My name is Gary Schneider. I am a native Oregonian and have lived in Portland for over 50 years. For the last ten years I have been in the construction business. Over those ten years I have witness a steady increase in building permits and fees required by our civil governing authorities. Of course these fees are passed on to the consumer, but the cost of building a home has become prohibitive to many would-be homebuyers. Permits and fees have accumulated to approximately $20,000 of the purchase price of the home. When revealing this cost information to the homebuyer, many are astonished to the point that I have lost jobs as a result of this revelation. In truth, when one considers that most homebuyers finance their home over 30 years, the full impact of the permits and fees in reality is $50,000-60,000.
Another example: a mechanical permit to install a fan in a bathroom costs almost the same amount as the fan itself. What is wrong with this picture?
Another effect of the never-ending rise in permits and fees is the increasing difficulty to keep employees. These fees add to my overhead and it forces me to use sub-contractors and temporary employees. Now the Construction Contractors Board has added a new 8% surcharge on permit inspections, half of which is applied to defray state administrative costs.
Why doesn’t the CCB find a way of cutting overhead instead of forcing small business to cut theirs? In my observation, the CCB must cut their expense (read fat) in governing contractors. They want an additional 4% (half of the new 8%) to defray state administrative costs. Where is the accountability with what they are currently receiving? What is the accountability of where the money is going?
In my opinion, the CCB, instead of fixing their leaking bucket by plugging the hole they created, they simply want more money to see them through their financial turmoil. They are saying that money is the answer to their problems. I say no. Their decision and behavior is the source of their problems, just as it is true for everyone else — that is reality!
Oregon contractors please wake up and demand accountability from your civil government that exercises direction, regulation, control and restraint over your business. Is it your business? Think again.