Vail Valley builder welcomes permit ‘holiday’ |

Vail Valley builder welcomes permit ‘holiday’

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Throughout the Vail Valley’s recent boom years, the best place to see R.A. Nelson trucks and crews was on big job sites. Times have changed.

The longtime local construction company is still on some of the valley’s remaining big-project sites, but those projects are a lot harder to spot these days. Through July 1, builders had taken out about 100 fewer building permits in 2009 than in 2008.

That’s why R.A. Nelson Marketing Director Diana Scherr said the company welcomes a new county initiative that’s going to make home remodeling jobs a little less expensive.

Through Aug. 15, the county is waiving the first $500 in permit fees for home remodeling jobs. There are a few strings attached, of course, and the “permit holiday” doesn’t apply to projects that need electrical or plumbing inspections.

“We just think it’s nothing but positive,” Scherr said. “It could be just the thing to get some people to approve a project.”

But the reduced fees won’t go very far.

Brent Rimel, a project manager for R.A. Nelson, said the company’s doing a $750,000 remodeling job on a home at Beaver Creek this year. The permit fees for that project came to more than $7,500 he said.

But taking $500 off, say, a $20,000 project could be significant, Rimel said.

And these days, it should be pretty easy to find people willing to take on a project.

“There was a time not to long ago when it was hard to get people to even look at a smaller project,” Scherr said. “So in that case, the glass is half full. People can get those projects done.”

Besides the relative ease of landing a contractor these days, Scherr said the price of materials has come down from last year’s highs, too, as has the price of labor.

“The estimate on that kitchen project may be better, significantly, than it was last year,” she said.

And, if the break on permit fees sparks the local construction industry, so much the better.

“Everybody’s just thankful to be getting whatever work they’re getting these days,” Scherr said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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