The new National Building Code the province is adopting is intended to create a level playing field for home construction but a local contractor has concerns.
Eddie Baird owns Baird Construction and Moveall Structures in Morell. Foundation work makes up a majority of the company’s revenue.
Mr Baird has been in the business for 38 years and supports the new code. However, he said it falls short when it comes to foundational work.
“Prince Edward Island is a bit different from the rest of Canada," he said, adding that the soil has more moisture.
"Frost is a big hindrance here, that’s why we go above the code."
The code has gained Mr Baird’s support because it creates a standard to protect residents
“The homeowner knows they’re getting something done and done right,” he said.
Mr Baird has concerns about inspections and potential delays. In his mind the process could create issues during construction season. Under the new code, work must be inspected meaning new homes being built during construction season have to go through the respective town or municipality’s inspector.
“What’s going to happen in July when everybody is looking for the same inspections at the same time?” Mr Baird said.
Towns and municipalities have the option to hire staff in-house to perform inspections and code enforcement, out-source the services or hand over the duties to the province.
The Town of Three Rivers is maintaining its in-house permit system from before the building code but is contracting Coles Associates Ltd of Charlottetown for inspection services.
Three Rivers Mayor Ed MacAulay said the code has been discussed by council since September of last year. Because it hasn’t been proclaimed yet by the province, he said the town is unsure what the next steps will be.
“We’re making contact with the province to find out what their timeline is and what we (Three Rivers) should do in the interim,” Mayor MacAulay said.
Souris Mayor Jo-Anne Dunphy said the town will continue to issue development permits but construction permit applications will now go to the province. There hasn’t been a change to costs for permits in Souris but Mayor Dunphy said that will likely change.
Inspection duties in Souris will be handed off to the province.
“There’s definitely benefits to it,” Ms Dunphy said.
She said the town sent out an expression of interest for apartment building developments to start in 2020.
Morell Mayor David MacAdam said they will stick to letting the province handle permits and inspections because of the community's smaller size.
“I think it’s a great thing. It’s something I’ve watched for probably 15 years and was looking forward to the province getting it. Anything to standardize buildings to code is the way we should be going,” Mr MacAdam said.
The Morell Rink, which has been undergoing major upgrades over the past three years, is being held to the new code as well.
“With our recent renovations at the rink, everything was brought up to the National Building Code,” Mr MacAdam said.
Before serving as mayor of Morell, Mr MacAdam worked in property insurance and said there were numerous instances where a standardized code could have prevented damaged property.
“There are certainly some things that would not have happened like collapsed buildings if the proper trusses were in place,” he said.