A little known act called The Building Act was introduced in the spring of 2015 and passed in legislation in August of 2015. It encompasses all municipalities except the City of Vancouver to conform to an unified consistency, competency and innovation with respect to the application of the building code throughout the province. It is not just limited to the Province of British Columbia but each of the other provinces are going through this as well. The City of Vancouver has its own requirements that are more stringent than the National Building Code.
The act itself applies to municipal inspectors who in turn will have more power than previously during the building process. These inspectors will have to go through rigerous training in order to qualify to become an inspector. The act has basically three parts to it: Consistency, Competency, and Innovation.
Consistency limits local government authority to set building requirements. It has a two year transition period starting December 15, 2015 and ends December 15, 2017. If local governments have any existing building requirements in their bylaws, those requirements will have no legal force after the two year transitiiooon period has ended. To avoid confusion for the construction sector, the Province encourages local governments to amend their bylaws to elimitate such requirements.
Compentency is the qualification requirements for building officials. This sector has a four year transition period not to start before early 2016. Building officials will have a total of four years to meet the qualification requirements, once these sections of the act take effect.
Invovation applies to the provincial evaluation of innovative building proposals. No transition period for this change exists. Innovative proposal submissions are not anticipated to be accepted before late 2016. Review of complex appeals by the Building Code Appeal Board is not anticipated to start before late 2016. The Province will establish a review process to accept and evaluate innovative building proposals received from individuals. As part of the support for innovation process, the Building Code Appeal Baord will accept more complex appeals.
This act will also require building owners to correct previous renovations and additions where permits should have been issued but were not. It will also require the building owner to appoint consultants to advise on their behalf should a dspute occur with the municipality.
This does not seem like a significent issue until one considers the ramifications. The act itself is less than 100 pages, yet the ammendments and changes to the Building Code are almost 1,000 pages. The Act affects almost every aspect of every building component found in a building. It seems that the emphasis is on Green Technologies which in turn will increase the average building cost by 8-20% depending on the age and quality of the building. “Like kind and quality” found in insurance wordings for real property will become history, as the components in a building become obsolete and the replacement of these components actually become an improvement over what was there.
In summary, with this new act, all the paperwork is now in place for “minimum code requirements” to move up a notch from the current status of “Good Quality” to “Very Good Quality”. The next decade is going to a very interesting one for the insurers’ bottom line. The average building owner can thank the government for these increases in housing costs. True, the owner will get this increase back over time due to the resultant reduced energy bills etc.. However the increase will impact at time of purchase of the building, as it will come out of the “front money” required for a down payment. Connect the dots.
Building Act …… with Green Technologies ……. Reduce the Carbon Footprint …… Affecting Climate Change.
Matt Leger of Cygnus Contracting – Certified Water & Fire Damage Contractors Renovation Restoration – Consulting Management – Residential Commercial writes:
“This act will also require building owners to correct previous renovations, and additions where permits have not been issued in the past. It will also require the building owner to appoint consultants to advise on their behalf should a dispute occur with the municipality.”
If we thought some building inspectors had the “god” complex in the past, wait until this is in motion. So what repercussions will this have on an owner who purchased a building with cap rate of 5% and a NOI of just enough to maintain the building and suddenly he has to rectify non-permit repairs worth more than his cap. This is suicide.”
Kelvin Johnston – Project Manager – FirstOnSite – writes:
Good read, thanks, Ron.
Janet Ehrman of First Insurance Agencies Ltd. – Regional Manager writes:
“Looks like I already sent this to you guys last week; but this is the article I mentioned at the Managers Meeting. Will go with by-laws.”
Andrew Yan of Marborough Insurance – Insurance Broker writes:
“If the insurance industry continues on the way it is, with all the “peripheral services” interacting together in a wrong traditional business model of the industry, it will be just adding more risks and costs to itself, and to insurance buyers, eternally! How can the industry ever truly win (profit)? In fact, how can consumers and insurance buyers ever win? Win – Win solution? All empty talks. Just driving more ignorance and inability!
Ignorance is no excuse in law, yet driving ignorance (and perceptions) is not illegal? Perception is ignorance that people don’t admit as ignorance themselves anyway! And also to restrict and limit their ability at the same time? In the name of protecting consumer interest? What a screw up in the whole thing and in itself?! Being a professional is supposed to help people on their ignorance and inability, or just to create more and make use of them, even jointly?”