Home Improvement Permits

Everything you need to know to add, alter or renovate an existing home in Burnaby

You will require approvals to ensure that the project meets current bylaws and regulations, and to ensure building safety. 

Repairs to damaged existing buildings resulting from fire, flood, or other natural or man-made disasters

  • Damaged building: repairs to building caused by fire or other natural or man-made disasters may require a building permit. 
  • Repairs: including roofs, foundation and structural restoration (not replacement of existing) require a building permit.

Forms and fees

Bulletins and information

Proposed changes that do not create additional floor area

Changes to existing buildings that do not create additional floor and may include interior/exterior modifications or secondary suites are classified as Alterations in Burnaby. These works require a building permit. 

Forms and fees

Bulletins and information

Interior and exterior alterations, including adding bathrooms, building or taking down walls and installing solar panels:

Secondary suites:

Proposed changes that change the building footprint or create additional floor area

Modifications to the building footprint or that create additional floor are are termed additions in Burnaby. These may include accessory buildings (including garages, awnings and patio or deck covers), fences and walls (including retaining walls), decks, swimming pools and hot tubs.

Forms and fees

Bulletins and information

Unauthorized construction

All construction undertaken without required permits is unauthorized. Unpermitted work, including renovations, carries significant risk to homeowners and residents, as permitting ensures that any work done on a building meets current City bylaws and regulations, the BC Building Code and health and safety standards to ensure livability and building safety.

When the City becomes aware of unauthorized or unpermitted construction, we will take action to enforce all applicable bylaws and can assess fines and penalties, issue stop work orders or seek court orders to ensure remediation to bring a project into compliance. 

As a homeowner you are responsible for any unpermitted work on your property, even if that work happened prior to you owning it. Unpermitted work is generally not covered by home insurance and may compromise the coverage of the remainder of the property.

View more information of the impact of unpermitted work

Should you become aware of any unpermitted construction:

  • Contact the Building Department to confirm the unpermitted work.
  • Apply for the appropriate permits to address existing issues.

  • Any construction project that includes the excavation, erection, enlargement, alteration, removal, fire repair or demolition of any building or structure including accessory and temporary buildings requires a permit.
  • Minor works such a replacing fixtures, cabinet and flooring, painting the inside of your home or doing minor non-structural repairs to the outside of your home do not need a permit. 
  • If you are unsure if your project requires a permit, please contact the Building Department.

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