Canada’s construction boom is reflected in the southeast with another notable amount of $10.48 million worth of building permits as reported by Steinbach City Council last month.

Industry observers attribute the boom to Canadians who have shifted their time, energy, and budget to doing home improvements after their travel plans have been scrapped due to pandemic restrictions.

However, the increased construction activity has also driven up prices for lumber and other raw materials.

Two of the largest manufacturing operations in the region are Loewen Windows and Doors and Barkman Concrete which are both located in Steinbach. Representatives from these companies shared their views on the current construction boom.

Jon Sawatzky (file photo)Jon Sawatzky is the director for product and marketing at Loewen Windows and Doors. According to their website, Loewen manufactures premium wooden windows and doors for the ultraluxury market, with wood sourced from British Columbia and from the US west coast in Oregon.

Sawatzky recounts that in the early months of the pandemic, Loewen faced delivery challenges in the US due to the lockdown regulations.

“So fortunately, most of those rules and regulations have been kind of all sorted out, and they've been pretty stable and construction is an essential business so we've been allowed to proceed as normal. And then overlaid now with the boom that everybody is investing in their homes, and their secondary homes and cottages, that's been good for us.”

Over at Barkman Concrete, President Brian Pries spoke about how their company is handling the current trend.

Brian Pries (photo credit: Barkman)“Because we manufacture concrete, a lot of our raw materials are actually sourced locally, and we haven't had the same kind of swings. But we do have the two big things that have had real swings this year: it's lumber and any steel kind of products. And we have some products that incorporate both lumber and steel. So on those, we've had to be flexible and we've had to adjust our prices just to try and keep up with the costs that have been increasing,” he explains.

Pries goes on to say,"Obviously, there's a big demand for our products, but on the one part what's tough for us is hiring people. It's a tight job market right now, so we are really looking to hire people, so that's a little bit tough these days."