The 2018 BC Building and Plumbing Code is now in effect. All building permit applications are required to demonstrate compliance with the 2018 Codes. Of particular note is a change to the seismic design data which will affect the structural design of all buildings. Further details on the new code, or to obtain copies, check out the Building and Safety Standards Branch.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to a mandatory educational session for the Building Inspectors, there will be NO INSPECTIONS scheduled for Thursday, December 13.
If you are adding, altering or building new:
Check out the zoning map in the related documents above to confirm your property zoning and the Land Use Bylaw for the regulations. The property zoning specifies permitted uses, density, lot coverage, setbacks, building height, off-street parking, and other criteria.
Consider site permits that might be required. These could include tree pruning or removal, soil deposit or removal, blasting, driveway crossing or development permits for commercial/multi-family sites, shoreline properties, or environmentally sensitive areas.
Apply for a building permit, which is required for any new construction, addition, alteration, demolition, or change of use of an existing building. For details on the building permit process, check out the Residential Construction and Commercial/Industrial Construction pages.
The permit process is in place to confirm your project aligns with municipal bylaws and, for buildings and structures, the health and safety requirements of the BC Building Code.
Application forms and bylaws, including the Land Use Bylaw, are available in our Resource Library.
Almost all new construction and renovations will require a permit. Below are some examples:
- construct a new building;
- building new or removing loadbearing or non-loadbearing walls;
- completing unfinished space;
- constructing a sundeck;
- relocating bathroom fixtures or increasing bathroom size/fixtures;
- installing a wood-burning appliance;
- building a masonry chimney or fireplace;
- constructing retaining walls higher than 1.2m;
- replacing entire perimeter drainage system;
- authorizing or building a secondary suite; or,
- constructing accessory buildings larger than 10m².
Typical maintenance projects can be completed without a permit. Some examples are:
- replacing existing roofing material;
- upgrading existing windows (same size);
- repairing or replacing existing plumbing fixtures;
- painting, flooring or new cabinetry; or
- constructing a shed smaller than 10 sq. metres complying with the zoning.
According to the Building Bylaw, permits are valid for a two-year period, however, construction must start within the first year of the permit. There may be an opportunity, however, to apply to renew the permit, one time only, based on hardships beyond the owner’s control.
Building permit fees are based on the value of the project, which includes the costs of materials and labour. If you are doing some of the work yourself, you will need to provide the value of the project based on hired labour. This creates a more consistent method of determining project value for all building permits. Details on building permit fees and related permit fees can be found on the fee schedule.
If work begins prior to the issuance of a building permit, including excavation, a stop work order may be posted. This could result in a penalty fee of an additional 50% of the building permit fee, payable when the permit is issued. The building permit process protects both the owner’s interests and those of the community, by reviewing the health and safety aspects of construction. Failure to obtain proper permits can result in costly construction delay, removal of unauthorized work, unsafe construction and even possible impacts on selling your property.