Building Permits

Building on My Property

The City's Planning and Development Department regulates land use and is available for your assistance prior to building or making changes to your home or property.

In this section of the website you will find information on:

  • obtaining building permits and inspections,
  • Building Permit Bulletins that clarify City practices and provide timely information on the latest BC Building Code updates,
  • the Zoning Bylaw, as it regulates the use of land, buildings and structures, and
  • some of the key City Bylaws related to building on your property.

Update December 11, 2012 - BC Building Code

The City of Coquitlam Building Division wants to remind you that the province has adopted the 2012 editions of the BC Building Code, BC Plumbing Code, and BC Fire Code with an effective date of December 20, 2012.

It’s important to understand that if a complete building permit application is made prior to this date, the 2006 edition of the BC Codes will still apply.

All complete applications for a Building Permit submitted on or after December 20, 2012 must comply with the 2012 Code.

For further information, contact the City’s Bulding Division at 604-927-3441

Building Permits

Building permits are required for all new construction, temporary buildings and for alterations to existing construction. You should always review your building requirements with City staff before commencing a project. The cost of building permits depends on the nature and scope of the work being done.

Some examples of when a building permit is required:

  • Construction of a new building
  • Addition to existing building
  • Addition of attached garages
  • Building a new secondary suite or legalizing an existing secondary suite
  • Upgrading an existing building or changing its use
  • Creating new rooms or spaces within existing building
  • Finishing a basement
  • Demolishing a building or part of a building
  • Building a deck or gazebo
  • Installation of a hot tub
  • Construction of a swimming pool
  • Adding an accessory building, equipment room, shed, or detached garage over 10m2
  • Building a retaining wall over 1.2 meters in height
  • Constructing roads within a strata development
  • Restoration, maintenance or repair of building's structural components and systems
  • Restoration, maintenance or repair of significant building fire and life safety components and systems.

Building permits are not required for:

  • Restoration, maintenance or repair of building elements and systems that do not affect the structural or fire and life safety performance of a building
  • Emergency maintenance
  • Decks less than 0.6 meters above grade
  • Retaining walls under 1.2 m in height
  • Fences
  • Repairing drain tile
  • Installion of a new roof on an existing building
  • Sidewalks or patios on private property

Note: Work that does not require a permit, still needs to comply with the City's Bylaws and the BC Building Code.

Did You Know
For the purposes of permitting, structures such as towers, retaining walls over 1.2 m in height and storage tanks are considered buildings. Building permits are not required for storage or garden shed structures under 10 m2 in area, however they must comply with the setbacks stipulated in the Zoning Bylaw and you must obtain a siting permit.

Booking an Inspection

You must have a building permit issued in order to book your inspection (s). Once you have that, an inspection can be booked in the following ways:

  • Online Inspection Scheduling: WebPermits Tool is available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Please schedule the inspection before 3:30 p.m. the day prior to the day of the inspection. See the WebPermits page for details and additional information.
  • Touchtone Inspection Booking Service: 604-927-3426 (Available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Please call the inspection line before 3:30 p.m. the day prior to the day of the inspection.) Touchtone Inspection Booking Tips

Electrical and gas inspections are performed by the BC Safety Authority.

How to Get a Permit

The cost and requirements for permits vary, depending on the type of work you propose to undertake. When arranging for a permit, there are several factors to keep in mind:

  1. The permit is required before you begin work on your project.
  2. To apply for a permit, you will be required to provide information about your project in the form of plans and supporting documentation. Sufficient information is required to demonstrate that the proposed work will comply with all applicable Codes, Regulations, Bylaws and property encumbrances (e.g., rights-of-way, covenants, etc.).
  3. Permits can be obtained through the Building Permits Division
  4. Building Permit fees are based on the value of construction.
  5. Depending on the nature of the permit in question, various other charges and securities (Development Cost Charges, Damage Deposits, etc.) may be collected at the time the permit fee balance is due.
  6. Periodically during the progress of permitted work and after you have completed work, you will need to call for inspections.

