The Building Permit Process – City of Vancouver

Building a new home in Vancouver is an exciting and challenging process. From finding the right lot to designing your dream home, there are many important decisions to make. Like any other City, before you can begin construction, you’ll need to obtain a building permit. Here’s what you need to know about the building permit process for a new home in Vancouver.

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a legal document issued by the City that authorizes the construction of a new building or the alteration of an existing building. Building permits ensure that construction work is done safely and meets the building code and zoning regulations.

When is a Building Permit Required?

A building permit is required for new construction, alterations, additions, and structural changes to buildings. In Vancouver, building permits are required for all new home construction projects, including single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses. Some minor renovations and repairs may not require a building permit, but it’s always best to check with the City of Vancouver to be sure.  Applicants should be aware that the permit process typically takes many months and that the submission of accurate and complete documentation is critical to avoid unnecessary delays during the permitting process.  In some cases for minor renovations the permit process is streamlined via the Field Reviewprocess.

Building Permit Process

The building permit process in Vancouver typically involves several steps:

1. Pre-Application Meeting: Before submitting a building permit application, it’s a good idea to schedule a pre-application meeting with City staff. This meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss your project and identify any potential issues.
2. Building Permit Application: Once you have completed the design of your new home, you can submit a building permit application to the City of Vancouver. The application should include detailed plans and specifications for the construction.
3. Plan Review: City staff will review your building permit application to ensure that it meets the building code and zoning regulations.
4. Permit Issuance: If your application is approved, the City will issue a building permit. The permit will include details about the construction, including the type of work to be done and the required inspections.
5. Construction: Once you have obtained a building permit, you can begin construction on your new home. Throughout the construction process, City inspectors will visit the site to ensure that the work is done safely and meets the requirements of the building permit.

Permit Documentation Required:

Building Permit Application
Site Plan
Construction Drawings
Engineered Drawings and Schedules (as required)
Legal Survey
Owner’s Authorization Form
BC Housing New Home Registration (New Home Warranty)
Energy Report
Registered Professional Declaration (for demolition)
Contractor Declaration for Demolition or Deconstruction
Demolition Safety Plan (recommended at time of application).
Recycling and Reuse Plan for Green Demolition/Deconstruction
Pre-Permit Energy Checklist

What else is required?

It’s important to note that prior to applying for a building permit, the City of Vancouver requires the following pre-approvals as applicable:

Application for a sewer and waterline connection
Application to use street and sidewalk during construction
Tree protection and removal(s) documentation

Each of these approvals has its own unique set of rigorous requirements and fee structure.


The building permit process for a new home in the City of Vancouver can be complex, but it’s an essential step in ensuring that your new home is safe and meets the building code and zoning regulations. Working with an experienced contractor can help you navigate Vancouver’s unique building permit process and ensure that your new home is built to the highest standards in the shortest amount of time. By taking the time to understand the building permit process, you can help ensure a smooth and successful construction project.