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Re: Use of Local Labour

Posted by Erin on January 27, 2012, 10:30 am, in reply to "Use of Local Labour"

Another person’s point of view - Building with local labour

I have been letting this topic bounce around in my head for several days now as I feel there are many many other issues that need to be considered when discussing building with local labour. I wish to offer a couple for your consideration.

A year ago, we purchased two side by side lots with the intention of building two houses. We engaged a local builder to design a pair of suitable homes for us. Unfortunately the builder failed to meet the challenge and we were forced to seek a design from a Melaque architect. We finally agreed upon what we wanted, had the drawings completed and requested pricing from three local builders. I personal delivered drawings to each contractor and without naming names, one did not respond, one admitted the pricing challenge was beyond his expertise and the other provided us with a price which was so far over our budget as to make the project not feasible. So we were forced to look outside LM for a suitable contractor, we found one in Melaque. Over the last 6 or so months we have learned a lot about local building conditions verses ‘outsiders’ doing the job. Speaking strictly for myself and my partner, we would not have been able to build had it not been for the assistance of outside contractors and sub trades.

When you break down the housing components:
Mechanical and Electrical: not a lot of local skilled labour

Carpentry: limited local shops
Iron work: there are several local shops
Digging and Trucking: Locally available
Construction materials: readily available locally (concrete and rebar, bricks, sand and rock)
Windows: not locally available
Rental equipment (scaffolding, forming and supports): not locally available
Granite and flooring materials: Not available locally

The point I am trying to make is that is cannot be done locally except for in the most basic sense. The majority of all finishing items and associated skilled labour will come from places other than LM.

This issue at hand is not who is coming to town to work (as well all are from out of town at some point in our lives) but the local vigilance of the residents in town. We need to take care of our community ourselves and hopefully have the support of local government in the process.

I appreciate that I may have glossed over many issues and not addressed others but having gone through the process of building, if you are going to be fair and diligent, you need to look sometimes beyond our own labour pool. As a point of interest, one of the criteria of hiring a outside contractor was to hire as many ‘locals’ as we could and yes, they are more costly but for the ones we have hired, they are very skilled, but you have to remember, we do not have a large pool to choose from and it only takes several projects to be underway before the pool is empty and then what choices are there?

I think we as local residences we must support our own community, each in their own fashion, if that means shopping, dining or enjoying what LM has to offer; this goes well beyond that of building a house.

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