The following are some of the basic procedural requirements for different types of permits. It is important to note that requirements vary depending on the work you are doing.

Residential Building Permits

  1. Fill out the application form for a new SF/TF Building Permit and complete the accompanying Single Family/Two Family Worksheet.
  2. Provide drawings of the proposed work.
  3. Pay application fee.
  4. The Plans Examiner reviews the plans and forwards his comments to you.
  5. Provide supplemental documentation identified and requested by the Plans Examiner in the course of their review.
  6. Pick up plans after plan check and pay balance of permit.
  7. Call for inspections at appropriate stages of construction.
  8. An Occupancy Permit is granted once the work has achieved a successful Final Inspection.

Commercial/Industrial/Institutional/Multi-Family

  1. Fill out the application form for a new CN/MF Building Permit and complete the accompanying Commercial/Industrial/Institutional/Multi-Family Worksheet.
  2. Provide drawings of the proposed work. You will need to demonstrate compliance with any Development agreements that apply to your project.
  3. Pay application fee.
  4. The Plans Examiner reviews the plans for compliance with the Building Code.
  5. In parallel with this review the application is referred to other City Departments whose interests are affected by the proposed work. A consolidation of the various departments’ comments is then forwarded to you.
  6. Provide supplemental documentation identified and requested by the Plans Examiner in the course of their review.
  7. Pick up plans after plan review has been satisfactorily completed and pay the permit fee outstanding balance.
  8. Call for inspections at the appropriate stages of the work.
  9. An Occupancy Permit is granted once the work has achieved a successful Final Inspection.

Development Permits

When you are building on any property, check if the property is within a Development Permit Area to determine if your type of construction requires a Development Permit.

Zoning

When building on your property, you must take into consideration the Zoning Bylaw as it regulates the use of land, buildings and structures specific to your area. You need to determine the current zoning designation of your property, as it determines what uses are permitted, and it also regulates:

  • general size, shape and location of buildings and structures;
  • landscape screens, fences and retaining walls;
  • building adjacent to steep sloping lands, watercourses and areas subject to flooding;
  • additional setback requirements on major arterial streets; and
  • off-street parking requirements.

Note: This is only a general list, and we strongly advise you contact the Development Planning Section of the Planning and Development Department as specific circumstances may apply to your property - Development Planning 604-927-3430.

Detailed information about what you can build on your lot and regulations are specified in the Zoning Bylaw. Due to the highly complex and legal nature of the information in this bylaw, interpretation can be difficult, especially if you're unfamiliar with zoning-related information. To ensure you have accurate information please visit City Hall and talk to a Plans Examiner.

Building Bylaw

The Building Bylaw regulates the construction, alteration, repair, demolition or moving of buildings and pools and the installation, alteration or repair of plumbing, sprinkler and heating and gas systems in the City of Coquitlam.

Below is information on various aspects of building on your property.

Property Lines & Infrastructure

Depending on the age of your house you may be able to obtain a survey certificate from City Hall if one is on record. Survey certificates can be purchased at the Development Services counter at City Hall and conditions apply as follows:

  • Homeowners need to show proof of ownership
  • Realtors and prospective buyers need to show purchase agreement.

If you need to locate your sanitary, storm or water service at the property line, these records are also available for viewing at the Operations customer service counter, located in City Hall.

Legal Lot Documents

Legal lot plans, legal documents shown on the title of a property and property encumbrances such as rights of way and easements may be viewed at the City Hall Operations counter. Copying is not permitted but if you require a copy of any of these plans, they can be obtained from the Land Title Office at:

Land Title Office
88- 6th Street, New Westminster, B.C.
General Inquiries: 604-660-0380 or 1-877-577-LTSA (5872)
Fax: 604-660-4064

Right of Way

A Right of Way is an allowance given by a private property owner to the municipality or government to enter onto their private property for a municipal purpose such as water, sewer, road access and other utility services.

Covenant

A Covenant is an agreement between two parties which would normally put restrictions on land and its use.

