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Construction

VALUE OF BUILDING PERMITS


      TOTAL VALUE OF BUILDING PERMITS, ANNUAL SUM, 
        SEASONALLY ADJUSTED (000s)
        Source: Statistics Canada

ECONOMY_GRAPH10-01

 
          TOTAL INVESTMENT IN NON-RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION, 
          ANNUAL SUM, SEASONALLY ADJUSTED (000s)
          Source: Statistics Canad

Last year was the strongest in recent memory for both residential and non-residential permits, with over $900 million in permits issued. Year-over-year growth in non-residential permits (40%) outpaced residential growth (3%), although residential grew for the fourth straight year.  In all, since 2000, over $8.2 billion in permits have been issued – earning Halifax fourth place among benchmark cities. 

The value of non-residential construction activity slipped slightly in 2012 from $385 million to $382 million, a decrease of 0.8%. This decrease significantly outpaced national losses of -28% from 2011 to 2012 as slow economic growth held back many projects across the country. Among its benchmark cities, Halifax’s losses were the lowest among the cities.

CAPITAL INVESTMENT

Looking deeper at non-residential construction, nationally government construction spending (boosted for several years by federal government investment) ground to a halt, losing 42% year-over-year and returning to levels not seen since 2001. Halifax, however, was the only city to see its government and institutional construction total rise in 2012 due in part to major capital investments by Dalhousie University and the Halifax Regional Municipality’s Central Library.   Among industrial and commercial sectors, 2012 saw a dip of 5% from 2011 levels of construction – well above national levels of -22% and second among benchmark cities (only St. John’s saw growth in this area).

Further, projects like the Nova Centre, construction at the Halifax Shipyard, and numerous commercial building expansions indicate that 2013 will be another strong year for non-residential construction. This economic activity creates significant spin-off.  Local contractors and suppliers boost employment, and the employees of these firms create impacts in other sectors through spending in retail sectors.

BUILDING PERMIT PROCESSING TIMES

2012 development timelines, with the exception of Downtown Halifax Site Plan Approvals, did not hit service standards, and several timelines were longer than in 2011. This is a concerning trend as development activity (particularly urban and suburban projects which are more complex) has increased. Ensuring projects are met with efficient and updated processes and policies would be a major step towards ensuring a better business climate. 

Construction is a by-product of confident investors eager to take advantage of improving economic conditions. Increasing construction activity is a sign that economic growth is expected by many in Halifax.

CONSTRUCTION

 Source: HRM Planning Services