Construction worker in front of highrise

Permitting Improvement Program

We want to make sure that you know exactly what is required for your project, so you can feel confident that your application is complete.

Getting a permit in Vancouver can be challenging. Our goal is to simplify the process. 

To help improve permitting for business and residents, we are transforming our processes to prioritize a customer-focused experience.

Digitizing our regulations

Incomplete or inaccurate applications can result in lengthy delays with multiple rounds of review between our staff and you.

New tools to help you submit a complete and compliant permit application

Project Requirements Exploration Tool (PRET) allows you to explore and understand all regulations and requirements associated with your  project. You’ll be able to check if you're allowed to build a laneway house on your property, what permits are needed to build, and determine project feasibility – all before you hit submit on your application. The first iteration of PRET is now available for laneway homes in R1-1 zones.  

Watch how PRET supports laneway home applications

eComply allows you to upload and check all your project designs and drawings to make sure they follow regulations. You’ll receive feedback on areas that meet requirements as well as items that are incomplete, missing, or not permitted so you can resolve issues before you submit your application. eComply will launch early next year. 

Watch a sneak peek of our eComply tool

Simplifying our regulations and conditions 

To make it easier to build new housing in Vancouver, we:

  • Consolidated 9 separate low-density RS zones into 1 new residential inclusive (R1-1) zone
  • Will be proposing the elimination of nearly 30% of zoning and development by-law requirements for applicants

These changes will improve certainty for applicants with clear rules for what can be built to create more capacity in the permitting system to handle permits of all types and significantly reduce the number of documents staff have to review during the application process.

3-3-3-1 Permit Approval Framework

In June 2023 (320 KB), City Council formally adopted the 3-3-3-1 Permit Approval Framework to help eliminate the housing construction backlog, increase the supply of market, non-market, and supportive housing, with these permit approval timeline targets:

  • 3 days to approve home renovation permits (including renovations to accommodate mobility and accessibility-related challenges).
  • 3 weeks to approve single-family home and townhouse permits.
  • 3 months to approve permits for professionally designed multi-family and mid-rise projects where existing zoning is already in place.
  • 1 year to approve permits for a high-rise or large-scale project.

The 3-3-3-1 Permit Approval Framework reflects an ambitious target, and we are actively implementing permitting improvements to work towards meeting these timelines.



Contact the Development and Building Services Centre

Contact us online

The Development and Building Centre is open for in-person scheduled appointments or payments. 

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