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Getting a permit in BC takes time. It takes a lot of time.

May 29, 2019

In British Columbia, the requirements for getting a building permit are stringent, and the process typically takes 12 months on average. This process, which includes the time needed to assemble required documentation, is about to get more difficult with the introduction of new 2019 National Building Codes. 


When your customers suffer a property loss, your primary goal is to return the insured to their pre-loss position as quickly as possible. Doing so not only reduces your Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or Business Interruption (BI) costs, but it also improves customer satisfaction. 


Insurers in British Columbia are bearing a significantly higher financial burden due to the permit process time, especially as compared to the process in Calgary, Alberta which is 1-month on average, as a direct result of the complexity of code and by-law requirements in BC.


So how can you speed this process up?  We asked our Vancouver MBC Code Consultant, Stephen Bissky.  Stephen has over a decade of experience processing multi-family and commercial rezoning, development permits, and building permits and has extensive knowledge of the municipal permitting process.


Stephen recommends immediately focusing on the organization and communication processes to help speed up the permit process. Additionally, he recommends proactive and frequent communication with all stakeholders, including the insured, insurer and local authorities to ensure all required information is gathering as quickly as possible.


When MBC (and Stephen) is appointed the prime consultant on a property loss in BC, our clients typically see a 50% reduction (approximately six months) in permit timelines over those they're used to when a general contractor handles the process.  This reduction in permit timelines result in a significant reduction in claim expenses.  For example, if an insured is provided with $4,000 per month for ALE or BI expenses, a 12 month delay due to a lengthy permit process means $48,000 in additional costs.  When this is reduced to six months that cost is halved, when you add the additional consulting fees (on average $6,000) the insurer can achieve a reduction in cost of approximately $18,000, or 37.5%.

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