A Rant About Permits

A Rant About Permits

I applied to the City of West Vancouver for a Bulding Permit to renovate a condo top to bottom (but not to the studs). 

My application was rejected for 2 reasons. The second one drove me crazy! 

In the 1970's, when developers built condo towers in Ambleside, they enclosed many of the second balconies, usually off the living room - great for extra interior space. However, I am not sure if it was done after the occupancy permits were given.

Anyway, when you apply for a building permit, the Planning Department is notified and you have to apply for a Development Permit Exemption at a cost of $575. I am not developing this part of the condo - leaving it as is. So with the application, I had to submit floor plans, elevation drawings, photos of the balcony interior and photos of the balcony exterior, and photos of the exterior of other enclosed balconies, AND describe the scope of the work I was NOT doing!

According to an employee of the Planning Permit department, 4 different people have to review my application TO DO NOTHING which may take 1-3 months. Once approved, I then submit my Building Permit application. If it is not rejected again, that will take 4-6 months to approve.

So, 9 possible months to get permission to renovate a 950 sq. ft. condo where no walls are being removed, just new stuff everywhere.

My first taste of government bureaucracy has completely lined up with the experiences of my friends and colleagues. But you should always get the permits (Buyers will always want them). Just be prepared to be patient.........


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