Alberta building code changes drive spike in construction permits

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Building permit values in October were up 8.7 percent in October from the previous month, primarily due to builders in Alberta scrambling to pull permits prior to enforcement of new energy efficiency requirements Nov. 1, reports Statistics Canada.

In fact, the value of building permits in Alberta rose 40.4 percent to $1.8 billion in October. The gain stemmed from higher construction intentions for commercial buildings, single-family and multi-family dwellings and was largely attributable to the end of the transition period for the implementation of the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and the energy efficiency section – Section 9.36 –of the 2014 Alberta Building Code.

Nationwide, municipalities issued $7.6 billion worth of building permits in October. The value of residential permits increased 7.7 percent to $5.2 billion in October. This was the third consecutive monthly increase. Advances were posted in eight provinces, led, as noted, by Alberta and followed by British Columbia and Ontario. Single-family dwellings posted the largest gain, up 7.7 percent to $2.8 billion in October, mainly due to higher construction intentions in Alberta and Ontario.

In the multi-family dwelling component, $2.3 billion worth of permits were issued in October, up 7.7 percent from September. This was the highest value in this sector since October, 2015. Seven provinces reported gains, led by Alberta and British Columbia.

Municipalities approved the construction of 19,116 new dwellings in October, up 7.9 percent from the previous month. Single-family dwellings, up 11.8 percent to 6,819 new units, led the increase. Multi-family dwellings advanced 5.9 percent to 12,297 new units.

Non-residential up too

Construction intentions for non-residential buildings increased 10.7 percent to $2.5 billion in October, following a 21.4 percent drop in September. Gains were registered in eight provinces, led by Alberta.
The value of permits for commercial buildings rose 29.3 percent to $1.6 billion in October. Higher construction intentions for hotels, office buildings and retail complexes were mostly responsible. Seven provinces recorded gains, led by Alberta and distantly followed by Ontario.

In the industrial sector, the value of permits fell 3.5 percent to $348 million in October. This was the second consecutive monthly decline. The drop was largely the result of lower construction intentions for primary industry buildings.

The value of institutional building permits fell 17.5 percent to $527 million in October. Lower construction intentions for nursing homes and educational institutions accounted for the majority of the decrease.

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