VRBA’s presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services received considerable mention in their report on the 2019 Budget Consultation.

Page 48 of the Housing section says:

“Working with Municipalities

Additional suggestions for facilitating construction of more housing related to working with municipalities with respect to the permitting process. The Victoria Residential Builders Association and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade identified challenges with the length of time the permitting process takes, and the associated direct and indirect costs that this has on construction. They recommended that the process be simplified, accelerated and made more consistent. The Victoria Residential Builders Association also discussed changes to permit fees and building codes. They described permit fees as functioning more like a tax as they are based on the value of construction and recommended that the fees be changed to reflect a “fee-for-service” model. They further suggested that the province harmonize building codes to provide consistency for the construction industry. The Association also recommended that the BC Energy Step Code standard be reconsidered as it adds significantly to the cost of new homes for an incremental reduction in emissions. They noted that the standard only applies to new homes, and since most emissions come from older homes, retrofit rebates would be more effective.”

In addition to long permit delays in municipalities like Victoria and Saanich, we have challenged the permit fees based on “value of construction” rather than a fee for service as should be the case.   Other charges continue to drive up housing prices as demonstrated in a study by the C.D. Howe Institute revealing regulations, fees and amenities add more than a quater million dollars to the cost of a home in Greater Victoria.

VRBA has also demonstrated the pitfalls of BC’s Step Code adding costs, risk and municipal liability while negligibly reducing GHGs in new homes. Green house gas reduction is far better served by improving eneregy effciency in the majority of our older housing stock, rather than boosting the cost of already reasonably, energy-efficient new homes. Since this presentation, the BC govt has introduced a retrofit program for older homes called Efficiency BC . However, this program requires much more funding which hopefully will be forthcoming in the 2019 budget. In addition, an overall reno tax credit would help address asbestos abatement and seismic safety for the big earthquake that is a certainty.     

The budget consultation report is at https://www.leg.bc.ca/content/CommitteeDocuments/41st-parliament/3rd-session/fgs/FGS_2018-11-15_Budget2019Consultation_Report_Web.pdf