Investment in non-residential building construction

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Fourth quarter 2010 (Previous release)

Investment in non-residential building construction totalled $10.5 billion in the fourth quarter, up 2.0% from the third quarter. It was the third consecutive quarterly increase and largely reflected higher spending on commercial building construction.

Spending on industrial component increased slightly, while investment in the institutional component edged down.

Investment increases in non-residential building construction

Overall, investment in non-residential building construction increased in eight provinces in the fourth quarter. The largest gain was in Ontario, where both institutional and commercial investment increased. Commercial investment was also up in seven other provinces.

The largest decline was in Alberta, where the main factor was a drop in institutional investment.

Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data expressed in current dollars, which ease comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations.

Investments in non-residential building construction exclude engineering construction. 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.

Locally, investment in non-residential building construction rose in 20 of 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increase occurred in Toronto, followed closely by Vancouver, both of which recorded significant increases in institutional and commercial investment.

The largest declines were in Calgary and Montréal, where spending fell in the institutional and commercial components in both cities.

Commercial component

Investors spent $6.1 billon on commercial projects, a 3.6% increase from the third quarter and the fourth consecutive quarterly gain. In the eight provinces posting advances, increases were spread among several commercial construction categories.

The largest increase was in Ontario, where investment in the commercial component rose 4.6% to $2.5 billion, the result of higher spending on office buildings and laboratory research centres. Investment in several commercial component categories also increased in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Manitoba recorded a decline in the fourth quarter, led by lower spending on construction of office buildings. Quebec investment in the commercial component remained little changed from the previous quarter.

Industrial component

Investment in industrial projects totalled $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, edging up 0.4% from the previous quarter and 9.4% higher than the same quarter of 2009.

The increase in the fourth quarter was attributable to higher investment in the construction of utility buildings and manufacturing facilities in seven provinces.

Provincially, the most substantial contributions to the quarterly increase were in Ontario and Manitoba. In Ontario, investment rose 1.8% to $455 million, led by increased investment in the construction of utility buildings. Investment in Manitoba rose 24.1% to $30 million and was spread over all industrial categories.

Decreases occurred in maintenance buildings in Nova Scotia and in manufacturing facilities in Saskatchewan.

Institutional component

Spending in the institutional component totalled $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter, a 0.3% decline from the previous quarter and 2.8% lower than the fourth quarter of 2009. It was the fourth consecutive quarterly decline nationally.

Higher investment in educational institutions, libraries and religious buildings in several provinces was more than offset by lower spending on health care facilities in eight provinces.

The largest declines were in Alberta and Quebec, which both saw lower investment in health care facilities. In Alberta, spending on education and government buildings also fell.

The largest increase was in Ontario, especially on education buildings. In New Brunswick, investment increased on health care facilities.

Commercial, institutional and industrial components

Available on CANSIM: table 026-0016.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 5014.

More detailed data on investment in non-residential building construction are also available in free tables online from the Key resource module of our website under Summary tables.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, Don Overton (613-951-1239; bdp_information@statcan.gc.ca), Investment and Capital Stock Division.