Decision SSAB 1-2023 between The Appellant and BC Housing

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Date issued: May 2, 2023

File: SSAB 1-2023

Indexed as: BCSSAB 1 (1) 2023
an Appeal to the British Columbia Safety Standards Appeal Board

The Appellant
(“BC Housing”)

Reasons for decision

Chair: Jeffrey Hand
On behalf of the Appellant: The Appellant
Counsel for BC Housing: Kevin Boonstra


[1] The Appellant brings this appeal in respect of a decision of the Registrar of BC Housing which denied the Appellant’s application to be granted a Residential Builder License.  The Registrar found that the Appellant had not met the requirements set out in the Homeowner Protection Act which require a minimum of 24 months experience managing residential construction projects during the past five years.

[2] The Appellant says his experience as a shop teacher and previous work performed on residential homes in since 1986 should constitute an equivalency for the license requirements.  He asks that the Board overturn the Registrar’s decision and grant him the license he seeks.

Background facts

[3] The Appellant resides in Prince George.   He holds a Bachelor of Education Degree in Industrial Education. He was a high school shop teacher for 37 years, teaching woodworking and architectural drafting. He retired from that position in 2018. In his spare time, he has been involved in various residential construction projects and since his retirement from teaching he now wishes to pursue a license as a residential builder.

[4] The Appellant has successfully completed training with BC Builder Training in 2021 and 2022, which is approved for core competency training by BC Housing. His certificates are in the following areas:

  • Business & management Fundamentals
  • Construction Management & Supervision Fundamentals
  • Construction technology
  • Customer Service and Home warranty
  • Financial Planning & Budget Management
  • Legal issues
  • Building codes & Relevant enactments

[5] On July 1, 2022, the Appellant submitted an application for a Residential Builder licence to BC Housing.

[6] On November 1, 2022, the Deputy Registrar of Licencing at BC Housing declined to grant the application because she found that the Appellant had not demonstrated he had relevant experience in the management and construction of residential homes for at least 24 months acquired over the past five years.

[7] On November 29, 2022, the Appellant requested a Registrar’s review of the decision denying his license application.

[8] On January 19, 2023, the Registrar delivered her decision. She upheld the Deputy Registrar’s decision.

[9] On February 13, 2023, the Appellant filed an appeal of the Registrar’s decision with the Board. The Appeal proceeded by way of written submissions which closed on April 6, 2023.

Issue on appeal

[10] The issue to be decided is whether the Appellant has met the requirements for the issuance of a residential builder license.


[11] The Homeowner Protection Act [SBC 1998] Chapter 31, (“the Act”) contains the following provisions that are relevant to this appeal:

Licensing of residential builders

14 (1) A person must not carry on the business of a residential builder unless licensed under this Part.

(2) On application to the registrar, a person may be issued with a licence as a residential builder if

(a) the registrar is satisfied that the person

(i) meets the prescribed qualifications for licensing or has the experience, training or competence equivalent to the prescribed qualifications, and

(ii) meets the prescribed conditions for licensing,

[12] The prescribed conditions are set out in Section 4.01 of the Homeowner Protection Act Regulation

Qualifications for new residential builder licence

4.01 (1) This section applies to a general contractor who is applying for a residential builder licence and

(a) who has not previously held a residential builder licence,

(2) The registrar may issue a residential builder licence to an applicant described in subsection (1) (a) only if the applicant provides, in a form acceptable to the registrar, proof that the applicant has

(a) at least 24 months of experience managing or supervising residential construction, obtained within the last 5 years, and

(b) successfully demonstrated competency in accordance with Schedule 6.

(emphasis added)

[13] BC Housing Regulatory Bulletin No 28 dated September 2022, although not part of the legislative scheme, provides some interpretive understanding of how the legislative requirements are applied by BC Housing. Bulletin No 28 has these relevant statements:

Experience requirement

An applicant must show they have at least 24 months of experience managing or supervising residential construction, within the last five years. The purpose of the experience requirement is to ensure that a new licensee has the demonstrated skills and abilities to oversee the construction of a new home.

Relevant project work

List your most relevant projects and experience first on your licence application, including work managing construction of single-family dwellings, duplexes and other new residential projects.  Although residential construction of new homes is required by Regulation, alternate construction experience, such as large residential renovations, commercial or industrial construction may also be considered as equivalent by the Registrar. In addition, if your construction experience was not as a construction manager but in another capacity, such as engineer or architect, you may also submit your relevant project experience for review.

