Permit Q & As


  1. When do I need a building permit?

    You need a building permit for all new buildings over 10 sq m (107 sq ft).  You also need one if you want to alter, reconstruct, demolish, deconstruct, remove or relocate an existing building. (Saanich Building Bylaw [PDF - 83 KB]

  2. What work does not require a building permit?

    Most new construction and renovations will require a permit. However, there are some exceptions, including:

    • Constructing or renovating an accessory building with a floor area of less than 10 square metres (107 square feet) that complies with zoning requirements and does not create a hazard
    • Constructing a trellis, arbour (no roof), patio, or other similar landscape structure
    • Constructing a retaining wall that is less than 1.2 m (4 ft) in height
    • Replacing existing flooring or roofing material with no change to the structure
    • Replacing existing windows or doors (same size)
    • New cabinetry, countertops, painting or tiling
    • Repairing or replacing existing plumbing fixtures with no change to the piping
  3. Will I need any additional permits or approvals?

    Yes, other permits or approvals may be required in addition to your building permit. Some of these are issued by the District of Saanich and some are issued through other agencies. Examples of permits or approvals that might be required:

    • Plumbing permit
    • Chimney/fireplace/woodstove permit
    • Blasting permit
    • Driveway access permit
    • Sign permit
    • Business license
    • Development permit (for commercial, industrial, or multi-family buildings, or properties located in Streamside, Floodplain, or Rural Fire Interface areas)
    • Septic system filing for new or altered systems – regulated by Island Health
    • Electrical or gas permit – regulated by Technical Safety BC
  4. How do I apply for a building permit?

    You can get building permit application forms at the Municipal Hall or online.  All submission requirements are listed.  We don’t accept incomplete applications. Applications must be submitted in person at the Municipal Hall.

  5. Why do the building permit application forms ask for so much information?

    In order to process your application in a timely manner, staff need adequate and complete information so they can ensure it complies with regulatory requirements.  If it’s incomplete, it will take longer to get your permit.

  6. How do I deal with roof and ground storm water?

    We recommend you contact Engineering to find out what storm and sanitary sewer connections currently exist for the property.  They can also share if you need­­ any upgrades or connections.  Call 250-475-5570.

  7. What is HPO and why do I need it?

    HPO is the Homeowners Protection Office (which has now merged with BC Housing).  Provincial legislation requires a third party warranty for all new dwelling units.  For more information, call BC Housing at 1-800-407-7757 or visit their website at

  8. How much will a building permit cost?

    We base fee charges [PDF - 76 KB] on the value of construction, as determined by the Manager of Inspection Services.

    Non-refundable application fee:

    • 25% of the building permit fee (forms part of, not in addition to, the building permit fee).

    Final building permit fees:

    • For permits $1,000 or less in value: $100
    • For permits greater than $1,000: $100 for the first thousand plus $13 per thousand or part for the next $499,000, plus $10 per thousand or part for all the value greater than $500,000.

    Building Permit Renewal fee (for a one-year extension):

    • 10% of the original building permit fee (minimum $100)
  9. Will there be any additional fees?

    Yes, additional fees may apply to your project.  These could include water meter fees and service hookup fees including storm water and sanitary sewer connections. A complete list of service connection fees can be found on on our webpage, Service Connection Fees & Additional Charges. To find out if any of these fees will apply please contact Development Services at 250-475-5570. 

  10. Will I be charged a surety deposit?

    Yes.  Surety deposits are paid at the time of issuance of Building Permits.

    • $1,000 - Single Family Dwelling addition, alteration, renovation, demolition (including renovation and additions to Townhouses)
    • $1,000 - New Accessory Building
    • $2,000 - New Single Family Dwellings and Simple Buildings
    • $10,000 - New Complex Buildings

    You’ll receive a refund after final inspection and issuance of any occupancy permit, providing there is no damage to public property.

  11. What happens if construction starts before a building permit is issued?

    The building permit process helps ensure that construction projects comply with the Building Code, Saanich bylaws, and applicable health and safety standards. Failure to obtain required permits before starting work (including excavation) may result in a “Stop Work Order” being posted on the premises. The permit fee will be doubled, up to a maximum of $20,000.00 over and above the standard fee, payable when the permit is issued.

  12. Can I cut down trees or trim them before I get a building permit?

    No. You may need a tree permit under the Tree Preservation Bylaw [PDF - 214 KB].  Read the bylaw and a Q & A information brochure, "Trees and Construction in Saanich" on-line or by request.  Call the Parks Department at 250-475-5522 with all tree questions.

  13. How can I find out if my lot has any covenants, easements or rights-of-way registered against it?

    You’ll need to submit a certificate of title from the Land Title Office as part of your building permit application package.  This certificate will identify any encumbrances listed against your property.  Saanich staff can give you information and clarification on information registered against title.  It is your responsibility to be aware of any that could affect any planned building designs.

    Note:  Saanich does not enforce any private covenants registered against the property.

  14. Once I start construction, what building inspections do I need and how do I manage them?

    We outline the inspections you need on your permit.  Book them by calling the Inspections Booking Clerk at 250-475-5458, 48 hours in advance. 

  15. How long is a building permit valid?

    A building permit is valid for 2 years after it is issued. If more time is required to complete the project, an extension of up to 1 year may be requested in writing. The request must be made at least 30 days prior to the permit expiry date.

  16. Can I make changes to the approved design after the permit is issued?

    Yes, but the proposed changes must be submitted and approved prior to proceeding. To submit a proposed change, you’ll need to provide two sets of plans with all changes clearly indicated (i.e., revision clouds) and pay the revised plan review fee at the Municipal Hall.

  17. What is the climatic, seismic and snow load data for Saanich?

    The District of Saanich uses the climatic data set out in Appendix C of the BC Building Code for the location “Victoria (Mt Tolmie)”.