Building Permits - BC Building Code Energy Efficiency Provisions

NEW IN 2015: ENERGY EFFICIENCY CODE CHANGES IN RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS

The changes in building envelope design and new ventilation requirements revised in December 2014. All new homes and alterations are affected by these changes.

Please click to download the following PDF documents:

If you have any questions, please contact Roye Lovgren, Building Inspector, Town of Smithers, phone: 250.847.1600

Highway Use Permit

These are required for any non-municipal uses within road right-of-ways, including lanes. For example: excavations, temporary closures/detours, signs/displays/seating areas. There is no cost for the application, but the Town may require a cash security for the duration of the project/event, which may be refunded in whole if there is no damage to Town infrastructure.

Click here to view the Highway Use Permit Application Form.

If applicable, please complete the Sketch of Proposed Use Within a Highway Right-of-Way to accompany your application.
 

Note:
Some events may require a “Special Events Permit” through the Recreation, Parks and Culture Department.
 

Temporary Use Permits

A Temporary Use Permit (TUP) is an approval from Council for a temporary land use that does not conform to the Zoning Bylaw. A TUP may be issued for up to 3 years and can be renewed once by Council for an additional 3 years.

 

For more information, please contact the Development Services Department at 847-1600.

Sustainability Plans

Click to view the following documents:

Secondary Suites & Carriage Houses

Secondary suites and carriage houses are great opportunities for homeowners to construct rental housing in the Town of Smithers. The below information provides an overview of the regulations pertaining to secondary suites and carriage houses.
 

SECONDARY SUITES
A secondary suite is an additional dwelling unit located within a single family home that complies with the BC Building Code and Town bylaws. If you are interested in constructing a new secondary suite within your home or bringing an existing secondary suite into compliance, please review the following:

Homeowners with an existing secondary suite qualify for free voluntary inspections until December 31st, 2016 (fee of $200 is waived). The voluntary inspection will determine the necessary building upgrades to bring your suite into compliance with Town bylaws and the BC Building Code. Call the Development Services Clerk to make an appointment.


CARRIAGE HOUSES
A carriage house is a self-contained dwelling that is constructed as a separate building to a single family home. Carriage houses are permitted on R-2 zoned properties as shown on the Town of Smithers Zoning Map. You qualify for a carriage house if:

  • There is an existing single family home on the property.
  • There is not already a secondary suite, home occupation or boarding use within the home or on the property.
  • You have sufficient space to build a carriage house in order to meet the setbacks, parcel coverage and parking

If you are interested in constructing a carriage house on your property, please review the following:

Related Links:

Related Resources:

For more information on secondary suites or carriage houses, please contact the Development Services Department at 250-847-1600.

Building Permits

What is a Building Permit?

Building Permits regulate various types of building construction that are allowed in the Town of Smithers and ensure compliance with the BC Building Code, Building Bylaw, Zoning Bylaw and other Town Bylaws. The Building Permit process protects both the owner's interests and those of the community at large. Failure to obtain proper Building Permits can result in costly construction delays, legal action and/or the removal of work already completed.

How do I know if I require a Building Permit?

Before beginning your project, we recommend you discuss your plans with the Town of Smithers Building Inspector who can confirm necessary permits and plans. Generally, you will need a permit if you wish to:

  • Build any kind of structure larger than 10 square metres (107 sq. ft.).
  • Alter, renovate, or adding onto existing buildings/structures, including interior plumbing.
  • Excavate or construct a foundation.
  • Install a heating, ventilation, air conditioning unit or wood stove.
  • Change a use or occupancy of a building.
  • Construct a retaining wall which retains more than 1.5 metres of fill.
  • Demolish or move a building.

When don't I need a Building Permit?

Building permits are not required for non-structural minor modifications such as:

  • Esthetic renovations (i.e. painting, replacing carpet).
  • Replacing windows that are the same size and location.
  • Fencing (Zoning Bylaw contains permitted height and setbacks).
  • Sidewalks or landscaping on private property.

What should I consider before applying?

