Throughout the past few years there has been a whirlwind of growth in the non-residential sector with large projects such as LR Wilson Hall at McMaster University in Hamilton and the Outlet Collection and Meridian Centre in the Niagara Region. As a result of their completion, non-residential permits in Niagara and Hamilton were down 40% in 2014. The two regions aren’t the only part of the country recording declines, other parts of Ontario, Alberta and Quebec also experienced a decrease in 2014.
Hamilton’s Economic Development Indicator recorded building permits in the commercial sector at $123,451,745 in Q4 of 2013 and showed a decreased amount at $95,619,546 in Q4 of 2014. A similar decrease was evident in the industrial sector. In Q4 of 2013, Hamilton’s industrial building permits were $36,245,510, while in Q4 of 2014 they had fallen to $13,056,778.
Small-scale construction projects are behind the decrease in building permits in both sectors. Hamilton should experience less of a decline in 2015 with the construction of the McMaster Children’s Health Centre set to start in May and the renovations of public schools across the city planned for the summer.
The development of the Outlet Collection at Niagara drove the growth of non-residential permits throughout 2013 but with the mall complete and no major projects on deck for 2014-2015, there has been a significant drop in building permits recorded. A pickup in non-resident permits is expected in late 2015 or early 2016 dependent on the start of the build of the Shickluna Hydro Generation Plant. The City of St. Catharines was given the go-ahead to build the plant by the Ontario Power Authority. Construction will start in November of 2015 and should be complete by 2017.
In both the Niagara Region and the Hamilton area, the decline of non-residential permits is due to the lack of major projects, however smaller-scale projects will continue to drive the sector. We can expect this trend to continue in both regions as no major projects are planned for the area until early 2016’s Shickluna Hydro Generation Planet.