How to Build a House in Vancouver

How to Build a House in Vancouver

Building a new home means designing, constructing, and, hold on!, complying with regulatory requirements such as zoning and construction inspections. Good construction means legal construction: fully permitted and approved. Let’s outline the steps needed to build a new custom home in Vancouver.

Step 1. Check your building zone.

You likely already have an area of land that would be the site of your build. Before anything else, check what zone your property is in. Each zone in the city has its own rules on what types of structure you’re allowed to build, the structure’s maximum size, and more.

To see the land use rules in your zone, identify the “zoning district” of your property location, then look up its “district schedule,” which is a document that states the rules in its district. This interactive map makes it easy – just click on your location and it will show you the zoning district and district schedule.

District schedules contain some technical language, and it helps to have the guidance of a professional home builder in Vancouver to ensure you understand the rules thoroughly.

Step 2. Check your property attributes.

Besides the zoning of your property, you should check its other characteristics that may be governed by city by-laws. Review these attributes and its corresponding requirements.

  • If your property is in an artesian aquifer location, you must follow extra rules to prevent flooding when you dig, drill, or excavate the area. Learn about aquifer or water well requirements here.
  • Regardless of location, you must determine whether your property has an abandoned underground storage tank. If you find one, the City of Vancouver requires you to remove it. See the rules here.
  • All Vancouver homes and laneway houses are subject to energy requirements, which you can find here.
  • Some areas have additional requirements to contain the undesirable Japanese beetle. You can check your area and restrictions here.

Step 3. Complete your proposal and get the pre-approvals.

You need to provide the City with a construction proposal that shows your planned house is compliant with all the pre-build requirements. Many soon-to-be homeowners prefer to work with a professional builder team to create this proposal. The following are basic matters that a Vancouver construction proposal has to be pre-approved for:

  • Sewer and water line connection
  • Street and sidewalk usage during construction
  • Tree protection and removal(s).

Step 4. Complete your permit application.

The primary form for applying to build a Vancouver house is the Development/Building Permit Application Form. You can download the blank form here. You must submit your completed form to the City with all other required documents and drawings. If you’re building a single detached house or a duplex, you can find a submission checklist here. If you’re building a laneway house, the submission checklist is here.

Step 5. Start constructing while getting trade permits and inspections.

Once you get the official approval from the City of Vancouver, you can begin your construction. At the same time, you have to get trade permits for plumbing, electrical, fire sprinkler, gas, and mechanical. Your trades contractor will typically complete the application for you.

At various stages of the construction, you must have the work inspected by the appropriate professionals such as building inspectors, fire inspectors, plumbing inspectors, and more. Each inspection has to be booked in advance. You can find the list of inspections and the booking tool here.

Step 6. Get an occupancy permit as necessary.

If your construction is a multi-unit residential building, you need an occupancy permit at least three weeks before you plan to occupy it. This permit is not always required for single-unit homes but you may need one for specific reasons – for example, if you’re planning to sell the house later on.

You can find the application process and forms for an occupancy permit here.

Step 7. Move into your new home!

Once the construction is complete, get a final inspection and approval from the City. This approval means that the project is finally done and you can move in to your brand-new house. Congratulations!

Consult with Building Space – Professional Custom Home Builders in Vancouver

Building a home from the ground up is a major undertaking. You have to deal with City requirements, provincial requirements, and the construction process – all while hoping your personal vision is realized.

To handle all of these, count on Building Space Custom Homes, Ltd. We have decades of experience building Vancouver residences, and we can take care of the whole project for you. You can rely on us to ensure that your house is 100 percent compliant, is exceptionally built, and matches your idea of a dream home.

Let’s get started with a consultation. Call us at (604) 726-5839 today.

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