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Discrepancies in the interpretation of the Building Permit Fee Schedule

Cut Red Tape


Calculating building permit fees for multi-family wood frame construction projects is difficult to determine as the wording is unclear and not easy to follow.  When calculating prevailing market value of construction (from which fees are determined), Plans Examiners and applicants often disagree, resulting in time lost for debate and collection of additional fees.

Status: Completed

Changes made

Through consultation with industry, Building Regulations published the Residential Cost Estimate form to assist in calculating building permit fees for multi-family construction projects. The form is available on

To supplement the form, Building Regulations issued an Advisory Bulletin on with additional information on how to calculate the applicable area for the permit application.

The form provides applicants with the information they need to understand how permit fees are calculated, allowing them to correctly prepare payment for the time of application. In the first nine months of 2014, the form was downloaded 938 times, representing all multi-family permit customers.

Throughout 2010-2013, there was an average of six calculation discrepancies per months. Since the Residential Cost Estimate form has been made available, there has been one calculation discrepancy per month, tracking 63% below previous years’ discrepancy values.

“Providing the fee calculator form has been a blessing for both our customers and staff.  Our customers are satisfied that they can get the correct costs right away. With the reduction in fee discrepancies, we’ve been able to free up significant time and resources for our staff to better serve our customers. It’s a win-win for all.” 
                                                                -Raymond Y., City employee


Average discrepancy before the fee schedule/year ​72
Average discrepance after the fee schedule implementation in 2014 ​12
Discrepancies avoided 60
Customer time saved (hr) 270
​City employee time saved (hr) ​15
​Total savings for customer ($) ​$9,450
​Total savings for City employee ($) ​$450