The Building Permit Process
Once a building permit application has been accepted, it goes through several stages of review before it is ready to be issued. These typically include addressing, planning, zoning review and code review. At this stage it is possible for other issues to arise that may require additional information or documentation such as a need for a professional engineer, a development permit, variance permit, a height survey or other information. You will be contacted as soon as possible regarding any additional information that is required.
Building permits are only issued when:
- All required documentation has been submitted and reviewed
- The proposed work substantially conforms with the current building code, building bylaw and any other applicable bylaws or zoning regulations.
- All the fees are paid;
- The owner has retained a professional engineer if required
- The owner has retained an architect if required.
- The owner has retained a BCLS survey if required.
- The owner has been granted DP/DVP/BOV if required.
Building Permit Duration:
The application remains active for 6 months from application date. Once a permit is issued, it remains valid for up to two years, only if: The first inspection is completed within 6 months from permit issue date, or; The work is not suspended or discontinued for more than one year
All permits expire two years after the date of issue; however it is possible to renew a permit for an additional period if necessary to complete the project.
1. Application Process
Depending on the complexity of your application, the Building Division’s goal is to review building permit applications for alterations to an existing building in 2-4 weeks, for new houses in 3-4 weeks, and for new large buildings in 12 weeks.
Fees, Charges, and Security/Deposit
Building Permit fees are based on the value of construction with a non-refundable 50% charge due at the time of application. The remainder is due when the permit is issued. The permit fee doubles if work has started without a Building Permit being issued. The fee is reduced if a registered architect or professional engineer had provided stamped building drawings for the design. Application fees are non-refundable.
The Planning Division or Engineering & Operations Department may require fees and securities, due before the Building Permit is issued.
A Highway Use Permit deposit may be required. This charge is refundable, if no damage has occurred to City property during the development of the project. Deposit amounts vary depending on development.
Security deposits are payable by of cash, cheque or direct payment. No credit card payments are permitted.
Any work without a permit will result in increased fees.
2. Approval process
Depending on the complexity of the Building Permit application, the Building Division may circulate the application for review by the Planning Division, Fire & Emergency Services and Engineering & Operations. If the application does not comply with all bylaw and code requirements, staff will provide a written list of resubmission requirements, in the form of the Plan Review Letter.
Once all application requirements have been met and all associated approvals have been obtained, you will be notified that your Building Permit is ready to be issued. Any outstanding fees are due at time of permit pickup.
At various stages of the project, a Building Inspector will inspect forms, under slab, framing, insulation, occupancy, and final inspection. Permit holders are responsible for contacting the Building Division to request and inspection with 48 hours notice. If the request is received prior to 3 pm, every attempt is made to complete the inspection on the next business day.
Fire & Emergency Services will also conduct an onsite inspection. They will look for the location of existing hydrants, ensure that access to the project is suitable to accommodate Fire Department equipment in case of an emergency, confirm that an approved construction Site Safety Plan is in place. For more information, contact your local Fire & Emergency Services.
All documentation from all the registered professionals must be received by the Building Division prior to the scheduling of the final inspection. You must also confirm that each individual permit issued in conjunction with the Building Permit has received final inspection and there are no outstanding deficiencies. You must contact the Inspection Request Line to request a final building inspection.
The Fire Protective Services Division will also be present for final inspection of sprinkler systems and fire alarm verifications and will need to be contacted by the applicant prior to the inspection.
After a passed final inspection, the Building Inspector will notify Engineering & Operations, which will then conduct their final inspection.
Fire & Emergency Services will also conduct inspections following project completion. Depending on the type of building, the Fire Department will inspect your premises either bi-annually or annually.