Research by Houston-based Industrial Information Resources ( has determined that Canada is a land of mega-projects for industrial construction in the near future. IIR identified 942 major industrial projects totaling a whopping $125.7 billion scheduled to begin in 2005 or beyond. Twenty-three of those projects have total investment value of $1 billion or more.

Oil & transmission projects lead the pack with some 70 projects worth $37 billion. The power industry plans 195 projects worth around $33 billion, while the metals and minerals industry is third in planned future capital spending, with more than $19 billion from 123 projects.

Alberta is the leading Canadian province for industrial construction, with some $44 billion across 200 projects. British Columbia has more than $24 billion planned for 102 projects. Ontario leads in the number of projects, with 250, totaling around $14 billion.

U.S. Prospects

In the United States, IIR pinpointed the Great Lakes region as the most vigorous area for capital and maintenance spending in 2005, topping some $30 billion. According to IIR, the power industry will lead the pack with grassroots plants spending expected to top $11.6 billion in the region.

Cook County, Ill., encompassing a large slice of the Chicago metropolitan area, is planning 53 major industrial projects worth more than $1.3 billion scheduled to begin in 2005 or beyond. IIR currently pegs Cook County as the second largest industrialized county in the nation, with 477 major industrial plants operating, second only to Los Angeles County, Calif., which has 534 plants.

Also, some $12 billion in industrial capital spending is expected to get underway in California during 2005, although the bulk of the dollars, some $5.7 billion, are for construction of the state's light rail system expansion. The power industry is expected to spend $1.9 billion, with pharmaceuticals and biotech kicking off 21 projects in the state worth an estimated $1.2 billion.

Of 250 projects surveyed by IIR for 2005 in California, 46% are in the planning phase, 19% have been approved and are moving forward, and another 19% are maintenance-related projects or currently under construction.

Virginia is another hot spot identified by IIR, which is tracking some 147 industrial projects planned representing $8.5 billion. Dominion is planning more than $3 billion in industrial project investment across 30 projects at its power plants in Virginia over the next two years, including a $1.3 billion nuclear power unit addition at the North Anna facility.

Vigorous industrial construction is also scheduled to take place in the Carolinas, with 267 projects worth more than $5.8 billion, according to IIR. About two-thirds of the spending is planned for North Carolina.