On-Site Magazine

Building permits finish strong in 2014


Construction Skills Development

Total value up 5.2%, worth $85.1B across Canada

Building permits rebounded in December as contractors registered $7.1 billion worth of work, up 7.7 per cent from the previous month’s double digit decline, Statistics Canada reports today.

The most recent month’s results pushed the total value of permits issued in 2014 to $85.1 billion, up 5.2 per cent over 2013. Between January and December 2014, municipalities issued non-residential building permits worth $34.2 billion, an increase of 5.4 per cent from 2013.

The value of non-residential building permits rose 22.9 per cent to $2.7 billion in December, following a 29.4 per cent decrease in November. Alberta was responsible for most of the monthly increase at the national level, followed by British Columbia. Declines were recorded in five provinces, with Saskatchewan posting the largest decrease.

Double-Digit in Non-Res

Canadian municipalities issued commercial building permits worth $1.4 billion in December, 21.2 per cent more than in November. This followed a 25.0 per cent decrease the previous month. The increase was the result of higher construction intentions for a variety of commercial buildings, including office buildings, recreational facilities, hotels and restaurants as well as warehouses. Gains were recorded in six provinces, with Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec posting the largest increases. In contrast, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick reported the largest decreases.


In the industrial component, construction intentions rose 36.5 per cent to $529 million, following a 41.4 per cent decline the previous month. The increase was mainly attributable to higher construction intentions for transportation-related buildings and, to a lesser degree, manufacturing plants. Gains were registered in five provinces, led by Ontario, with British Columbia and Quebec a distant second and third. Manitoba posted the largest decline.

The value of building permits in the institutional component increased 17.7 per cent to $768 million in December, following a 28.4 per cent decrease in November. Alberta, which saw the largest advance, posted a significant increase in construction intentions for educational institutions, while in British Columbia, medical facilities contributed most to the gain. Construction intentions for institutional buildings declined in seven provinces, led by Ontario.

Provincial Perspective

The total value of permits was up in seven provinces in December, led by Alberta, followed by British Columbia. Alberta reported the largest increase, as the value of permits rose 30.7 per cent to $1.7 billion, with higher construction intentions for all types of buildings, most notably for institutional buildings.

British Columbia reported a 20.1 per cent increase to $989 million, the result of higher construction intentions in every component except multi-family dwellings.

The largest decline occurred in Ontario, with institutional buildings and multi-family dwellings accounting for the decrease. Saskatchewan and Manitoba also registered declines.

Numbers by the City

In December, the total value of building permits was up in 18 of the 34 census metropolitan areas.

Edmonton registered the largest gain, followed by Toronto and Vancouver. In Edmonton, higher construction intentions, mainly for institutional buildings and multi-family dwellings, were responsible for the increase. In Toronto, the advance was largely the result of higher construction intentions for industrial buildings, while in Vancouver, the increase came mainly from higher construction intentions for commercial buildings.

Barrie recorded the largest decrease in December, after posting a notable gain the previous month. The decline was the result of lower construction intentions in all components of the residential and non-residential sectors, particularly in multi-family dwellings. Ottawa and Greater Sudbury also registered decreases. In Ottawa, the decline was largely attributable to lower construction intentions for institutional buildings. In Greater Sudbury, institutional and industrial buildings were responsible for the decline.


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