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Contractors slammed with winter patio requests

Last Updated Oct 16, 2020 at 9:31 am MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) – A company selling heaters just got out of a backorder while a sunroom builder says it’s the busiest season in 50 years.

A patio coffee doesn’t seem so bad an indoor setting, but while contractors start putting up walls for restaurants preparing for the winter, they say they’re extremely busy doing quotes for winterizing patios.

The work is pricey and comes with delays – as contractors deal with their busiest season in decades.

Fred Stuwe with Select Sunrooms and Rollshutters said he’s driving to businesses, assessing patios and doing estimates.

“Our season is probably four months long, so if you add a month, a month and a half at both ends….so they actually have heaters so customers are actually quite comfortable.”

WATCH: Restaurant says with permits, construction delays, it’s winter patio could be up in March

However, he said city development permits can take months, and only then can he buy product, leaving him to tell businesses their enclosed patios won’t go up until spring.

Another company, Calcana Heaters is seeing a boom for those looking for heaters across North America and has only just caught up on some backorders.

“We have interest mostly in Canada during spring and summer. Usually, around this time of year it slows down for patios, but not this year,” said Joanne Bosch with Calcana.

The City of Calgary said its had about 300 pre-application inquiries about patios and it aims to have a decision on permits within 60 days saying a large part is taken up by provincial mandate to have an appeal period.

Stuwe said restaurants are backed into a corner and it doesn’t blame clients who don’t go follow through after they get quotes.

“For getting a permit, usually there are a lot of roadblocks, they have to make that a bit more lax.”