Atlantic Canada construction news briefs

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CADCR/ACN staff writer

Memorial University medicine faculty expansion building nears completion

Work is nearing completion on an six-storey building expansion to Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine, including a new genetic research centre.

The project, funded by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada Foundation for Innovation, will allow the medical school to increase enrolment form 64 to more than 80 students.

The Craig L. Dobbin Genetics Research Centre will occupy the top two floors of the building, focusing on identifying genes associated with inherited disease.

Newfoundland-based Olympic Construction Ltd., which has worked on other Memorial University projects, is the general contractor.

New Brunswick road builders show benefits of $50 million investment

            The New Brunswick Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association has released a Grant Thornton report that point outs the benefits of the province spending another $50 million on roads.

The report found that $50 million would generate 585 new full-time jobs, increase the province’s GDP by $36 million, increase salaries and generate $9.5 million in tax revenues, according to the Telegraph Journal.

WorkSafe NB reduces assessment rates by 16 per cent

WorkSafe New Brunswick said that most of the employers in the province will receive a reduced bill for their assessment rates in 2014.

The average assessment rate will be reduced by 23¢ from $1.44 in 2013 to $1.21 in 2014 per $100 of payroll. The rates, effective Jan. 1, 2014, represent a 16% reduction—the lowest in Atlantic Canada.

“Our fully-funded position and decreasing claim costs were the major factors in our decision to decrease the average assessment rate for 2014,” said Sharon Tucker.

The WorkSafe board of director’s chair said the rate decrease will see premiums for about 13,600 employer operations drop or remain stable.

A continued decline in accident frequency helped secure WorkSafe NB’s fully funded 126.7% position. The provincial accident frequency rate has continually declined over the past few years.

The rate has dropped from 3.52 per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) in 2006 to 2.99 in 2012.

Atlantic Developments to build 56-unit condo in Halifax

Atlantic Developments Inc. plans to build a four-storey, 56-unit condominium at the corner of Harris and Maynard streets in Halifax, reports The Chronicle Herald.

The building is designed by Michael Napier Architecture. It will feature indoor and outdoor amenity space, including a rooftop terrace, to go along with a mix of bachelor, one- and two-bedroom units.

Construction will begin early next year, with the project is expected to be completed in 15 months.

Montague CAO says towns require resources to examine construction plans

Andrew Daggett, chief administrative officer (CAO) of Town of Montague in Prince Edward Island, said small communities needs the necessary resources to ensure construction projects are following all the rules, reports The Guardian.

According to Daggett, the town does not have the expertise on staff to verify that every rule is being followed and it is not something unique to his town.

Daggett was responding to questions about a recent court case that saw Kevan MacLean, who runs Southern Kings Construction, plead guilty in September to a violation of the Architects Act.

The act required the use of an architect in the design of the Riverhouse Inn he was building in Montague and MacLean was ordered to pay a $2,575 fine.

Daggett said that unlike some of the other municipalities there is not a lot of development going on in Montague.“There isn’t enough work to keep somebody on staff,” he said.

Southern Kings Construction has been in operation for about 25 years and has worked on several large projects, including the Montague Sobeys, the Wyman’s blueberry plant in West St. Peters and the UPEI School of Nursing.

Offshore oil, construction projects triggersSt. John’s economic boom

The Canadian Press reports that offshore oil and major construction projects have sparked an economic boom in St. John’s and other parts of Newfoundland and Labrador that has never been seen here before.

Housing prices have soared, wages are up, unemployment is down and restaurants and bars are among the country’s busiest. Once considered a fiscal basket case, the province leads economic growth forecasts this year as investors flock to the Rock.

“It has a lot to do with the oil boom, which is continuing,” said Al Stacey, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Realtors.

Houses valued five years ago at about $150,000 are selling for almost twice as much, while the typical price for a three-bedroom bungalow is now in the neighbourhood of $329,000 or higher, Stacey said.

In prime ocean-front enclaves just outside St. John’s, such as Conception Bay South, custom homes starting at $700,000 are the new normal, he added.

Newfoundland and Labrador homebuilders face labor shortage challenge

The St. John’s Board of Trade chairman Denis Mahoney said the biggest obstacle to sustained growth in Newfoundland and Labrador is a lack of available labour, reports The Telegram.

Speaking to the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Home Builders Association in the fall, Mahoney said the province is facing one of the most significant demographic challenges in the country.

Mahoney said the Board of Trade has been lobbying the provincial and federal governments to raise immigration targets and reduce red tape.

“We desperately need to grow our population in this province if we plan on still having families that are going to live in these new homes in the coming years,” he said. Having said all that, Mahoney said he believes it’s an exciting time to live, work and invest in the province.

Victoria Belbin, the homebuilders’ association CEO, said Mahoney’s message resonated as its members need people to build and buy their homes.

 

 

 

 

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