B.C.'s Construction Outlook Very Positive - BTY Group



    Province will avoid the doom and gloom of U.S. economy

    
    -   Construction cost increases in B.C. to moderate through 2011,
        resulting in more predictable housing prices for consumers
    -   After reaching 10% in 2007, construction costs forecast to rise by 7%
        in 2008; 6% in 2009; 5% in 2010; and 3% in 2011
    -   Non-residential construction and housing starts to remain strong
    -   Despite challenges in forestry, B.C.'s economy is robust thanks to
        mining, oil and gas, and strong population growth
    

    VANCOUVER, March 7 /CNW/ - A new report released today by BTY Group shows
that British Columbia's construction outlook for 2008 is very positive. BTY
Group forecasts that greater price stability in the provincial construction
market will help maintain a healthy level of investment in both the public and
private sectors of the industry.
    "Although several major infrastructure projects are about to end and
forestry is struggling, B.C.'s construction sector continues to be vibrant,"
said Joe Rekab, Managing Partner of BTY Group. "Non-residential building
construction should stay strong through 2009, while housing starts will be
above the 10-year average."
    While construction costs continue to be at record high levels, the
escalation rates in B.C. are stabilizing. BTY Group forecasts the following
escalation rates through 2011:

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Construction Cost Escalation - Selected Provinces
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                B.C.       Alberta  Saskatchewan       Ontario        Quebec
    2008           7%           18%           13%            7%            4%
    2009           6%           15%           10%            6%            4%
    2010           5%           10%            8%            4%            5%
    2011           3%            7%            6%            4%            5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    "Better cost certainty in the construction sector is good news for
everyone," said Philip Hochstein, President of the Independent Contractors and
Businesses Association (ICBA). "With moderating cost increases, we won't have
the price shocks that have characterized the construction sector in recent
years. This allows us to provide our clients with solid cost estimates they
can rely on. It means less risk for construction clients and more predictable
prices for consumers."
    According to BTY Group, construction cost escalation is affected by a
myriad of factors, including population growth, labour supply, the Canadian
dollar value, the prime lending rate, and high oil prices.
    "When looking across the country, B.C.'s cost escalation is forecast to
be much more stable than the neighbouring provinces of Alberta and
Saskatchewan," said Rekab.
    According to BTY Group, the positive outlook for the construction sector
is due to a provincial economy that has been able to weather the economic
storm in the United States. The report contributes this to:

    
    -   B.C.'s mining and oil and gas sectors continuing to show solid growth
    -   B.C. has the second fastest provincial population growth, with 48,600
        new residents last year
    -   Ongoing infrastructure projects such as Sea to Sky Highway, Bennett
        and Pitt River Bridges, and major expansions at Kelowna, Vernon,
        Surrey Memorial and Royal Jubilee Hospitals
    -   Strong investment growth from Alberta in the southeast, Okanagan and
        Peace regions of B.C.
    

    "The doom and gloom of south of the border is not happening in B.C., as
cost increases suggest continued economic growth," said Hochstein. "While we
have challenges in the export sector, our domestic economy continues to be
very resilient."
    The report, Market Intelligence, is available online at: www.bty.com.

    BTY Group is one of Canada's most successful and experienced Cost
Management and Project Management consultancies providing services through
offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary. Website: www.bty.com.

    The Independent Contractor and Businesses Association (ICBA) is the voice
of B.C.'s construction sector. Website: www.icba.bc.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Joe Rekab, Managing Partner, BTY Group, Tel:
(604) 734-3126; Philip Hochstein, President, ICBA, Tel: (604) 561-9402

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