As construction equipment rents continue to rise, civil construction companies are taking matters into their own hands.
Many of the rental companies, which provide the majority of construction jobs, are taking to social media to share their frustrations.
“I just want to be safe,” said Mike Schofield, who has been working with a contractor for the past five years.
“They have to be able to secure the equipment.
They have to have the equipment secured.
They’re just not doing it, and that’s the problem.
I feel like it’s just not happening.”
A sign in his home office says “The property has not been occupied for more than 30 days.”
A few months ago, the city ordered the contractors to take steps to secure equipment, but they haven’t.
That meant Schofielding and others were left with nothing.
In the end, he said he would have to go with a construction company.
“The company that I’ve been working for for the last five years, they said, ‘Well, we can’t do it.
We can’t have you working on that property.’
They don’t have the proper equipment, they don’t pay the right amount of rent, they’re not providing the necessary equipment, and they have a lot of issues,” he said.
“And they have no idea what’s going on with the city and the construction industry.”
Construction equipment rental has been in a boom for a decade.
But as demand continues to grow, so too has the demand for rentals.
In May, the Toronto Building Trades Union voted to take over the rental contract for all of the city’s construction companies.
The union is calling on the city to provide more oversight and improve training for workers and the rental industry.
“There are a lot more people working than ever before, and we have to do something about it,” said TFCU president and CEO Chris Lewis.
He also says the city has to get more involved in the industry, because the rentals don’t always follow industry standards.
“We need to do some things to protect our workers, to make sure that when we’re putting together the contracts, the equipment is properly secured and the workers are properly trained and they are being paid the right rates, we need to look at the safety and security of the contractors,” Lewis said.
The city has so far refused to do anything to address the rental issue, but has suggested it is considering ways to regulate rental companies and help them secure equipment.
But Lewis said the city needs to do more.
“If the city is not doing something, the industry is going to continue to go up, up, and up,” he says.
“When we’re not doing anything about it, the rental sector is going through a downturn, and when we do act, it’s going to be bad.”