Building permit fees get overhaul

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A Yellowknife city councillor and building contractor is hailing the city’s revamped fee structure for building permits, saying it will be much fairer on people building homes.

NNSL file photo A home under construction in the Grace Lake South subdivision.
A home under construction in the Grace Lake South subdivision. The City of Yellowknife has revamped its fee structure for building permits, using square footage instead of overall building cost to calculate it. The new fees came into effect Jan. 1. NNSL file photo

As of Jan. 1, the new fees will be calculated based on the square footage of the project and not the overall cost, although the $50 base fee will still apply.

The old fees charged a flat fee of $50 plus $7 per $1,000 worth of work. These changes are based on the recommendations of a Planning & Development operational review in June 2018. The new fees most affect residential permits.

“This is a way better way to go, in my opinion,” said Coun. Niels

Konge, who is also president of Konge Construction.

“Before if you were building a smaller more energy efficient home with a higher building cost, your permit would cost more. You were being penalized unfairly. Now, simply, permits for smaller homes will cost less and those for larger homes will cost more.”

Konge did vote on the permit changes with the rest of council but denied he was in a conflict of interest.

“These changes affect all Yellowknife residents equally,” Konge said.

Building additions are charged at a rate of 60 cents per square foot while garages, carports and accessory buildings like sheds will be charged 45 cents per square foot. Foundations, including additions and new buildings are charges 30 cents per square foot. Superstructures, the building above the foundation, are $1.50 per square foot. Multiple building permits are not required for projects with multiple structures.

Temporary buildings like trailers not intended for use beyond a maximum of two years are $100 per month. Trailers and other temporary buildings on construction sites do not require a permit provided it is removed immediately after work is complete.

City councillor says old regime unfairly penalized builders.
City councillor Niels Konge says old regime unfairly penalized builders.

“Using the floor of the building allows the calculation of the fee to be based on verifiable information and reduce disputes about the construction value and, as a result, the building permit fee,” said Viktor Tarskii, acting director of Planning and Development for the city.

“The building process becomes more transparent and does not create any obstructions for people wanting to build in Yellowknife,” Tarskii said.

The cost of energy evaluations, meanwhile, is still $1,000 per evaluation but the cost for every re-inspection following a failed inspection is now $150, up from $100 in May of last year.

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