09/22/2014 07:57 EDT | Updated 11/22/2014 05:59 EST

Vancouver building permit backlog hurts homebuilders

Vancouver homebuilders say a backlog of permit approvals first identified in January is still resulting in delays at city hall that are costing jobs, and millions of dollars.

Jeff Langford with JDL homes says a permit that would typically take six weeks is now taking up to six months.

"Layoffs are happening among our subtrades and their employees, and the work is there," he said. "That's the hardest part — that the work is actually there."

Bryn Davidson with Lanefab Design and Build says his compnay has laid off five people over the summer and they're still not back at work.

"For businesses like ours and the impact on our clients, it really is an emergency situation."

The city says homebuilders had been rushing to get approval before new building codes went into effect over the summer.

That deadline has now been pushed to the beginning of next year.

Langford says the city clearly wasn't prepared.

"This influx happens on a regular basis," he said. "It happened with the HST when it came in, and when it came out."

Brian Jackson, the city's general manager of planning and development, admits permits are taking about 10 weeks to go through.

New staff has been hired, and the city is hoping to clear out the backlog over the next couple of months, Jackson said.