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What you should know and do before renovating your house in Vancouver – Part 2

What you should know and do before renovating your house in Vancouver (Part 2)


In the first article we discussed what you need to do before you start renovating and what to ask a designer/contractor as well as checking that you have enough insurance. You’ve decided to go ahead with the renovation and you’ve hired a designer/contractor. What’s next?

City Hall and Permits

Before we get into the process at City Hall, there is the question of “why do I need a permit or permits?”

Good question. In the province of British Columbia, there are Building Bylaws, Regulations and codes that have been set out by the Province to protect you and your family and the people working on your home. When you have a permit, the work is inspected at different intervals to ensure that it is being done correctly and in line with the latest guidelines. Permits will only be issued for work that is permissible under the regulations, codes and bylaws.

The Risks of Working without a Permit are far greater than the cost of getting the answers you need right at the beginning.

What if you find out after work begins that you need a permit?

To prevent this from happening, don’t start work without calling or visiting City Hall and asking questions. If in doubt, ask. A good architect/designer will advise you or help you apply for the permit in the first place. The website for the City of Vancouver is the best place to start, but, and we cannot emphasize this enough, if you’re not sure call or visit City Hall.

When you do go to City Hall, here are some questions to consider asking:

  • What are the steps should I take to apply for a permit?
  • Can I hire an agent to apply on my behalf?
  • What do I need to apply for a permit?
  • Drawings? What type?
  • Do I have to hire an engineer?
  • Do I have to hire a contractor prior to applying for the permit?
  • How long does the review process take? (Depends on the scope of work)
  • When does the permit expire?
  • What should I expect once the permit has been approved?
  • Do I need to display the permit?
  • What do I need to do while renovating?
  • Who can call for the inspections?
  • What do I do when everything is finished?
  • Small Kitchen

    Small kitchen

At we can help you with most of these questions and we can apply for the permit on your behalf. This will minimize stress and you can focus on more important things like envisioning the finished project. What is the first thing you will do when the project is finished.

Click here to download the checklist

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