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Non-res building permit volumes drop in November: StatsCan

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January 12, 2015 by STAFF REPORT

Non-Residential building permit volume dropped across Canada in November, Statistics Canada reports
Non-Residential building permit volume dropped across Canada in November, Statistics Canada reports

Municipalities issued building permits worth $6.6 billion in November, down 13.8 per cent from October, following two consecutive monthly increases, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

Widespread declines in both the non-residential and residential sectors in several provinces were responsible for the decrease in November, says StatsCan.

Following two consecutive monthly gains, construction intentions in the non-residential sector fell 29.2 per cent to $2.2 billion in November. Declines were recorded in eight provinces, with British Columbia and Alberta accounting for most of the decrease. Gains occurred in Manitoba and, to a lesser extent, Prince Edward Island.

Non-res sector declines

Construction intentions for commercial buildings decreased 25.8 per cent to $1.2 billion in November, marking a second consecutive monthly drop. Declines were posted in six provinces, led by British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta. Lower construction intentions for hotels and restaurants, warehouses, office buildings and retail outlets were responsible for much of the decrease at the national level. The value of commercial permits increased in four provinces, with Ontario posting the largest gain.

The value of permits for institutional buildings fell 24.9 per cent to $684 million in November, following two consecutive monthly increases. Declines were posted in five provinces, with British Columbia accounting for much of the decrease. Nationally, the drop was primarily the result of lower new construction intentions for medical facilities, as well as nursing homes and retirement residences.

Construction intentions for industrial buildings declined 43.1 per cent to $376 million in November, offsetting the increase observed the previous month and falling to their lowest level since April 2014. Lower construction intentions for manufacturing plants and utilities buildings, mainly in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, were responsible for most of the national decrease.

Provincial Outlook

The total value of building permits decreased in seven provinces, with the largest drop occurring in British Columbia, followed by Alberta. Both provinces reported large declines in non-residential and multi-family building intentions in November after posting increases the previous month. In British Columbia, the decrease in the non-residential sector was mostly due to lower construction intentions for institutional and commercial buildings, while in Alberta, reduced commercial and industrial building accounted for the decline.

Ontario recorded the most significant gain, attributable to higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, mainly apartment-condominium projects. An increase was also posted in Manitoba, where the value of permits was higher for multi-family dwellings and non-residential buildings.

CMA Construction Intentions

Construction intentions were down in 24 of the 34 census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The largest decrease occurred in Vancouver, followed by Edmonton and Calgary.

The drop in Vancouver was due to lower construction intentions for commercial and institutional buildings, as well as multi-family dwellings. The decrease in Edmonton came mainly from commercial buildings, multi-family dwellings and industrial buildings, while Calgary saw a drop in construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.

The largest gain was registered in Toronto, followed by Barrie and Winnipeg. The gains in all three CMAs were in large part the result of increases in building construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.

The value of building permits for the first 11 months of 2014 totaled $77.9 billion, up 4.8 per cent from the same period in 2013. The gain was fuelled by increases in both the non-residential (+6.1 per cent) and residential (+3.9 per cent) sectors.

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