Building Permits & Inspections: Commercial, Industrial, Institutional, Multi Family Residential Projects


The City of Chilliwack has prepared this brochure to assist developers in understanding the City’s building permit and inspection procedures.

This brochure outlines the building permit and inspection procedures and where to obtain additional information.

A building permit for a commercial, industrial, institutional or multi-family residential project will not be issued unless the property is zoned correctly for the use intended, and the lot has been legally registered.

Upon review of the following information anyone intending to submit an application for a building permit is urged to contact the Development and Regulatory Services Department, Building Division for assistance.

General Building Permit Application Procedures – Commercial, Industrial, Institutional and Multi-Family Residential Projects

1. Pre-Application Stage

Owners/Builders intending to construct building structures other than one and two family residences, or farm buildings, should hold preliminary discussions with the Development and Regulatory Services Department and with the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Department prior to submitting an application for a building permit.

Preliminary discussions with the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Department will clarify any concerns with respect to siting, size, use and design of the building or buildings and other matters as they relate to the applicable bylaws and policies of the City.  It is very important to your financial planning that you consult with our staff and obtain estimates of development cost charges and other levies that will have to be paid prior to issuance of a building permit.  (See Section 4 of this brochure).

2. Application Submission for Building Permit

Prior to submitting an application, the prospective applicant should read the current Building Bylaw as it describes in detail the process involved.  A completed application for a building permit is submitted by the applicant to the Building Division of the Development and Regulatory Services Department and includes the following:

  • A Building Permit Application Form identifying the name and status of the applicant as either the owner or agent for the owner (these forms are available upon request or can be downloaded);
  • Civic address and legal description of subject lands;
  • Proof of ownership as evidenced by a State of Title Certificate;
  • An authorization letter, should the owner of the property have an agent/developer act on his/her behalf;
  • Should you not own the property at the time of application, proof of ownership of a registered right to purchase the property will be required;
  • If there is no sanitary service to the property, sealed septic filing papers are required from a Civil Engineer (Public Health 207 - 2776 Bourquin Cres. West, Abbotsford BC V2S 6A4 1-866-749-7900);
  • Two complete sets of dimensioned site plans, architectural, structural, mechanical, civil and electrical Drawings and Specifications (D&S) signed, sealed and dated by the responsible Registered Professional certifying that the D&S comply with the B.C. Building Code and to the relevant bylaws of the City (e.g. Building Bylaw).  The Building Division requires that the drawings and specifications submitted are drawn to a scale acceptable to the Building Department (the Site Plan must be at a metric scale);
  • Obtain and submit each of the required Letters of Assurance signed, sealed and dated by the responsible Registered Professional for the architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, fire suppression and geo-technical installations; and
  • Tree and Green Space Management Plan in accordance with Tree Management (Land Development) Bylaw 2008, No. 3585.

The D & S shall indicate: site layout showing all buildings, wells, septic fields, etc. on both the lot in question and adjacent lots, legal description, property address, zoning, site area, parking, occupant load, building use, elevations – existing and finished, architectural plans, structural plans, mechanical plans, civic plans, electrical plans, emergency lighting, fire alarm system, fire suppression systems, heating system, venting system, fire resistance ratings, sound resistance ratings, fire separations, seismic design and access for the disabled design requirements.

The Building Division on behalf of the Planning Division requires that the following information be shown on the D & S submitted with the application for Building permit:  the required number of parking and loading spaces for the development in accordance with the Zoning Bylaw; that minimum setback requirements have been met; schedules of floor areas; means of access and egress to the property (in most cases, no more than two points of entry/exit from any adjacent street will be permitted) and where necessary, adequate landscape screens to be provided.

The Building Division on behalf of the Land Development Division requires among other things, the submission of site D & S indicating the drainage collection system, outfall, geodetic elevations of drainage, finished landscape and the lowest finished floor elevations; and the location and dimension of the highway access to the property.

In some instances, it will be necessary to submit two sets of D & S for approval by some or all of the following agencies:

  • B.C. Hydro and Power Authority – All service connections for electric and gas utilities must be reviewed and approved prior to issuance of a Building permit.
  • Ministry of the Environment (MOE) Water Management Branch – Approval required if development is within close proximity to certain natural watercourses.
  • Work Safe BC – Occupational Health Branch – All industrial and commercial buildings, e.g. factories, warehouses, workshops, restaurants, office buildings and stores, must meet the requirements of the above authority.
  • Ministry of Transportation and Highways (MOTH) - On properties abutting the Trans-Canada Highway Right-of-Way, MOTH approval is required for boulevard crossing, utilities crossing or connections, or other encroachments onto the Trans-Canada Highway Right-of-Way.
  • Office of the Fire Commissioner – All developments subject to the provisions of the Fire Marshal Act must be approved by the Provincial Fire Commissioner.  Approval is granted by letter and/or by a stamp on the relevant D & S.
  • Community Care Facilities Board – Ministry of Health, Victoria, BC– All developments covered by the Community Care Facilities Act must conform to the Welfare Institutions Licensing Act regulations.  Such developments require the approval of the Community Care Facilities Board.

