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Fee hikes will add to cost of new homes

City council’s decision this week to boost building permit fees will probably add $90 to $150 to the cost of a new home, and potentially much more in the case of commercial and industrial buildings.

But representatives of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association — Central Alberta Region, and the Red Deer Construction Association say they support the increase if it helps ensure timely service.

Council approved increases to the amounts it charges for a broad range of construction- and development-related approvals, including building permits, electrical permits, plumbing permits, gas permits, heating permits, fireplace permits, occupancy permits and land use bylaw permits.

The new fees are about eight per cent higher in the case of residential projects and up about 15 per cent when it comes to non-residential construction.

Council was told that the increases would bring Red Deer’s permit fees in line with other Alberta municipalities, and enable the Inspections and Licensing Department to hire additional staff and maintain service levels.

Lisa Buckingham, president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association — Central Alberta Region, and Josh Edwards, president of the Red Deer Construction Association, confirmed that their organizations were consulted by the city about the need for fee increases. They said they recognized the need for change.

“As the industry grows, and Red Deer has more areas and more need for inspections and licensing officers, then of course there’s got to be an increased cost associated with it,” said Buckingham, who is the contract sales manager with Trail Appliances.

“It makes sense,” agreed Edwards, business development manager with Scott Builders Inc.

“If they can streamline the process and make the permits get issued more efficiently, then we’re in support of that process.”

Bob Emms, owner of Dobrich Construction Ltd. and a past board member with the Red Deer Construction Association, participated in the meeting with city officials.

He sees the importance of providing the financial support necessary to ensure prompt service.

“If we’re waiting for inspections and it’s holding up projects, that’s costing us more money than the additional cost would be for the permits.”

Buckingham estimated that previously the cost of the permits required to build a house ranged from about $1,100 for a basic home to $1,900 for a high-end project.

Those numbers will likely increase by about $90 and $150 respectively, with the new fee structure.

Emms said it’s tough to assign a dollar value to the permits required for non-residential buildings, because those projects vary so much.



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