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B.C. working on new digital building permit tool

DCN-JOC News Services
B.C. working on new digital building permit tool

VICTORIA – The Government of British Columbia, along with partners, is working on a new digital building permit tool to accelerate the pace of construction.

The tool is being developed through a pilot partnership between the Province of B.C., 16 local governments and one First Nations government that will implement the new digital building permit tool, a said.

“People will soon see new homes approved faster as we make good on our commitment to position B.C. as a North American leader in digital permitting and construction. We are excited to start work together with our partners to design and then implement this new digital building permit tool, so we can speed up the delivery of new homes and create the types of housing options people need in B.C.,” B.C. Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon said in a statement.

The 16 partnership participants are:

  • Tsleil-Waututh Nation
  • District of Saanich
  • City of Burnaby
  • City of Campbell River
  • City of Coquitlam
  • City of Kamloops
  • City of Kelowna
  • City of Langley
  • City of Maple Ridge
  • City of Nanaimo
  • City of North Vancouver
  • City of Surrey
  • City of Terrace
  • City of Victoria
  • City of Vancouver
  • Cowichan Valley Regional District
  • Town of Qualicum Beach

Currently many B.C. jurisdictions rely on a paper-based application process for new housing developments, the release said, “leading to delays and slow approval times.”

Once complete the digital building permit tool will simplify and speed up builders and developers building permit submissions for new housing and for local governments receiving and processing applications.

The provincial ministry of housing is also working with the National Research Council of Canada to make construction codes machine readable. Testing of the tool is expected to begin in partnership communities by March 2024 and then expanded further.

The province has also created a digital advisory council to provide strategic advice, the release said, including representatives from across the housing development system, such as construction organizations, engineers, architects, local governments and the tech sector, with regular meetings to begin in the fall.

The members of the advisory council are:

  • Digital (previously known as Digital Technology Supercluster)
  • Building Officials’ Association of B.C.
  • Scius Advisory
  • Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C.
  • Architectural Institute of B.C.
  • Canadian Home Builders Association of B.C.
  • University of British Columbia
  • Urban Development Institute
  • Urban Land Institute
  • City of Kelowna
  • City of North Vancouver
  • City of Vancouver

“Digitizing the BC Building Code and building permit processing will help builders more efficiently obtain approvals to deliver the homes and job spaces British Columbians need. UDI is pleased to participate on the digital advisory council for this pilot partnership and is committed to working with the government on innovative solutions like this,” Urban Development Institute president and CEO Anne McMullin added.

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