Renovation Next Steps (before submitting the permit application)

Renovation Next Steps (before submitting the permit application)

Permit Submission

The budget has been set, the questions have been asked and you have designs and blueprints ready to go. Now you have to submit your application to your local municipality (for the purpose of this article, we will be referring to the City of Vancouver).

To find all the checklists and application forms for the City of Vancouver, visit their website here. Remember, your Architect, Architectural Technologist or Designer, is there to help make sure you have all the documents you need to submit your Building Permit Application and to make sure they are filled out accurately and completely. (Best case scenario is have your designer apply as your agent, you have to print and sign this document and present the original signed copy along with rest of documents)

To help get you started, print off the checklist that the City of Vancouver has provided and then sit down with your Designer and go over the list.

Survey Engineer

Are you planning to add a deck or garage? Would you like to building a laneway house? Have you decided to extend the main floor of your house into your back yard?

The City requires a survey drawing provided by a certified land survey created within the last six months before you submit your application.

Home Energy Audit

What is a Home Energy Audit?

Are your utility bills running high in the winter time? Is your air-conditioning on, but it’s still warm inside your home during the summer? According to BC Hydro, “a home energy audit … is the first step to improving the overall efficiency of your home. An audit will help you identify ways to improve your home’s overall comfort and efficiency, which will save you money on your utility bills.” Your architect/ designer will help you to find a certified company. The EA company needs a copy of your blueprint so he can review and offer his/her recommendations.

The city will not the process without the EA report.

Do you need a Home Energy Audit?

According to the City of Vancouver’s website, you will need an audit if you are doing work over that is worth over $5,000 in renovations. If you are doing over $25,000 in renovations, you will need to add “air sealing” and if you are doing over $50,000 in renovations, you will need “air sealing” as well as “improve attic insulation”.

Did you know? You could qualify for a grant, rebate or other incentives. Check out for more information.

Arbourist report

Most municipalities have tree bylaws. This is to help protect species that are rare or endangered and to maintain a certain number of trees.

Depending on the type of renovation, trees will have to be protected and should be indicated on the blueprint provided by your designer. This should also include details of how the trees will be protected.

In some cases, a report by an arborist may need to be provided. In it will be details on the condition of all trees. Additionally, if the neighbour’s tree(s) is too close to the renovation area, it will need to be protected too.

Structure engineer

Are you planning to remove an existing wall or will engineered lumber be used during your renovation?

The City requires that a Structural Engineer will need to be hired for the project. The Structural Engineer should provide a Schedule B and proof of insurance.

Fill the building permit application form

When everything is ready, you need to download the building permit application form and submit it along with the all of your documents.

After all documents are ready, you need to download the building permit application form and submit it along with the rest of documents.

Remember, when you hire we will take care of all the steps for you.

We act as your agent to help you to fill out the forms, hire the required engineers and contractors, and even line up at the permit counter at City Hall. We will take care of all necessary follow ups until your permit has been issued and is ready for pick up.

If you are applying for a building permit in another municipality within the Lower Mainland, please contact us and we will send you the links for your municipality.



[spacer][button text=”Call for free consultation” link=”” style=”default” size=”normal” target=”_self” display=”inline” icon=”no”][spacer][spacer]

How to Hire a Good Architect or Architectural Designer

How to Hire a Good Architect or Architectural Designer

Before Choosing an Architect or Architectural Technologist

First, identify what you want to do. How complex is the project? If you are building a part 3 BC building code related building (like hospitals, schools, airports, office buildings, multifamily residential projects) then you have to hire an Architect.

However, if you are building a single-family house, applying for rezoning, subdivision or development permit, you can hire an Architectural Technologist. Other types of projects that an architectural technologist can offer are applications for restaurants, retail space, and office tenant improvements.

What is the difference between an Architect and an Architectural Designer?

According to the Architectural Institute of BC, under the Architects Act and Bylaws, the words “member” and “architect” and the professional title “Architect AIBC” are reserved for architects: those applicants who meet the education, experience and examination requirements for engaging in the full range of activities defined as the practice of architecture in the province of British Columbia.

An Architectural Technologist is an accredited professional by AIBC who provides services to the public within part 9 BC Building Code.

Both Architects and Architectural Technologists need to meet provincially regulated standards and licensing.

Interior Designers

Are you just making minor changes to the interior such as painting, floor change, window covering, tile selection for your bathroom or kitchen, kitchen layout? Then you will want an Interior Designer’s design help.

More information can be found in an earlier blog on a similar subject: WHY HIRE AN ARCHITECT?

What’s Next?

Take a few minutes before you meet with your Design Team and think about the following:

Home Renovation:

  1. What is the purpose of your renovation?
  1. Write down a detailed list of the challenges you face in your house.
  2. List the changes would you like to make in your house.
  3. List your priorities. Number one is the one major thing you cannot do without, working up to ten, which is the one thing you can do without if you need to; with the varying degrees in between.
  4. Do you have a budget? What is it and is there any flexibility in it?
  5. When would you like the renovations to be completed? Do you have a big event that you would like to have your home ready for?

New Custom Home:

  1. What style of house would you like?
  2. How many years do you expect to live in this house?
  3. What are your ten-year expectations (growing family, downsizing, etc.)?
  4. How much privacy do you want?
  5. Will you be doing a lot of entertaining or socializing?
  6. Do you have a budget? What is it and is there any flexibility in it?
  7. Does energy efficiency matter?
  8. Look at some magazines and visit open houses to get a feel for what you would like your comfortable space to be like.

Commercial use buildings have an entirely different set of priorities that go beyond the scope of this article and will be addressed in the future.

