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Investment in non-residential building construction, second quarter 2013

Released: 2013-07-17

Investment in non-residential building construction decreased 3.4% to $12.5 billion in the second quarter, following five consecutive quarters of growth. This decline was largely driven by lower investment in Quebec and, to a lesser extent, decreases in eight other provinces and territories.

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

Overall, investment in non-residential building construction decreased in eight provinces in the second quarter. The largest decline was in Quebec, where investment fell 10.1% to $2.2 billion, largely as a result of a strike by non-residential construction workers during the final two weeks of the quarter.

Investment was down in commercial, industrial and institutional components in Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Investment was up 1.2% in New Brunswick to $161 million.

Census metropolitan areas

Investment decreased in 23 of 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest declines were in Montréal, Edmonton and Toronto.

In Montréal and Edmonton, all three components declined, while in Toronto, investment fell in the commercial component.

Hamilton and Calgary posted the largest gains as a result of rising investment in all three components.

Commercial component

Commercial building construction investment was down in eight provinces in the second quarter, falling 3.2% from the previous quarter to $7.6 billion, following six consecutive quarters of growth. The decline was led by lower investment in retail and wholesale outlets in eight provinces.

In Quebec, commercial investment fell 9.5% to $1.3 billion, after 14 consecutive quarters of growth. Investment was down for most types of commercial buildings.

Among the other provinces, Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan posted the largest declines. In Alberta, commercial investment was down 1.9% to $1.7 billion, reflecting reduced investment in the construction of transportation facilities and retail and wholesale outlets. Investment in British Columbia was down 3.2% to $884 million, following five consecutive quarters of growth. In Saskatchewan, investment fell for the second consecutive quarter, declining 10.0% to $247 million. Lower spending in British Columbia and Saskatchewan was led by reduced investment in the construction of retail and wholesale outlets in both provinces.

The largest gain occurred in Manitoba, where investment rose 3.0% to $199 million, led by higher spending for storage facilities.

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

Institutional component

In the institutional component, investment declined for the ninth consecutive quarter, falling 3.8% to $3.2 billion. The decrease was led by lower spending on the construction of health facilities and government buildings.

Institutional investment fell in six provinces. The largest declines were in Quebec and Ontario. In Quebec, spending was down 12.1% to $604 million, reflecting declines in most institutional building categories. In Ontario, investment fell 3.3% to $1.5 billion, the sixth consecutive quarter of decline for the province. The decrease was led by lower spending in the construction of health facilities and government buildings.

The largest gains were in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. Investment rose 12.9% to $77 million in New Brunswick and 5.5% to $143 million in Saskatchewan. Advances were led by higher spending on the construction of educational facilities in both provinces. New Brunswick also posted a gain in investment for health care facilities.

Industrial component

Investment in industrial projects was down in eight provinces, declining 3.4% to $1.7 billion in the second quarter, following six consecutive quarters of growth. The decline was led by lower investment for buildings used in primary industries.

The biggest decline was in Quebec, where investment fell 8.4% to $342 million. Investment was down in all industrial building categories.

Investment in Newfoundland and Labrador fell 40.9% to $25 million, as large industrial projects in the province neared completion.

The largest increase occurred in Alberta, where investment rose 1.2% to $377 million, led by growth in spending for maintenance buildings.


  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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