WINDSOR, ONT. -- New building construction in Windsor continued at a steady pace despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but city officials say it has slowed slightly due to the inability to get materials.

The city has continued to issue building permits throughout 2020 and 2021.

Chief building official John Revell says it was thanks to a digital transformation that was already in the works a few years ago.

“We were able to pivot and work from home very quickly and very easily,” says Revell. “And a lot of municipalities in Ontario were not able to do that and they essentially had to shut down their operations during COVID. So we were very fortunate that we had initiated that project.”

The city had a record year for building permits in 2019, with 3,400 issued in four categories including residential, industrial, commercial and government and institutional.

Revell says over 3,100 permits were issued in 2020, amounting to more than $392 million worth of construction activity in Windsor.

So far in 2021, the city has issued 1,043 permits. To compare, in 2020 they issued 1,118 permits by the end of May.

Revell says building materials are harder to get in 2021, likely contributing to a slow down."Into 2021, we’re a little bit lower again, but the value of construction has steadily risen,” says Revell.

Revell adds technology has helped them continue working throughout the pandemic.

“Because we were digital our staff were able to start working from home and with their home computer just logging into the city system,” says Revell. “And able to communicate with customers via Zoom or over email.”

Now there’s a new project on the horizon.

“We’re about to roll out sort of a digital 2.0 operation cloud permit, which is going to be even more comprehensive and one stop for customers. It’s going to be planning applications, right away applications and building permit applications all in one spot.”