Maple Ridge part of new digital building permit hub

Maple Ridge is among 14 local governments involved in a provincial government pilot to speed up building permits.

In an effort to homes built faster and address challenges in B.C.’s housing market, a new digital Building Permit Hub will streamline and standardize local permitting processes. Maple Ridge city hall has been criticized for poor public service to applicants at the building department.

“The permitting process can be slow and complicated, delaying the construction of homes we urgently need,” said Premier David Eby. “Together, we’ve made progress cutting provincial and municipal permitting times, but we have to keep going. This new one-stop shop for local building permits will reduce red tape for home builders, local governments and First Nations, and ultimately save money, speed up construction and help people get into homes faster.”

The province is digitizing local permit processes to make it easier and faster for homeowners and industry professionals to submit applications to local governments.

A November 2021 report by a consultant said that city hall staff were uncooperative with developers and construction professionals, and since that time, city council has been working to correct the situation.

“Unfortunately a number of examples of poor customer service have come to light in the department’s dealings with developers, buildings, professional architects, professional engineers, code consultants and others involved in building permit applications for complex, Part 3 projects,” said the report by consultant Allan Neilson.

READ ALSO: Report critical of Maple Ridge’s building department

“Concerns highlighted specific behaviours and actions that can only be characterized as unprofessional, uncivil, disrespectful and belittling to others, hostile and threatening.”

The Building Permit Hub will offer a one-stop, simplified process, resulting in faster processing and review times. Builders will submit their permit applications online in the hub, which will:

• Standardize building-permit submission requirements across B.C.

• Automatically check that the permit application is complete.

• Automatically check compliance with key parts of the BC Building Code.

A province-wide system that addresses the different permit requirements in each community will result in complete and consistent applications that are straightforward for local governments and First Nations to approve.

Twelve local governments and two First Nations will pilot the first version of the Building Permit Hub, which went live on May 27, to allow communities to update the tool for their local requirements. The hub will be further developed in summer with additional features, such as permit applications for secondary suites. It will eventually be available throughout B.C.

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