Residential Construction Permits
After checking the zoning bylaw and site permit requirements, you are ready to review the Building Permit process. You will find information on this page relating to new and renovated dwellings, secondary suites, detached accessory buildings, and even agricultural buildings. If you are working on a multi-family project, it may be best to review the Commercial Permit page.
For your permit submission, you are required to include
- Completed application form
- Three copies of the construction drawings (site plan, floor plans, elevations, sections and details)
- Structural Engineer’s design* with Schedule B, copy of insurance and Form 2
- Copy of new house registration through BC Housing, Licensing & Consumer Services (formerly HPO)
- Servicing information if effected by project (sewer, water, storm)
- Storm water management plan for new construction or large additions
- Other related permits/details as applicable (see Site Permits for possible requirements)
- 25% of permit fee (fee details)
* For new houses, additions, and sometimes renovations, a Structural Engineer is likely required for engineered products and seismic (earthquake) design elements.
Plumbing permits are required for new or altered plumbing systems, such as adding a bathroom, or relocating existing fixtures and for irrigation systems. The permit can be issued to a ticketed plumber or competent homeowner. If a homeowner is applying for a plumbing permit, they must demonstrate plumbing code knowledge and submit an isometric drawing of the proposed plumbing prior to permit issuance. If the plumbing permit is related to a building permit, the building permit must be issued prior to the plumbing permit. Typical inspections would be under-slab plumbing, rough-in plumbing, custom shower bases and final.
The required inspection schedule is outlined in the building bylaw. You or your contractor will need to contact our office at least a day before to arrange for an inspection at 250-544-4217. You will note at the bottom of the inspections list there are a number of documents required during the project, typically at framing and final inspections. When the project and inspections are completed, and all paperwork is submitted, the District should be able to issue a Completion/Occupancy Certificate. Any deposits submitted at the application stage will be reviewed and returned according to District policy.
Check out the related documents above for additional information on Residential Permits, Decks and Fences. Application forms and bylaws are available on the Resource Library page.
A property owner is responsible, under the building bylaw, to comply with district bylaws and the BC Building Code. This includes making application for a building permit. The owner is able, however, to appoint an agent for the application process. This can be done directly with signatures on the application form, or on the Owner Authorization form, which gives an agent permission to review the property file for historical permit documents.
Depending on the scope of non-compliance, a variance application may be possible. The Board of Variance can rule on minor variances to the Land Use Bylaw related to setbacks and height, however, their decision must be based on a hardship. For further information about this process, please check out the Board of Variance Guide.
If the variance is not considered minor, or not based on a hardship, Council could review a variance application, as a Development Variance Permit.
This process has been set up to expedite the building permit review time for a new house, based on a complete and accurate application. 5-Day Fast Track applicants are required to submit the permit checklist (pg.2 of application form) to ensure all the required information and drawings are provided. Feedback should be provided within 5 business days, or the applicant will be advised if required information is missing (subject to staff availability). If other municipal approvals are required, such as a tree permit, development permit or variance, those approvals would be pre-requisites to the 5-day building permit process. Check out the site permit page for details on permits that might be required for your project.
These are a few example of other permits that might be required:
- Electrical Permits are regulated through the BC Safety Authority
- New or altered septic systems are regulated by Island Health (VIHA)
- Site related permits (such as tree removal, soil deposit, blasting, development permits)
It is always best to check in with Building Department staff for any unique situations.
Agricultural buildings, larger than 10 sq m, require a building permit as per the building bylaw. Along with the BC Building Code, the National Farm Code applies to aspects relating to structural sufficiency, fire safety and health requirements.
You may also want to check out the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission regulations that are applicable to land located in the ALR and greater than 2 acres. A temporary mobile home, for a family member, is permitted on your agricultural property. A building and plumbing permit would be required for this structure, as outlined in the Mobile Home bulletin.
If the proposed use is not related to Agriculture, a non-farm use permit may be required from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). More information on this application process is available on the ALC website or consult with District planning staff.
Regardless of the size of the building, any accessory building (also called detached or outbuilding) is required to comply with the zoning bylaw regulations, such as setbacks and lot coverage. If the building is larger than 10 sq m in size (107 sq ft), then compliance with the building code is also required. This information can be found in the Guide to Accessory Buildings. A building larger than 10 sq m would require a building permit prior to any construction.
Permits are required for both in-ground swimming pools and permanent above ground swimming pools. A building permit application would clearly show the location of the pool on the property, the area of the pool, provide a cross section through any structure, and structural engineer design as required. A plumbing permit would be required when plumbing is connected to existing systems.
The submitted site plan would also have to demonstrate compliance with the zoning bylaw. This includes showing setbacks from all pools to the property line (Section 30 (4)) and lot coverage calculations (for above ground pool and decks).
To demolish a building or structure, you are still required to complete and submit the regular building permit application form. As part of the permit submission, you should include a site plan of the property, indicating which building is to be removed or demolished. Prior to issuing a demo permit, staff would need to cap any existing municipal services. This can be arranged through the District engineering department. In addition, please check with Worksafe BC about the safe removal of any hazardous materials, as per the provincial regulations.
Wood-burning appliances, such as wood stoves or an insert, require a permit to install in an existing code complying masonry chimney. The Fire Inspector will process and issue this type of permit. Please contact the Fire Department for more information at 250-544-4238, or find the application form here. If you are rebuilding or constructing a new masonry chimney, a building permit is required.