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.
  • Alter, renovate, or adding onto existing buildings/structures.
  • 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 1.2 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:

  • 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.
  • Fire Department Response Time.

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.
  • Site Disclosure Statement
  • Notice to All Builders and Developers - Building Setbacks
  • Building plans (2 copies) illustrating elevation and floor plans and cross sections.
  • Copies of layout and certificates for engineered components, such as trusses, joints, beams, etc.

As of August 2020, the Town of Smithers will now be requiring plans designed and sealed by a Registered Architect for any of the buildings outlined in Bulletin 31 from the Architects Act.

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.
  • Appendix E Owners Undertaking of Building Foundation.
  • Letters of Assurance provided by a Registered Professional
  • Appendix F - Confirmation of Insurance
  • Appendix G - Confirmation of Required Documentation - if the building will be classified as being used for major occupancies.

How much does it cost?

The application fee is $75.00 for any project. 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 within 1-20 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.