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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Building regulation bylaw
Building permit 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.
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 are payable by cheque, debit, cash Visa, and MasterCard.
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.
List of fees
Forms, schedules, bulletins
Guidelines and requirements
Get your work inspected
Much of the work you do with permits requires a follow-up inspection. It is your responsibility (or your contractor's) to arrange for all inspections at the right time.
You can request your building and mechanical inspections online (with the exception of electrical).