Vancouver Building Bylaw 9419

The City of Vancouver is enabled under the Vancouver Charter to adopt bylaws to regulate the design and construction of buildings.

The Vancouver Building Bylaw regulates the design and construction of buildings, as well as the administrative provisions related to permitting, inspections, and the enforcement of these requirements.

Vancouver's ability to adopt its own Building Bylaw is unique in British Columbia. This ability allows City Council the opportunity to quickly respond to issues that have an impact on building safety within the City. This ability has provided the City of Vancouver the opportunity to be a leader with respect to building regulations, in the areas of:

  • Accessibility
  • Alteration to existing buildings
  • Artist Live/Work Studios
  • Energy utilization
  • Rain screen cladding system
  • Sprinklered buildings

New Vancouver Building Bylaw will take effect on January 1, 2015

In September, 2013, Council approved in principle a new 2014 City of Vancouver Building Bylaw (VBBL).

On April 1, 2014, Council adopted the 2012 British Columbia Building Code (BCBC) with additional requirements and revisions specific to Vancouver, which takes effect January 1, 2015 (extended from July 1, 2014 at the June 24 Council meeting).

Developed in consultation with industry professionals, the new 2014 Building Bylaw 10908 includes amendments to the current Building Bylaw 9419 to improve housing for seniors and people with disabilities, while supporting the objectives of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

The complete 2014 Building Bylaw will soon be available through the Queen’s Printer.

Are you applying for a permit to build or renovate a one- or two-family home before January 1, 2015?

If you apply for a building permit before January 1, 2015, you can choose to apply under the existing Building Bylaw 9419 or the new 2014 Building Bylaw 10908.

Building Bylaw 9419 is based on the 2006 British Columbia Building Code. The copyright for the provincial part of the building bylaw is held by the Queen's Printer.

To learn about those sections of the bylaw which are copyrighted, you can read a paper copy at the Development and Building Services Centre. You can also buy a paper copy, an electronic copy (on CD-ROM), or online access through the Queen's Printer.

The Vancouver-specific parts of Building Bylaw 9419 are available below:

Ready to apply for your building permit?

To learn how to apply for your building permit, and get the process started, visit our Building Permit page for complete details:

Will you be applying for a permit to build a new one- or two- family home on or after January 1, 2015?

Staring January 1, permits for all one- and two- family homes will be processed under the new 2014 City of Vancouver Building Bylaw 10908.

Learn what this means for you, and get details of the new building permit requirements:

An overview of the coming changes

The 2014 VBBL includes new requirements and improvements for:

  • Building permit
  • Building envelope
  • Equipment
  • Health and life safety
  • Energy efficiency
  • Adaptable housing
  • CEA evaluation of energy efficiency prior to City insulation inspection
  • Energy modelling report prior to application
  • Sprinkler systems
Requirement for Measure 2014 2014 VBBL
Building envelope Windows and sliding glass doors USI-Value of 1.4 W/(K m2) (R4.06)
  Skylights USI-Value of 2.4 W/(K m2) (R2.4)
  Wall insulation RSI 3.85 (R22) effective
  Under slab insulation RSI 2.1 (R12)
  Attic insulation (traditional attic) RSI 8.8 (R50)
  Air tightness ACH 3.5 changes per hour
  Solar-ready pipe run Two 50mm diameter pipe chase for connection
Health and life safety  Spatial separation requirements
"Glazed openings" have been replaced with "unprotected openings," which will include doors, vents, and unrated walls
  Noise control
HVAC equipment to conform to noise-control bylaw
  Location of exhaust vents for HVAC/similar equipment Vertically through roof 1.5 m away from property line or horizontally through exterior wall facing street and 3 m from property line
Equipment Domestic hot water (DHW)
Minimum 78% efficient
  Domestic hot water (electric) RSI 1.75 (R 10) tank wrap
  Hot water pipe wrap Pipe insulation. 3 metre output, 1 metre input, or all if recirculating
  Electric vehicle charging Dedicated 240v outlet in garage or carport
  Heating furnace or boiler Minimum 92% efficient. No side yard venting.
  Gas fireplaces Intermittent pilot ignition (IPI) Electronic ignition systems must direct vent
  Wood burning appliances (labels showing) Max 2.5 grams/hour (catalytic). Max 4.5 grams/hour (non-catalytic)
Adaptable housing
Entrance door width
865 mm
  Entrance door peephole height 1076 mm and 1524 mm
  Interior door width 800 mm
  Interior corridor width 900 mm
  Interior stair width At least one at 915 mm
  Kitchen and bathroom faucets Lever type
Kitchen sink drains "P" trap to drain stack less than or equal to 305 mm above floor
  Bathroom space Clear space 750 mm x 1200 mm
  Bathroom conversion from tub to shower Structural reinforcement for future barrier free shower
  Outlet, switch, and control heights 450 mm to 1200 mm above floor
  Living room window height above floor One less than or equal to 800 mm
  Door opening devices Lever action: Without tight grasping or twisting of wrist
  Door thresholds 13 mm maximum

