Friday, January 12, 2024 – We are pleased to offer this update regarding building permit delays in Sooke and provide insights into the steps being taken to address related challenges.
In short, as of the end of the day on Saturday, the District will be caught up on all outstanding building permit applications awaiting inspection!
Building Permit Inspection Scheduling:
We have openings to book inspections! Current availability includes Saturdays for the remainder of January, in addition to weekday bookings.
We understand the importance of timely inspections and are committed to accommodating needs as efficiently as possible. If you are ready for an inspection, please call 250.642.1634 to book.
Incomplete Applications – A Significant Cause of Delays:
A critical factor contributing to permit delays is the submission of incomplete applications. Incomplete applications hinder our ability to process permits promptly and can result in extended wait times for approvals.
We kindly request all applicants to ensure that their submissions meet all necessary requirements. This will meaningfully contribute to expediting the permit approval process, benefiting both applicants and District staff collectively. Please note that incomplete applications are not submitted for internal review.
More information can be found here: Building Permits and Inspections (sooke.ca).
District’s Commitment to Solutions:
Recognizing the challenges faced by applicants and stakeholders on process clarity, expectations and compliance with the BC Building Code, the District of Sooke is actively working on solutions.
We are leveraging technology to enhance efficiencies and communication, aiming to provide more guidance to applicants on the required documentation to ensure a smooth approval process. While this will take time to realize, this work is underway. Staff anticipate rolling out some of these enhancements in the coming months.
Additionally, we know that having adequate staffing in the building service area is crucial to allow applications to move forward in a timely manner. While Sooke is not unique in our recruitment challenges of certified personnel, we are actively exploring all options to staff this service area. Those options include the recent hiring of an auxiliary Chief Building Official who is available for part-time work and contracting with our recently retired Chief Building Official to meet the community’s needs. This approach is responsive to our current needs, evidenced by the clearing of the previous backlog. We are also continuing to actively recruit and interview for additional Inspectors.
Understanding the BC Building Code:
It’s important to note that the BC Building Code (the Code) is a provincial regulation governing new construction, building alterations, repairs, and demolitions. The Code establishes minimum requirements for safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection, as well as energy and water efficiency in buildings. Adherence to these standards is crucial for the safety and well-being of our community.
The District’s Building Officials are responsible for reviewing and approving plans for the issuance of Building and Plumbing Permits. Once a permit is issued, staff will perform predetermined inspections as outlined in the Building Regulations Bylaw to ensure compliance with the BC Building Code and with District Bylaws.
While an estimated 300 applications remain at some stage in the building permitting process, this status can vary and does not mean there are 300 active applications. To provide greater clarity on this number:
- 46 properties, each containing 1-4 permits, are ready and waiting for pick-up by applicants.
- 19 properties are waiting for third-party action i.e. CRD fire hydrant installation OR applicant’s insurance provider.
- There are some files where staff have not received a response from applicants for additional information in almost a year; however, they remain in the queue. The District prioritized issuing of applications over further follow-up given available resources. With the clearing of the backlog, we can resume follow-up or closing these applications (as applicable).
Please know that we are improving District reporting and will aim to provide a more comprehensive breakdown of the outstanding files in future updates.
The District of Sooke is committed to working collaboratively with residents, builders, and stakeholders to overcome challenges with the building permitting process and create a thriving and resilient community. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with these efforts as we work towards solutions for the betterment of all involved. We are pleased to celebrate the favourable progress we are making in this area.
For additional assistance, please contact Building Services at 250.642.1634.
Mayor of Sooke, Maja Tait –
“I’m thrilled that we are caught up on all outstanding building permit applications! We appreciate the cooperation and patience of the building and development community while we navigated unforeseen staffing challenges. We recognize this is one milestone in the evolution of the Building Services Area. Staff are continuing to work on streamlining related processes, leveraging technology to do so, and are actively hiring more Inspectors to keep this momentum going.”