- The BC Building Code has updated regulations as of May 1, 2023. There are some modifications to the BC Energy Step Code metrics - check out the details here.
- Please note that building permit application reviews are taking longer these days. A complete, cohesive single family residential application may need 4 weeks for our first review; and multifamily or large commercial applications may require 8 weeks for the first review and feedback. The total timeline for permit issuance will increase if amendments or resubmissions are required from the applicant. Please factor this into your project timeline and reach out to staff if you have any questions.Thank you for your understanding during these busy times.
- New guidelines and permit process for infill housing: Our Official Community Plan has been updated with new housing policies and guidelines specific to infill housing. These will help meet our community’s evolving housing needs in a manner that is sensitive to the character of Central Saanich. The updates impact development or redevelopment of: small lots 500 m2 or less, narrow lots with a lot frontage of 15 m or less, duplexes, panhandle lots, pocket neighbourhoods, and small-scale (up to 8) multi-family developments.These developments now require a Development Permit. For complete Intensive Residential Development Permit Area, please see Section 11.10 of Official Community Plan Bylaw 1600, 2008 (section 4 for policies, 11.1 for guidelines.) These policies and guidelines were developed during the District’s 2018-2020 Residential Infill and Densification project.
- Permit fees are based on the "value of construction", which for new house construction, the District will now determine by using a software estimator tool to provide actual current local costs. This practice aligns with our Local Government neighbours, Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney.
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Almost all new construction and renovations will require a permit. Below are some examples:
- construct a new building;
- building new or removing loadbearing or non-loadbearing walls;
- relocating or demolishing a building or structure;
- tenant improvements for your business;
- changing the occupancy or type of use of a commercial space;
- completing unfinished space;
- replacing entire exterior building envelope (cladding and windows);
- constructing a sundeck;
- relocating bathroom fixtures or increasing bathroom size/fixtures;
- installing a wood-burning appliance;
- building a masonry chimney or fireplace;
- constructing retaining walls higher than 1.2m;
- replacing entire perimeter drainage system;
- authorizing or building a secondary suite; or,
- constructing accessory buildings larger than 10m².
Typical maintenance projects can be completed without a permit. Some examples are:
- replacing existing roofing material;
- upgrading existing windows (same size);
- repairing or replacing existing plumbing fixtures;
- painting, flooring or new cabinetry; or
- constructing a shed smaller than 10 sq. metres complying with the zoning.
These are a few example of other permits or approvals that might be required:
- Plumbing permits are issued by Central Saanich and are required for new or altered plumbing systems, such as adding a bathroom, or relocating existing fixtures and for irrigation systems. Check out the Residential or Commercial pages for more details.
- Electrical Permits are regulated through the Technical Safety BC.
- Written confirmation from P.Eng or ROWP that an existing septic system is acceptable for proposed project OR Island Health (VIHA) accepted filing for new or altered system.
- Approvals relating to your site may also be required. These could include tree pruning or removal, soil deposit or removal, blasting, driveway crossing or development permits for commercial/multi-family sites, shoreline properties, or environmentally sensitive areas. Check here for more details.
- Business licence for new or relocated businesses
- CRD approval of any testing of cross connection control (back flow prevention to protect the water supply) devices
- Waste discharge assessment form to CRD for grease trap
- Sign permit for any new or replacement sign
- Liquor licence through the Liquor Regulation and Licensing Branch (and the District as well)
It is always best to check in with Building Department staff for any unique situations.
The Local Government Act gives municipalities the authority to designate a property for a specific use (commercial, residential, industrial etc.) and to determine building parameters (height, setbacks, etc.). In Central Saanich, these zoning regulations can be found in the District's Land Use Bylaw. Zoning is meant to be compliant with the Official Community Plan, which sets out the long-term vision for the community, including land use management and planning decisions.
Check out the zoning map to confirm your property zoning and the Land Use Bylaw for the regulations.
The property zoning specifies permitted uses, density, lot coverage, setbacks, building height, off-street parking, and other criteria. If your proposal does not align with the zoning, permits may be required from the Planning Department prior to proceeding.
If you generally comply with the current zoning, but perhaps not the setbacks or building height, a variance application may be possible.
The Board of Variance can rule on minor variances to the Land Use Bylaw related to setbacks and height, however, their decision must be based on a hardship. For further information about this process, please check out the Board of Variance Guide.
If the variance is not considered minor, or not based on a hardship, Council could review a variance application, as a Development Variance Permit.
Alternatively, if the proposal does not meet the lot coverage or floor area ratio calculations, a rezoning application would be necessary.
Building permit fees are based on the value of the project, which includes the costs of materials and labour. If you are doing some of the work yourself, you will need to provide the value of the project based on hired labour. This creates a more consistent method of determining project value for all building permits. Details on building permit fees and related permit fees can be found on the fee schedule.
The Development Cost Charges (DCC) Bylaw No. 1889 levies charges for transportation, sanitary sewer, storm drainage, water, and parks. The DCCs apply to small lot residential, single family residential, multi-family residential, commercial/institutional, and industrial developments. When subdivisions are created for new residential parcels, the DCC's are payable at subdivision stage. For multi-family, commercial or industrial developments, the DCC fees are due at building permit stage. Please note that the CRD DCC's are also applicable, and collected by the District on behalf of the CRD. Check out the links below for further information.
A property owner is responsible, under the building bylaw, to comply with district bylaws and the BC Building Code. This includes making application for a building permit. The owner is able, however, to appoint an agent for the application process. This can be done directly with signatures on the application form, or on the Owner Authorization form, which gives an agent permission to review the property file for historical permit documents.
If work begins prior to the issuance of a building permit, including excavation, a stop work order may be posted. This could result in a penalty fee of an additional 50% of the building permit fee, payable when the permit is issued. The building permit process protects both the owner’s interests and those of the community, by reviewing the health and safety aspects of construction. Failure to obtain proper permits can result in costly construction delay, removal of unauthorized work, unsafe construction and even possible impacts on selling your property.
This process has been set up to expedite the building permit review time for a new house, based on a complete and accurate application. 5-Day Fast Track applicants are required to submit the permit checklist (pg.2 of application form) to ensure all the required information and drawings are provided. Feedback should be provided within 5 business days, or the applicant will be advised if required information is missing (subject to staff availability). If other municipal approvals are required, such as a tree permit, development permit or variance, those approvals would be pre-requisites to the 5-day building permit process. Check out the site permit page for details on permits that might be required for your project.
The required inspection schedule is outlined in the building bylaw. You or your contractor will need to contact our office at least a day before to arrange for an inspection at 250-544-4217. You will note at the bottom of the inspections list there are a number of documents required during the project, typically at framing and final inspections.
For larger projects that have registered professionals involved (architect, structural, mechanical, electrical and other engineers), District Inspectors are "monitoring" the construction and liaise with the professionals who are responsible for compliance with the BC Building Code. Similar inspections should be requested to keep the District Inspectors up to date on the construction progress.
When the project and inspections are completed, and all paperwork is submitted, the District should be able to issue a Completion/Occupancy Certificate. Any deposits submitted at the application stage will be reviewed and returned according to District policy.
According to the Building Bylaw, permits are valid for a two-year period, however, construction must start within the first year of the permit. There may be an opportunity, however, to apply to renew the permit, one time only, based on hardships beyond the owner’s control.
Check out these pages for more information, or contact the Building Department directly at 250-544-4217.
- Building Permits on Residential Properties
- Building Permits on Agricultural Properties
- Building Permits on Commercial, Industrial, Institutional or Multi-family Properties
- Trees, Landscaping or other Site Works