Things you should consider before applying include:

  • Review the Development Process Flowchart
  • Check the zoning of the property to ensure your intended use is permitted and the required setbacks, site coverage, and height requirements are met. If your project does not meet zoning standards, a rezoning or development variance permit application may be required.
  • Check to see if your property is located within a development permit area. If so, a development permit may be required before a building permit can be issued.
  • Review the Subdivision Servicing and Development Standards Bylaw for any required frontage improvements.
  • Check for the location of services i.e. water, storm, and sanitary sewer (BC One Call 1-800-474-6886).
  • Check for easements or right-of-ways on your property.
  • Confirm driveway location and slope (max 10%).
  • SAFERhome Standards Information Page.

What do I need to provide in order to obtain a Building Permit?

In order to obtain a Building Permit, the following should be provided:

  • Building Permit application (hard copies available at the Town Office) and application fee.
  • Site Plan (2 copies) which identifies the lot shape, size, driveway location, existing buildings, setbacks and project location.
  • Building plans (2 copies) illustrating elevation and floor plans and cross sections.

Depending on your project, the following may also be required:

  • Home Owner Protection Office approval for new residences (1-604-646-7050).
  • Truss layout including engineered details.
  • Form 'M' Owners Undertaking of Building Foundation.
  • Foundation design prepared and signed by a registered professional accompanied by letters of assurance in the form of Schedule B-1 and B-2.
  • Complex Building Notice to Owner if the building will be classified as being used for major occupancies.

How much does it cost?

The application fee is $35.00 for residential buildings and $50.00 for all other buildings. The total fee is calculated by the value of construction. The applicant submits a construction value and the building inspector calculates an estimate according to the plans submitted.

Value between $1 and $1,000,000 = $6.25 per $1,000 of total

Value over $1,000,000 = $5.50 per $1,000 of total

Additional costs may include the installation of a water meter or service connection.

How long will it take to get a Building Permit?

Most permits can be issued in 1-10 working days depending on the complexity of the project and completeness of the documents submitted.

What happens after I apply?

When you pick up your approved Building Permit, you will be given a list of required inspections. Inspections should be called at every stage of work during the building process, before the work is covered up by the next stage. All work should be substantially complete before you request an inspection. To schedule an appointment call the Development Services Clerk at (250) 847-1600.

In addition to inspections, you must:

  • Post your building permit in a visible location.
  • Keep a copy of the approved plans on site.
  • Bring any changes to the attention of the Building Inspector.

Municipal Cemetery

Please click here to view the Town of Smithers Municipal Cemetery webpage.

Business Licensing

Click here for more information.

Engineering and Mapping

All required off-site works and services must be completed in accordance with Bylaw No. 1800 - Subdivision Servicing and Development Standards.

Development Permits

Certain properties in the Town of Smithers are designated as Development Permit Areas (DPA). The Official Community Plan contains guidelines and requirements for the two types of DPAs in Smithers: Environmental and Form & Character. For properties located within a DPA, a Development Permit (DP) may be required prior to subdividing land or obtaining a Building Permit.

 Form & Character Development Permit Areas

Environmental Development Permit Areas

Changes to an approved Development Permit may require a Development Permit Amendment Application to be submitted. For more information, please contact the Development Services Department at 847-1600.

Subdivision

A subdivision alters the legal property boundaries of a parcel of land and includes dividing a property into smaller parcels, consolidating several parcels into one, creating a bare land strata or changing the alignment of an existing property line. All required works and services must be completed in accordance with Subdivision Servicing & Development Standards Bylaw No. 1800.

 

Strata Conversion

A strata conversion occurs when a previously occupied building is converted to strata title ownership. The Strata Property Act, Zoning Bylaw and Council Policies control the strata conversions in the Town of Smithers.

For more information, please contact the Development Services Department at 847-1600.

OCP & Zoning

An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a general statement of the broad objectives and policies of the local government respecting the character of existing and proposed land use and servicing requirements in the area covered by the Plan. The OCP serves as the foundation for all policies, regulations, and decisions pertaining to land use and development in a municipality. Each property in Town has been assigned an OCP designation that defines the approximate or desired location of land uses such as residential, commercial, industrial, parks and open space, etc.

