Navigating Bylaws & Codes With Your North Van Renovations

March 28, 2023

When you’re thinking of renovations or remodeling projects in your home, you may assume that the contractor should have everything under control. While that is true, there are aspects which are outside of your contractor’s circle of control.

When a builder renovates your home there are two significant groups of regulations needing navigation:

Building Codes & Building Bylaws.

Building Codes:

These are the provincial codes that every aspect of your renovation needs to adhere to. If you undertaking a project larger than a simple refresh, you’ll need a building permit issued by your municipality to do this work. These codes are all free to access, and they are made of of ‘building codes’, ‘plumbing codes’ and ‘electrical/mechanical codes’. There are also special code scenarios like ‘fire codes’ that need to be reviewed and adhered to. Your municipality will come by the home at the stages of your project to make sure your contractor is abiding by these regulations – they are the enforcers.

Examples of Building Codes:

  • Height of each stair tread and rise and the range that is allowed
  • How many handrails or guards you need on a stair
  • Where your fireplace mantle needs to sit in relation to your firebox
  • How many receptacles (plugs) that you’re required to have in your walls

Building Bylaws:

These are municipal laws that are different in every community. They can regulate everything from how many tress your can cut down, how far out your addition can extend, to how your home can look from the outside. Most municipalities have hundreds of by-laws and not all of them pertain to building. Your contractor should be aware of all these bylaws and needs to work with the municipality to adhere ot them properly. These by laws are enforced by local building inspectors and by-law officers.

Examples of Building Bylaws:

  • How much noise you’re allowed to make during construction and at what volume
  • When your storm or sewer line needs to be replaced
  • How erosion is controlled during an exterior renovation
  • How close you’re allowed to build next to a creek
  • What types of professionals you need to retain for your renovation

The most important thing you can do is be informed. As your contractor to check on the relevant bylaws for you project and send them to you for review. Find any and all bylaws below for the North Shore linked below:

District of North Vancouver Bylaws

City Of North Vancouver Bylaws

District of West Vancouver Bylaws