Ontario Construction News staff writer
Ontario Construction News commences its fourth month of daily publication today, and we’re celebrating with you.
The digital newspaper’s business side has achieved key market share and revenue milestones as its editorial content and depth continues to improve.
“Our goal – publishing a traditional construction trade newspaper, but one geared for the digital age – has been achieved,” said publisher Mark Buckshon. “Of course we’re not going to be complacent. We’ll continue to improve our editorial coverage’s depth and scope, and refine our processes to deliver even better value to clients.”
The publication’s economic foundation is an Ontario Construction Act provision requiring contractors to publish Certificates of Substantial Performance (CSP) in a “construction trade newspaper” meeting certain highly specific regulatory requirements.
These rules have not changed much from the statutory requirements of the former Ontario Construction Lien Act – which effectively granted a multi-decade commercial monopoly to another publisher. The difference today: The “construction trade newspaper” can be digital, as long as it is based in Ontario.
“We checked, and checked again, and confirmed with the Ministry of the Attorney General that the law does not set a restriction on who can publish the daily newspaper, as long as the other specific requirements are fulfilled,” Buckshon said. “Certainly, you can’t just put up a cheap website and publish a few news releases and qualify. We concluded we would need to publish a newspaper in every sense of the word – except that we wouldn’t need to physically print on newsprint and mail it by Canada Post.”
In other words, the publication needs writers capable of producing content that meets journalistic standards, along data and leads opportunities and public tender notices.
“I started my career as a newspaper writer/journalist, and that has always been my passion – even when I first started the business about 30 years ago,” Buckshon said. In fact our first publication, Ottawa Construction News, was printed on newsprint, and mailed, and along with GTA Construction Report and Ontario Construction Report, many readers thought of us as construction trade newspapers under the old Ontario Construction Lien Act.”
“We in fact would receive several inquiries from readers about publishing CSP notices every month,” he said. “But we had to turn the advertisers away, because it is one thing to print a monthly newspaper – it is quite another to maintain a daily schedule.”
“We’ve managed the scheduling challenge quite well. The next few weeks will prove things for certain, as I enjoy a month’s vacation, initially in Washington DC, and then in central/eastern Europe.”
The good news for readers and clients is that Ontario Construction News has been designed to have a very limited paywall – most content is free without subscription. The daily Databid.com feed can be accessed through a simple (and free) registration process.
“We’ve put a paywall around the PDF publication archives, reflecting their value and to protect our copyright, but otherwise, everything is free. And of course anyone can access the searchable CSP database to check things out.”
What does the future hold?
“I’m pleased with the continued rapid growth in new clients and repeat business,” Buckshon said. “In fact, our market share and revenue have doubled each month for the past three months. That growth rate will inevitably slow, but I expect not before we truly have earned our full place in the marketplace.
“Even as we grow, we’re finding ways to improve efficiency and responsiveness,” Buckshon said. “In many cases, if an advertiser requests a CSP early enough in the day and can return the signed off proof right away, we can publish the notice in the next day’s issue – and send the Certificate of Publication within 48 hours of the initial order.”
“We promise a three day turnaround because everything needs to be perfect for the faster delivery – but our goal is to turn things around much quicker than the competition so you can collect your holdback with minimal delay.”
“And of course, we’re saving contractors $130 or more on every CSP notice.”
To connect with Mark Buckshon regarding news stories and controversies affecting the construction industry, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about certificates and notices in Ontario Construction News, see https://www.ontarioconstructionnews.com/certificates.