Lengthy application process irks Nanaimo contractor hoping to build houses

By Ian Holmes
July 10, 2017 - 11:27am Updated: July 10, 2017 - 12:51pm

One of many homes under construction in Nanaimo's north-endIan Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — A local contractor says while he appreciates stiffer regulations for B.C. construction workers, the lengthy application process is making it more of a burden.

Mark Johnston said the enhanced rules and regulations, which were introduced back in March, 2015, help weed out bad workers and ensure higher quality homes, but not when it takes more than a year to be certified.

Johnston said he first applied 14 months ago, when he decided to work on home construction as well as home renovation.

“We have a real boom going on and I'm missing out on that as we speak because they (BC Housing) couldn't get the paperwork done in time.”

According to BC Housing, new applicants must “demonstrate proficiency in seven areas related to residential construction such as the BC Building Code, construction management, customer service and home warranty insurance.”

Independent Contractors and Business Association of BC spokesman Jordan Bateman said he believed new regulations have “struck the right balance” in establishing higher building standards while not bogging down the industry with too much red tape.

“No one really likes paper work, there's always a bit of grumbling when you're first starting the process,” Bateman told NanaimoNewsNOW. “It does make sure that competent people are on the market bidding for these jobs, so you're not losing out to people who are inferior.”

Bateman noted BC Housing has shown flexibility by allowing their organization to offer courses which can be done online.

“You don't want to have people having to actually lose money by sitting in classroom when they should be out making the dough building things.”

Bateman said B.C. was known as the “wild wild west” of new home construction and customers paid a heavy price. He said the more rigorous rules for B.C. builders “is something that will pay dividends for years.”

“We all remember the leaky condo scandals of the 1990's, nobody wants to go back to that era. We want to make sure that builders are fully equipped and understand precisely what it takes to build a good quality product.”

In an email to NanaimoNewsNOW, BC Housing stated “The licensing application process does not regularly cause concerns amongst builders.” The agency added it could not comment on individual cases due to privacy reasons.

 

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