On December 12, 2019, new BC Building Code revisions come into effect. These changes will apply to building permits applications received on or after December 12, 2019. More information on these changes, which includes amendments to the Secondary Suite and Energy Step Code requirements, is available here.
The District is moving forward with the BC Energy Step Code by requiring Step 1 construction for new residential and larger commercial buildings as of January 2020. To encourage even higher step code construction, there will be rebates available on the building permit fee when constructing to a greater level than required - ranging from 25% for achieving Step 3 up to 100% for reaching Step 5. Currently, Step 3 is required for those buildings constructed following a rezoning approval. For all the details, check out our BC Energy Step Code page.
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The Local Government Act gives municipalities the authority to designate a property for a specific use (commercial, residential, industrial etc.) and to determine building parameters (height, setbacks, etc.). In Central Saanich, these zoning regulations can be found in the District's Land Use Bylaw. Zoning is meant to be compliant with the Official Community Plan, which sets out the long-term vision for the community, including land use management and planning decisions.
The property zoning specifies permitted uses, density, lot coverage, setbacks, building height, off-street parking, and other criteria. If your proposal does not align with the zoning, permits may be required from the Planning Department prior to proceeding.
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.
The Development Cost Charges (DCC) Bylaw No. 1889 levies charges for transportation, sanitary sewer, storm drainage, water, and parks. The DCCs apply to small lot residential, single family residential, multi-family residential, commercial/institutional, and industrial developments. When subdivisions are created for new residential parcels, the DCC's are payable at subdivision stage. For multi-family, commercial or industrial developments, the DCC fees are due at building permit stage. Please note that the CRD DCC's are also applicable, and collected by the District on behalf of the CRD. Check out the links below for further information.
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.
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.
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.
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 . 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.
For larger projects that have registered professionals involved (architect, structural, mechanical, electrical and other engineers), District Inspectors are "monitoring" the construction and liaise with the professionals who are responsible for compliance with the BC Building Code. Similar inspections should be requested to keep the District Inspectors up to date on the construction progress.
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.
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.
Check out these pages for more information, or contact the Building Department directly at 250-544-4217.
- Building Permits on Residential Properties
- Building Permits on Agricultural Properties
- Building Permits on Commercial, Industrial, Institutional or Multi-family Properties
- Trees, Landscaping or other Site Works