The dog days of summer arrived a bit early for the local construction industry. June, which usually brings a slew of building permit applications, was uncharacteristically slow for the city building inspector's office.
For the month, the building permit valuation total which reflects the estimated value of new construction, excluding land costs was $3,511,075. A year earlier, the monthly total was $8,740,353; in May it was $8,781,870.
The most recent monthly total made June the second slowest month for new construction starts so far in 1991, trailing only January, when the valuation total was $1,109,844.
The flip side of the picture shows that 205 building permits were issued during the month. That number is the highest monthly total this year, with the 181 permits issued in May holding second place.
HOWEVER, the city's June permit report shows no large construction projects, with a permit for a single-family home at 4416 Turnberry Dr. being the month's most expensive project.
Instead, June's building permit activity represented an assortment of small permits, many authorizing improvements to existing properties rather than new construction. For example, the monthly total includes 19 electrical permits; 51 mechanical permits, all but a few of which authorize air-conditioner installations; 23 plumbing permits; 19 sign permits; 12 residential and eight business remodeling permits; and 11 permits for residential additions.
Gene Shaughnessy, the city's chief building inspector, said the low total valuation for June wasn't unexpected. He had said last month that no major projects were on line to boost the June total.
SHAUGHNESSY said today, however, that the situation may change in July and August when his office may write permits for the new 131,321-square-foot Wal-Mart store at 33rd and Iowa and for a new building for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services at 19th and Delaware.
The one category of new construction that remained strong during June was single-family homes, for which the building inspector's office issued 36 permits in June. That total followed 35 permits in April and 44 in May.
June's single-family permits accounted for $2,207,118 of the monthly valuation total.
However, the average valuation on new home construction dropped dramatically, with $61,309 being the average estimated cost of the new houses, excluding the price of their lots. In June 1990, the average estimated valuation of new single-family homes was $98,265.
THE CITY building inspector's office also issued permits for five new duplexes during June. All are being built by Ruf Construction and three of them are located in the 1600 block of East 22nd Street.
Shaughnessy declined to speculate about what may be causing the general slowdown in new construction and the continued strength in new housing starts.
"The word `recession' has been out for the last couple of months so I don't know if that has anything to do with our statistics because we don't fit into the mold as far as the national situation's concerned," Shaughnessy said.