2021 marks highest permit volume and fourth highest construction value in 10 years
Calgary experienced strong year-over-year growth in building permits and construction in 2021, despite industry impacts caused by the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The total construction value of $5.7 billion is up 68 per cent compared to the $3.4 billion reported in 2020.
“Calgarians are optimistic about the future of our city and that is being reflected in both the residential and commercial building permit numbers,” says Mayor Jyoti Gondek. “Businesses and homeowners are investing in their neighbourhoods and that is in turn driving economic growth and creating jobs.”
The remarkable year-over-year growth is a strong indicator that Calgary’s construction industry is rebounding from the initial impacts of the pandemic. There were 21,055 building permit applications reported for the year, compared to the 10-year median of 16,598 and the 18,181 received in 2020. Residential construction value for 2021 was $3.6 billion, the highest it has been since 2015. Non-residential construction value finished at $2.1 billion, the highest number The City has seen since 2017.
Developers and builders are investing more in present-day Calgary, which helps to position our city and economy for a successful future. Development permit applications submitted in 2021 totalled 8,340, up five per cent from 7,911 received in 2020. Outdoor café submissions saw the most significant increase with 285 applications in 2021 compared to 89 in 2020, resulting in a 220 per cent increase. Year-over-year, residential infill development applications, increased by 59 per cent and major subdivisions by tentative plan saw a growth of 41 per cent.
“The development application submission numbers reveal an interesting story about the construction landscape,” says Stuart Dalgleish, general manager of Planning & Development. We are seeing strong indicators of redevelopment happening in established areas of the city, homeowners looking for flexibility to enable home renovations and land ownership changes as Calgary continues to grow and change.”
The City has taken steps to improve the application approvals process including implementing the Development Applications Review Team model to streamline decision-making and improve city-building processes and services . In 2021, improvements to the building permit approval process for business-related applications included the introduction of a quality and completeness check by Safety Codes Officers. Clarifying the requirements up front helps reduce the number of resubmissions and expedites the process as applicants move through approvals.
“In the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many industries were impacted by the effects of the virus, the construction industry in Calgary is no exception,” says Brenda Desjardins, director of Calgary Building Services. “2020 construction values were some of our lowest with early signs pointing to the same for 2021, but despite the pandemic, we’ve exceeded our 10-year median for construction value and permit applications by over 25 per cent.”
Notable construction permits issued in 2021 with values exceeding $25 million include:
· BMO Centre Expansion ($317 million)
· Two Park Central, a mixed-use building ($92 million)
· Trico LivingWell at Kingsland Junction, Building 4 & 5 ($68 million)
· Bridgeland-Riverside Continuing Care Centre ($67 million)
· Coventry Hills High School ($53 million)
· VIVO For Healthier Generations Expansion ($42 million)
· Shawnessy Station ($39 million)
In 2021, The City also issued occupancy for major projects such as the Calgary Cancer Centre, a world-class health care facility for Southern Alberta, with a construction value of over $869 million. Additional occupancies with construction values exceeding $25 million include the Rhapsody, a multi-residential building, the 9th Avenue Parkade, Union Square Phase 2, The University District, The Bridges and City Scape Plaza.
Source: Planning & Development Permit Statements – December 2021 | Key Observations