Building permits up

More buildings are going up in the RDMW, trending across Vancouver Island.

There are more buildings going up in the Regional District of Mount Waddington – a trend across Vancouver Island.

So far this year, Vancouver Island building permits reached their highest overall level since 2008, as surging residential building permits pushed totals to $412.3 million in the second quarter.

In the RDMW, dwelling construction is up 250 per cent, compared to the same period in 2015, says Jeff Long, manager of Planning and Development Services.

Long explained the RDMW uses two different types of permits “that will generally indicate the state of affairs insofar as new construction is concerned.”

These include building permits and site permits. Long explained that building permits, which seek to implement BC Building Code requirements, only apply to Coal Harbour; while site permits, which are designed to ensure that construction conforms to zoning regulations, apply to Hyde Creek, Malcolm Island and Woss.

“In addition, we have incidents whereby people undertake construction without obtaining the required permits,” he said. “This means that the scope of building activity that is regulated/monitored is limited insofar as the Regional District as a whole.”

Long noted that the sharp increase in building and site permits for residential construction during the first eight months of 2016, in comparison to 2015, is a very positive indication of a stronger economy for the rural areas of the Regional District.

“Overall, the issuance of permits for all purposes, including such things as residential additions and renovations, is up significantly over the last two years, which is definitely a sign of a healthier local economy,” Long said.

In terms of the island as a whole, year-to-date, permits were up 73 per cent over the first half of 2015 according to the Vancouver Island Construction Association’s Construction Report.

The upward momentum in construction on the island as a whole, has resulted in increases in building permits, non-residential building construction investment, and construction employment.

“The construction industry is a leading contributor to economic growth,” said VICA CEO Greg Baynton. “After a few years of lacklustre growth, we’re finally seeing gains in all major regions on Vancouver Island and we are projecting more growth for the remainder of this year and next,” Baynton said.

The Island’s building boom is fuelling job growth as the construction industry continues its post-recession climb. Construction employed 34,200 persons, an increase of 9.6 per cent the previous quarter. While employment in Victoria declined 9.9 per cent, it rose 22 per cent on the rest of the Island.

“There’s appears to be no slowdown on the horizon,” said Baynton. “It’s a promising outlook for the construction sector on Vancouver Island based on our increasing population growth, low interest rates and low Canadian dollar.”

The Vancouver Island Construction Association is a member-based, industry-lead association serving the commercial, institutional and multifamily residential construction sectors on Vancouver Island. With a base in both Victoria and Nanaimo, they connect industry with skilled labour, education and networking opportunities to grow business.