Why get a Building Permit?
Building permits are required before you build, demolish, repair or alter most buildings, decks, mezzanines, retaining walls, garages, carports, secondary suites, swimming pools, plumbing, sprinklers, furnaces or structures.
It is important to get a Building Permit before beginning your project to:
- Protect the safety of occupants,
- Ensure you won’t have to tear your work down and start over with the required permits,
- Avoid additional permits and fees incurred if you build without a permit,
- Reassure buyers who avoid purchasing buildings with unauthorized construction,
- Maintain the value of your home, and
- Ensure any new buildings and structures comply with all building regulations including the Building and Plumbing Bylaw, the BC Building Code and Zoning Bylaw regulations.
Obtaining a Building Permit will also allow your future business tenants to get a business licence, and keeps your insurance agent and neighbors happy.
What happens if I don’t get a permit?
If you carry out a renovation project that requires a building permit without obtaining one, your municipality can issue a stop-work order, which remains in effect until you have a permit. If any work doesn’t meet the requirements of the Building Code, you will have to re-do it at your own cost. In worst-case scenarios, you could be forced to un-renovate your home, such as removing an addition. This could happen if you violate setback regulations for instance. Working without a required permit may also affect an insurance claim arising from the renovation. Check with your insurance representative.
Remember, as the homeowner, you are the one responsible — not the contractor. Renovators who suggest that you skip the building permit, are looking after their own interests, not yours. Fly-by-nighters don’t want their name on any official documents.