Building permits are off to a good start in 2021, according to the City of Kamloops’ building manager.
In the first month of 2021, the city issued 92 building permits worth $8.7 million. In the same month last year, the city issued 87 building permits valued at $19.5 million.
Jason Dixon said an $11.1-million, 90-unit expansion project at Chartwell Ridgepoint Retirement Residence, at 1789 Primrose Ct. in Pineview Valley, was the difference between January of this year and last year.
Dixon said he was happy to see issued in January seven single-family dwelling permits, worth $2.9 million — up from the five issued in January of last year, worth $1.9 million.
In addition, Dixon noted six secondary suite, garden house and carriage house permits were issued last month.
“When I see projects like that, especially the carriage houses and garden suites, that fits in with what we’re trying to do as far as densification, infill,” he said. “People taking advantage of space on their property to create a rental unit, so I think that’s a good thing to see, for sure.”
This year, Dixon expects some people may be submitting projects for building permits ahead of a planned update to the building code.
On Jan. 1 2022, the city will be requiring builders to meet step three of a the BC Energy Step Code, which is a provincial update to the building code that will see buildings built to higher energy standards.
“Whenever the building code changes, we always get a rush of applications in advance,” Dixon said. “People get their applications in under the rules they know, as opposed to trying to make those changes for the rules that either get adjusted or new rules, et cetera that come along. I would expect that come November, December of this year, we’ll see a bit of a rush of applications but that’s not uncommon. That’s pretty normal.”
Dixon noted that an incentive program launched by the city in 2019 to encourage builders to start to build to step code standards in advance of the requirement to do so was fully subscribed and council is being asked during budget deliberations to approve allocation of additional climate action funds toward reinvigorating that incentive program, which ran dry in 2020.
Kamloops is coming off successive record-breaking building-permit years, with 2020 setting a new high mark.
Last year, 1,479 building permits worth $395.1 million were issued, surpassing the city’s previous record of 1,443 permits valued at $288.3 million set in 2019.
The city has issued record-breaking permit values for four straight years. In 2018, it issued $285 million and, in 2017, it issued $224 million.