Failure to comply with Alberta’s safety code law could result in massive fines and possible jail time for the sole director and two agents acting on behalf of a Calgary residential construction company.
A total of 49 charges have been laid by the City of Calgary against Dhaliwal Homes Ltd., the sole manager and two agents, officials said Wednesday.
Two charges of failing to comply with a land use by-law under the Municipal Government Act have also been brought against Dhaliwal Homes Ltd. and the sole administrator.
The charges follow a three-month investigation by Calgary Building Services into the construction of two semi-detached duplexes and include:
- Building without municipal building permit for both houses and detached garages;
- Building without the necessary safety code inspections (electrical, gas, plumbing and building) in progress, and;
- Knowingly submitting false and misleading information regarding permits, inspections and occupancy permits.
“This is a pretty serious case for us, it’s very unusual,” said Cliff de Jong, director of building security services for the City of Calgary.
“We have basically four houses that have been built without permits, which is incredibly alarming and unusual for us. The very unusual scope, the scale of this is also very concerning. And we have no verification as to the compliance with safety codes, whether it’s building, electrical, plumbing, gas, not all of them are checked at this time, so that’s quite concerning.”
Punishment may include fines of up to $100,000 per violation and imprisonment of up to six months for safety code violations and a maximum fine of $10,000 and imprisonment of up to go up to a year in connection with the municipal government law charges.
This case will be heard in provincial court.
The homebuilder got initial approvals for the projects, de Jong said, “but they haven’t followed through with any other permits.”
“There are a lot of gatekeepers in the system here, there are lawyers, there are estate agents, ourselves, so it was through other gatekeepers that we were alerted to the concerns,” said he declared.
One of the buildings is in the 1700 block of 27th Street SW and the other is in the 2300 block of 27th Avenue NW
None of the homes have been occupied as the builder has not obtained an Alberta New Home Warranty which is a requirement.
The next steps, de Jong said, will be to get the necessary approvals and permits, which could be a long and expensive process.
“We have to do the inspections, and we won’t be able to do it just visually,” he said.
“We’re going to have to remove the drywall. We need to be able to look at the structure itself, the wiring, the plumbing, all that stuff. It’s certainly possible, but it won’t necessarily be easy or cheap.”
The city has offered advice for Calgarians looking to buy a home in the city, including:
- Hire a professional real estate attorney for any residential deal in Calgary;
- Ask the sellers to produce copies of their inspection report and building and business permits for any new construction or major renovation of the interior or exterior of the house, and;
- Check the proof of identification (business license and building permit) of a residential developer before submitting deposits or intention to purchase agreements.
Homeowners can verify zoning and permits obtained for a potential purchase by searching for the property address on My Property (calgary.ca).