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Weather aside, homeowners still want pools and outdoor living areas

Despite last year’s cooling effect, to some degree, many would be hard pressed—except those in western Canada—to believe 2017 was still one of the top 10 warmest periods in 70 years of reporting weather, with temperatures averaging 1.4 C above average.

Similar to the 2016 report, when breaking up last season into three categories: start of year/early spring (January to April), mid-spring/late summer (May to August), and fall/winter (September to December), pool permit registrations were up by more than 10 per cent during the first four months of the year. Between March and August, the industry’s prime construction season, 10,050 permits were issued, representing a five per cent decrease. Strangely enough, the only month that had fewer permit registrations in 2016 was December (down 23 per cent); however, in 2017, this month was up by 10 per cent. This halted a streak of six consecutive months (June to November) with fewer permit registrations year-over-year.

Due to weather anomalies, pool construction can sometimes extend into later parts of the year. While building permit registrations between September and November 2016 illustrated this, these figures were down during the same period last year. That said, this did not mean there was no work to do. For instance, Dave Warren of Total Tech Pools & Leisure in Oakville, Ont., says once the weather co-operated, the season was extremely busy and this continued late into the fall.

Thanks to the unpredictable weather last year, Roger Willis Contracting Ltd., in Ottawa, decided to continue working on projects throughout the 2017-18 winter months.

“We did this hoping to alleviate some of the upcoming season’s pressure,” says the company’s Michael Willis. “Our projects tend to be scheduled into the following season and we cannot afford to have such a large backlog of projects in the spring.”

According to Mark Fournier of Piscines Bonaventure Inc., in Laval, Que., the weather in his region did not start to improve until August.

“Many customers delayed their pool project until later in the season and some even put it off until this spring,” says Fournier. “During the winter months we have had a busier sales period and have most of this summer already booked.”

Top five major urban centres with increased building permit registration in 2017

Region 2016 2017 (+) Change
Halifax 36 224 188
Hamilton 414 494 80
Windsor 134 191 57
Toronto 311 360 49
St. Catharines/Niagara 221 268 47

Top five major urban centres with decreased building permit registration in 2017

Region 2016 2017 (-) Change
Montreal 4730 4272 458
Ottawa/Hull/Gatineau 367 180 187
Guelph 245 76 169
Barrie 248 118 130
St. John’s 97 11 74

Regional activity

A simple comparison of the total number of pool permit registrations from Statistics Canada shows a slight decrease year-over-year. However, when looking at the regional break down of these statistics—especially over a three-year period (2015, 2016, and 2017)—a pattern becomes apparent. Similar to the permit registrations in 2015, pool builders in western Canada had a great year, while those in eastern parts of the country struggled somewhat. In fact, pool permit registrations last year in western Canada were up 20 per cent over 2016, and 10 per cent over 2015.

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