Building permit

Roof of building under construction

Building permits are usually required for building or renovating work, including:

  • All new construction, including accessory buildings (garage, carport, garden shed etc.) that are permitted outright (specifically allowed) by your zoning
  • All temporary buildings
  • Additions or alterations to existing buildings, including:
    • Moving interior walls and partitions
    • Moving existing plumbing, electrical or gas lines
    • Installing new plumbing, electrical or gas lines
    • Making structural repairs or changes that are permitted outright (specifically allowed) by your zoning
  • Some "hard" landscaping features, such as fences or retaining walls

Related permits

If you need a building permit, you will likely need at least one "trades" related permit (gas, electrical, plumbing, tree removal, or other). Depending on the work proposed, the property zoning, and other factors, you may also need a development permit. Some types of projects qualify for a development-building (combined) permit.

A building permit must be issued before any work can take place.

The City is here to help

For information specific to the proposed project on your property, call the Development Services phone centre at 604-873-7611. Our staff will help you determine which permits you need, and help you navigate through the process, so you can speak to your contractor with confidence.

Supporting documentation

The documents (forms, plans, and so on) that you need to submit with your application will vary depending on the type and scope of your proposed project. The Application forms and checklists page has a list of project types. The appropriate checklist will tell you which documents, and how many copies of each document, you will need for your application.

View the Application forms and checklists page

Process and timeline

Before you get too far in your project planning, call us at 604-873-7611 with general questions or to book an appointment for an enquiry. You can also walk in to our Enquiry Centre for general questions and advice but if you have an appointment, you will be served first.

Appointments are now required for building permit application submissions.

  1. Call 604-873-7611 and book a pre-application appointment to discuss your proposed project. During this appointment you will find out if there are issues or changes required to your application before you submit. 
  2. Once you are ready to submit your application, call 604-873-7611 to book your application appointment. 
  3. Bring your application and all supporting documents to the appointment. 
  4. We will review your application and may ask for additional information or documents. The review process timelines vary between projects. We will give you a target date at your application meeting.
  5. We will contact you to pick up your permit once it is issued.
  6. You must start the work within 6 months, and request an inspection within that time. Otherwise, you will have to get a new permit.

Tenant Improvement Programs and Field Review projects will continue to be processed through our Enquiry Centre.

Find more information on these permits:

The process for Outright One- and Two-family permits will not change, but all other building permits will now be processed through our Building Permit Group.

For Certified Professional Projects, email to start your application process.

Permit fees are based on a number of factors that can vary from project to project.

You pay for the permit when you apply for it. You can pay by cash, cheque, debit, or credit.

Construction damage deposit

A construction damage deposit may also be required.

Learn about construction damage deposits

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No permit is needed to

A building permit is not needed to paint the inside of your home.

  • Replace fixtures, cabinets and flooring
  • Paint the interior of your home
  • Carry out non-structural maintenance or minor repairs to the exterior of your home

How to get alternative solutions approved

You do not have to feel boxed in by the Building Bylaw.

If your architect has proposed an alternative solution that differs from what the bylaw specifies, but still meets minimum requirements, you can apply to have it approved.

Alternative solutions

Contact Development Services

Enquiry Centre
2nd Floor, East Wing
2675 Yukon Street
Vancouver, BC

Phone: 604-873-7611

Monday, Wednesday,
and Friday
8:30am to 4:30pm

Tuesday and Thursday
8:30am to 4:00pm

Last modified: Thu, 07 Nov 2013 14:35:05