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May 30, 2019

A strong first quarter for Vancouver Island construction



Victoria, BC (May 30, 2019) – Building permits across Vancouver Island climbed 26 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 over the previous quarter totaling $610 million. Total permits rose five per cent compared to the first quarter of 2018.

The first quarters’ gain was broadly based across all building categories, led by industrial and government permits. Building permits were higher in most regional districts and large gains over the prior quarter occurred in the Nanaimo and Strathcona Regional Districts.

“Leading the way were non-residential permits, which surged 90 per cent on a near quadrupling in industrial permits and a 169 per cent jump in institutional-government permits,” said Rory Kulmala, CEO, Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA). “Commercial permits also increased 34 per cent over the fourth quarter of last year, making this a terrific start to the year.”

Residential permits in the first quarter increased 11 per cent over the previous quarter.

Total investment spending on non-residential building construction in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) slipped three per cent in the quarter, while non-residential building construction cost increases eased slightly to 5.5 per cent year-over-year in the quarter.

“With this level of activity, construction industry employment on Vancouver Island remained at a high level in the first quarter of 2019 and we expect the Island’s construction industry will remain very active in 2019, particularly in the non-residential sectors,” said Kulmala.

VICA expects residential construction will begin to slow in response to the downshift in housing sales during the past year as a result of government policy such as the federal B-20 rule. As a result, total building permits in 2019 will likely ease modestly from 2018’s record high.


The Vancouver Island Construction Association is a member-based, industry led association that serves the institutional, commercial, industrial, civil, and multi-family residential construction sectors on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and other coastal areas of British Columbia.


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