Canadian Farm Building Association Awards Recognizing achievements for specialized Ontario agricultural construction projects

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    STAFF WRITER
    – The Ontario Construction Report Special Feature

     

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    Dairy Award – POST Farm Structures

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    Farm Storage Award – Dutch Masters Design & Construction Services

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    Other Livestock Award – HFH Inc.

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    Horse ll Award & Project of the Year Award – Dutch Masters Design & Construction Services

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    Hobby / Recreational Award – POST Farm Structures

    The annual Canadian Farm Builders Association (CFBA) Awards recognize achievements in agricultural construction – and a trend towards increasingly sophisticated and innovative structures.

    Among the 2016 awards, Dutch Masters Construction Services won the Project of the Year award for a private Ontario equestrian facility, reflecting the company’s successful focus on horse farms. The company also won the farm storage award.

    Gary van Bolderen, a former president and CFBA director, says the Project of the Year and other awards are chosen by popular vote among about 80 to 100 people at the CFBA’s annual convention.

    “I’ve been involved since the association started about 1980,” he said. “We’ve had different ways of selecting the project of the year, but what we’ve come down to now, is contestants provide detailed drawings and specifications and pictures and people on the convention vote on them.”“It’s not so much a technical thing as people knowledge about the buildings looking at the physical appearance, the sophistication of design and whether nor not it functions well and has good esthetics.”

    This is a specialized area of construction, and even within the farm building community, you’ll find sub-specialties, van Bolderen said. “I only do horse buildings” while others specialize in hogs and still others poultry or beef farms. “Some contractors work within a local area and will do general construction in their rural community, as well.”

    While van Bolderen acknowledges rural construction projects won’t compete in volume and scope for the mammoth urban infrastructure initiatives, and the average CFBA member is relatively small compared to mega-contractors, there still is much sophistication in the industry, and that higherlevel achievement is rapidly increasing.

    “In dairy farms, they invest millions of dollars in these new barns,” he said. “Cattle are electronically monitored to determine when to feed them, and assess the weight and health,” he said.

    While the association has a Canadawide name, its membership is Ontario based. In earlier years, there were chapters outside of Ontario, but these faded away, and the association decided to retain the CFBA name rather than go to the expense of restructuring as a provincial only association.

    In any case, while it deals with Ontario specific issues, such as the prompt payment legislation controversy, the Construction Lien Act Review and the Ontario College of Trades, the CFBA also has specialized national concerns, including the upcoming revision of the Canadian Farm Building Code.

    Van Bolderen says contractors and owners are concerned that code drafters may impose human occupancy conditions on buildings designed for livestock or food storage. “A dairy barn may have 200 cows, and 32,000 sq. ft. of building, but there’s only four people working there. That’s different than if you have a school or shopping centre or food store, or even a Tim Hortons with 10,000 sq. ft. where about 5,000 people might be there every day.”

    On the other side of the perspective, modern farm buildings are often much larger and more sophisticated than their earlier versions. “Pig barns could be 600 metres long. That’s half a mile – full of pigs, that’s 2,000 pigs – the investment in livestock and the family’s income means there should be at least a reasonable fire protection system in place.”

    The question is whether increased requirements in the farm building code may increase construction costs to the extent that owners will decide that they can’t achieve return on investment from the building process, he said.

    Van Bolderen says the CFBA works closely with other associations. He has had leadership roles within the Council of Ontario Construction Associations and the Canadian Construction Association, for example.

    Here is a list of the 2015 CFBA Award winners:

    Horse ll Award & Project of the Year Award – Dutch Masters Design & Construction Services

    Hobby / Recreational Award – POST Farm Structures Horse l Award – HFH Inc.

    Farm Storage Award – Dutch Masters Design & Construction Services

    Other Livestock Award – HFH Inc. Dairy Award – POST Farm Structures

    Commercial/Institutional Award – Frey Building Contractors

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