Please confirm with the Building Division staff which of these approvals will be required prior to the issuance of your Permit.

3. Application Review and Pre-Site Inspection

The Building Division coordinates the pre-site inspection and review of the application and the related D & S.  The application review process includes referrals to various City departments, such as Fire and Engineering, as well as to external agencies such as the Ministry of Health when applicable.  Compliance with B.C. Building Code and the relevant City Bylaws is carefully considered.

Having reviewed all the technical evaluations, the Building Division staff determines whether a Building permit may be issued or whether corrections and revisions are required.  If revisions are necessary the Building Division staff will advise the applicant.

4. Additional Permit Requirements

You may require additional approvals and/or to pay additional costs prior to the issuance of your Building permit.  For example:

  • Development Cost Charges (DCCs) - most construction developments undertaken in the City of Chilliwack will require the payment of substantial Development Cost Charges. 
  • Paving Bond – industrial, commercial and some multi-family residential constructions may be required to deposit a paving bond;
  • Floodproofing Requirements – floodproofing may be required for several types of development within the Floodplain Area, see Floodplain Management Bylaw;
  • Geotechnical Reports – construction on land that is subject to or is likely to be subject to flooding, mud flows, debris flows, debris torrents, erosion, land slip, rockfalls, subsidence or avalanche, may not be permitted unless a report is submitted by a Registered Professional geotechnical engineer certifying that the land may be safely used as intended;
  • Connection Fees – as applicable for water, sanitary and storm sewers;
  • Frontage Improvements Costs – where applicable will require entering into a Servicing Agreement to install certain works and services; or the payment of a non-refundable deposit for the estimated cost of such works and services;
  • Development Variance Permit – e.g. for proposed construction that requires Council’s approval to relax standards specified in the Zoning Bylaw;
  • Latecomer Fees – a charge imposed on benefiting lands by a resolution of Council which will be collected by the City as a condition of a latecomer connection to or using excess or extended services;
  • Homeowner Protection Office Documentation – With the exception of purpose built rental units, the Homeowner Protection act provides for the licensing of residential builders and makes third-party warranties mandatory on new multi-family residential construction throughout the province; and
  • Tree and Green Space Management Plan and Security – Summary and security of retained tress and newly planed trees on developable land.

Please discuss with the staff members of the Development and Regulatory Services Department the applicability of any of the above requirements to your proposal.  As some of the fees to be paid prior to issuance of a Permit are substantial, you should ensure that you obtain estimates of all charges to be paid before making an application for permit.

5. Issuance of Building Permit

After approval of the D & S and any other requirements as outlined above, the Building permit may be issued upon payment of the calculated fees and securities.

Building Division staff will advise you prior to picking up the Permit what fees, securities, and development cost charges are payable, and in what ways they may be paid; i.e. cash, cheque, certified cheque or irrevocable Letter of Credit.

6. Required Inspections

Most of the inspections to be performed on these projects will be done by Registered Professionals who have signed and sealed Letters of Certification.  In addition to the certificates submitted by these professional persons, the Building Division may conduct monitoring inspections at various stages in the construction process.  It is the responsibility of the permit holder to contact the Building Division every time that a stage is ready for inspection.  Please call for your inspection a minimum of one business day in advance, prior to 3:30 p.m., by phoning 793-2905.

7. Gas Inspections

Inspections of any appliances connected to gas require approval of an inspector from the BC Safety Authority. #1B 33820 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford BC  V2S 2C5, Telephone 604-851-7012.

8. Electrical Inspections

Inspections of any electrical installations or panels require the approval of the Electrical Inspector, 45850 Yale Rd., Chilliwack, BC  V2P 2T1, Telephone 604-795-8415.

9. Issuance of Occupancy Permit

The Building Inspector may issue an Occupancy Approval once all construction works and services necessary for the safe use and occupancy of the facility have been completed satisfactorily, and certified by all responsible Registered Professionals that the facility is indeed safe for use and occupancy.  A final inspection approval will be required.

10. How Much Time Does the Procedure Take

On average, a Building permit for a commercial, industrial, institutional or multi-family residential project takes 28 working days to process from the date an application has been submitted.  This time estimate assumes that the application is submitted with complete D & S as described above and that no additional approvals or reports are required.   The amount of time to complete various inspections and to obtain an Occupancy Permit depends largely on the applicant’s ability to respond to the requirements outlined in this brochure and the related bylaws and regulations.

11. How Can I Find Out More?

For information related to your specific application and the time it will take to process your Building permit application contact City of Chilliwack, Development and Regulatory Services Department, Building Division, 8550 Young Road, Chilliwack, BC  V2P 8A4 Telephone 604-793-2905, Fax 604-793-2285.

This brochure has been prepared to provide guidance only. It is neither a bylaw nor legal document. Please consult the Local Government Act and its Regulations, and the City of Chilliwack applicable bylaws for definite requirements and procedures.