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​CHECKLIST: 10 things you need before applying for a Building Permit

10 things you need before applying for a Building Permit

​CHECKLIST: 10 things you need before applying for a Building Permit

Applying for a Building Permit can be an overwhelming process. We hear a lot of horror stories from people who tried to handle applying for permits on their own. Many expressed that they were not prepared when they went into the permit application process – even if they felt prepared at the time. Often, these individuals found themselves backtracking to consult the proper experts for the work they wanted to undertake.

To help you avoid such issues, we have put together this checklist. We hope it helps to clarify what professionals you need to consult and the questions you need to ask before starting the Building Permit process.

A caveat about applying for a Building Permit

Each city and each type of permit has a different set of requirements. For this list, we have focused on general materials. It is important to also look into the specific requirements of the exact permit you are applying for and the city you are in.

10 things you need to consider before applying for a Building Permit


1. Decide on the permit type you need.

Different work requires different Permits – and each one carries different requirements. For example, the Permits required for an addition to your home is different than Permits for interior alterations, such as moving electrical or plumbing. New construction requires a different set of Permits again.

2. Familiarize yourself with the application process for the Building Permit you need.

Before you find yourself in the middle of it.

3. Are there any additions being made to the building or property?

These can include additions such as a new roof, a deck, a garage, or a shed. If these types of additions are being made, a Land Survey can be required.

4. Are there any changes being made to the framing?

If so, then a Structural Engineer may be required.

5. Are there any penetrations of the drywall on an exterior wall? Are any windows or exterior doors being removed, relocated or added?

If so, then a Certified Energy Advisor or an Envelope Engineer is required.

6. Are there any trees on the lot?

If so, most cities will require you to call in an Arborist.

7. Are there any changes being made to the building that affect the framing, drywall, siding, stairs, windows, doors or anything else that is part of the structure and envelope of the building?

This includes changes to doors, windows, and pony walls. If so, then a set of Building Plans are required.

8. Does the property contain four or more units or is it a commercial or multi-family building?

If so, you need an Architect unless otherwise told by the AIBC.

9. Are you changing the electrical or the plumbing systems?

If so, you will need to bring in a ticketed Electrician or Plumber. There are no exceptions to this.

10. Are you part of a strata?

Then you need their permission to access the plans on file at the city and to apply for a Permit.

Once you answer these questions and consult with the appropriate professionals, you are ready to move onto the next stage of applying for a Building Permit: gathering the materials you need.

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