It appears Kamloops residents stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic are keeping busy working on renovations and building pools in anticipation of more time at home into the summer months, based on the city’s latest monthly building permit report.
City of Kamloops building and engineering development manager Jason Dixon said city statistics are beginning to show impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically a shift in the types of applications coming through the doors.
Sixty-three residential alteration permits, valued at $2.3 million, have been issued to date this year, compared to 42 such permits in 2019 valued at $900,000. Thirty-nine residential addition permits, worth $1.5 million, were issued, compared to 26 such permits in 2019 worth $1.3 million. Finally, 15 pool and hot tub permits, worth $475,000, have been issued, compared to nine such permits in 2019 worth $209,000.
Dixon said the city has seen fewer new residential building applications and more renovation applications.
“People are at home, they’re doing those home improvement projects,” Dixon said. “Pools are a hot commodity right now. People are planning on being home, so they’re looking at investing in their own places. We’re starting to see a shift in the types of applications we see.”
Development numbers continue to appear strong, outpacing last year’s record-breaking building permit values overall to date, at $108.8 million, compared to $97.6 million through May of 2019, and Dixon said the building department remains busy.
In May, the city issued 113 building permits worth $24.9 million, compared to 192 permits issued in May 2019, worth $33.3 million. Two large multi-family projects drove most of May’s numbers: a $6-million project on Yew Street in North Kamloops and a Howard Johnson Society project near the RCMP detachment, downtown on Fifth Avenue.
Dixon said he expects the situation to continue for some time, though he noted it is not known how the pandemic could play out in subsequent months and what its impact on the building industry may be. He said it ultimately depends on the COVID-19 case numbers, which guide the province in its phased-in economic reopening plans.
“I know from our point of view, we’ve got big projects we’re working on, we’ve got big applications we’re continuing on — the patient-care tower at the hospital. So, from a construction value point for the year, I’m not concerned. We’ve got some really big projects. At the end of the year, construction value progress will be fine. The interest will be when you look into some of the other numbers to where the shifts were from year to year, to see the effect this pandemic had on things.”