Vancouver has a plan to speed up the process of issuing home building permits and it seems to be working.
Called the Applicant Supported and Assisted Process (ASAP), the program is designed to speed up building permits processing time of single family homes, which according to Kaye Krishna, Vancouver’s general manager of development, usually takes around 25 weeks.
Under the ASAP pilot program, a number of builders and developers participated, with the goal of issuing permits within 10 weeks. The results so far have been better than expected with some participants successfully obtaining permits around 4.6 weeks after the initial application.
The reason the ASAP program is able to hack weeks off of the process is because they’re working on different aspects of the application simultaneously instead of one at a time. The quality of the applications has also improved because applicants are put through a training program that specifies what makes a successful application for construction or rezoning. This training eliminates the need for unnecessary back and forth between builders and the city.
“I know builders and designers who have said, ‘We are not going to work in the City of Vancouver any more.'”
“Everything that we’re doing, we’re trying to increase the supply of housing for all Vancouverites,” stated Krishna. “Faster permitting is the way to help enable that.”
Krishna goes on to say that the program’s outstanding success has already inspired city’s staff to apply its lessons to standard permit applications before the ASAP program’s pilot one-year run ends.
So far, participant builders and developers are quite pleased with the results. Larry Clay, president of Clay Constructions, stated that he’s used to waiting eight to 12 months for permits, but under the ASAP program, he was able to obtain permits for three projects in around 12 weeks each.
“It’s really difficult to run a small business when you are waiting so long,” Clay stated. “I know builders and designers who have said, ‘We are not going to work in the City of Vancouver any more.'”
Clay is hopeful that the results from ASAP will be implemented in a larger scale, and include far more developers.