Canadian Contractor

(Inspectors) change the way they apply the code for each builder

It remains to be seen how the changes to the B.C. building code will be applied. The head of the GVHBA has been quoted as saying the changes will add $5,000 to $10,000 to the cost of a new house.

November 28, 2014
By Steve Payne

Bob de Wit, head of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, was quoted in local media saying that the extensive changes to the building code in B.C. (mostly related to energy-efficiency) will add $5,000 to $10,000 to the cost of a new home – although De Wit said it would depend on what actual municipality you are in, and how the building inspector interprets the code. We asked you if you agree.

Here is a reply from Marcel Gelinas:

“The building inspector (will) apply their own code depending on their interpretation because in the code there is nothing precise – it is all opened to the inspector to play with. It is very hard for a builder to fix a cost on something because one inspector wants something and another inspector in the same office wants something different. Also they change thee way they apply the code for each builder.”



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2 Comments » for (Inspectors) change the way they apply the code for each builder
  1. Casey Edge says:

    There is no uniform interpretation of the Building Code in BC. BC Building and Safety Standards does not interpret and enforce its own code, which is an anomaly in Canada. This is due to BC’s policy of “self determination for municipalities.” The result is multiple interpretations of a provincial code and a range of building practices. In Greater Victoria there are 13 different municipalities in a region of 340,000 people which means two similar homes across the street from each other may be built differently at different price points. In addition, the builder of one house will have a building permit in 5 days and the builder of the house across the street may wait 6 – 8 weeks due to different municipal cultures. The new BC energy efficiency regulations will add costs despite the fact that Stats Canada shows Victoria’s New Home Price Index in decline since 2007/08. Margins are razor thin and in 2013 Victoria posted the 3rd lowest single family housing starts in 40 years – two important factors not considered by the BC government when adding regulations and costs to the code. If you want to know more, read our weekly columns in the Times Colonist also available online at

  2. Sean WIens says:

    Stay tuned – I believe both the Province and the Feds are drafting sweeping legislative changes to the Municipalities oversite of Building Code matters to address these type of concerns. My personal experiences are being used as a case study for how things can go wrong. see and

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