Be the ‘u’ in ‘Contribute’

But as the saying goes “the best time to plant a tree was thirty years ago, the next best time is today”. In the 17 years I have been in this industry, I have had discussions with people from every sector. The one opinion that all Engineers, Contractors, Wholesalers, and Stakeholders share is that there are serious flaws in the industry, and if they could be rectified everyone’s lives would be much, much easier. 

The work done to achieve significant change in our industry is done at trade and engineering societies, standards organizations, professional associations, and governing bodies. Most of which are made up of industry volunteers working on technical and standard committees. For example, I sit on two technical committees with ASHRAE and on the CSA Standard F280 technical committee. Volunteers from HRAI Chapters across Canada work to help represent the interests of manufacturers, contractors, and wholesalers and disseminate industry information to the members. 

These are very tangible and accessible ways to help shape the industry into what you think it should be. Volunteers for these committees range widely in sector and experience. Everyone has something they can contribute to these committees, even if it’s your opinion based on your perspective.  

There are some very simple things you can do to contribute: 

  • Subscribe to relevant trade newsletters and code bulletins (you can subscribe to upcoming Ontario Building Code changes through https://www.ontario.ca/page/building-code-updates#codenews) and be notified when new changes to the building code are going out for public review and email the relevant bodies with your opinions and perspectives on the upcoming changes 

  • Email your legislative representatives, relevant government minister, and professional bodies about your issues and ideas for change. Engagement with these bodies is critical to the evolution of codes and industry practices. 

  • Attend a dinner meeting or technical session put on by a relevant society or industry organization like ASHRAE and HRAI. 

  • Volunteer with your relevant professional body, or trade organization. They are always looking for people to help at the chapter, regional, or society level.    

It’s been a crazy few years, and we are all so very tired, and very busy, but change will happen whether or not you’re involved. The more involved you are, the more directly you get to influence the industry as you see fit. 

There are many benefits to getting involved. Participation at these levels means that you will be more informed on industry trends than your competitors. This will allow you to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing world. Improved understanding of relevant standards and regulation as well as technical knowledge will lead to better quality assurance and code compliance. There is a very real return on your investment for volunteering.  

Some of us have more flexibility than others in the ability to volunteer, but we can all send one more email, or maybe attend a dinner meeting or technical session. This year I’d like you to think about what industry change you can reasonably commit to. I know you have great ideas, now all you have to do is share them and try to get them achieved. 

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