29th July 2019

Spending on public, commercial, industrial projects slides in Alberta

'People are in survival mode,' says Calgary Construction Association

You've probably never heard of Executive Millwork, a Calgary company that designs, builds and installs custom woodwork.

Many of its projects are on full display in some of the city's high-profile buildings — including the new downtown library, a concert hall at Mount Royal University and the YMCA in Rockyridge.

But the 35-year-old company has seen some of its work dry up, and as a result some employees have been let go.

"This past year, we've seen a decline in our staffing levels … it looks to be a slow year this year," said Kyle Roll, the company's business manager.

The company peaked with about 75 employees last year, but when those big projects wrapped up last year, people were let go. Today, they're down to 65 employees.

Like so many things in Calgary, Executive Millwork's future is tied to the health of the oil and gas industry. He says the emptying out of nearly a quarter of the offices in downtown Calgary has had a big impact.

"There's an overabundance of office space, so that's been a large slowdown in the building community," he said.

Statistics Canada backs up what Roll is seeing. Investment in non-residential building projects has been falling in Alberta and Calgary this year.

Over the past 12 months, investment peaked at $333 million in October in Calgary — and it's been trending downward since, settling in at $287 million in May

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