2016 a Record Year for Vancouver Island’s Construction Industry

Building permits up 28% and VICA projects activity will continue to expand in 2017

March 2, 2017 (Victoria, BC) Residential and non-residential sectors continued their upward trajectory throughout 2016, with activity increasing in all sectors and areas.   

Island-wide regional districts issued $1.85 billion worth of building permits in 2016, an increase of 28% compared to 2015. Residential building permits jumped 31% to $1.4 billion while non-residential permits rose 19% to $437.9 million.

In contrast, building permits in the fourth quarter of 2016 totaled $373.2 million, down 34% from the third quarter of 2016. All building types declined in most regional districts due to the seasonal influence.

"Vancouver Island's construction sector and communities benefited from the level of investment in 2016 in response to more demand for buildings and infrastructure from a growing economy and population base," said VICA CEO Rory Kulmala.

In the fourth quarter, metropolitan Victoria saw 16,000 persons working in the construction sector, an 11.9% increase compared to the third quarter. In contrast, construction industry employment declined 6.8% to 35,900 across the Island, compared to the 38,500 employees in the third quarter of 2016.

Total investment spending on non-residential building construction in Metropolitan Victoria increased in the fourth quarter and closed out 2016 up 25%. Non-residential building costs accelerated in the fourth quarter resulting in the highest annual increase since 2008.

"Last year's boom in construction and employment is a clear indication that Vancouver Island is poised for continued growth and business,” Kulmala said. “We expect building permits to increase about 20% in 2017 with construction employment up another 3% or more due to economic and population growth.”


  • Capital Regional District: total permits increased 33% to nearly $1.05 billion and non-residential permits increased 44%.​
  • West Shore Communities: total permits in 2016 increased 41% to $325 million driven by government-institutional activity. 
  • Cowichan Valley Regional District: total permits in 2016 increased by 14% to $132 million.
  • Nanaimo Regional District: total permits increased by 18% for a total value of $384 million driven by a 26% increase in residential permit values.
  • Alberni-Clayoquot: posted the largest regional gain with building permits increasing 86% for a total value of $42 million.
  • Strathcona Regional District: posted the second largest gain with building permits increasing 83% to $79 million.
  • Comox Valley Regional District: posted a 32% gain in residential permits and reduction in non-residential investment year over year for a net 11% overall gain.

Full regional data and graphs can be found here.

For more information, please contact:

Rory Kulmala, Chief Executive Officer
Vancouver Island Construction Association
rory.kulmala@vicabc.ca | www.vicabc.ca

VICA has served the construction community since 1912. With offices in Victoria and Nanaimo, we provide support and services to contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, and the purchasers of construction services throughout Vancouver Island.

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