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Permit reminder

With flood repair work at full steam, a city official is reminding the public that much of the work may require a building permit.
Major work like this east end renovation will require a building permit, city officials say. (Leith Dunick,

With flood repair work at full steam, a city official is reminding the public that much of the work may require a building permit.

Mark Smith, general manager of development services for the City of Thunder Bay, on Friday said minor work like the replacement of finishing, reinstallation of plumbing fixtures and things like minor drywall repair or replacement do not need city sanction.

But major work, like replacing or adding to structural elements, adding or removing large portions of drywall or vapour barrier or insulation, backwater valve installation and the replacement of plumbing drains, waste and vent systems will require a building permit.

“We thought it was important to get the word out to the community that while some work doesn’t require building permits, a lot of work does,” Smith said.

He stressed the reminder wasn’t issued because flood victims aren’t obeying the law.

“But I’m sure if people aren’t made aware of the fact they need permits for the work that they’re doing, that may certainly become the case.”

There’s also the do-it-yourselfers, he added.

“I’m sure a lot of the work that’s being done is being done by the homeowners themselves. But that doesn’t remove the need to have a permit for the work they’re doing.”

Without one, homeowners could find difficulties and reluctant buyers when it comes time to sell their property, Smith said, noting a permit, complete with pre- and post-work inspection, is also the safest route to go.

“There’s real value in getting a building permit. And I think the real value in having the plans reviewed prior to doing the work, and then having an inspector come out and look at the work that you’ve done, it increases everybody’s confidence that the work was done right,” Smith said.

For smaller projects, a building permit costs $50, while larger projects the price converts to one per cent of the value of the work being done.

“But much of the work that people are doing in response to dealing with the impact of the flood can be covered off on a $50 permit fee. And that fee may be eligible cost that people may be able to recover through the disaster relief assistance program.”

Smith said while it normally takes about two weeks to approve a building permit for new houses, they are doing their best to fast-track flood-related claims.

“Most permits, I’m pretty sure, we’ll be able to punch out in a couple of days,” he said.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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