Saturday April 19, 2014

Construction numbers: Housing up, commercial remains down

Kundan Bubbar

Lagging commercial construction continues to drag down the City’s building numbers for 2013.

November’s figures show residential construction has been keeping pace with those from last year. The year-to-date residential construction value is better than it was at this time last year, totaling $88 million compared with $74 million at the end of November 2012.

But commercial and institutional construction are almost $30 million behind last year and are expected to fall even lower by year’s end.

City chief building inspector Kundan Bubbar said Friday the total for commercial/institutional at the end of November was $51 million. For the same period in 2012, it was at $83 million.

But in December 2012, Telus took out a $30-million permit that gave commercial a last-minute boost. It isn’t expected this year.

Telus wasn’t the only project pumping up the commercial/institutional construction value figures last year. Thompson Rivers University’s old main building transformation was also a big-budget project.

On the other hand, it’s a good sign to see residential construction values up this year, he said.

The total number of single-family homes at the end of November was at 121, compared with 120 at the end of November 2012. The total number of units this year so far is 496, compared with 340 last year, indicating a big boost from multi-family housing projects.

With the end of the year looming, Bubbar wasn’t expecting any major surges in either figure. If there aren’t any surprises, the year-end construction value total will likely be in the $150-million range — about what the City’s development and engineering department was predicting, but below the $202.6 million of 2012.

There are a couple of big projects expected in the new year, including $4 million for Molycop’s expansion and the new Culos building on McGill.

Bubbar said the rest of the province is seeing a construction slowdown, so all things considered, Kamloops is faring well.

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