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B.C.’s construction industry flourishing

According to the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-British Columbia (ACEC-BC), the construction industry in Canada's western-most province is flourishing.


According to the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-British Columbia (ACEC-BC), the construction industry in Canada’s western-most province is flourishing.

On January 13, the association issued the BC MPI Review, a quarterly report that provides analysis on the Province of British Columbia’s Major Projects Inventory.

The Major Projects Inventory showed that total capital costs — representing the combined value of construction projects that are proposed, started, completed and on hold — in the third quarter of 2013 was up 1.6 per cent over the previous quarter, and 31.1 per cent higher than one year earlier. The inventory showed a record $304.9 billion in total capital costs for the third quarter of 2013. Furthermore, the projects reflected a diverse range of sectors.

Keith Sashaw, president and chief executive officer of ACEC-BC, said: “We are particularly interested in the diversity of projects in our province that are highlighted in the Major Projects Inventory this quarter. While LNG, mining and pipeline projects continue to grab the headlines, it is important to note the significant contribution of projects outside of this realm.”

As examples of the diversity of work, Sashaw pointed to substantial projects in the residential and commercial sector, for example the Monaco Mixed-Use Development project in Peachland valued at $1 billion; the forestry sector’s Babine Sawmill Replacement project valued at $100 million, the recreation sector’s Jumbo Glacier Resort project valued at $900 million, the shipping/transport Fairview Container Terminal Expansion project valued at $650 million, and the green energy sector’s Sooke Wind Project valued at $750 million.

“This capital spending mix across all economic sectors clearly demonstrates investor confidence is not based on one industry, but on comfort with the province as a whole,” said Sashaw.

Following are highlights of the project total capital costs for the third quarter vs. the second quarter of 2013 analyzed by industry:

Residential and mixed-use sector: 1.2% increase to $50.9 billion

Commercial sector: 6.0% increase to $9 billion

Pipelines, transportation, warehousing sector: 3.6% increase to $54.1 billion

Mining and oil and gas extraction sector: 0.7% increase to $81.5 billion

Utilities sector: 2% increase to $48.8 billion

Manufacturing sector: 0.9% increase to $28.8 billion

Public services sector: 0.3% increase to $7.6 billion

Other services sector: 0.3% increase to $23.4 billion

The North Coast region had the highest total for proposed projects at $99.8 billion, with liquid natural gas (LNG), mining, and pipeline projects representing the majority. In contrast, the Lower Mainland-Southwest region retained the top spot for most projects under construction in the third quarter at $40 billion, with residential and mixed-use projects the largest type of project under construction in the region.

The future also looks rosy. The ACEC-BC report said: “The outlook for major project activity and investment in B.C. remains optimistic with improving global economic growth expected in 2014 and beyond. Stronger commodity markets will result in more resource development projects proceeding in the next three to five years. In addition, the domestic economy will be lifted by increased export and investment activity and will require additional residential, commercial, and public investment projects.”