Saskatoon construction trades report slump as Regina building permits decline

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Saskatchewan’s construction industry is facing tough times, after several years of booming conditions.

CBC reports that construction around the province is slowing down and local Saskatoon trade contractors are starting to feel the consequences.

“It’s getting scary,” said tiling business owner Sandy Sairally. “There’s a lot of people out of work [and] there’s a lot of people looking for work. This time of year, we shouldn’t be having trouble finding work.”

Sairally told CBC’s Saskatoon Morning that she started to see a change in pace in January 2015. Since then, her company’s workload has been slowing down more and more as time progresses.

“It’s been just OK but we’re expecting it to get worse,” Sairally said. “Our phones should be ringing off the wall [right now].”

Instead she told CBC she is spending time watching Kijiji for possible jobs. “It’s very, very tough for us right now,” she said. “We’ve had to take jobs for less money just because we needed the job.”

Saskatoon building permit data indicates a decline in non-residential builds by 61 per cent. There also are serious declines in residential construction. There were 2,025 home builds in 2012 but this dropped to 1,658 in 2013, 1,577 in 2014 and an even sharper decline to 1,000 in 2015.

Meanwhile, in Regina, building permit values totaled $34 million in April, a 31 per cent decrease from $49.4 million in April 2015, according to the City of Regina’s monthly building permit report.

The April permits bring the year to date total to $146 million, also a decline of 31 per cent from $210.7 million in the same period last year, the Regina Leader-Post has reported.

Non-residential building was down by more than half in April at $16.8 million, compared with $38 million in April 2015, and for the year to date at $77.4 million versus $145 million for the first four months of last year.

However, Regina housing construction bucked the trend, increasing 53 per cent to $147 million from $9.6 million during the same period last year. For the year to date, residential permits were slightly higher than the first four months of 2015, at $61 million over $58.2 million during same period last year.

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