Nanaimo is experiencing a building boom.

In just the first six months of this year, the value of new construction projects approved by the city has already passed the entire year the record was set.

“Absolutely this will be the highest year that we have for construction value in the city,” said Dale Lindsay, the City of Nanaimo’s director of community development.

Since Jan. 1, the City of Nanaimo has already issued building permits valued at nearly $306 million.

That eclipses the previous year-long record of $240 million set in 2007.

A surge in multi-unit residential construction is fueling the boom.

One thousand, one hundred residential units, along with 300 new hotel rooms have been approved.

It’s a shift in the market as there have only been 116 permits to build single-family homes, which is down from recent highs.

“There’s too much inventory so it’s a buyer’s market,” says Ron Walton of Legacy Homes. “The guys that are building that have the lots behind us. They put them back up for sale because they don’t have a market to build on them and sell them.”

Nanaimo’s community development director says he expects the explosion of residential units being built will help ease the housing crisis.

And Lindsay says it’s not just the construction value that impresses him but where the residential units are being built.

“Almost half of that is in our downtown core so an area for years that we’ve been developing policies to encourage development and bring life back into the downtown core seems to be having an impact,” said Lindsay.

Nanaimo’s building boom means there’s plenty of jobs for construction workers.

“We’re growing fast and we’re going to be busy so I’m happy with it. Means we’re not going to be sitting around. We’re going to be working working working,” said Andrew Green, a Windley Contracting Foreman.

There is so much work available it’s difficult for companies like Windley Contracting to find and keep qualified workers and all the construction permitted for this year is expected to take 18 months to two years before it’s all complete.

Kendall Hanson