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PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT - Building permits

Thursday, August 05, 2021 @ 5:31 AM  


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Appeal by the City from a decision of a chambers judge granting the Architectural Institute a declaration that a decision of the City’s building inspector approving a permit for a building that was not compliant with the Architects Act was unreasonable. The proposed building was designed, and the construction supervised by a designer, and not by a licensed architect as required by the Architects Act. The City took the position that the authority to approve building permits was discretionary under the legislative instruments under which building inspectors operated, and that on exercising their broad discretion, building inspectors were under no obligation to consider or comply with the Architects Act.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The provisions of the City’s Building Bylaw were of limited, if any, assistance in determining whether the safety standard set out in the Architects Act constrained the discretion conferred on building inspectors to approve plans. Whether a decision to approve plans that were in contravention of the safety standard set out in the Architects Act could be justified in relation to the facts and law that constrained the decision maker did not turn on the provisions of the Bylaw, but on the effect of mandatory provincial legislation external to the Bylaw. The mandatory safety standard set out in the Architects Act was a statutory constraint on the exercise of the building inspectors’ discretion, irrespective of the terms of the Bylaw or the interpretation of those terms.

Architectural Institute of British Columbia v. Langford (City), [2021] B.C.J. No. 1412, British Columbia Court of Appeal, L.A. Fenlon, J.J.L. Hunter and S.A. Griffin JJ.A., June 30, 2021. Digest No. TLD-August22021005