On-Site Magazine

Non-residential building construction continues to post gains

By Adam Freill   

Commercial Construction Industrial Institutional Residential

Overall investment in building construction dips as residential decline more than offsets gains in Canada’s ICI construction segments.

Investment in non-residential building construction, March 2023. (Source: Statistics Canada, Table 34-10-0175-01–Investment in Building Construction.)

Growth in the non-residential building construction sector was not enough to offset residential declines, resulting in an overall drop of 1.3 per cent in building construction investment in March, reports Statistics Canada. The cumulative total for the month came in at to $20.3 billion.

By sector, residential construction investments fell 2.1 per cent to $14.6 billion, while non-residential went up by almost a full per cent, to $5.7 billion.

Although all segments of the non-residential sector were positive, gains were heavily driven by industrial construction investment. That segment increased for a 16th consecutive month, rising 3.4 per cent to $1.2 billion. Overall, eight provinces posted gains, led by Ontario, which was up five per cent, or $27.4 million.

Projects like the expansion at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake, B.C., contributed to growth in the institutional construction segment. That segment bumped forward by 0.7 per cent, to $1.4 billion in March.


And commercial construction investment nudged slightly forward as well, edging up 0.1 per cent to $3.1 billion. The construction of a new recreational centre in Spruce Grove, Alta., contributed to the monthly growth that was recorded.

Both single-family and multi-unit construction investments contributed to the overall decline in the residential sector. The single-family homes segment was down 1.8 per cent to $7.9 billion. Seven provinces posted declines, although Nova Scotia provided a bright spot, gaining 14 per cent – a rise of $40.4 million.

Multi-unit construction fell 2.4 per cent to $6.7 billion in March. A 4.7 per cent drop in Ontario had the largest influence in the segment, and more than offset notable gains in Quebec, which was up 4.8 per cent, and Saskatchewan, which posted a 29 per cent gain.

The total value of investment in building construction was relatively unchanged at $61.1 billion in the first quarter of 2023. All of the declines in the first quarter were in the residential sector, which fell 0.9 per cent to $44.2 billion. Losses were mainly pinned on the multi-unit segment. The non-residential sector rose by 2.3 per cent, to $16.9 billion, compared to Q4 of 2022.

The industrial component, which contributed the most to the non-residential sector, was up 5.9 per cent to $3.4 billion in the first quarter, its eighth consecutive quarterly growth. Investments in the commercial component increased 0.8 per cent to $9.3 billion, while institutional construction investment rose 2.7 per cent to $4.3 billion.




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