If you want your experience considered as equivalent, you must provide an explanation for how these projects are equivalent to managing residential construction. For example, building or designing a bridge is not sufficiently equivalent to residential construction. However, building a commercial hotel requires similar knowledge with many of the same building components as multi-family residential construction.

[14] There is no controversy that the Appellant has completed the required core competencies for a residential builder license as set out in Schedule 6 of the regulation. The sole issue in this appeal is whether he meets the requirement for having worked as a manager of residential construction projects, or equivalent projects, for a period of 24 months during the past 5 years.  The Appellant says he has equivalent experience that should exempt him from this 5-year requirement.

[15] The Appellant relies on the following specific experience:

  1. In the1980s he oversaw a program for high school students to work with red seal carpenters to construct an entire home.
  2. In April 2016 he obtained a building permit as an owner builder to construct his own home located in Prince George. This home achieved final occupancy in October 2017.
  3. A property on McAloney Road, Prince George, constructed May-October 2019. This was a residential renovation for Northern Capital Wood Products. This work consisted of finishing, cabinetry, and flooring.
  4. Some other unspecified projects completed for Northern Capital Wood Products dating back to 2012. This work also consisted of finishing, cabinetry, flooring, electrical and plumbing.
  5. 3 other residential projects he worked on in 1986, 1990, and 2013.
  6. Teaching experience in relation to carpentry and drafting accumulated over the past 37 years.

[16] Looking at the listed experience, the Registrar considered the home constructed nearly 40 years ago while the Appellant was a school shop teacher to be well outside the 5-year experience requirement and not able to be considered in his application.

[17] The Registrar considered the Appellant’s home in Prince George to be relevant experience, since the Appellant had overseen the majority of the work from start to finish. However, most of the work was completed outside the 5-year window. The Registrar recognized the 3.5 months of work done after July 2017, but not the previous 15 months of work performed in 2016.

[18] The Registrar also did not consider the projects done in 1986, 1990, and 2013 given the timeframe for this work.

[19] The Registrar disregarded the work done for Northern Capital because it consisted of cosmetic renovation work rather than overall management of the construction of a home.

[20] The Registrar did not consider the Appellant’s teaching experience as equivalent to actual management of residential construction.

[21] The Act and Regulation establish the requirements for the issuance of a builder license. Those requirements are the core competency training and 24 months experience as a residential builder attained in the last five years. There is some discretion granted to the Registrar to consider experience in other types of construction equivalent to residential experience. This requires the Registrar to weigh the nature of that alternative experience. It is a qualitative equivalency but not a quantitative one in my view.  In other words, while there may be alternative experience to be considered, the quantitative requirement of 24 months experience in the past five years found in the Act does not lend itself to an equivalency analysis in my view.  Whatever the experience, the legislation requires that it must be at least 24 months acquired in the past five years.

[22] There are good reasons for having this 5-year requirement. It is to ensure that those who are granted licenses have demonstrated a sufficient degree of recent experience with the current building codes and practices before such persons hold themselves out as licensed builder to the general public.

[23] I agree with the Registrar that construction experience that does not include managing the significant aspects of residential construction does not qualify as relevant experience. Cosmetic renovations or discrete construction tasks do not meet this requirement. Accordingly, the work done by the Appellant for Northern Capital Wood ought not to be taken into account, either as a meeting the requirements or as an equivalency. That is not to say that the work done for Northern Capital by the Appellant was not of good quality, as evidenced by the letter of reference supplied. Rather, it is the limited scope of that work that disqualifies it from consideration.

[24] The only project that meets the requirements for acting as a manager of a residential home project in recent years is the owner-built home in Prince George, but this project only provided 3.5 months of work experience in the 5-year timeframe required by the legislation.

[25] The letters of reference the Appellant has submitted go some distance to verifying that he is a competent builder. But these references speak to the quality of his work which is not in issue. It is the time requirement during which he gained his experience that is in issue and the letters of reference cannot be a substitute for that time requirement.

[26] I also agree with the Registrar that the Appellant’s work experience as a shop teacher is not equivalent to working as a manager of residential construction. 

[27] I have also been mindful of the objectives of the Act, which are to strengthen consumer protection for buyers of new homes and to improve the quality of residential construction. The Act also requires that I consider those objectives when deciding appeals.  I am not satisfied that granting this appeal would further those objectives of the Act.

[28] I find that the Appellant has not demonstrated that he meets the requirements for a residential builder license.

[29] Accordingly, I confirm the decision of the Registrar. The appeal is dismissed.