To make things easy for you, we have created two printable for you to download and use in preparation for meeting with your Design Team. There is even space for you to make notes of any suggestions provided by your Design Team.

Click here for renovation  or Custom home construction


Now that you have selected your Design Team and your ideas are on paper, you will need to get your municipal permits. This is when your Design Team begins to play a larger role in your project. They will help you through the application process and answer any questions that you have along the way.

At MyHomeDesigner, not only do we provide exceptional ideas for designing the most desirable home, but we think outside the box, which adds value to the project and goes beyond city bylaws and limitations. We proved 3D visualization, as well as walk-through and virtual reality views so our clients can better understand what they are getting for their hard-earned money.

Aryo Falakrou is an associate member of AIBC (Architectural Technologist), member of ASTTBC, Passive House Canada, and Built Green BC. He is insured and bounded with over 32 years of experience. Aryo offers peace of mind for your dream home design by providing a complete set of drawings with interior and exterior 3D images, walk-though and virtual reality to ease the understanding of the project and speed up the permit process.

North vancouver renovation design

North vancouver renovation design

Here are a couple of articles you should read before going further:

What you should know before renovating your house in Vancouver

What you should know and do before renovating your house in Vancouver – Part 2

[spacer][button text=”Call for free consultation” link=”” style=”default” size=”normal” target=”_self” display=”inline” icon=”no”][spacer][spacer]

What you should know and do before renovating your house in Vancouver – Part 2

What you should know and do before renovating your house in Vancouver (Part 2)


In the first article we discussed what you need to do before you start renovating and what to ask a designer/contractor as well as checking that you have enough insurance. You’ve decided to go ahead with the renovation and you’ve hired a designer/contractor. What’s next?

City Hall and Permits

Before we get into the process at City Hall, there is the question of “why do I need a permit or permits?”

Good question. In the province of British Columbia, there are Building Bylaws, Regulations and codes that have been set out by the Province to protect you and your family and the people working on your home. When you have a permit, the work is inspected at different intervals to ensure that it is being done correctly and in line with the latest guidelines. Permits will only be issued for work that is permissible under the regulations, codes and bylaws.

The Risks of Working without a Permit are far greater than the cost of getting the answers you need right at the beginning.

What if you find out after work begins that you need a permit?

To prevent this from happening, don’t start work without calling or visiting City Hall and asking questions. If in doubt, ask. A good architect/designer will advise you or help you apply for the permit in the first place. The website for the City of Vancouver is the best place to start, but, and we cannot emphasize this enough, if you’re not sure call or visit City Hall.

When you do go to City Hall, here are some questions to consider asking:

  • What are the steps should I take to apply for a permit?
  • Can I hire an agent to apply on my behalf?
  • What do I need to apply for a permit?
  • Drawings? What type?
  • Do I have to hire an engineer?
  • Do I have to hire a contractor prior to applying for the permit?
  • How long does the review process take? (Depends on the scope of work)
  • When does the permit expire?
  • What should I expect once the permit has been approved?
  • Do I need to display the permit?
  • What do I need to do while renovating?
  • Who can call for the inspections?
  • What do I do when everything is finished?
  • Small Kitchen

    Small kitchen

At we can help you with most of these questions and we can apply for the permit on your behalf. This will minimize stress and you can focus on more important things like envisioning the finished project. What is the first thing you will do when the project is finished.

Click here to download the checklist

[spacer][button text=”Call for free consultation” link=”” style=”default” size=”normal” target=”_self” display=”inline” icon=”no”][spacer][spacer]

Your house renovation contract checklist (Part 1)

Checklist of Items to include in the contract with your contractor:

Click the link above for PDF format.

Make sure the contract covers the following items:

Contractor Information

  • Contractor (company name)
  • Principle contact
  • Project manager
  • Address
  • Telephone (office/business and cell numbers) and Fax numbers
  • E-mail address and website

Owner Information

  • Owner(s) names
  • Address (include buzzer number if different than unit)
  • Telephone (office/business and cell numbers) and Fax numbers
  • E-mail ________________
  • Project address (if different from above)
  • Description of Work
  • Scope of work, details of materials, if any drawings are available refer to the drawing.
  • Include what the work does not include
  • Timing – list project milestones and the target date for completion
  • Terms of Payment
  • The Contract price is to be calculated as follows (select one):
    • Stipulated fixed cost basis (all inclusive) $__________________, plus applicable tax Payments shall be due and payable as outlined in the Payment Schedule.
    • Cost plus ______________% of cost, plus applicable tax Payments shall be due on a bi-weekly _______ or monthly ________ basis (check one).
    • Cost plus fixed fee of $_______________________, plus applicable tax
    • Payment Schedule
  • Changes in Work Utilities and Washroom Facilities
  • Warranty
  • Other Contractors
    • Who are they?
  • Owner reserves the right to allow separate contracts in connection with the Work or to do certain work by Owner’s own forces as specified in Description of Work.
  • Dispute Resolution
    The Owner and the Contractor agree that in the event of a dispute as to the interpretation of the Contract or the extent of the Work, the issues shall be submitted to arbitration as agreed to by both parties or under the province’s arbitration statute.
  • Default by Owner
  • Default by Contractor
  • Signatures

If the payment method is laid out based on stage of work, make sure each stage of the job has been achieved and inspected (according to local bylaws) before making the payment for that stage.

It is wise to hold back a percentage of the payment for a short period of time to make sure the final job meets your expectations. This is an arrangement between you and the contractor. If you have a good relationship with him this may not be necessary.

[spacer][button text=”Call for free consultation” link=”” style=”default” size=”normal” target=”_self” display=”inline” icon=”no”][spacer][spacer]