The province’s construction industry been receiving some attention with the Saskatchewan Construction Association recently announcing that over 10,000 jobs had been lost in the industry over the last three years.
The construction industry in Prince Albert has not been immune to this, according to the local construction association’s president Joe Yungwirth. Yungwirth, who also serves as president of Miller Contracting, told paNOW the industry hasn’t been this slow in quite some time.
“We haven’t seen (it) this slow down here since way back in the '80s,” he said.
The association president said during the 1980s many companies, including his, were forced to seek out work from a wider area. This lead to the company bidding on jobs in the north and in the Saskatoon area. In the current economic climate, this trend has returned.
“If you want to keep busy you have to look elsewhere,” Yungwirth said.
Currently, Miller Contracting is bidding on jobs in Nipawin, Shellbrook and Meadow Lake.
Yungwirth added the current climate has seen the number of new projects slowdown, which has forced the company into taking on more renovation jobs, as the residential construction has especially slowed.
“The tightening of mortgages has something to do with it, the PST on construction had a lot to do with it also, that put your average house up $7,000 to $15,000 in that range,” he said.
Dan Yungwirth, who is the general manager of Miller Contracting said the company is fairly diversified in the in terms of the work they offer, which ranges from residential to commercial. He said one specific area of residential housing has been hit hard recently.
“The single-family residential has been hit really hard with a number of things,” he said.
Specifically, the general manager said the changes to mortgage rules knocked over 20 per cent of homebuyers out of the market.
“It’s harder and harder for people to afford new housing, with all kinds of regulatory changes, municipal sir charges on lots, the cost of land and the cost to build,” he said.
More increases are likely to come in the new year, as Saskatchewan will be putting in place a new energy code when it comes to housing, which both Yungwirths believe will add further costs to construction.
Both the Yungwirths believe that in order for their industry to thrive, the overall economy of Prince Albert needs to be diversified.
“We certainly need diversity in our economy in Prince Albert to make it more resilient, we need people out there actively seeking business out and attracting it to Prince Albert in conjunction with city council,” said Dan.
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