Applying for the Building Permit
So, Kevin finished the plans and we had a meeting scheduled with the District to submit the plans on January 25th! This meeting takes some time to get through as a plan checker needs to make sure everything is in place. We needed to a Schedule E (Owner’s Undertaking) as well as a Letter of Authorization allowing Kevin to submit the plans on our behalf and to deal with any issues that might arise around the plans.
We also needed to bring the signed and sealed surveys for submission as well as a certification and registration for the approved septic system that was in place. Econ needed to provide proof that they had the Home Owner Protection Office (HPO) documentation in place. Approximate time for processing? Four to six weeks. Cost? $4,025 as a deposit (estimated 50% of total amount).
Then, a bit of a stall – the District needed a “Schedule D” – a letters of assurance from the Geo-Technical engineers that stated that they are the design professionals for the project and committed to performing field reviews to ensure that those particular components are carried out and constructed in accordance with the BC Building Code.
However, as stated by the Geo-Technical Engineer:
Often the excavation cannot be carried out within the limitations of what the code allows, which is 4 vertical to 3 horizontal and thus excavation designs are required. When we simply accept responsibility for “temporary work” we can be held responsible for anything that happens onsite, even when we have not given any recommendations in this regard. Thus, if the contractor blasts the hell out of everything, causing damage to adjacent properties, people can point fingers at us. Often, the contractors excavate to the property line, undermining adjacent properties, potentially causing damage and again, the District will be asking us why this happened.
…We will need to confirm the temporary work components of the project and assess these with respect to what the BC Building Code allows. Again, we may need to give recommendations regarding how to achieve the project requirements, without potentially damaging adjacent structures.
It turns out that this Schedule D is almost never required and it had been some time since the company had even completed one. So this would complicate matters a bit.
Meantime, our contractor, Econ moved forward to nail down the costs for construction. They suggested that we hire an independent cost estimator (we had never heard of this before). This person would review all of the plans, set the price for low/moderate/high and then detail the costs for each portion of the construction. In the end this price would be what both Econ and we would be held to. This seemed like a good option for us and would help avoid any unwelcome surprises down the line (for both ourselves and Econ). The cost was approximately $2,500.