Building Permits & Inspections: Single Family / Two Family Dwellings


The City of Chilliwack has prepared this brochure to assist you in understanding the City’s Building Permit and Inspections procedure.  This brochure outlines:

  • What a Building Permit is;
  • When a Building Permit is required;
  • Building Permit and Inspection Procedure; and
  • Where to obtain additional information.

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.

What is a Building Permit?

Issuance of a permit is your formal permission to begin construction.  It means that building construction drawings for a proposed new single family/two family dwelling, addition or renovation have been approved by the City.  Furthermore, those drawings have been checked for compliance with the B.C. Building Regulations, the City Building Bylaw and any other applicable laws and regulations.

Prior to beginning any type of construction or development activity, check with the Development and Regulatory Services Department regarding permits that must be obtained.

When is a Building Permit Required?

B.C. Building Regulations require you to obtain a Building Permit if you are planning to:

  • construct a new single or two family dwelling;
  • construct an accessory building having a foot print area exceeding 10m2*;
  • make structural changes or repairs to a dwelling;
  • improve unfinished areas of a dwelling;
  • demolish all or a portion of a structure or dwelling;
  • move a building either within a lot or onto another lot (with a special permit needed for moving on roadways); or
  • install a wood burning appliance, or a hearth stove.

* For accessory buildings less than 10m2 (110 sqft) in floor area, or for a swimming pool, a siting permit is required.

What is the purpose of the Building Permit and Inspections Procedure application?

A building permit and subsequent inspections enable the City to:

  • ensure all building and construction comply with safety, structural, health and zoning regulations of the Province of B.C., and the City;
  • inspect buildings at each stage of construction to ensure they are being built in accordance with the approved drawings and specifications (D & S);
  • ensure that a newly constructed building has been constructed to a point where it is substantially completed and in compliance with applicable codes, regulations and bylaws, before an occupancy permit is issued.

General Building Permit Application Procedure - Single and Two Family Dwellings

1. Pre-application Stage

Prior to submitting an application for a building permit you should contact the Building Division to determine exactly what documents, fees, drawings and specifications are required to be submitted with your application.

2. Application Submission

An application for building permit is submitted to the Development and Regulatory Services Department, Building Division and shall include the following documents as applicable:

  • a building permit application form identifying name and status of applicant as owner(s), or agent for the owner(s) of the subject lands, civic address and legal descriptions;
  • proof of ownership as evidenced by a State of Title Certificate;
  • an authorization form, should the owner of the property have an agent/developer act on his/her behalf;
  • If there is no sanitary service to the property, sealed septic filing papers are required from a Registered Onstite Wastewater Practitioner. (Public Health #207 – 2776 Bourquin Cres. West, Abbotsford BC V2S 6A4 1-866-749-7900
  • two complete sets of dimensioned construction drawings with any related specifications.  Drawings should be prepared by a qualified Draftsperson or signed, sealed and dated, by a Registered Professional and include: floor plan drawings, cross-section drawings, foundation drawings, elevation drawings, plumbing drawings, electrical drawings, site plan drawing, and site certificate if necessary.

The Site Plan drawing should include: location of the proposed building, any existing building(s) on the property with dimensions and setback distances to property lines; existing and finished ground elevations; the proposed location of storm water system and domestic water system and sanitary sewer system (including sewage disposal field where applicable); lot grading and drainage, landscaping and driveway.

In addition, the applicant must stake out the proposed building(s) and driveway location on the lot and place a temporary street address sign on the lot so that it is visible from the adjacent road or street.

3. Application Review and Pre-site Inspection

The Building Division coordinates the pre-site inspection and review of the application and any related drawings.  The application review process includes referrals to various government agencies, such as Fire, Engineering and Health Departments.  Compliance with B.C. Building Regulations and the relevant City bylaws is carefully checked.

Having reviewed all the technical evaluations, the Building Division staff determines whether a building permit can be issued or if corrections and revisions are required to the building construction drawings and specifications (D & S).

Further, you may require additional permits, reports and approvals and to pay fees and costs prior to issuance of a building permit.  For example:

  • Development Variance Permit – e.g. Council may grant a relaxation of building setback requirements or height limits, required by the Zoning Bylaw.
  • Floodproofing Requirements and/or Restrictive Covenants – any construction occurring within the Provincially designated non-exempted floodplain, may be subject to minimum construction heights for floodproofing purposes and the registration on title of a restrictive covenant.  If a restrictive covenant is already registered on the title then the residence must be built to flood construction levels.
  • Geotechnical Reports – construction on land that may be 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 certified by a registered professional geotechnical engineer indicating that the land may be safely used as intended is submitted when requested.
  • Statutory Right-of Ways/Easements – As required for utilities, roadways, etc.
  • Homeowner Protection Office Documentation -  With the exception of Owner-builders, the Homeowner Protection Act provides for the licensing of residential builders and makes third-party warranties mandatory on new home construction throughout the province

Please discuss the applicability of above requirements to your proposal with City Building Division staff.

4. Issuance of Building Permit

After approval of the building construction drawings and specifications, the building permit may be issued upon payment of the calculated permit and connection fees, as well as the receipt of any permits, reports or covenants required.

Building Division staff will advise you of the amount of the fees to be paid prior to the issuance of the building permit.

5. Required Inspections

The Building Division Inspectors conduct inspections at various stages of the construction process.  It is the responsibility of the permit holder to contact the Building Division at that time when a stage is ready for inspection.  Inspection requests must be received by the Building Division prior to 3:30 pm, one business day before the inspection is needed.  Inspection requests can be made by phoning the office at 604-793-2905.

All requests for an inspector to come to a construction site and perform an inspection must be made with reference to both the building permit number and the site address of the project.  Please be advised that inspections are not performed on weekends or statutory holidays.

The following inspections are required and the inspector’s approval of each stage obtained before work is started on the next stage:  footings, drain tile, underslab/foundation insulation, water/sewer/storm services installations and connections, rough plumbing, framing and firestopping, rain screen, insulation and vapour barrier, stucco lath or reinforcing and final/occupancy

6. 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  604-851-7012

7. Electrical Inspections

Inspections of any electrical installations and panels require the approval of the Electrical Inspector, 45467 Yale Road, Chilliwack BC  V2R 3Z8, Telephone: 604-795-8415.

8. Issuance of Notice of Completion

The Building Inspector may issue a Certificate of Occupancy as and when all construction is completed satisfactorily, and final inspection approval has been given.

9. How much time does the procedure take?

On average, a building permit for a single family dwelling, two-family dwelling, accessory building or agricultural building takes 15 working days to process from the date a full application has been submitted.

The amount of time to complete the various inspections and to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy depends largely on the applicant’s schedule and ability to respond to the requirements outlined in this brochure and the related bylaws and regulations.

10. How Can I Find Out More?

For information related to your specific application and the time it will take to process your building permit, contact the City of Chilliwack, Development and Regulatory Services Department, Building Division, 8550 Young Road, Chilliwack, B.C. 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 a legal document. Please consult the Local Government Act and other Provincial regulations, the City of Chilliwack Zoning and Building Bylaws and other applicable references for definite requirements and procedures.