Permit wait times pushing back projects

By Vanessa Ybarra
November 3, 2017 - 4:42pm Updated: November 3, 2017 - 5:28pm

KAMLOOPS — It's been a strong year for construction throughout the city.

Approximately 15-hundred commercial and residential building permits have been issued so far this year, that number on par with last year.

However an increase in larger construction projects has led to an increasingly longer wait for commercial building permits.

The warehouse being constructed on the Mount Paul Industrial Park is one of dozens of projects DW Builders is juggling throughout the Kamloops region.

"We're all over the map," said Doug Wittal, Owner of DW Builders. "To my knowledge, everybody in the homebuilders office is booked until next year."

That's reflected in the value of city building permits which should surpass $200 million by the end of the year.

"It's more diversified," said Marvin Kwiatkowski, Director of Development and Engineering Services for the City of Kamloops.  "Overall there's a fair mix of sectors of construction. Institutionally we've got the Trades and Technology Centre at TRU and then other commercial projects like Ashley Furniture that just commenced recently in Valleyview."

While exciting, the steady stream of commercial and residential construction has led to longer wait times for commercial permits.

"When you're looking at the commercial and multi-family we post six to eight weeks. We're probably pushing that eight week timeline so people are getting a little frustrated."
One of those people is building contractor Doug Wittal.

"It really holds things up when we have to wait so long for permits," said Wittal. "We have two projects in downtown Kamloops that are tenant improvements. It should be a slam dunk, at the most a couple to three weeks"

Kwiatkowski says permit processing for large-scale projects such as the new TRU Trades and Technology Building has become more complex, leading to the backup.

"Whether it be structural geotechnical, covenants required, so there's just more time for even the professionals to put a package together but then our reviews it's just that backlog."

Wittal is waiting on half a dozen projects to be given the green light.

He says it's his customers who are most affected.

"It's the clients who have to move in and have to start making ends meet and and they're on hold and these are large projects, so it's tough on the consumer."

Kwiatkowski says the city tries to process simple permits as often and quickly as possible.

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