Apply for permit fee assistance for your cultural space construction and renovation permits

When you need a permit

COVID-19 update: Development, Building, and Licensing 

October 4, 2021: Services Centre access is by appointment only. Walk-in service and drop-in appointments are not available. 

To help process your applications more quickly, we have moved to a digital approach for all applications, enquiries, and payments. 

Wearing a mask is required if you need to visit City, Park Board, and library facilities.

  • General enquiries: Phone 604-873-7611
  • Building, development, and application enquiries:
    • Use our online form and receive a tracking number, which you can use to get real-time status updates from 3-1-1.
    • We will respond to all enquiries within 10 business days.

You may still need to submit physical drawings and plans for your project through our online form or email.

Projects that don't require a permit

Many small projects and repairs do not require a permit.  These include:

  • Replacing fixtures, cabinets, or flooring
  • Carry out non-structural maintenance and minor repairs to the exterior of your home
  • Painting
  • Unclogging drains
  • Replacing an existing electric powered hot water tank
  • Replacing defective fuses, receptacles, or switches
  • Installing roofing, gutters or drain-pipes

Generally, you will be required to have a permit to begin construction, such as:

  • Any new construction (new buildings and/or renovations to existing buildings that create a new area)
  • Changing the land use of an existing commercial space
  • Adding a secondary suite to an existing house
  • Renovation projects that include moving interior walls and/or existing plumbing, electrical, or gas lines
  • Structural repairs
  • Drywall repairs to fire separations in multi-unit residential buildings
  • Building or altering a garage, shed, or deck
  • Renovating or tenant improvements for a new or existing commercial space

Not sure if you need a permit? When in doubt, please contact the Development and Building Services Centre to determine if you are required to have a permit for your particular project.

 You may get a partial application fee refund when you withdraw your permit application (if the fee is refundable in its applicable by-law). Please note that an $85 administration fee will be required to process your refund request.

Risks of working without a permit when it is required

If you or your contractor do not have a permit for work that has already started, and it turns out you need a permit for that work, you could face serious – and potentially costly – consequences, including:

  • A “work without permit” penalty (This is typically double the original permit fee.)
  • A delay while your permit application is processed (All work must stop during this time and the original timeline and fees to process an application still apply.)
  • A potential to remove work that was already commenced prior to obtaining a permit
  • A potential to do more work than you had originally planned and budgeted for, such as adding fire sprinklers or making seismic upgrades
  • Potential for future legal and/or financial issues when selling your property or filing an insurance claim

 As the homeowner, you are responsible for paying these fees or penalties yourself even if you have hired a contractor who assured you that permits were not needed.

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre

Contact us online

Phone: 604-873-7611

Access to the Services Centre is by appointment only. Walk-in service and drop-in appointments are not available. 

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

Transit nearby

  • Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain Station
  • 99 B-line, #15, and #9 buses