Building Regulation & Inspection FAQs

FAQs

01. How do Building Inspections protect the public health and safety?

Buildings are complex, particularly when they include plumbing, electrical wiring, and connections to drinking water and septic systems. The BC Building Code establishes minimum requirements that are designed to help keep occupants safe and healthy. When followed, the requirements help to ensure that buildings:

  • Are structurally sound, with proper building frames and foundations
  • Provide adequate fire protection
  • Address issues concerning radon gas
  • Provide adequate exits in the event of emergencies
  • Are equipped with proper plumbing for safe drinking water and liquid waste disposal
  • Minimize hazards to prevent accidents

All Buildings are required to be constructed to the BC Building Code. Only buildings in area with building inspection, however, are subject to the consistent and high level of oversight required, at key points of the construction process, to ensure that the Code is met and safety standards upheld.

02. What is Building Inspection?

Building inspection is a service through which local governments regulate the construction of buildings. A property owner who wishes to construct a building in an area with building inspection is required to obtain, prior to construction beginning, the local government's approval to build. Approval is given in the form of a building permit, for which the property owner must apply. Permits are issued when the local government has confirmed, through its review of the submitted building plans, that the proposed structure complies with the technical standards in the BC Building Code, and the planning regulations in the applicable OCP and zoning bylaw. At various points of the construction process, inspections must be arranged by the property owner with a building Inspector from the local government. At each inspection, the Inspector confirms that the standards of the BC BuildingCode, and the relevant land use regulations, are indeed being met.

03.When will the new Building Inspection service start in Area C? When did it start in Electoral Area B and E? When did it start in Electoral Area F?

The building inspection service will start in Electoral Area C on March 4, 2019.

The building inspection service started in Electoral Areas B and E March 5, 2018.

The building inspection service started in Electoral Area F in 2001 for the communities Lee Creek, Scotch Creek, Celista, Magna Bay, Anglemont and St. Ives. 

A map of the areas where building permits are required can be viewed here.

 

04. In what new Electoral Areas (EAs) are Building Permits (BPs) required?

The newest area to require BP’s and inspections will be Electoral Area C (South Shuswap) on March 4, 2019.

As of March 5, 2018, BPs and inspections are required in Electoral Area B (Rural Revelstoke) and Electoral Area E (Rural Sicamous). Building inspections continue to be required in Electoral Area F (North Shuswap) in the communities of Lee Creek, Scotch Creek, Celista, Magna Bay, Anglemont and St. Ives.  A map of the areas where building permits are required can be viewed here.

05. What is the building permit process?

There are five steps in the full process:

>Step 1: Application – The property owner submits a complete application (including plans and required supporting documents) that details the type of construction, alteration or repair, along with the value of the proposed work. At this time the Building Permit application fee of $72 is paid.

>Step 2: Permit Review – The application and plans are reviewed by CSRD staff for compliance with the BC Building Code, zoning bylaw regulations, and development permit guidelines in the OCP. If a development permit is necessary, the property owner is contacted. Compliance with other agency approval processes (e.g., septic system processes through Interior Health) is also reviewed.

>Step 3: Permit Issuance – Once the review is complete, the property owner is contacted to pick up the permit and pay the total permit fee and security deposit (pursuant to Building Regulation Bylaw, No. 660). The permit is required to be posted conspicuously on site, legible from the road, during the entire construction process. All plans, specifications and supporting documents on which the permit was based, all inspection certificates, and all professional field reviews are to be available on-site during normal working hours.

>Step 4: Inspections – The CSRD performs six (6) on-site building inspection at key points of construction process. Wherever possible, inspections are conducted within 48 hours of being requested by the property owners.

>Step 5: Final Occupancy – Once the final inspection is completed successfully, and all outstanding documentation is submitted, the CSRD issues a Final Occupancy Certificate.

Anyone who is unsure about the BP process is encouraged to contact the Building Department  (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca).

06. When is a building permit required?

Any property owner who wishes to undertake construction in Areas B, E ,F (five communities), and C on March 4, 2019 will need to apply for and receive a building permit (and, in most cases, a plumbing permit too) before commencing construction. Building permits are required for most construction, demolition and excavation, including:

  • Construction of a house, townhouse, commercial and industrial building
  • construction of accessory buildings, including most garages and sheds
  • demolition of a building
  • significant alteration to or repair of an existing building (e.g. structural changes, electrical updates, construction of a second floor deck, moving of plumbing)
  • changes to the use or occupancy of an existing building (e.g. from a garage to a dwelling, or from a residence to a commercial use)
  • relocation of a building
  • alterations that affect a venting or sewer- age system
  • installation of a factory-built or manufactured building
  • installation of a temporary building

Anyone who is unsure whether a project requires a BP is encouraged to contact the Building Department  (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca).

