Oxford County Builders Association makes its return

Builder with blueprints near the wooden house on the construction site

The Oxford County Builders Association (OCBA) ceased to exist four years ago but has resurfaced thanks to some former members.

The group folded back in November of 2019 just before the pandemic. Board member Derek Jukema is one of the professionals behind its resurrection. “It was losing its steam, and we just couldn’t run it properly with the resources we had. On the flip side, we have done interviews, and we have a potential executive officer who would operate in a part-time role.”

Derek said they are trying to get the word out now, setting the stage for a launch on March 27. “In attendance will be the presidents of the Canadian and Ontario Home Builders Associations to speak about the national and provincial levels.” He added at a local level the group will be meeting and consulting with municipalities in the county. “We will be lobbying, offering training, education, and networking. Discounts are extended to members for services such as group insurance.”

The association’s interim board president Cedric Tomico said there has already been considerable interest across the county. “A very good response with well over 60 organizations showing interest in re-igniting the OCBA. Technically we have not been signing people up yet, but I have had many confirm they will become members. I would say that number looks like it’s at 20 or more already.”

Affordable housing is one of if not the biggest socio-economic issues of our time, something Derek hopes they will be able to help with. “Provincial laws have changed quite a bit recently in terms of intensification and other areas. The association is there to help builders be a uniform group and meet with municipal governments to get through the issues of the day.”

Cedric added he is confident the organization will be able to make it more efficient to build homes in Oxford. “We believe that with a collaborative approach of all our members, we can advocate to municipal and regional planning and building departments to streamline processes concerning building.  This will essentially reduce time, costs, and stress with respect to how our approvals currently go which will not only benefit us as the OCBA but all those individuals who plan to ever build a home in the future.”

Derek explained there has been a fair bit of interest from potential members so far but ultimately, he is waiting to see how the launch goes and is hoping for interest outside of the Friendly City. “In the past, it was mainly just Woodstock members. We have reached out to Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, and builders from other areas as well as trades and other businesses from all corners of the county.”

The launch will be March 27th at Ingersoll’s Elmhurst Inn with an event starting at 6:30. More information is available on the organization’s website at https://oxfordcountyba.ca/. Other than builders and tradespeople, anyone who supports the construction sector, from suppliers to legal, insurance providers, auto and equipment dealers. “Pretty much anyone that supports the construction industry in any way or form,” added Cedric.

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