Contractor on a building site
Building permits

Building permit

For information specific to the proposed project on your property, call the Development and Building Services Centre at 604-873-7611.

Our staff will help you determine which permits you need, and help you navigate through the process, so you can speak to your contractor with confidence.

Housing process changes

Beginning February 13, we will be scheduling a designated return time for customers applying for new one and two family dwellings and laneway homes. 

A scheduled meeting time with your Project Coordinator will be mandatory to address outstanding deficiencies for permit issuance. Customers will not be permitted to drop off plans in response to deficiencies.

A customer return time will help customers and staff:

  • Resolve outstanding items efficiently and collaboratively
  • Facilitate faster turnaround for permit issuance

Contact your Project Coordinator if you have any questions regarding these changes to our process.

Related permits and deposits

If you need a building permit, you will likely need at least one "trades" related permit (gas, electrical, plumbing, tree removal, or other). Depending on the work proposed, the property zoning, and other factors, you may also need a development permit. Some types of projects qualify for a development-building (combined) permit.

A building permit must be issued before any work can take place.

Construction damage deposit

A construction damage deposit may also be required.

Building Bylaw updates

New permit requirements

Heritage building requirements

When you need a permit

Building permits are usually required for building or renovating work, including:

  • All new construction, including accessory buildings (garage, carport, garden shed etc.) that are permitted outright (specifically allowed) by your zoning
  • All temporary buildings
  • Additions or alterations to existing buildings, including:
    • Moving interior walls and partitions
    • Moving existing plumbing, electrical or gas lines
    • Installing new plumbing, electrical or gas lines
    • Making structural repairs or changes that are permitted outright (specifically allowed) by your zoning
  • Some "hard" landscaping features, such as fences or retaining walls

When you don't need a permit

You do not need a permit to:

  • Replace fixtures, cabinets, and flooring
  • Paint the interior of your home
  • Carry out non-structural maintenance or minor repairs to the exterior of your home

Before you get too far in your project planning, call us at 604-873-7611 with general questions or to book an appointment for an enquiry.

You can also walk in to our Development and Building Services Centre for general questions and advice but if you have an appointment, you will be served first.

Appointments are required for building permit application submissions

  1. Call 604-873-7611 and book a pre-application appointment to discuss your proposed project. During this appointment you will find out if there are issues or changes required to your application before you submit.
  2. Once you are ready to submit your application, call 604-873-7611 to book your application appointment.
  3. Bring your application and all supporting documents to the appointment.
  4. We will review your application and may ask for additional information or documents. The review process timelines vary between projects. We will give you a target date at your application meeting.
  5. We will contact you to pick up your permit once it is issued.
  6. You must start the work within 6 months, and request an inspection within that time. Otherwise, you will have to get a new permit.

Tenant improvement programs and field review projects

These projects will continue to be processed through our Development and Building Services Centre. Learn more about these permits:

The process for outright one- and two-family permits will not change, but all other building permits will now be processed through our building permit group.

Certified professional projects

Start your project application:

The documents (forms, plans, and so on) that you need to submit with your application will vary depending on the type and scope of your proposed project. The Application forms and checklists page has a list of project types. The appropriate checklist will tell you which documents, and how many copies of each document, you will need for your application.

View the Application forms and checklists page

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre about building and zoning


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

How to get alternative solutions approved

You do not have to feel boxed in by the Building Bylaw.

If your architect has proposed an alternative solution that differs from what the bylaw specifies, but still meets minimum requirements, you can apply to have it approved.

Alternative solutions