The Zoning Bylaw is used by the Town to regulate the use of land and to implement the policies in the OCP. It states what land uses are permitted in the community and provides information such as where buildings may be located, density requirements, and standards for lot size, parking requirements and building height.

When is an OCP and/or Zoning amendment necessary?

Rezoning is a process of changing one zone to another. When a development is proposed, including constructing new buildings or changing the types of activities that occur on a property, the owner must check the zoning regulations for that property. If the existing zone does not permit the proposed development then it is necessary to apply for a rezoning. A rezoning cannot be approved contrary to the OCP; therefore, an OCP amendment may also be required. The rezoning and OCP amendment occur together as one process.

 

 

For more information, please contact the Development Services Department  at (250) 847-1600.

Development Variance Permits

Development Variance Permit

A Development Variance Permit (DVP) is an approval from Council to vary the bylaw regulation(s) of zoning, subdivision servicing, or signage for non-conforming development approvals. A Development Variance Permit cannot vary use or density of land specified in a bylaw.

Board of Variance

The Board of Variance (BOV) is a quasi-judicial body separate from the Local Government with its own authority under the Local Government Act.

The Board of Variance (BOV) for the Town of Smithers is an appointed body that has the authority to grant a minor variance to certain provisions of Town bylaws cause a person undue hardship. A BOV cannot vary use or density of land specified in a bylaw; result in inappropriate development of the site; adversely affect the natural environment; or substantially affect the use and enjoyment of the adjacent land.

A Board of Variance application must begin with a discussion with the Development Services Department. We can confirm that your proposed variance is a legal option, inform you of the acceptability of the variance, and provide you with details of the process.

What are the provisions of the Town Bylaws that can be varied by the BOV?

According to Section 540 of the Local Government Act, a person may apply to a board of variance if the person alleges that compliance with any of the following provision would cause the person undue hardship:

a) a bylaw respecting the siting, size or dimensions of a building or other structure, OR the siting of a manufactured home in a manufactured home park;

b) a subdivision servicing requirement under section 506 (1) (c) [provision of water, sewer and other systems] in an area zoned for agricultural or industrial use;

c) the prohibition of a structural alteration or addition under section 531 (1) [restrictions on alteration or addition while non-conforming use continued];

d) a bylaw under section 8 (3) (c) [fundamental powers — trees] of the Community Charter, other than a bylaw that has an effect referred to in section 50 (2) [restrictions on authority — preventing all uses] of that Act if the council has taken action under subsection (3) of that section to compensate or mitigate the hardship that is caused to the person

e) The owner of land subject to a bylaw adopted under section 548 [early termination of land use contracts] may apply to the BOV for an order under subsection 5 of Section 543 if the owner alleges that the timing of the termination of the land use contract by the bylaw would cause the owner hardship, and the application is received by the board of variance within 6 months after the adoption of the bylaw. (Section 543 of LGA)

f) A person may apply to the BOV for an order under Sec. 544 (2) if the person alleges that the determination by a building inspector of the amount of damage under section 532 (1) [end of non-conforming use protection if building of other structure is seriously damaged] is in error (Section 544 of the LGA).

As per Section 542 of the local government act, the board of variance must not grant a variance that would do any of the following:

a) be in conflict with a covenant registered under section 219 of the Land Title Act or section 24A of the Land Registry Act, R.S.B.C. 1960, c. 208;

b) deal with a matter that is covered in a land use permit or covered in a land  use contract;

c) deal with a matter that is covered by a phased development agreement under Division 12 [Phased Development Agreements];

d) deal with a flood plain specification under section 524 (3);

e) apply to a property

I. for which an authorization for alterations is required under Part 15 [Heritage Conservation],

II. for which a heritage revitalization agreement under section 610 is in effect, or

III. that is scheduled under section 614 (3) (b) [protected heritage property] or contains a feature or characteristic identified under section 614 (3) (c) [heritage value or character].