Building permit: Single family home

When you need a building permit

You need to apply for a building permit if you want to:

  • build a new house, garage, or carport
  • alter an existing house or build an addition
  • create a secondary suite
  • demolish a house
  • install a swimming pool
  • build a retaining wall higher than 1.22 metres (4 feet)
  • build a shed or accessory building larger than 10 square metres (107 square feet)

When you do not need a building permit

You do not need a building permit if you want to:

  • do non-structural maintenance or minor repairs
  • replace fixtures, cabinets, or flooring
  • build a shed that is 3 metres x 3 metres (10 feet x 10 feet)  or smaller
  • build a deck that is less than .6 metres (2 feet) off the ground
  • build a fence

Learn the rules for single family home building

Zoning and building bylaws and other regulations guide home building in the District. Be sure you are familiar with what is and isn't allowed on your lot before you begin applying for permits.

Find out what you can build on your lot

Need help?

If you do not understand the requirements for your application, or need help interpreting the relevant building and zoning bylaws, you can schedule a pre-application meeting with a plans reviewer. The reviewer can walk you through the process and requirements, and answer all of your questions. There is a fee for this service.

Application process

1. Complete the Building Permit Requirements Questionnaire and environmental permit application

This will help you understand the requirements you need to satisfy in order to get your building permit, and determine if you will need a separate environmental permit.

You will find the questionnaire and environmental permit application in the 'Requirements' tab.

If your property is within a development permit area, you will also be required to apply for a development permit. In most cases, you apply for the development permit before you apply for your building permit. See if you are in a development permit area.

2. Complete an owner’s undertaking (Schedule E)

This document confirms that you are the property owner, or you are authorized by the owner to submit this application.

Download Schedule E (Owner's Undertaking)

3. Schedule a required appointment with a District plans reviewer to submit your application

Bring your completed Master Requirements Questionnaire and Schedule E to your appointment, along with any supporting documentation that is required, including:

  • 2 complete sets of building permit drawings
  • applicable zoning checklist, completed
  • a recent title search (or you can pay a fee to have us do one)
  • a site survey (as determined by your Master Requirements Questionnaire)

You will also need to pay 50% of the building permit fee, which is non-refundable.

4. Get your permit

Depending on the number of permit applications in our queue, you should receive your permit for regular new construction in 6 weeks. At this point you pay the remaining 50% of the permit fee, your security deposit, and other permit-related fees.

You must start work within six months of receiving your permit, and work must be completed within two years. You are also responsible for arranging for all of the necessary inspections.

Learn more about required inspections and how to request them

5. Apply for other permits you may require

Once your permit has been issued, you can apply for any other permits that you may need, including electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and gas.

Learn about other required permits

Requirements

Zoning regulations

Learn about building requirements in single family residential zones

Building regulation bylaw

Review the building bylaw

Master requirements questionnaire

Download the complete master requirements questionnaire

List of individual requirements

These documents will help you complete the master requirements questionnaire. Whenever a question on the master questionnaire refers to an "MRL number" refer to the corresponding document in this list for further information.

MRL # Document title
GEN 101 Letter of Authorization
GEN 102 Title Search
GEN 103 BP Application Pending Subdivision Approval
GEN 104 Lot Unconsolidation
GEN 105 Licence to Occupy District Land
GEN 106 Design Guidelines Reviewed by Consultant
GEN 107 Heritage Approval (pending)
GEN 108 Pre-application Meeting
SPE 101 Owner Building Declaration and Disclosure Notice
SPE 102 HPO Registration Form - Detached Dwelling Unit
SPE 103 Fire Limits Area - Sprinklers
SPE 104 Sloping Sites (Greater than 10 DEG)
SPE 105 Sloping Sites (Greater than 20 DEG)
SPE 106 Flood Hazard Report
SPE 107 Creek Hazard Report
SPE 108 Alternate Sewage Disposal System
SPE 109 Potable Water Community Waterworks System
SPE 110 Potable Water Private System Approval
SPE 111 Water Licence Rental (Potabel Water) - MOE
SPE 112 Alternate Storm Water Disposal System Approval 
SPE 113 SPE 113 Blasting Permits
SPE 114 Conceptual Storm Water Management Plan
SPE 115 Wildfire Hazard Report
BLD 101 Letter of Assurance
BLD 103 Survey - Simple
BLD 104 Survey - Moderate
BLD 105 Survey - Complex
BLD 106 Site Plan - Simple
BLD 107 Site Plan - Moderate
BLD 108 Site Plan - Complex
BLD 109 Preliminary Drainage Plan
BLD 110 Foundation Plan
BLD 111 Floor Plans 
BLD 112 Elevations - Simple
BLD 113 Elevations - Moderate / Complex
BLD 114 Building Cross-section
BLD 119 Outdoor Pool and Hot Tub Regulations
BLD 120 Professional Liability Insurance
ENG101 Municipal Service Connections
ENG102 Driveway Requirements - Slope Less Than 10 DEG
ENG103 Driveway Requirements - Slope 10 DEG to 20 DEG
ENG104 Driveway Requirements Slope Greater Than 20 DEG
ENG105 Curb Requirements
ENV101 Sediment & Erosion (S&E) Control Plans
ENV102 Sediment & Erosion (S&E) Control Plans Medium Projects
ENV103 Soil & Water Quality Confirmation Reports
ENV104 Residential Underground Storage Tank (RUST)
ENV105 Tree Location Sketch Plan - Simple
ENV106 Arborist Report
ENV107 Tree Retention or Restitution Plan - Simple
ENV108 Tree Retention or Restitution Plan - Moderate
ENV108A Tree Retention Plan - Complex
ENV109 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report
ENV110 Hydrologist or Hydro-Geologist Report
ENV111 Aquatic or Wildlife Habitation Compensation Plan - Complex
ENV112 Section 219 Covenant - Environmental Protection 
ENV113 Outside Agency Approval - Enviro Review Comm (ERC)
ENV114 Outside Agency Approval-Burrard Enviro Review Comm (BERC)
ENV115 Outside Agency Approval - Dept of Fisheries & Oceans
ENV116 Outside Agency Approval - Ports of Vancouver
ENV117 Soil Permit - DNV
ENV118 Tree Permit - DNV
ENV119 Aquatic Area Permit - DNV
MEC101 Solar Hot Water Heating
SPR101 Sprinklers and Fire Alarms in Residential Buildings

Fees and securities

Fees you are required to pay

You are required to pay fees to get a new permit or renew an existing permit to build, alter, repair, remove, or demolish any building or structure regulated by the building code, with the exception of sprinkler systems.

When you apply for your permit, you pay 50% of the estimated permit fee, which is not refundable. All remaining fees — including securities — are payable when your permit is issued. A service clerk will contact you to let you know what your outstanding fees and securities are prior to issuing your permit. 

How to pay your fees

Permit fees

Permit fees are payable by cheque, debit, cash Visa, and MasterCard.

Refundable securities

Refundable securities, such as building, environment, landscape, off-site, and certain driveway, concrete, connection, and site services, can be paid by cheque, debit, cash, or letter of credit (for amounts over $2,500). We do not accept credit cards for security deposits.

Download a sample letter of credit

List of fees

Fees you may be required to pay are available in the fees and charges bylaw