P.E.I. construction industry expecting ‘another tremendous year’ in 2021

After motoring through the pandemic in 2020 there are strong signs the P.E.I. construction industry is looking ahead to another good year.

“We’re very fortunate here in P.E.I. to have such a vibrant construction sector,” said Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of P.E.I.

“We were lucky to maintain and actually grow in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic.”

Sanderson credited the relatively mild impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for the industry’s ability to continue working at such a high pace.

There are more big projects on the way, says Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of P.E.I. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Investment in building construction, year over year from January to November as measured by Statistics Canada, was virtually flat in 2020. But that followed phenomenal growth in 2019, a 57 per cent increase in residential construction investment and 30 per cent in non-residential construction.

While overall investment was flat, the focus shifted from residential to non-residential development, with a five per cent decline in residential investment and 20 per cent increase in non-residential.

After a surge in residential development, said Sanderson, a corresponding surge in non-residential development is to be expected.

“As housing markets grow so does infrastructure. One’s got to work hand in hand. We need more hospitals and we need more roadways,” he said.

The value of building permits issued, a sign of what is coming down the pipeline in construction, collapsed in the spring, but surged back in the fall.

As of November, the value of issued building permits was up 10 per cent for the year.

In September, building permit values crushed a monthly record with $98,991,000 worth of permits, 45 per cent higher than the previous record set in May 2019.

“2021 is looking like another tremendous year ahead in construction,” said Sanderson.

“Demand continues to increase on the residential side along with the commercial side as well. We’re preparing for a 2023 Canada Games, there’s some projects out for that. We’re looking at upgrades to some of our schools and potentially new schools in the near future.”

Sanderson said the growth in building permits is a sign of confidence in the continued growth of the P.E.I. population and economy.

More from CBC P.E.I.

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