(Stock photo)

Building inspector urges renovators to get permits

Projects have been beginning without building permits during COVID-19 shutdowns

As people are off work while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a Summerland building official is concerned that some are beginning home construction and renovation projects without the proper permits.

Vern Sopow said permits are needed before beginning a project to determine if the work will meet building code regulations and placement regulations.

Over the past week, he has seen numerous projects around the community.

READ ALSO: Summerland’s February building permits worth $1.3 million

READ ALSO: Building planned for West Summerland Station site

He explained that there are regulations around setbacks, easements and accesses to consider before constructing a new building or an addition to an existing building.

There are also building code issues to consider when doing renovation work inside an existing building.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal hall building, which also houses Summerland’s development services department, is closed to the public, but staff are continuing to work and will issue permits as needed.

“We’re just trying to help people get through the process,” Sopow said.

If the permits are not in place at the start of a project, it is possible that the completed work cannot receive approval.

Sopow is also concerned about physical distancing for the workers on construction projects.

The regulations in place require people to keep a distance of two metres from each other in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Those who are working more closely together risk spreading the virus among themselves, and from there, to family members at the end of the day.

Sopow believes it is important to follow the regulations or risk having construction work halted by the province.

“If we don’t self-regulate as an industry, they’re just going to shut us down,” he said. “The construction industry needs to show that they’re being responsible.”

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