Capital Region’s construction industry to remain red-hot in 2016
With another great year on the horizon, insiders say the South Island’s construction industry is in the midst of a boom.
Dump trucks and cranes have been a common sight in Greater Victoria, and experts say they’re not going anywhere in the upcoming year.
“We’ve been in an upward trend through 2015 and we’re expecting that trend to continue through 2016,” said Greg Baynton of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.
Baynton said permit values in the region have grown between 15 to 20 per cent in the last year.
He said the swell of new builds is being fuelled by new residents moving to the Capital Region, retirees and low interest rates.
And it’s not just the South Island seeing construction starts pick up.
“The Capital Region is one of the strongest areas on the market along with Nanaimo, and the Comox Valley has been doing very well as well,” Baynton said.
Mark Warrior of the CSWU 1611 Labourers’ Union in Nanaimo said projects are exploding at a typically quiet time of year.
“I was looking at the trade papers for December and we seem to have about $50-million worth of work announced, and this is a slow time of the year,” he said.
Greater Victoria’s Chamber of Commerce says the benefits of new builds extends beyond the industry itself, spilling into the local economy.
“When people move into new homes they buy new lamps and new furniture, and that’s all good for retail, and that has a positive impact far beyond the actual construction itself,” said chamber CEO Bruce Carter.
The construction association says the surge could come at a cost – because it will exacerbate the labour shortage, which could drive up the price of construction.
But Baynton said the low price of oil and other commodities like copper are helping to mitigate any increases in costs.
Industry experts predict the boom won’t let up anytime soon, lasting until at least 2020.