Permit Process

Permit Process

Vancouver permit process

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a legal document that encapsulates all the construction details of the project you are proposing. It allows the City to ensure you stay within the zoning bylaws that prioritize sustainability, livability, and accessibility as well as the building code restrictions to ensure your safety.

According to the City of Vancouver you need a building development permit for the following:

  • All new construction
  • Additions and exterior alterations
  • Many changes of use of a building or land (either all or in part)
  • Demolition of a building (sometimes)
  • Most repairs and renovations for a heritage building or site, or a project located in Chinatown, Yaletown or Gastown Historic Areas


City of Vancouver Building Permit Process and Timeline

The timeline varies for the district in which you are applying as well as the size of your project. For one and two family dwelling renovations and additions, it could be approximately 3-5 months. If it is a very small project, like a bathroom or kitchen renovation, it will likely take much less time for a city building permit approval.

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Either way, it is important to over-estimate the time required for the permit processing so that you will not be disappointed. It happens from time to time, that disagreements arise within the City regarding what is required from examiner to examiner. It is critical to keep a record of all correspondence dates, times, and people to keep things clear. At Kerr Construction we take care of all of this!

“Very well-managed. No headaches, no big problems …”

Building Permit Forms

All the forms required for permit submission in the City of Vancouver and other districts are available online or at their associated City Halls.

Kerr Construction will always take the lead and navigate this tricky permit process on your behalf.

First Things First in the Home Permit Process

First, we discuss your needs and wishes in order to clarify the project scope.

There is a ‘research phase’ or the ‘initial zoning and bylaw review’.

Vancouver Building PermitFrom there, depending on the scope, we may require drawings of the existing conditions of the project. These existing drawings can be acquired easily; or sometimes the City will have files in their system that can be retrieved. The cost associated with this step of the process is low.

All of this is done is to ensure that we obtain the permit for the work that is proposed before the design process really begins.

Once we have clarified the path of the project we can precede into the ‘conceptual design phase‘. This is where we do the rough layouts and design for the project. These go to the City to re-confirm that everything is on the right track. Think of it as a funnel, from macro details into micro details … we are working through the issues from big-to-small.

Next, when we have completed the conceptual design with you, the project can be fully detailed and the permit submission can take place.

Zoning Bylaws and Building Codes for a Vancouver Building Permit Can Be Complicated

The permit process is complicated; it can be daunting and overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with the many different zoning bylaws, building codes, procedures and the intricacies of your municipality. We handle all aspects of the drawings and any other details required for the permit, which may include geotechnical, site surveys and engineering, as well as the submission itself. We have a specialized working knowledge of the process and can most efficiently obtain the permit on your behalf.

KERR Construction’s valuable years of experience display proven success in getting projects smoothly through city hall.

Once the permit is approved we can begin construction.

However, while the City is reviewing the project details for permit, we will be working with you on the ‘interior design phase’, which is where we make the finish, fixture and other detail selections.

While construction is underway, it may happen that a change to the design is requested. We do everything to avoid this by going through the project in detail with our clients to allow a full understanding of all aspects of the construction, but sometimes it happens. This is okay. What will happen is a revision will be submitted to the City. We will first discuss the change with your on-site inspector or plans examiner before the change is completed to ensure that it is allowed.

Kerr Construction’s Role in the Vancouver Permit Process

Our role in the permit process is to help you get your home renovation or new build done the way you wish.

The concepts of your project that make their way to detailed plans on paper are always carefully considered within the structure and parameters of local zoning ordinances and bylaws. Right from the start, Kerr Construction sorts it out and does it all for you.

As trusted and responsible custom home builders, we get the proper approvals to proceed. When a home owner wants something built that is not permitted within the existing municipal codes, we can present the case before the “Board of Variance.”

KERR Construction has a very high success rate in obtaining permits through this route that would otherwise have been denied. You will want our extensive knowledge and experience on your side.

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.


Some Testimonials from Our Past Clients

As the owner of a forty-unit apartment building located at 230 Ash Street in New Westminster, we have recently replaced the entire building envelope. In...


Kerr Construction did a major renovation on our home, we got exactly what we wanted with no corners cut. The job took a little longer...


Homestars Review

I loved the design. I found Nisha very easy to work with and she made recommendations that we liked and listened to my choices. Grant...

Vancouver, BC

GuildQuality Review

Kerr Construction has been consistent in quality work and good service. They kept us up to date, showed up on time, provided good time estimates,...

TL – Vancouver

Homestars review

We were thrilled with Kerr Construction's work on our bathroom renovation and various tasks around our house. We needed a number of small things done...

P&H (Vancouver)

HomeStars Review

I would like to compliment you on getting the painting and alterations done on time and on schedule. As you know, we use this building...


My wife and I recently hired Kerr Construction to complete a reno of our living and dining room on our family home in North Vancouver....

D & J, North Vancouver

Homestars and Yelp Review

Our strata complex hired Kerr Construction to replace skylights in our complex in June of this year (2013). Widely varying quotes from bidding contractors led...

Strata Council


We totally renovated our 100 year old Kitsilano Craftsman home. We had to fire the first contractor as he was charging by the hour and...

D.S., Kitsilano

Houzz Review

We are very happy with our new home office thanks to Kerr Construction. Their team, including project managers, trades and sub-trades, is professional, friendly and...

C.M, North Vancouver


Our Projects Run Smoothly,
On Budget and On Schedule

We know that keeping projects on budget and on
schedule makes a successful home renovation or
new building construction



Detailed Planning,
Skilled Workmanship

At Kerr we think through all the little details
and how things will function, like which way doors
will swing on the cabinets or the fridge



The Homeowner is
Part of the Process

This puts the homeowner in control
and is the best way to make sure they
are getting the most value out of their project