Pre-application: preparing plans for a new house
The following information outlines the process you need to follow when preparing plans for a new house, prior to submitting a completed development application package for review and approvals.
If you have questions at any point during the pre-application process, call the supervisor of the One- and Two-Family Dwelling group at 604-873-7040, or visit the Development and Building Services Centre.
1. Zoning regulations
If you are considering building a new house in Vancouver, it is important to check the zoning regulations and design guidelines that apply to your property to ensure that the house you design will be approved for construction. The information can be found online with VanMap or the Zoning Map, or you can call the Development and Building Services Centre for assistance.
2. Property survey
You will need three copies of a survey of your property prepared by a BC Registered Land Surveyor within the past six months.
3. Building grades
All development applications require either:
- Official established building grades provided by the City’s Engineering Services, which must be submitted in addition to your property survey
- Existing building grades provided by a registered land surveyor and included in your property survey.
Building grades are necessary to ensure:
- Buildings do not exceed the height limits of zoning regulations
- Stairs, walkways, and driveways safely meet City property
- Water drains from the site without causing damage
For outright and conditional one-family dwellings in RS-1, RS-1S, RS-3, RS-3A, RS-5, RS-5S, and RS-6 Districts, existing grades provided by a registered land surveyor will be accepted.
Building grade requirements for all other one- and two-family dwelling districts can be obtained from the Building and Development Services Centre at 604-873-7611.
If your project requires an official established building grade, it must be ordered from Engineering Services. It typically takes six to eight weeks for a building grade application to be processed, so it should be ordered well in advance of your development application. For additional information, see Building grades for sidewalk and street elevation or call 604-873-7316.
4. Signed statement from a professional structural engineer
It is important that you are aware that a signed statement from a third party professional structural engineer must be included on the plans submitted, indicating that the building design complies with Section 9.4 of the Vancouver Building Bylaw.
5. Meet with Engineering Services
Before you finalize your house plans and submit them for review, you must meet with Engineering Services staff on the Ground Floor of City Hall to obtain your public sewer and water service connection information. It typically takes 10 days to process sewer and water service requests. Your development application will not be accepted by the Processing Centre until this process has been completed and approved by Engineering Services.
6. Application form and checklist
Both an application form and a checklist for plan requirements must be completed as part of your application package. The application, checklist, and other related documents can be picked up at the the Development and Building Services Centre.