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Investment in non-residential building construction, first quarter 2013

Released: 2013-04-18

Investment in non-residential building construction grew to $12.4 billion in the first quarter, up 1.0% from the previous quarter. Higher spending in the commercial and industrial components led to a fifth consecutive quarterly gain.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Investment in non-residential building construction  - Description and data table
Investment in non-residential building construction

Chart 1: Investment in non-residential building construction  - Description and data table

Investment rose in four provinces in the first quarter. The largest increase was in Quebec, followed by Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.

The gain in Quebec came from all three components, led by higher investment in the institutional component. Alberta investment increased in the institutional and commercial components, while industrial investment rose in British Columbia. There were increases in institutional and industrial components in Manitoba.

The largest declines in total investment were in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The Ontario decline was all in the institutional component. In Saskatchewan, investment fell in the commercial and industrial components.

Census metropolitan areas

Investment was up in 13 of 34 census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The largest increases were in Montréal, Hamilton and Vancouver.

In Montréal, increases occurred in all three components. In Hamilton, the increases were in commercial and industrial components, while in Vancouver the gains were in institutional and commercial investment.

The largest declines were in St. Catharines–Niagara and London. In both CMAs, investment was down in all three components, with the largest declines in the institutional component.

Commercial component

Commercial building construction investment was up in seven provinces, rising to $7.5 billion in the first quarter, up 1.2% from the previous quarter. It was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth and was led by higher spending on the construction of recreational buildings and retail and wholesale outlets.

The largest gains in commercial investment were in Ontario and Quebec. In Ontario, investment rose for a fifth consecutive quarter, to $2.7 billion, a 1.8% increase from the previous quarter. In Quebec, commercial investment was up 3.1% to $1.3 billion. It was the 13th consecutive quarter of increasing commercial investment in Quebec. In both provinces, most of the gain came from greater investment in retail and wholesale outlets and recreational buildings.

Commercial investment was down 7.0% in Saskatchewan, to $271 million, led by lower spending on the construction of office and recreational buildings.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Commercial, institutional and industrial components  - Description and data table
Commercial, institutional and industrial components

Chart 2: Commercial, institutional and industrial components  - Description and data table

Industrial component

Investment in industrial projects increased for a sixth consecutive quarter to $1.7 billion, up 2.5%. Growth in this component came from the construction of manufacturing plants and maintenance buildings.

Provincially, the largest gains were in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario.

In Quebec, investment rose 12.3% to $363 million. In British Columbia, a 14.5% increase brought investment to $198 million, while in Ontario, a total industrial investment of $609 million represented a 2.9% increase. Most of the increase in this component was attributable to higher spending on the construction of manufacturing plants in all three provinces.

The largest decline was in Newfoundland and Labrador. Investment was down 24.1% to $41 million, as some major projects neared completion.

Institutional component

Investment in institutional projects continued its downward trend for the ninth consecutive quarter, falling 0.3% to $3.2 billion in the first quarter. The largest part of the decline was attributable to lower spending on the construction of educational buildings.

Investment was down in four provinces, with the largest decline in Ontario, down 7.1% to $1.5 billion. Most of the decline in Ontario occurred in spending for health care facilities and educational buildings.

The largest increases were in Quebec and Alberta. In Quebec, investment rose 10.7% to $653 million, with most of the increase attributable to larger spending on health care facilities.

Investment increased 10.8% in Alberta, to $328 million, with the increase mostly attributable to higher spending on educational buildings and health care facilities.


  Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data expressed in current dollars, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

Investments in non-residential building construction exclude engineering construction (such as for highways, sewers, bridges and oil and gas pipelines). This series is based on the Building Permits Survey of municipalities, which collects information on construction intentions.

Work put-in-place patterns are assigned to each type of structure (industrial, commercial and institutional). These work patterns are used to distribute the value of building permits according to project length. Work put-in-place patterns differ according to the value of the construction project; a project worth several million dollars will usually take longer to complete than will a project of a few hundred thousand dollars.

Additional data from the Capital and Repair Expenditures Survey are used to create this investment series. Investments in non-residential building data are benchmarked to Statistics Canada's System of National Accounts of non-residential building investment series.

For the purpose of this release, the census metropolitan area of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario/Quebec) is divided into two areas: the Ottawa part and the Gatineau part.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Don Overton (613-951-1239), Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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