After deputy chief building official dismissed, changes weaken checks & balances in inspections vs development

Carli EdwardsOn December 10th City Hall announced the unexpected dismissal of Carli Edwards, the Deputy Chief Building Official who had held that post since 2012.

The story from City Hall is that Ms. Edwards had completed minor renovations to her home without a permit. One important piece of information revealed incidentally was the City’s plan to reorganize the oversight of building inspections.

In an article in the Vancouver Courier, investigative reporter Bob Mackin revealed this (our underline):

Community services general manager Brenda Prosken announced the resignation in a Dec. 10 staff memo that also said building and trades inspection would be transferred to Planning and Development under general manager Brian Jackson. Property use inspections, compliance coordination, licensing and animal services would remain within Community Services.”

Let’s think about this. The fact that the City will be transferring the oversight of building and trades inspection over to Planning Chief Brian Jackson should be of concern for anyone concerned about the functioning of City Hall.

Mr. Jackson will now oversee inspections of the very buildings that are approved by his department. This change will remove checks and balances that were built into the organizational structure at City Hall. The decision deserves further scrutiny, review, discussion, and rectification.

It was announced that Ms. Edwards would leave her post on December 31, 2014. Further details about the dismissal (the “voluntary resignation” according to the City) can be found in the following articles:

There was a glowing report dated 24-Jul-2012, at the time Edwards was appointed:
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20120724/documents/icreRTS9706-AppointmentofDeputyChiefBuildingOfficialandDeputyCityElectrician.pdf

Excerpt:

In Ms. Edwards’s current role she is responsible for leadership and direction of all inspection staff who deliver inspection services, including administration and enforcement of the City’s Building By-law. Ms. Edwards is a professional engineer with excellent management and leadership experience in addition to having a good understanding of building construction and the City’s regulatory framework. As such, it is recommended that she now be appointed Deputy Chief Building Official.”

Note also that the document mentioned “the resignation of the previous Deputy Chief Building Official (Inspection Services)” (for reasons not disclosed in the paper).

The work of Ms. Edwards enforcing bylaws is mentioned in this Clifton Hotel piece:
http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/05/08/low-income-clifton-hotel-residents-face-evictions

Here are examples of her enforcing injunctive relief:
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20131009/documents/ptec4.pdf
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20131009/documents/ptec4_presentation.pdf
2003:
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20031021/a3.htm

3 thoughts on “After deputy chief building official dismissed, changes weaken checks & balances in inspections vs development

  1. Perhaps this also explains why the hold on laneway houses being constructed at the same time as redevelopment of main houses has been released. It may well be the hounds have been unleashed.

  2. Have you ever had a building permit in Vancouver?
    First, it takes way too long – they don’t care if it costs you money to wait – not their problem.
    Then even if you were a very bright person who could design your own home – not allowed – you must have an architect do the drawings and then your engineer will review. Perhaps throw in a by-law consultant and then submit the plans.
    Before you are given a permit to build, you MUST sign a paper that states that even though you are forced by the city to be inspected by their employee, the city is not responsible for any mistakes or other issues with your building. They are free and clear and there is no going back to them if you discovers deficiency later on. NO RESPONSIBILITY !
    As a home owner you should be able to have your architect and engineer do the inspections as they are both professionals and they have insurance if anything is wrong with the building.
    The city should allow people the chose of either your own inspections or the city inspector ( most of who are usually failed contractors with attitude )
    Get rid of most of the building department @ City Hall

  3. Autocratic ‘leadership’ at its best. Take out the checks & balances. Perhaps Ms Edwards had opinions..how annoying!
    Mark A. is entirely right. But this process applies to independent homeowners. I suspect the process is streamlined for Developers.

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