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Change Needed in Regulation of Housing

Calls for change in the regulation of housing were in the news recently. 

Challenged by the erosion of affordability, the Union of BC Municipalities Convention passed two resolutions.

They were spearheaded by Fred Haynes, a Saanich councilor trying to make BC’s byzantine regulatory system more transparent and affordable.

The first resolution called for “BC and Canada to engage a qualified, independent third party to undertake a cost-benefit review of the impacts on affordability, as well as on safety and energy efficiency, of applying future new national building regulations to two storey homes under 2,000 sq ft.”

Municipal officials are rightly concerned about diminishing returns offered by code changes to small homes.

The second urged “BC and Canada to create new tax credit programs for consumers to help encourage home renovations that focus on energy efficiency, improved mobility and aging in place projects that are over $1,000.”

Real gains in energy efficiency are realized by improving older homes with 25 air changes per hour – not by regulating new homes to save one or two air changes at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

The Times Colonist’s Les Leyne wrote about our concern with BC’s multi-layered regulations – the most recent example is a proposed Stretch Code.

His Oct 13 column stands out as the most comprehensive article covering housing’s regulatory challenges. 

Solutions include mandatory cost- benefit analysis, and a strong presence at the regulatory table for builders of small affordable homes, and their purchasers.

These are reasonable requests in a province where the price of a home is $100,000 over the national average.

This column appears in Wednesday’s Times Colonist. Visit us at http://www.vrba.caand Visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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