Water and sewer connection permits for all buildings except houses

The City’s Building Energy Retrofit Strategy targets the buildings that will most help to reduce these emissions.

Generally, buildings that are not one- or two-family dwellings, or laneway houses, go through a different application process for commercial water and sewer permits.

Most properties require a water and sewer connection permit.

Apply for a development permit first

Make an initial development permit application with the Development and Building Services Centre.

As part of your development permit review, you will receive:

  • Comments from the Water and Sewer Design Branches indicating some initial site-specific feedback for servicing your lot
  • Instructions for your mechanical engineer to contact the Water and Sewer Design Branches to apply for water and sewer connection permits. Each permit has its own separate application process. Proposed servicing applications with site plans and drawings must be submitted to each branch independently.

On-going communication is common between your mechanical consultant and the Water and Sewer Design Branches before deciding the location for your water and sewer connections.

Apply for commercial water and sewer connection permits

Follow this process for each required permit.

  1. Submit your development permit application to the Development and Building Services Centre.
  2. You will receive request letters from the Water and Sewer Design Branches requiring you to apply for a separate commercial water permit and commercial sewer permit.
  3. Have your mechanical designer contact the assigned water design and sewer design staff members indicated in your letters to submit separate permit applications.
  4. City staff review the proposed service locations and configuration, and provide feedback based on City standards to determine the optimal siting for the sanitary, storm, and water connections to your property.
  5. When an agreed-upon location and configuration is determined, you will receive a letter of approval by email.
  6. Submit signed and sealed final drawings to confirm the location and configuration before the permit is issued.
  7. When your drawings are reviewed and accepted, you will receive an email that your permit is ready to pay for.
  8. Pay the fees and pick up your permit at Engineering Client Services (see contact on this page).

Installation of water and sewer connections is scheduled only after your permit fee is received. Installation can take up to eight weeks based on crew work volume and scheduling.

Supporting documentation

For storm and sanitary sewer permits

The City requires:

  1. Mechanical plans that are prepared, signed, and sealed by your mechanical consultant
  2. A completed commercial sewer site details form PDF file (50 KB)

The mechanical design should show:

  1. The proposed invert elevation of both the sanitary and storm lines at the property line in geodetic datum. The inverts of both pipes must be the same with a typical orientation of the sanitary service being to the left of the storm service when facing the property from the City sewer mains.
  2. The proposed property line offset from the nearest property line, such as distance in metres east of west
  3. The proposed pipe sizes for both the sanitary and storm line
  4. The pipes should be spaced no more than 0.45 m apart centre to centre unless the City requires the installation of a new manhole
  5. All non-City services must be installed a minimum of 1.52 m from all proposed City services
  6. All proposed non-City services should be shown on your plan

The mechanical plan must also state:

"The City of Vancouver shall provide sanitary and storm connections to the property line. Prior to installation of the drainage/plumbing systems, the contractor must confirm sewer locations, invert elevations, and restrictions as stated on the Application for Public Sewer Connection. Failure to do so may cause delays and additional costs. Contact the City of Vancouver Sewers and Drainage Design office through a citizen service representative at 3-1-1 for assistance."

For water service connection permits

Note To avoid any servicing delays, have your mechanical designer apply for a commercial water permit to confirm the water servicing details, before obtaining the building permit.

A set of plans relating to the water servicing should be submitted to the Water Design Branch for review prior to obtaining a building permit. Plan review by the Permits and Licenses Department does not cover the Engineering Department’s requirements for obtaining water service. Water Design Branch requirements for water servicing includes both on-street and on-site plumbing details which must conform to the Water Works Bylaw 4848.

A site plan and completed site details form are required in order to submit an application for service. Refer to the example site plan and application form for guidance on what to include in these documents.

Once the overall location and configuration of water services is confirmed with your Water Design Branch coordinator, a signed and sealed set of mechanical drawings will be requested that:

  1. Confirm the location and configuration of water servicing
  2. Show the configuration and siting of the water meter

General water servicing requirements

  1. Each legal lot shall have one water service and one water meter installed. Water may not be conveyed across property lines without the written permission from the City Engineer.
  2. All strata and air space titles, or infill type developments are not permitted to have a separate water service but private metering is permitted downstream of the City water meter.
  3. Large developments may require an additional service if the City Engineer deems it necessary to properly serve the development.
  4. All existing servicing will be discontinued and disconnected when the new water services are installed. If construction water is required, you must inform your Water Design Branch coordinator at the time of application as special servicing arrangements are required.
  5. The domestic water service and water meter locations must conform to current City of Vancouver Waterworks Standards. It is the responsibility of the applicant to request a service size that will be adequate for the private domestic and fire protection systems.
  6. Service pipe invert and depth of cover is dependent upon the depth of the City’s water main and existing utilities in the area. At the point of connection between the “private service pipe” and the “City service pipe”, the depth of cover is typically between 0.8 m and 1.5 m. It is the responsibility of the customer to connect to the City’s service pipe regardless of the depth of the service.
  7. Water meter sizing will be completed by the Water Design Branch based on the domestic flow rate provided by the applicant.
  8. For meters sited within a mechanical room, the meter should be located on ground level or the first level of underground parking. 24-hour direct access to the water meter is required. If keys are required for City staff to access the meter in a mechanical room, building occupancy will not be granted until it is confirmed that the meter is installed and keys are received by Meter Shop staff.
  9. Refer to the Water Works Bylaw 4848 or contact 3-1-1 for more detailed information and the latest fee schedules.

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre about building and zoning

 The Services Centre and Phone Centre will close for the Christmas holidays at 3pm on Monday, December 24 and will reopen at 8:30am on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.


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

Contact Client Services

5th floor, Crossroads
507 West Broadway
(at Cambie St)
Vancouver BC, V5Z 0B4

Monday to Friday
(except holidays)
8:30am to 5:00pm

Phone: 604-871-6730