grade construction where permits are in place. Below-grade construction is construction activity that occurs below ground level, to put in place the foundation and systems that support a high-rise building. This includes excavation, temporary shoring, pilings, servicing as required, concrete forming, reinforcing and pouring, and many other tasks.

A safe working environment is possible during below-grade construction by limiting the number of trades on the work site and by practicing physical distancing. As with previous expansions to the emergency orders for construction, all work must be carried out in compliance with the Ministry of Labour’s Guidelines for Construction Site Health and Safety during COVID-19. The industry supports the closing of any site that does not meet or exceed these requirements.

“We applaud the Government of Ontario for taking steady and consistent steps to safely re-activate residential construction work,” said Joe Vaccaro, CEO, OHBA. “With enhanced health and safety policies, buildings across Ontario can resume construction and move closer to completion.  This decision moves thousands of families closer to getting the keys for their new homes.”