Do I need a building permit?

I get this question all the time. Do you need a building permit to do a small reno on your Salt Spring home? Yes.  You will need a permit for basically any work on your home.  From the CRD office here is the official line;

You will need a building permit when you;

A building permit is required before commencing:

  • Site excavation or blasting
  • Construction, repairing, or altering a building or structure
  • Moving a building
  • Changing an occupancy
  • Installation of any plumbing
  • Construction of a masonry fireplace or installation of a solid fuel-burning appliance or factory/masonry chimney
  • Installation of an oil-burning appliance or oil tank
  • Demolishing, deconstructing, or removal of a building

Here is the building permit application; Building Permit application and info on what you need to submit a permit Info on submitting for a permit.

Electric, gas, and sewage disposal work require separate permits and inspections.

You may not start any stage of a project, including demolition or excavation until a building permit has been obtained.

A building permit is not required for:

  • Minor repairs or alterations to non-structural components of the building
  • When a valve, faucet, fixture, or service water heater is repaired or replaced, stoppage cleared, or a leak repaired if no change to the piping is required
  • For an accessory building less than 10m2 (107.639 sq ft) that is used for utility purposes that does not create a hazard
  • Retaining structures less than 1.2 meters (approx 4 ft) in height
  • Other retaining structures more than 1.2 meters in height and greater than 30o off vertical

To do demolition you need a demolition permit;  Demolition permit  but before you get that you need to contact WorkSafe BC at their non-emergency number 604-276-3100 or 1-888-621-7233 and give them Notice of Project if you are renovating or demolishing a home that was built before 1990, there are two main steps you need to take to ensure the health and safety of everyone working on your project:

  • Identify asbestos-containing materials in your home
  • Safely remove any asbestos in your home

Here is a good brochure from Worksafe BC Asbestos Hazard older homes This is something that you should take very seriously.

I do think the CRD building inspection office in Ganges is fabulous to work with.  Our local inspectors are very knowledgeable about all steps of the building process.  You should view them as your partners in the process not as an adversary.   If you work with them the project should go well.


Scott & June Simmons
The Salt Spring Team

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