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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2024HOUS0028-000817
May 27, 2024
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Housing
Ministry of Citizens' Services
New Building Permit Hub launched to speed up homebuilding

BURNABY – To get more homes built faster and address challenges in B.C.’s housing market, a new digital Building Permit Hub will help streamline and standardize local permitting processes.

“The permitting process can be slow and complicated, delaying the construction of homes we urgently need,” said Premier David Eby. “Together, we’ve made progress cutting provincial and municipal permitting times, but we have to keep going. This new one-stop shop for local building permits will reduce red tape for homebuilders, local governments and First Nations, and ultimately save money, speed up construction and help people get into homes faster.”

The Province is digitizing local permit processes to make it easier and faster for homeowners and industry professionals to submit applications to local governments and First Nations. The Building Permit Hub is the next step in the Province’s work to speed up homebuilding and reduce the costs of housing, and meet the Province’s goal for British Columbia to become a North American leader in digital permitting and construction.

“We are exploring new ways to speed up the delivery of homes for people in B.C.,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “The Building Permit Hub will make the permitting process smoother for builders and local and First Nations governments, ensuring homes are built quicker without unnecessary delays. This is one of many actions we are taking in our Homes for People action plan.”

The Province’s work to cut provincial permitting times is showing results. Provincial permits are being processed faster and backlogs are being cleared with permits being processed faster than they are coming in.

The Province has heard from industry, local governments and First Nations that some of the biggest challenges with the local building-permit submission process are incomplete applications, inconsistent submission requirements from one community to another and different interpretations of compliance with BC Building Code requirements. These problems contribute to costly delays to building new homes for people.

The Building Permit Hub will address these challenges by offering a one-stop, simplified process, resulting in faster processing and review times. Builders will submit their permit applications online in the hub, which will:

  • standardize building-permit submission requirements across jurisdictions in B.C.;
  • automatically check that the permit application is complete; and
  • automatically check compliance with key parts of the BC Building Code.

A provincewide system that addresses the different permit requirements in each community will result in complete and consistent applications that are straightforward for local governments and First Nations to approve.

“This permitting tool will evolve, incorporating user feedback to deliver a seamless experience for those building the homes people need throughout the province,” said George Chow, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Government is working to unlock the full potential of digital innovation and technology, as we tackle the housing crisis together.”

The Province worked closely with communities and industry experts to develop the Hub.

Twelve local governments and two First Nations will pilot the first version of the Building Permit Hub. The Building Permit Hub will go live on Monday, May 27, 2024, to allow communities to update the tool for their local requirements and permitting capability is expected to come online this summer. The hub will be further developed in summer with additional features added, such as permit applications for secondary suites and accessory dwelling units, and will eventually be available throughout the province, allowing every community to process building permits digitally.

The Building Permit Hub will scale up to include more types of housing. Advancing digital permitting and construction is part of the Province’s Homes for People action plan to build homes for people faster, protect renters and fight speculation. The Province is investing in other digital housing solutions as well and has already delivered a web-based, interactive version of the building code.

The Building Permit Hub is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 78,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway.

Learn More:

To view the new Building Permit Hub, visit: https://buildingpermit.gov.bc.ca

To learn more about government’s new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for people in British Columbia, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/

Four backgrounders follow.

 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Housing
Media Relations
236 478-0251
 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 1
For Immediate Release
2024HOUS0028-000817
May 27, 2024
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Housing
Ministry of Citizens' Services
What people are saying about the new Building Permit Hub

Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North –

“Burnaby is a growing community, which requires homes that meet the needs of the people who live here and newcomers to our city. The building hub will support the delivery of new homes by simplifying the process for homebuilders, ensuring homes are not stalled in the process and meet all the BC Building Codes.”

Cassidy deVeer, president, 3rd Generation Homes –

“The permitting process as complex as it is to navigate is made even more complicated when requirements and processes differ from municipality to municipality. Having consistent submission requirements across jurisdictions will be a massive improvement. If the Building Permit Hub can streamline the permitting process and shave weeks off approval times, it can make a huge difference for both the builder and the local government.”

Neil Moody, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC (CHBA BC) –

“Slow and arduous approval processes are one of the biggest issues slowing down the rate of homebuilding in B.C. CHBA BC is pleased to see this new digital permitting process being implemented and is encouraged to hear that it will soon expand beyond the 14 jurisdictions that are part of this pilot project.”

