Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL) update
Effective January 1, 2022, there are updated requirements for one to three storey residential buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions for new low-rise homes. Learn more about the Vancouver Building By-Law updates
Most construction projects will require you to have permits and other approvals before you can begin or manage any work that is underway.
Types of permits and approvals
Below is a list of the construction-related permits and approvals that are required depending on your project.
Before you apply for a permit:
New electronic applications
Our new electronic applications allows you to submit permit applications electronically and perform other functions digitally. Currently, some permits can be submitted online and may include the payment of fees. We’re working on adding more permits online over time. Please refer to your specific permit's steps for more information.
Getting construction approval
Construction projects on private property will require a building permit to be issued before any work begins.
Depending on your site's zoning regulations and proposal details, a development permit may be required in addition to a building permit.
Demolishing a building in Vancouver often requires at least one permit. Find out the requirements for your project, including for reusing and recycling demolition materials.
A sewer and water connection permit allows you to connect your new commercial property with our water, sanitary, and stormwater sewer services.
You may need a permit to erect a fence or wall on your property.
Signs, including painted signs, require a permit under the Sign By-law. Read the requirements, view the by-law, and download the application.
The tree removal permit allows you to take out, move, or replace trees on your property. Review the steps to getting this permit.
Get the necessary permits to install a heat pump to heat and cool your home or hot water.
Alternative solutions (“equivalencies”) allow for flexibility in building construction. Read the requirements, view the fees, and more.
Underground storage tanks that haven't been used for two years must be removed. Find out the benefits of removing a UST, how to detect one on your property, and how to get a permit to remove it or safely abandon it in place.
Learn about the permit process to install solar photovoltaic panels on your home.
In some areas of south Vancouver, flowing artesian conditions require specific professional expertise. An October 2017 advisory from the Province of BC cautions that you and your contractors may risk flooding, damage, and expenses if you drill without due diligence.
You will need an electrical permit to perform most electrical work except for replacing switches, bulbs, and making minor repairs to an installation covered by an existing annual electrical permit.
You will need a fire sprinkler permit to install a new or make changes to an existing fire sprinkler system.
You will need a plumbing permit and gas permit to install, change, or upgrade any part of a plumbing or gas system.
You will need a mechanical permit to install or replace heating and cooling systems.
Managing and completing your project
New buildings that require shoring, excavation, hoarding, or scaffolding into City property need to apply for a construction street use permit.
Book or cancel an electrical, plumbing, building, fire sprinkler, gas, or sidewalk inspection for your construction or renovation project.
An occupancy permit is needed for most new buildings, and for some existing buildings. The permit confirms the building is safe and complies with bylaws and building codes.
A noise bylaw exception permit allows construction outside of the specified hours. Download the form, view the bylaw, find the fees, and more.
This permit covers contaminated groundwater discharge during construction. Read the requirements, view the bylaw, download the application.
Operating permits help the City and health authorities track new and existing cooling towers, water features, and water systems.
Keeping yourself, your family, and your home safe from a fire. Get prevention tips, apply for fire permits and inspections, fill out a fire safety plan, and find out what to do after a fire.
If you need to use a fire hydrant for a specific purpose, such as construction or filming, you will need a fire hydrant use permit. Find out what other requirments you must meet.
Construction, film, and special event projects that use streets, laneways, sidewalks, and bicycle facilities are required to control traffic.
Find a permit or application by address, number, or date
Contact the Development and Building Services Centre online or by phone at 604-873-7611.
Have you submitted an application online?
We want to hear from you.