07. Is a building permit required for a structure that is under construction when the service takes effect?

No building permit is required for new single-family buildings and accessory buildings that are under construction when the service is introduced, provided that concrete footings, built in compliance with the Building Code, are poured prior before the amended service bylaw takes effect. A property owner in this situation needs to submit proof to the CSRD to confirm that the concrete footings were poured prior to the date of service commencement. Proof may include, at a minimum, information such as an email stating the date on which the pour occurred, combined with a time-stamped picture of the pouring, and a copy of the concrete delivery receipt. To be clear, future additions to buildings that exist prior to the introduction of building inspection will require building permits.

08. When is a building permit NOT required?

If a construction project involves no structural changes and no relocation or installation of new plumbing fixtures, then no building permit or plumbing permit is required. In addition, certain types of structures will be exempt, including:

  • one storey accessory buildings that are under 10m2 in size, are not used for habitation, and do not create a hazard
  • farm buildings with “low human occupancy” (defined by the National Farm Building Code of Canada on properties assessed as a farm by BC Assessment
  • non-structural repairs such as window replacements (same size windows), roof updates, kitchen renovations with  no movement of plumbing fixtures, finishing of basement with flooring and non-structural (not including creation of secondary suite)
  • patios, decks or balconies that are less than 2 feet (0.61m) off the ground
  • repairs or minor alterations to the plumbing system or fixtures that do not affect the venting or sewerage system
  • landscaping retaining walls below 1.22 m in height that do not support loads created by buildings or parking areas
  • construction of , utility poles and towers and public infrastructure systems (as identified in Section 1.1.1.1(2) of the BC Building Code
  • un-modified CSA Z240 RV or un-modified CSA Z241 Park Model

Anyone who is unsure whether a project requires a permit is encouraged to contact the Building Department (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca).

09. How does an owner apply for a building permit?

Building permit applications are available online at the CSRD website (www.csrd.bc.ca) or can be picked up from the CSRD office in Salmon Arm (555 Harbourfront Drive NE). Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit their permit applications in person so that they can be reviewed by staff for completeness. Property owners can contact in the Building Department in advance (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca) to answer any questions, or to book an appointment with a Building Inspector.

10. What other permits (in addition to a building permit) may be required?

The CSRD may require other permits, such as a development permit, depending on the type and location of the construction project. Development permit (DP) areas are identified in the Area B, Area C, and Area F Official Community Plans (OCPs), and the draft Area E OCP (see CSRD website to view OCPs and information about DPs). DP areas are established for land with environmental significance (such as lakefront, foreshore or riparian areas) or hazardous conditions (e.g., steep slopes or flood areas). Other development permit areas are created to ensure that the character of commercial and multi-family developments are developed in accordance with the community vision as expressed in the OCP). Construction within development permit areas must follow guidelines to ensure development is safe for the use intended, that environmental areas are identified and protected and that the character is consistent with the community vision. As part of the building permit review, Building staff will confirm whether any DPs are required. A DP is required to be issued by the CSRD prior to a building permit being issued.

Anyone who is unsure whether a project requires a development permit is encouraged to contact the Building Department (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca).

11. Why are six inspections required?

When creating the new building regulation and inspection service, the CSRD considered the existing building inspection service provided in part of EA F, as well as practices in other communities and best practices on implementing the BC Building Code. The CSRD decided on inspections at six stages of construction, as six is considered the minimum number necessary to adequately ensure adherence to the BC Building Code. By comparison, Revelstoke and Salmon Arm require eight inspections (not including for fireplaces); Sicamous requires eight.

12. What do the new six inspections cover?

The required six (6) building inspections are:

  1. Footing construction (before concrete)
  2. Prebackfill
  3. Under slab plumbing rough-in
  4. Framing construction
  5. Insulation, vapour barrier, and air barrier
  6. Final Inspection

13. What are the building permit fees?

Building permit fees are used to recover a portion of the cost to provide the service. Service costs are also recovered, in part, using property taxes from each Electoral Area in which the service is provided. Building permit fees consist of an application fee and the building permit fee. The application fee is a flat amount that is paid at the time of submission. The permit fee is based on the value of the construction, and is paid prior to the issuance of the building permit. All fees related to building permits are outlined in Schedule A of the CSRD Building Regulation Bylaw, No. 660, and are the same across all Electoral Areas with building inspection. At present (June, 2018), the fees are as follows:

– The application fee is $72 for a single-family dwelling, and $288 for multi-family, commercial, institutional or industrial buildings

– The application fee is $72 for a single-family dwelling, and $288 for multi-family, commercial, institutional or industrial buildings.

