Development permit

Highrise under construction
Development permits

In Vancouver, you need a development permit for:

  • All new construction
  • All additions and exterior alterations
  • Many changes of use of a building or land (either all or in part)
  • Some demolitions of buildings

 Note: This list is not complete. There are many other situations for which you may need permits. For information specific to your situation, call the Development Services call centre or visit the Enquiry Centre. 

If your project will involve both a change of use or conditional use, and construction or renovation, you will only need one development permit application.

Related permits

If you need a development permit for your construction or renovation project, you will also need a building permit and at least one related permit (gas, electrical, plumbing, tree removal, or other). Your development permit must be issuable before you can apply for a building permit. Simpler projects may qualify for a combined development-building permit.

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.

Process and timeline

All buildings including “conditional” one- and two-family dwellings

  1. If you are ready with a preliminary proposal for a new development or major addition that requires a development planner to review the discretionary aspects of zoning regulations, guidelines, or policy interpretations as they relate to the proposal, we strongly encourage you to have a pre-application meeting with a development planner.

    Note: Development planner pre-application meetings are for a review of preliminary plans. For all other questions please contact the Enquiry Centre at 604-873-7611 to book an enquiry meeting.

    To start, email with the following information:

    • Contact information (name, company, phone, and email)
    • Site address
    • Current zoning of your site, and whether you are requesting a:
      • Proposal under Current Zoning
      • Rezoning
    • Whether there is a heritage building on the site
    • General description of the proposal, including whether the proposal is for a:
      • New building
      • Renovation / addition
    • Whether the proposal is for a laneway house
    • What specific advice or information you need (for example, relaxation requests)
    • Other issues or comments that will help to inform us about the proposal
    • Preliminary plans / sketches, and photos

    After sending us this information, a planner will contact you within five business days to schedule an appointment. The planner will let you know what additional materials he or she will require (for example, photos or a context plan). These need to be submitted at least two days before the appointment.

  2. Call 604-873-7611 to schedule an application intake appointment. Appointments are required to submit your application. Ensure you bring in your application and all supporting documents. While you are there, staff will review your application to make sure it is complete. Staff may ask for additional information or documents.
  3. A decision will be made typically 8 to 14 weeks after you apply and you will be given directions on when and how to apply for your Building Permit

Note: Outright applications for One- and Two-Family Dwellings qualify for a combined Development and Building Permit

All other buildings

  1. When you are ready to apply, call 604-873-7611 to book an appointment to submit your application.
  2. Bring your application and all supporting documents to the Enquiry Centre. While you are there, staff will review the application immediately to make sure it is complete. Staff may ask for additional information or documents.
  3. A decision will be made typically within 8 to 14 weeks after you apply. The length of the review process varies with the complexity of the project, the number of applications under review by Development Services, and the number of review groups or additional steps involved.

Applying for a building permit? There are new requirements, effective January 1, 2015

On January 1, 2015, we will be adopting the new City of Vancouver Building Bylaw.

When the Bylaw changes, the process for applying for your building permit will change.

Find details on what this change will mean for you:

Did your permit application get denied?

Appeal decisions to the Board of Variance or Parking Variance Board
If your development application is rejected, check if you can appeal it to the Board of Variance or Parking Variance Board.

Schedule your appeal
Learn how to file your appeal to the Board of Variance. Get information on appeal deadlines, extensions, and fees.

Prepare your appeal
Gather the required information and prepare the plans and calculations before your appeal is heard by the Board of Variance.

Attend your hearing
Learn how hearings work, postpone or withdraw from a hearing. Find the Board of Variance hearing location, dates, and times.

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Contact the Development and Building Services Centre about building and zoning


Location and mailing address
Development and Building Services Centre
Ground floor
515 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8

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

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

Free 2-hour parking
West 10th Ave parking lot,
between Cambie and Yukon

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