A Globe and Mail investigation has found that while there are plenty of building materials available, many are often hard to find.
And the quality of the materials often varies dramatically, with many of the best available products costing $600 to $800 a tonne.
The Globe spoke with a number of industry experts, as well as local builders, and found the main reason many of these materials aren’t available is because they are imported.
The problem isn’t unique to Canada, the study found.
The US, for example, has a lot of imports of building and building materials but many of those are not sourced locally.
“A lot of the things we produce here are sourced from abroad, and that’s one of the big reasons why you’re seeing a lot more imported materials,” said Mike McCaffery, the director of building material and equipment research at RIA Associates, a firm that studies materials used in construction.
In fact, of the top 100 most popular building materials in the US, most are imported from other countries, according to a recent report by RIA.
The top-selling materials in Canada, however, include materials sourced from the United States.
A list of top-10 products is available here.
(Canadian Tire Canada said in a statement that it uses “most” of the “top-tier materials” sourced from Canada.)
In Canada, “we use all of the different types of building building materials we can source locally and locally sourced materials,” Mr. McCafferies said.
But the problem is compounded by a system in place in the United Kingdom that allows companies to make more money by sourcing materials from countries with cheaper labour costs.
And that, in turn, means the costs of producing the materials can be much higher.
“There’s a significant amount of money being spent on the production of these building materials and the cost of those materials is not going to be reflected in the price of the finished product,” Mr ther said.
“In the US we have a system where manufacturers can import from the UK, but the cost is much higher than the price for the finished products.”
The problem with sourcing materials locally Mr. McMillan said there are a lot people out there who aren’t aware of the potential risks associated with importing materials, including manufacturing errors or health issues.
In addition, there are also potential environmental problems with importing the materials, such as soil contamination, and they’re also subject to regulatory oversight.
And although there’s been a rise in the use of imported materials, “that is not necessarily the best solution,” Mr McCaffys said.
While there are some products that are very good, he said, many of them aren’t sourced from local suppliers.
“The problem is that when you’re importing a product from another country, the quality is very high,” he said.
A report commissioned by the federal government to examine the issue found that of the 10 most popular items in Canada last year, four were sourced from outside the country.
And some of the worst offenders were sourced in the UK and Australia, with only one product actually sourced locally from a local supplier.
“When you look at the top 10 products, you see it’s the UK which has the highest level of importation,” Mr McMillans said.
And even that product in the top five was imported from Australia.
And while there is some truth to the idea that the US is a source for some of its building materials (though not all of them), Mr McCafferys said the problem goes far beyond the building material industry.
The paper found that Canada has a very low share of the world’s building materials supply, making it even more vulnerable to the issues outlined in the paper.
“I would argue that the quality and availability of these products is far from where they should be,” Mr Mcaffery said.
The report also noted that a large number of products in the U.S. were sourced by a single company.
“We found that in the last 12 months, we imported some 50,000 different materials, of which about 40 per cent were sourced externally,” Mr Carr said.
As a result, Canada has only about a fifth of the supply of building products in use in the world, and Canada’s population is aging.
“These [importation] issues are being exacerbated because Canada’s economy is aging and that means that there’s less money to be made,” Mr Crabb said.
Mr McCuffers said that, with the cost per tonne of materials rising, companies are increasingly relying on importing the best materials in order to keep their prices down.
“At the end of the day, what is the long-term benefit of that?” he said of importing materials.
“It’s going to affect the quality.”
Mr McMills said it is crucial that governments and building companies focus on the supply side of things.
“As a result of the lack of quality and