– The permit fee is calculated as follows:​

  • $72 for first $1,000 of construction value
  • $7.20 for each additional $1,000 of value, up to $100,000
  • $6.00 for each additional $1,000 of value over $100,000

For a single-family dwelling with a construction value of $300,000, the total fees would be $2,057 ($72 of which may be credited back to the homeowner).

All fees related to BPs can be found in Schedule A of the Building Bylaw No. 660.

14. What days will inspections be available in our area?

Building inspections will be available in each of the four EA areas two days per week. Building Official availability will be adjusted for inspection demand and workload. The building inspection days in EA F will remain Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The building inspection days for EA E and EA B will be Tuesday and Thursday to start and will be re-evaluated depending on number of applications.

15. How do I arrange a Building Inspection?

A building inspection must be requested at least 48 hours in advance of the day you would like the inspection to occur by contacting the Building Department at (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca). You may request an inspection in the AM or PM, but this may not be possible to accommodate depending on inspection demand and workload.

16. How will inspections be carried out in remote locations throughout in EA B, EA C and EA E?

A building inspector may request that inspections in remote locations, such as water access only or backcountry construction sites, be completed by a registered professional hired by the property owner.  If requested, the building inspectors will rely solely on the provided letters of assurance, field reviews and site photo’s that the registered professional submits as long as all aspects of the construction referenced by the those letters of assurance substantially conform to the design, plans and specifications, and the construction complies with the Building Code, Building Bylaw No. 660, CSRD bylaws and other applicable enactments respecting safety.

Anyone who is unsure whether a project is a remote location is encouraged to contact the Building Department (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca).

17. What is the time period between issuance and expiry of a building permit?

Once a building permit is issued construction will need to begin within six (6) months from the date of issuance. Construction cannot be suspended for a period of more than six (6) months, and must be completed within a period of three (3) years. If these conditions are not met, the permit will expire.

For a project on which construction has been ongoing, the property owner may renew a permit, prior to expiry, for an extended period of up to 12 months. Only one renewal is permitted. The completion of additional forms and fees may be required. 

18. What happens in EA F if my current BP that was issued under the previous Building Regulation Bylaw No. 630 (three inspections) expires and is renewed after the new Building Bylaw No. 660 (six inspections) is effective March 5, 2108?

The renewed BP will require three inspections.

19. What is the expected timeline from BP application to BP issuance?

  • There is currently a 3-5 week turnaround time for single family dwellings and a lesser turnaround time for smaller building projects from the time a complete BP application being submitted by a property owner to BP issuance.
  • This timeline can increase if a Development Permit Application is required to be submitted by the property owner and needs to be reviewed and issued by the CSRD Development Services Department prior to the building permit being issued.
  • It is expected that these timelines will continue with the new service because an additional Building Inspector and new Building Inspection Assistant have been hired. Application levels and timelines will be monitored to ensure adequate levels of service.  
  • It is recommended that an estimated timeline be requested when a complete BP application is submitted.

20. Can a building permit Application be submitted before the March 4, 2019 start date for the new service in Electoral Area C?

It is expected that complete building permit applications will be accepted for properties in Electoral Area C in early 2019, once the service establishment bylaw and the CSRD Building Regulation Bylaw have been amended to include Electoral Area C. Applications will not be reviewed, and permits will not be issued, however, until after the Building Regulation Bylaw and the applicable service establishing bylaw have been fully adopted.

21. What will occur if construction occurs without obtaining a building permit?

A Building Inspector will visit a property where construction is occurring without an issued building permit. Depending on the nature of the construction underway, the Building Inspector may issue a Stop Work Order. If construction continues, the CSRD may consider placing a Notice on Title. The CSRD reserves its right to enforce the Building Bylaw No. 660 and pursue further enforcement, including seeking a court injunction if required to ensure bylaw compliance.

22. What can I do if I am concerned about my neighbor who may be constructing without a building permit?

Residents can contact the Building Department (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or buildingpermit@csrd.bc.ca) to enquire if a building permit may be required for the construction that is occurring.  Residents can also submit a complaint to report construction work being carried out without the required permits through the CSRD online complaint form or contact a CSRD Bylaw Officer (1.888.248.2773 or 250.832.8194; or enforcement@csrd.bc.ca).  Complainant information is considered confidential by the CSRD and your identity will not be revealed (it is protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act).  Should the matter proceed to court, however, and if required in the legal proceedings, the CSRD may be obligated to disclose the information provided.