Construction industry hits deep slump

Conditions aren't expected to increase over next few months

Vancouver Island’s construction industry has gone into a deep slump, says the CEO of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.

Greg Baynton said the number of large projects now being bid upon by construction companies has dropped “180 degrees” in the past couple of months — from 50 industrial, institutional, and multi-family housing projects every week to “less than 20 now” and well off the normal average of 35 projects weekly.

And he doesn’t expect conditions to change for at least a couple of months, if not longer.

“We’re operating at about half of normal,” Baynton said of projects that range in value from $200,000 to $100 million and higher.

The sudden slowdown also affects other industries such as the building suppliers and trucking companies, he said.

After a busy spring and summer, Baynton said the downturn comes as a shock to his 550-member companies which account for about 90 per cent of the Island’s construction and employs between 7,500 and 15,000 workers.

Baynton said uncertain international economic conditions, especially in the Europe, are having a significant negative impact on investors and the construction industry confidence expectations, causing them to cut back plans and layoff workers in the expectation of a possible global recession.

However, he said B.C. is perfectly placed to avoid most of the downside and reap huge benefits if economic conditions remain calm or expand.

“There’s lots of light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, urging contractors to show courage and confidence “despite the instabiliiy” and plan for a healthy future rather than retreat.

His optimism is the reason the construction association sponsored the Island Outlook 2012: Economic and Labour Forecast at the Union Club on Tuesday featuring two speakers who see nothing but hope for the Island construction and resource industries.

Economic forecaster specializing in the construction industry Mark Casaletto, vice president of Reed Construction Data, said the future isn’t all doom and gloom.

“There’s a lot of noise about economic changes but B.C.’s construction industry should be excited,” ;he said citing a Price Waterhouse Cooper study that predicts Canada, especially Western Canada, will become a world leader in construction in less than 10 years — moving from 10th in the world to fourth, behind the U.S., China and India.

However, most of the construction won’t be happening in downtown Vancouver or Victoria and much of it take place in suburban and rural areas, he said.

There will be less office and retail construction more building of towns and infrastructure in remote areas, said Casaletto, warning “developers and contractors have to realize we’re no in a typical construction cycle and understand the dynamic shifts of the economy.”

His views were echoed by Ryan Berlin, an Urban Futures Institute director, who waved a labour forecast crystal ball that said the future points to labour force tensions as baby boomers retire in large numbers.

This means the construction industry has to increase efforts to train new workers, capture new immigrant workers and retain older workers,” he said.

 

Baynton agreed with the assessment of both men, adding: “We can’t ignore the impact of rapid change in our industry and contractors, engineers, architects, suppliers and developers need this information to not only survive, but thrive.”

 

 

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read