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6,000 jobs created as building permit values hit $1 billion

August 30 2012

“After keeping taxes low, and maintaining permit processing times despite higher volumes, this is further evidence that Vancouver’s economic action strategy is working to create highly skilled and high-paying new jobs.” - Mayor Gregor Robertson

Two men discussing building plans

Over 6,000 construction and related spin-off jobs were created in Vancouver’s housing and commercial/industrial sector as building permit values reached $1.1 billion during the first half of 2012. This figure is a 39% increase over the same period last year, and 16% higher than pre-recession levels in 2008.

“It is fantastic to see such a remarkable rebound in Vancouver construction activity, with over 6,000 jobs created in the first half of this year alone, and building permit values now exceeding pre-recession levels,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “After keeping taxes low, and maintaining permit processing times despite higher volumes, this is further evidence that Vancouver’s economic action strategy is working to create highly skilled and high-paying new jobs.”

The following building permit values are for the first 6 months of each year; numbers in brackets are annual figures:

  • 2012: $1.1 billion
  • 2011: $768.7 million ($1.7 billion)
  • 2010: $653.0 million ($1.5 billion)
  • 2009: $373.9 million ($1.3 billion)
  • 2008: $924.9 million ($1.6 billion)

Key developments that contributed to the 2012 increase include 999 Seymour, a 22-storey residential building with a construction value of $24.2 million; MNP Tower at 1021 W Hastings St, a 36-storey office tower with a construction value of $75 million; the Vancouver Hilton at 177 Robson, with a construction value of $32.8 million; and Granville Safeway, consisting of two residential towers and retail space, and a construction value of $35 million.

Commercial and industrial construction in the first 6 months of 2012 showed a major rebound in a year-to-year comparison with the same period in 2011. As of 30 June, just over one million square feet of non-residential floor space was approved through building permits. During the same period last year, approximately 160,000 square feet was permitted. The chart below shows non-residential square footage figures from 2008 to 2012.

Total non-residential floor space approved at building permit issuance (2008 to 2012 year to date)

 Period

Sq.Ft. 

 First Half 2008 

641,807

 Second Half 2008 

290,444

 2008

932,251

 First Half 2009 

94,155

 Second Half 2009

604,075

  2009

698,230

 First Half 2010

97,136

 Second Half 2010

405,169

  2010

502,305

 First Half 2011 

162,436

 Second Half 2011 

1,129,229

 2011

1,291,665

 First Half 2012

1,034,935

 2012 YTD

1,034,935

 TOTAL (2008- 2012) 

4,459,386


Source: City of Vancouver DCL Tracking System
Notes: Includes all permits issued for new construction and renovations in commercial (office, retail, hotel, institutional) and industrial buildings.Excludes development in areas where DCLs are not collected (e.g. False Creek North ODP, Bayshore CD-1, Coal Harbour ODP)
                                                                                                
During 2012, staff streamlined permits and licensing processes. Processing time for single family home construction permits has been reduced from 15 to 18 weeks to 6 to 8 weeks. Work is underway to reduce the number of business licence categories from 640 to approximately 100.
                                                                                                          
Actions taken by City Council and the Vancouver Economic Commission, the City’s economic development agency, to strengthen Vancouver’s economy include:

  • Approving a new Economic Action Strategy in September 2011, the first in over two decades;
  • Enabling the creation of 1,705 new jobs and development of 986 new market rental housing units through the Short-Term Incentives for Rental program, and;
  • Undertaking business development missions with Vancouver companies to Stuttgart, London, San Francisco, Guangzhou and Shanghai to promote local businesses abroad.

Media contact:
Corporate Communications
604-871-6336
media@vancouver.ca