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One of the most important things you can do as a home owner is make sure the contractor you hire knows and understands all the building codes and bylaws for your project. Most contractors will notify you if a building permit or development permit is required for your project.
Remember that even if you hire a contractor to do your project the homeowner is ultimately accountable if the contractor does not get a permit but does do the work.
If a permit is required your contractor should do the following with out charge to you.
- Do all the appropriate diagrams required.
- Go to Building and planning at City Hall and obtain any permits required for your project.
The contractor prior to the start of your project should give you the permitting package from the City and have you display the permit numbers in a window closest to the project.
When a City Inspector or Bylaw officer drives by the property and sees a construction project going on they can stop and check to see if a permit has been obtained. If no permit has been obtained or is not visible they can shut the project down until one is obtained or worse tell you to tear down everything that has been built as chances are it has not been constructed correctly. Do not avoid getting a permit, its not worth the potential problems that will occur.
A Building Permit IS REQUIRED to:
Erect a new building or structure including retaining walls over 1.2 metres in height, swimming pools, hot tubs, decks over 2', garages, pergolas that are affixed to the house or demolish, relocate, repair, alter or make additions to an existing building or structure.
Building Permits ARE NOT REQUIRED for:
Fences, sidewalks, planters, retaining walls that are less than 1.2 metres in height, general maintenance, minor repairs using similar or same materials for maintenance which do not affect any electrical or mechanical work. Irrigation systems, landscape lighting and water features do not require a permit.
Accessory buildings such as sheds not greater than 10 square metres in area, if they do not create a hazard.
Electrical Plumbing and Gas
In addition to a Building Permit, if you intend to install or modify electrical wiring and/or plumbing, you will require separate Electrical and Plumbing Permits. For landscaping this would include deck lighting running 110v, gas fire pits and outdoor kitchens.
A Better Landscaper can obtain all permits for your landscape construction needs.
It may also be necessary for your contractor to obtain a Development Permit prior to submitting an application for a Building Permit.
Do you need a Development Permit?
A Development Permit is generally required for new construction or if you are changing the use of an existing building. This includes:
- Some additions and some new homes (depending on where you're located).
- Fences that exceed the height restriction for your land use district.
- Retaining walls one metre in height and higher.
Any development, such as retaining walls, fences, decks, and additions, if your home is located near a river.
Provided your proposed renovations meet all the rules of the Land Use Bylaw, a Development Permit is NOT required for:
- Fences, decks, detached garages and carports.
- Some new construction and some additions to single and two unit residences (including attached garages and carports).
If you have any questions feel free to contact us by our contact form or give us a call and we can determine what is required for your project.
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