“One thing I wish I could remind people is that the Building Department is here to help.”
“The Building Department’s responsibility is to ensure the BC building and plumbing codes are met during construction; that the building is safe, so if there’s a fire people have time to escape, and that the building itself is good for the health of the people living there: one example is that levels of radon gas need to be accounted for during a new build. Also that a new building’s environmental impact meets the new BC Energy Step Code. There’s also information retrieval requests, a significant digitization project, and many more aspects that the building department takes responsibility for.
We’re mindful both of the current owners and of the future owners. We ask: What about in a hundred years time? Will the building still be standing and how safe will it be then?
In my department, we really do care and we’d much rather that people reach out to ask questions if they’re not sure, to ensure they do the project the correct way. Rather than go ahead and do something that will need fixing.
One thing I wish I could remind people is that the Building Department is here to help. We’re not here to block plans or to cause headaches for people trying to build a new home or complete a renovation. We have to also ensure that zoning bylaws are met during plan checking for all projects. A complete and correct application makes the ‘plan check to permit issued’ stage much faster. We see the building contractors as an external team we collaborate with, and we’re trying to ensure that the owner has a safe home to live in.
A highlight of my job is getting out on site every day, and seeing projects develop. It’s pretty cool to see a project progress from plans on paper to the final built product at final inspection.”
More information about the RMOW Building Department:
The RMOW’s Building Department is responsible for building, plumbing and demolition permits, building and plumbing inspections, building regulations support and enforcement, as well as managing archived building documentation.
The department of 12 manages an annual average of 701 permit applications, 3,000 inspections, and 527 information requests each year.
Photo Credit: Dave Buzzard. The photos of the multifamily building were taken at Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 on December 1.