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You may have asked yourself this question before you begin a renovation project… 


Home owners are investing more money in home renovations than ever before.  Whether a small cosmetic change, or a major professional renovation, many homeowners are investing time and money to make their residences more functional , comfortable, and stylish.


Although considered by many to be an added inconvenience and expense, building permits and building inspectors are actually important safeguards that help ensure you get sound workmanship and good value for your money, plus they addresses safety concerns and add value to the home !


A building permit is issued by the local municipality prior to beginning work and ensures that your project conforms to local building codes and bylaws. Your project will later be inspected by a qualified building inspector who ensures that the project is consistent with the plans submitted for the permit.


All these measures are of benefit to you, your neighbors, and subsequent homeowners.  After all, who wants to find out after you’ve already built a new deck that’s it’s too close to your neighbor’s property, and that they can require you to move it over by three feet? What if this happens after you’ve sold your home? Yikes.


In addition to ensuring that your project used the correct materials and conforms to safety standards, the benefits to you and your family are obvious. If you’re working with a professional contractor, it is their responsibility to obtain the permit prior to commencing your work.  BEWARE the contractors that suggest a permit is not required – especially for electrical, gas, plumbing and structural work !!  If the contractor implies the job will be cheaper without the permit, you should seriously consider another opinion.  Permit costs, as a function of the total price of a renovation are minimal. 


Think of it as an ‘insurance policy’ !  If you are well organized submitting the required information to the municipality, the process is not long.  If you use a contractor to do the work, consider a local contractor with experience dealing with the local municipal authorities.


We check permits for every home we list or sell – and you as a homeowner must disclose whether work was done with or without a permit.  The risk is that the local municipality can require that you undo work done without a permit, whether it appears well done or not !  The prudent way to go?  Obtain permits for work requiring permits.  Not sure what is required ?  Check out the North Shore’s Municipal web sites:


North Vancouver District

North Vancouver City

West Vancouver District



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