Easement

An easement is an agreement between two private property owners whose properties adjoin. This agreement gives private property owners with adjoining properties access to each others property for a predetermined purpose. If an easement is required due to work being done through the City, they will assist you with the procedure. If the easement relates to a private arrangement between two neighbours, it is recommended that you acquire the assistance of a private lawyer.

Other Permits

Plumbing Permit

Some examples of when a plumbing permit is required:

  • Performing any work on a plumbing system in a new or existing building
  • Installing a new or replacing an existing sanitary sewer, storm sewer or water service located on private property
  • Installing a lawn irrigation system requiring a domestic water backflow device
  • Installing a new or replacement domestic water backflow preventer
  • Installing water and sewer services on private property (e.g. services outside of a building on strata lots)

Plumbing permits are not required for:

  • The repair of leaks in water pipes
  • The replacement of plumbing fixtures, provided that such replacement fixtures and the installation thereof conform with all the requirements of the Coquitlam Building Bylaw and the B.C. Plumbing Code
  • The removal of stoppages in sewer or water pipes, provided that cleanouts are utilized for such purposes and the removal does not necessitate the cutting of any sewer or drain pipe

Fire Sprinkler Permit

A fire sprinkler permit is required when:

  • Performing any additions or alterations to a fire sprinkler system in a new or existing building. (See Inspections - Fire Sprinklers below)

A fire sprinkler permit is not required when:

  • Performing routine maintenance to an existing fire sprinkler system including replacement of damaged sprinkler heads and annual testing of system components.

Plumbing/ Fire Sprinkler Permit

Residential

  1. Apply for the Plumbing Permit. Application for Plumbing PermitApplication for Sprinkler Permit
  2. Owners of Single Family dwellings intending to do the work themselves must provide one set of owner prepared schematics of the proposed work to satisfy which will be reviewed by a Plumbing Plans Examiner to evaluate the owner’s competency.
  3. If a registered contractor applies, no plans are required.
  4. Pay permit fee (Permit is issued immediately to a Contractor without the need for a review.)
  5. Call for inspections at the appropriate stages of the work.

Commercial/Industrial/Institutional/Multi-Family

  1. Apply for the Plumbing/Sprinkler Permit. Application for Plumbing PermitApplication for Sprinkler Permit
  2. Registered contractors or the registered professional of record for the plumbing and or sprinkler work must submit three sets of plans of the proposed work.
  3. Pay application fee.
  4. The Plumbing Plans Examiner reviews the plans.
  5. Provide supplemental documentation identified and requested by the Plans Examiner in the course of their review.
  6. Pick up plans after plan review has been satisfactorily completed and pay the permit fee outstanding balance.
  7. Call for inspections at the appropriate stages of the work.

Building Permits Division of the Planning and Development Department at 604-927-3441 or 604-927-3459.

Electrical and Gas Permits

Information about electrical and gas permits and inspections can be obtained from the BC Safety Authority.

Soil Conservation Permit

The Conservation Bylaw regulates the deposition and removal of soil on lands within the City of Coquitlam. The Bylaw provides information on soil permits including conditions for applying for permits, issuance and renewal of permits and the suspension or revocation of permits. Some examples of when a soils conservation permit may be required:

  • Moving, removing or depositing soil in excess of 500 cubic meters
  • Changing the grade of a property by more than one meter

For more information, see the Soils Conservation Guide or contact the Development Servicing Section of the Planning and Development Department at 604-927-3467.

Tree Cutting Permit

The Tree Management Bylaw enables the conservation, removal and replacement of trees throughout the City. The Bylaw was developed to preserve trees, regulate the cutting and removal of trees, require the replacement of trees cut down; and allow for enforcement in these matters. A Resource Guide Book provides information to assist residents and developers through the required steps to complete a tree cutting permit application.

Building Permits Division

Planning and Development Department

3000 Guildford Way
Coquitlam BC V3B 7N2
Email: planninganddevelopment@coquitlam.ca
Phone: 604-927-3441

Fax: 604-927-3445