Building permits in Hamilton are on track to hit the billion-dollar mark again this year, signalling a healthy level of investment in the city.

Last year, the city broke a record by issuing $1.5 billion worth of building permits. This year will likely be a little less than that, but still crack the $1-billion mark, said Ed VanderWindt, the city’s director of building services.

Building permits have been so busy that the city is hiring the full-time equivalent of five more staff to handle the workload.

Construction growth in Hamilton

Construction value in 2013 (projected): $1,100,000,000

Construction value in 2006: $682,547,814

Building permits issued in 2013 (projected): 6,500

Building permits issued in 2006: 4,236

Source: City of Hamilton

“It’s an excellent news story,” VanderWindt said. “We’re going to beat the billion-dollar mark again.”

The 2012 total “blew away all previous records,” he said.

Since 2008, city data shows, non-residential construction investment in Hamilton has doubled. In July, Statistics Canada released numbers that show non-residential construction across Canada fell 3.4 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

But in Hamilton, non-residential investment increased by 8 per cent over the first quarter.

Staffing levels in the building permit office are actually lower than they were in 2006, said a report from VanderWindt at the city’s planning committee on Tuesday.

Currently, the full-time equivalent of 90 employees work in the building permit office compared to 94 in 2006.

As of September, the office racked up $148,465 in overtime, he said.

“Staff is exhausted and the increase in overtime are indicators of extra efforts to keep up,” his report said.

Councillors approved the increase with no discussion. The decision will be ratified at city council on Nov. 13.