Building projects made easier with help of City of Kelowna pilot project
From left to right: City of Kelowna chief building official Doug Paton, director Mo Bayat, VP CHBA Les Bellamy, CHBA Board Member Erika Jarvis, CHBA Past President Dave Pfuetzner, CHBA Executive Officer Sherri Paiement are pictured next to the Skype kiosk setup at the Rona store in Kelowna, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
(JENNA HICKMAN / iNFOnews.ca)
January 13, 2017 - 11:37 AM
KELOWNA - With the help of Skype, the home improvement process in Kelowna just got easier.
A new City of Kelowna project places a virtual kiosk at Rona, connecting the customer to a building inspector and plan checker at city hall.
“The most exciting thing about this project is the fact it’s made in Kelowna and you can’t find anything like it in Canada,” project director Mo Bayat says.
Anyone can use the kiosk, whether you are a homeowner doing a bathroom renovation or a contractor building a house. If you have a question surrounding the material you are using, or what permits you may need, you go to the camera and ask. Even during lunch hour there will be a building inspector to speak with on the other end of the Skype call.
“The video method is very important for us,” Bayat says. “Every product you use in construction needs to be certified and tested. Now all you need to do is show it to the building inspector and he will tell you if it can be used or not.”
One of the main goals of the project is to save time.
“I think it’s a fantastic way for builders and community members to be able to communicate with the city with a lot of ease ” Central Okanagan Home Builders Association vice president Les Bellamy says.
“You don’t need to drive all the way down to city hall, find parking, then wait for someone to speak with you, you can do it all here at Rona - it turns what could be a lengthy process into one stop," Bellamy says.
Bayat says the entire pilot project cost less than $5,000.
Right now the pilot project is only installed at Rona, however if the one-year trial goes well, he says they will open it up to other locations.
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