Building Bylaw Update

The Building Bylaw is being updated to align with District bylaws, the BC Building Code, and to update language for clarification. The proposed bylaw will be presented to Council in April 2018.

The community is invited to review the proposed changes and provide comments in the fields below or by email.

Timeline:

  • April 12 - Building Bylaw Changes: Public Information Session
  • April 30 - Feedback opportunity closes
  • April 3 - Proposed bylaw goes to Community Development Committee Meeting
  • May 15 - Proposed bylaw presented to Council for first three readings
  • End of May - Possible adoption
  • July 1 - Energy Step Code goes into effect

View the full proposed bylaw  or read through the summaries below.

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Proposed updates

  • Energy Step Code

    The BC energy step code is a Provincial approach to achieving more energy efficient buildings. The step code is enforceable (as it is part of the BC Building code) and goes beyond the “bare minimum” that is prescribed in the BC Building code.

    The Energy Step Code is voluntary. Each municipality can choose the step that they would like to enforce, and each step is progressively more energy efficient.

    What's proposed:
    The District has volunteered to enforce the Energy Step Code as of this year. Please visit the Energy Step Code page for more information. 

  • Permitted changes in fire suppression system

    Current:
    Currently, the Building Bylaw requires a building permit for the relocation or addition of any number of sprinkler heads in a fire suppression system. 

    What's proposed:
    In an effort to align with neighbouring municipalities, and lower costs for minor alterations and repairs, it is proposed that the relocation or addition of less than six sprinkler heads will no longer require schedules or letters of assurance from an engineer.

  • Requirements before applying for a building permit

    Current:
    Currently, the Building Bylaw does not call out any requirements before a building permit application can be submitted. This has caused a number of conflicts with development permits, servicing agreements and subdivisions.

    What's proposed:
    It is proposed that the following key items be approved before submitting a building permit application:

    • A development permit must be approved, if required;
    • A subdivision plan must be signed by the Approving Officer.
  • Permit expiration

    Current:
    In the current bylaw, the building permit is terminated if work is not commenced within six months or if work is discontinued for a period of 12 months or longer. Currently, there is no expiration if work continues slowly. This has created problems in tracking construction and progress because projects can drag out for years.

    What's proposed:
    It is proposed that an additional requirement is included in the updated Building Bylaw to include the termination of a building permit if work is not finalized within three years from permit issuance. 

  • Permit extension

    Current:
    Currently, the Fees & Charges Bylaw calls out the cost of a building permit extension but there is nowhere in the Building Bylaw that states how or when this fee applies. 

    What's proposed:
    The following will be included in the new bylaw to clarify:

    • A building permit may be extended once up to 180 days if construction has not commenced or has been discontinued due to unforeseen circumstances.
    • The owner or applicant must submit the request for extension before the date of expiration. 
  • Issuance defined

    Current:
    Currently, the Building Bylaw defines permit issuance as the point in time when the applicant pays for and obtains the building permit. Presently, the District has an excess of permits that are ready for pickup but have not been issued by definition, because the owner has not yet paid for nor picked up the permit.

    What's proposed:
    It is proposed that the permit is issued on the date the District notifies the owner that the permit is ready for pickup; and the permit is obtained when the applicant pays for and picks up the permit. This timeline will better represent when a permit expires. 

  • Requirement for a digital copy (PDF) of drawings

    Current:
    It is currently standard practice for the Building Official to request a digital copy of the design drawings at building permit application submission

    What's proposed:
    To formalize the requirement for a digital copy of the drawings by including it in the Building Bylaw.

  • Notification of change in ownership

    Current:
    Currently, the Building Bylaw does not specify how or if a building permit can be transferred or assigned to a new owner. 

    What's proposed:
    It is proposed that a provision be included in the Building Bylaw that allows building permits to be transferred or assigned to a new owner upon written notification to and authorization from a building official. Authorization will be granted once the building official has received updated application forms and confirmation that letters of assurance, home warranty, etc. have been transferred to the new owner. 

  • Commencement of work

    Current:
    Currently the “Prohibitions” section of the bylaw states that no work can commence before permit issuance.

    What's proposed:
    Due to confusion of when work “commences”, the bylaw will clarify that the placement of foundation forms, or other work related to construction, is considered “commencing work”. Formwork falls under the BC Building Code and is regulated under an approved building permit.

  • Sanitary facilities

    What's proposed:
    That the requirement for sanitary facilities (such as porta potties) be available on site for all construction projects. 

  • Building height on design drawings

    Current:
    Currently, the Building Bylaw states that existing and finished grades and roof heights be shown on the drawings. However, the District’s Zoning Bylaw defines building heights for different types of roofs and from different definitions of grade. 

    What's proposed:
    To streamline plan review, it is proposed that the design drawings include building height “as per the Zoning Bylaw” and that the elevations used to measure building height are shown accordingly.

  • Hazardous Materials Assessment before demolition

    Current:
    It is a health and safety requirement by WorkSafe BC for District staff to receive a copy of the hazardous materials assessment before issuing a building permit. 

    What's proposed:
    It is recommended that the hazardous materials assessment be included in the building bylaw as a requirement for a demolition permit. 

  • Owner responsibilities before permit issuance

    What's proposed:
    Before a building permit will be issued, the owner must have paid all charges, outstanding municipal fines, and met all requirements imposed by any other statute or bylaw. A permit will not be issued if the owner of the property has been notified of a violation of this bylaw about the construction of another building or structure owned by the same owner.

  • Requirement for a Pre-Occupancy meeting

    Current:
    Currently a building official will request a pre-occupancy meeting with the applicant before an occupancy inspection. 

    What's proposed:
    It is proposed that a pre-occupancy meeting be required in the Building Bylaw for every project, as a condition of occupancy, in order to streamline the occupancy inspection process. 

  • Storm water management plan

    What's proposed:
    It is proposed that storm water management be shown on the site plan submitted at building permit application. This requirement will complement, and show compliance with, the storm water management requirements called out under the existing “Site grading and drainage” section of the bylaw. 

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