A decision by the City of Langford and its chief building inspector to move forward on a development without input from a licensed architect has been declared ‘unreasonable’ by a B.C. Supreme Court justice.
The ruling comes in a response to a 2016 decision by the City’s chief building instructor Jerry Worobec to issue a building permit for the construction of a residential/commercial strata complex at 689 Hoffman Ave. According to court documents, the project did not involve a certified architect and was drawn up by a designer.
In June 2019, the Architectural Institute of B.C. (AIBC) launched legal action against the City claiming it had failed to follow the guidelines of the Architects Act, which dictate that only a person or architectural firm registered with the AIBC can practise architecture. Because of the size and scope of the building, the Act also dictates that an architect needed to be involved in the Hoffman Avenue project.
The building was completed by the time the AIBC sought legal review, but the organization was looking for a declaration on the matter, and on May 29, 2020 it received exactly that.
Justice Stephen Kelleher declared the City’s issuance of the building permit ‘unreasonable’ and not in compliance with the Architects Act.
“In particular, the drawings submitted by the applicant in support of the building permit application were prepared by an unlicensed person who provides design services, not an architect, contrary to the Architects Act,” Kelleher wrote.
Langford Mayor Stew Young says the decision won’t impact the City, but will cost developers – possibly raising the cost of housing.
“We’re going to carry on with what were doing, it just means the end product is more expensive,” he said. “It’s just another cost that probably is unnecessary but we have to live with that.
“We’re not going to appeal it.”
Young said he was confident in City staff who verified that the structure complied with safety regulations.
In January, Danbrook One, a rental building on Claude Road in Langford, was evacuated after the City received a report that confirmed structural and safety concerns putting tenants at risk. A summary of the report said issues were related to the gravity and seismic force resisting system.
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