Building permit (commercial and multi-family home)
You need a commercial building permit for any new building, addition, change of use, or alteration other than a single family house.
When you need a building permit
You need to apply for a building permit if you want to:
- alter an existing building
- change the use of an existing commercial or industrial space
- construct a building
- demolish a building
- make structural alterations or repairs
When you do not need a building permit
You do not need a building permit if you want to:
- do routine, non-structural maintenance
- replace plumbing fixtures, cabinets or flooring
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.
Before you apply
There are a few potential requirements you should understand before you prepare your application, as they can impact your overall project budget.
Potential upgrade requirements
A number of District bylaws require building upgrades that could impact your project budget, including:
To determine whether upgrade requirements apply to your project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you apply for your permit, you are required to pay a 50% non-refundable estimated permit fee. All remaining fees are payable when your permit is issued. A service clerk will contact you with your outstanding fees and securities prior to issuing your permit.
1. Determine your project type
Understanding which of the following categories your project falls under will help you understand the specific requirements you need to satisfy to get your building permit.
- Minor alteration – projects with an estimated construction value less than $150,000
- Major alteration – projects with an estimated construction value more than $150,000
- New construction
2. Prepare your permit submission plan
For major and minor alterations, get detailed submission requirements in the Commercial Tenant Improvement Handout.
For new construction, get detailed submission requirements in the New Construction Checklist.
3. Hire an architect (if applicable)
You need an architect for projects that require architectural services under the Architect's Act, including mezzanine additions.
You don’t need an architect for projects that are only mechanical, electrical or structural.
4. Arrange permit application submission
Once you have a complete commercial building permit application assembled, contact email@example.com to arrange submission.
After you apply
Pay 50% of your fees
We'll email you an invoice to pay the application portion of the building permit fee (50% of the total building permit fee) once we receive your complete building permit application.
The application review process will begin upon receiving your fee payment. This involves staff from multiple departments who make sure you meet the bylaw, development permit, development covenant, and building code requirements. They will also:
- calculate fees, charges and securities you need to pay before getting the permit
- work with you on the required legal agreements
- prepare servicing agreements if your work is on District property
When we’re ready to issue the permit
You’ll need to pay the remaining balance of the building permit fee, securities, and any other required fees or charges.
For complex projects, we’ll hold a pre-construction meeting to go over preconditions to commencing civil work, and the following requirements for the construction phase:
- Compliance monitoring
- Construction traffic management
- Noise Bylaw
- Construction fire safety
For alterations to buildings constructed before 1990, you must obtain a hazmat clearance certificate from WorkSafeBC before booking any inspections.
List of individual requirements