Other requirements

Prior to getting a building permit

Before you can get a building permit under the new bylaw, a new house plan needs to be evaluated by a Certified Energy Advisor (CEA) using EnerGuide Rating System, and the "P-File" submitted with the plans.

    Prior to insulation inspection

    Before the City's insulation inspection (pre-drywall), an authorized Energy Advisor must:

    1. Provide confirmation of visual verification of window ratings
    2. Complete a Vancouver Thermal Bypass checklist
    3. Complete a pre-drywall blower-door test

    Prior to final inspection

    At the time of final inspection, you must submit:

    1. A copy of the final EnerGuide Report, prepared by the CEA. Further work may be required if the home performs significantly worse than the 3.5 ACH
    2. A completed checklist by the CEA confirming that electrical, pipe insulation, and other energy requirements of the VBBL were met.

    Ready to apply for your building permit?

    To learn how to apply for your building permit, and get the process started, visit our Building Permit page for complete details:

    Will you be applying for a permit to renovate a one- or two- family home on or after January 1, 2015?

    Starting January 1, 2015, all one- and two- family home renovations will be processed under the new 2014 City of Vancouver Building Bylaw 10908.

    Learn what this means for you, and get details of the new building permit requirements.

    An overview of the coming changes

    The 2014 VBBL includes the following improvements and additions:

    • Energy efficiency upgrades based on renovation value
    • Upgrade unsafe guards, handrails, and stairs to comply with the new bylaw
    • All new work to comply with the new bylaw
    • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be in conformance and installed
    • When the value of construction exceeds 50 percent of replacement value, building to be sprinklered
    • When an alteration creates more dwelling units (other than a secondary suite), the building must be upgraded according to the Upgrade Mechanism Model in Appendix Note A-11.2.1.2 of Division B Book 1 Volume Two

    New requirements

    Under the new bylaw, there are energy efficiency requirements for existing one- and two-family homes.

    Construction value Upgrade level
    Renovation applications with a value greater than $5,000 but not more than $25,000 Provide an EnerGuide (EGH) report completed with the last 4 years. If work includes replacement of boiler or furnace, annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) must be equal to or great than 90%
    Renovation applications with a value greater than $25,000 but not more than $50,000

    As above, plus:

    If EGH report indicates great than 5 air changes per hour, building envelope air sealing required.

    Renovation applications with a value greater than $50,000

    As above, plus:

    • If attic insulation is less than <R12 (2.11 RSI) increase to R28 (4.93 RSI)
    • If attic insulation is equal to or greater than R12 (2.11 RSI) increase to R40 (7.04RSI)
    • Not to exceed R43.7 (7.7RSI)

    Ready to apply for your building permit?

    To learn how to apply for your building permit, and get the process started, visit our Building Permit page for complete details:

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    Ask questions about the building bylaw

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    Read the new building bylaw change announcement

    Roof of building under construction

    City offers additional time to prepare for new Vancouver building bylaw

    On June 24, City Council approved a motion extending the implementation of the new building bylaw from July 1, 2014, to January 1, 2015. The existing Vancouver Building Bylaw will remain in place until the end of 2014.

    Read the announcement in Chinese and Punjabi

    Find out about carbon neutral buildings

    Green building and renovating

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    Last modified: Mon, 26 May 2014 15:46:37