About the union

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Local 118 has been helping our members find jobs, defend their rights and advance their interests for over 50 years. Education and safety training have ensured that members remain at the top of their field. Heat and Frost Insulators in BC are industry leaders in building green, energy-efficent buildings to the highest standards.

We’re lobbying for comprehensive building codes on the municipal, provincial and federal levels. We meet and speak with. municipal politicians and policy-makers, and providing and presenting educational materials. We’re talking to other mechanical contractors, building owners, developers, architects, engineers, politicians and senior staff at all levels of government, and the public

We have the know-how to improve the energy performance of BC buildings.

Find out more about our campaign, check out our Energy Conservation Specialists website, and read our independently-commissioned White Paper.

Our History

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Heat and Frost traces its roots back to 1900, when the Salamander Association of New York appealed to tradespeople across North America to unite the pipe and boiler cover industry. This developed into the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Union.

In Vancouver, Local 54 of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers was chartered in 1930. It did not survive and the members, mostly from the Plumbers Union, moved back to the Plumbers Local 170.

In 1954, the Kemano 1 project and construction of the Kenny Dam provided incentive for the insulators to once again form their own local. The Plumbers Union agreed and backed the effort, establishing the BC Insulators Union Local 118 of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers.

In the 1960s, Local 118 crews worked in camps and helped build the Bennett Dam powerhouse, the smelters in Kitimat and many other large industrial projects around the province.

In the 1970s, the rising cost of energy worldwide sparked the energy conservation movement. Loss of heat through poor or non-existent insulation became a major concern in the commercial and industrial sectors. It was demonstrated that the cost of insulating could be recovered in just five years.

The 1980s were particularly challenging. All the building trades unions faced numerous obstacles: governments hostile to labour, growth in the non-union sector, decline in construction projects, business downsizing and layoffs.

Today, however, increased environmental awareness and the need to conserve energy has benefited of members of Local 118. We have seen a surge of work in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. We have more than 400 members, employed on commercial, residential and industrial construction sites.
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The salamander story

HFI_PublicLogo_RGBAccording to the mythology, the fire salamander can withstand freezing temperatures and is impervious to fire.

Legend has it that it was freezing cold when Hannibal was crossing the Alps, so one of the soldiers picked up a frozen log to toss onto a fire. Shortly after the log began to thaw, a fire salamander crawled out of it.

It seems the perfect symbol for workers who insulate against heat and frost.