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Average value skyrockets for new construction projects

Costs for major projects get larger while costs for smaller starts struggle
Some workers are calling on all non-essential sites to be shut down to protect workers from COVID-19 | Bannafarsai_Stock/Shutterstock

The value of British Columbia’s largest construction starts have skyrocketed over the past year, according to data collected for Business in Vancouver’s Biggest B.C. Construction Starts in 2019 list (page 12). 

The average value of the largest construction starts grew 1,404% to $2.97 billion in 2019, up from $197 million in 2018. 

However, that growth was largely the result of the stratospheric value of the No. 1 new project, LNG Canada’s Kitimat liquefied natural gas export facility.  Even though LNG Canada is an outlier, the value of other large construction starts in the province also swelled. 

construction start list chart 1

The No. 2-ranked Coastal GasLink pipeline project, valued at $6.2 billion, is nearly 10 times the size of the $650 million project ranked second in 2018. 

When LNG Canada is excluded, the average construction start value still grew 209.2% to $610 million. 

While the recent year’s growth is impressive, the average deal value, when excluding the LNG Canada project, did not surpass the 2016 high of $668 million. 

As top construction starts in the province enjoy significant growth, smaller projects lower on the list have been struggling. 

construction start list chart 2

The median construction start value on the list was $100 million – the second lowest level in five years. 

The median construction start value fell 23.1% in 2019 from its five-year peak of $130 million in 2018.

The LNG Canada facility is likely the largest project in the list’s history. In the last five years, the only project to come close to its size was the Site C dam in 2016, at a value of $8.3 billion. •