Secondary Suites

Building a New Secondary Suite or Legalizing an Existing Suite

The City's Building Bylaw regulates the construction, alteration, repair and demolition of building and structures for the health, safety and protection of people and property.

It regulates items such as:

  • Building permits, plumbing permits and demolition permits
  • Inspections and occupancy
  • Fees and charges
  • Enforcement

The Building Permit Process

A building permit from the City is required prior to constructing a new residential suite or in order to legalize an existing suite.

A legal secondary suite is one that complies with zoning regulations and has been constructed to BC Building Code (BCBC) requirements under a building permit and has received an occupancy permit.

Also note that the City will assign a distinct residential address for the legal suite which will allow the tenant to obtain a mailing address from Canada Post.

Building permit applications need to include such items as:

  • Construction value for the work, which includes materials and labour
  • A site plan (with dimensions) showing:
    • The additional parking space required for the suite
    • The access (walkway, stairs, etc.) to the suite
  • Plans drawn to scale showing:
    • Overall floor plans (with dimensions) for the building
    • Fire separation construction details and location
    • Details of load-bearing elements (walls, beams, columns)
    • Proposed method of achieving compliance with sound ratings
    • Heating and ventilation details
    • Suite layout (with dimensions) showing room uses, door sizes and swing, bedrooms, etc.
    • Bedroom window sizes, including location and dimensions of window wells
    • Smoke/CO alarm types and locations
    • Mechanical room location and separations

As work reaches certain milestones, inspections will be required before construction can continue (see the Inspection Timetable provided to you with your building permit for the inspections required for your project).

Once the work is completed, a final inspection is required before an occupancy permit will be issued.

To determine what will be required to legalize your existing suite, please call Development Services at 250-392-1765 or email to book a free inspection with the City's building inspection department.

Secondary Suite Info-chart