Do I need a building permit? Vancouver Island Guide to Building Permits

Do I need to get a building permit?

The answer to that question is probably yes. There are certain small projects that can be done to upgrade the appearance of your home that does not require a permit, but most major alterations will require you to obtain a permit through the local building department.

Why you want to be in the know!

It is important when starting the process of a renovation to know if and when a permit is necessary. There are many stages in construction that need to be inspected before further work can commence or be covered up.

For example, If you wish to do an addition on your home, the footings will need to be viewed before the foundation can be poured. Proper drainage will need to be completed before being backfilled and so on throughout the course of the build. all of which needs approval from the local authority. By obtaining the proper permits and receiving regular inspections you limit the chance of error by the person completing the work as well as satisfy the municipality and their requirements meaning they won’t ask you to dig up your work or remove drywall so they can inspect at a later date.

The guidelines set out by the BC building code are a minimum standard for your home to achieve a basic level of health, safety, and building integrity. By following the permit instructions it ensures your project will be completed with a minimum of that standard in mind.


You will need a Drawing

During the permit process drawings will have to be prepared and submitted, this is a crucial part of the construction process. It gives you and your contractor a chance to put your ideas down and paper and review the viability of the project both through a structural aspect and most importantly if it fits your budget. With a detailed drawing in place, it gives the project a baseline for material and labor costs. After the fixed costs for the structure and mechanical components have been allocated you can then make decisions on your finishes and decide how you want to spend the remainder of your budget. 

Types of permits and permission you may need

The types of permits that may need to be obtained with the city of Nanaimo:

  • residential and commercial buildings (new construction or alterations to existing)
  • demolition permits
  • service permits (for connection/disconnection to City water/sewer/sanitary)
  • access (driveway) permits
  • locate permits (for moving houses or mobile homes)
  • swimming pool installation permits
  • retaining wall permits
  • building envelope repair permits
  • commercial occupant load permits 

Nanaimo permit requirements department click this link for more info.

Types of permits that the contractors hired will need to obtain: gas permit, electrical permit. The electrical work will need to be done by a professional company holding the right licensing. If getting a fireplace done WETT certification is something you will want to get from the installer if it is a wood fireplace. The plumber will need to be put on file at the city letting them know their company will be doing the work. Technical Saftey BC will be the governing body for the gas and electrical.

The types of permission you may need are: If digging into the ground the company doing the digging will need to make a call into Call Before You Dig. It is important that the company doing the digging calls to make sure they have there permit open long enough for them to do the work. Which will keep them in contact with the companies that may be affected by there digging. 

Contact Buck Robertson Contracting for more information 

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