Ryan Morhart, chief building official and manager, City of Victoria –

“It’s exciting to see the leadership and innovative spirit of the Province applied to support our housing industry. The Building Permit Hub technology is now available, and the leadership to collaborate and keep its development on task gives confidence to the vision that B.C. will be a North American leader in digital permitting and construction. This will set a new standard for permitting construction.”

Nick Petrie, building designer, Phase One Design –

“It has been my pleasure to work with the Ministry of Housing on the new Building Permit Hub. It has been great to collaborate with and hear feedback from all the different contributors, whether it’s local governments, designers, architects, builders, contractors or other interested parties. I look forward to the final product and have faith in the refinements that will occur during and after launch, as this becomes a new standard for permitting and approvals across the province.”

 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Housing
Media Relations
236 478-0251
 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 2
For Immediate Release
2024HOUS0028-000817
May 27, 2024
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Housing
Ministry of Citizens' Services
What to know about the Hub
  • The new digital Building Permit Hub for local building permits builds on the Province’s work to speed up provincial housing permitting.
  • While the government continues to take action to drive down provincial permitting times, progress since establishing the housing action task force in January 2023 includes:
    • Overall processing times for natural resource permits for housing-related projects have been reduced by 45 days. 
    • The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has reduced its turnaround time to 10 days on rezoning and bylaw approvals. The ministry is making decisions faster than it is receiving new applications on housing projects.
    • Riparian area protection assessments previously took nine to 12 months to process. Now, 90% of new applications are processed within 30 days.
  • Through the new provincial Single Housing Application Service, homebuilders also have access to a single window for provincial applications and new dedicated navigators, who guide applicants through all stages of the application process and act as a single point of contact for all decisions relating to provincial homebuilding permits.
  • The Province is making changes to deliver faster permitting and continues to uphold high environmental standards and advance reconciliation with First Nations. The lessons learned are being applied to other natural resource permits to reduce permitting timelines for other types of projects.
 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Housing
Media Relations
236 478-0251
 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 3
For Immediate Release
2024HOUS0028-000817
May 27, 2024
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Housing
Ministry of Citizens' Services
What to know about the pilot participants
Updated on May 27, 2024

Twelve local governments and two First Nations will be piloting the first version of the Building Permit Hub. The Building Permit Hub will go live on May 27, 2024. Many Phase 1 pilot communities are still updating the tool for their local requirements and most are expected to come online this summer.

Phase 1 participants who will be using the Hub include:

  • City of Burnaby
  • City of Campbell River
  • City of Kamloops
  • City of Langley
  • City of Maple Ridge
  • City of Nanaimo
  • City of North Vancouver
  • City of Surrey
  • City of Victoria
  • Cowichan Valley Regional District
  • District of Saanich
  • Town of Qualicum Beach
  • Musqueam Indian Band
  • Tsleil-Waututh Nation
 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Housing
Media Relations
236 478-0251
 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 4
For Immediate Release
2024HOUS0028-000817
May 27, 2024
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Housing
Ministry of Citizens' Services
What to know about the pilot road map

In parallel to the Phase 1 pilot, the Hub will continue to be updated with additional features and changes based on feedback and engagement from pilot communities. It will eventually be available in communities throughout the province.

Summer 2024:

  • Digital building permit applications are available for low-density housing up to four units.
  • Checklist of what’s required for a building permit – building permit requirements specific to each pilot community that automatically updates when a builder inputs the project address.
  • Completeness check – includes a building permit application completeness check.
  • Building Code compliance check – automated check for compliance with the energy-efficiency requirements of the BC Building Code (Energy Step Code and Zero Carbon Step Code).

Fall 2024:

  • More communities beyond the 14 Phase 1 pilot communities will be able to use the Building Permit Hub.
  • Digital permits applications will be available for more building types, including residential buildings up to eight units, accessory dwelling units and secondary suites.
  • Test integration of the Building Permit Hub with existing local government permitting systems.

Spring 2025:

  • Digital permits will be available for all housing types.
  • Automated Building Code compliance checks for the parts of the Building Code that cause the most confusion and delays in the permitting approvals process.
  • Additional features based on user feedback.
 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Housing
Media Relations
236 478-0251
 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect