The Ultimate Checklist for Obtaining a Demolition Permit in the City of Vancouver

The Ultimate Checklist for Obtaining a Demolition Permit in the City of Vancouver

Demolishing a building in the vibrant city of Vancouver is not just a matter of bringing in the wrecking ball. Before the first wall comes down, there’s a critical path to compliance with local regulations and safety standards. Obtaining a demolition permit is a detailed process designed to ensure the safety of the community, the protection of the environment, and the adherence to city planning goals. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to guide you through obtaining a demolition permit in the City of Vancouver.

  1. Preliminary Research

Understand Local Laws:

Familiarize yourself with the City of Vancouver’s Building By-law, Zoning and Development By-law, and other related regulations to ensure your demolition plans are permissible.

Property Zoning Check:

Confirm the zoning of your property and any restrictions that may affect the demolition process.

  1. Asbestos and Hazardous Materials Assessment

Asbestos Survey:

Conduct an asbestos survey by a qualified professional to determine the presence of asbestos-containing materials, which is mandatory for buildings constructed before 1990.

Hazardous Materials Report:

Create a hazardous materials report outlining the presence of any materials that require special handling or disposal.

  1. Community Notifications

Neighbour Notification:

Inform your neighbours of your intentions to demolish. Transparency can ease the process and address concerns proactively.

Utility Notifications:

Contact local utility companies (water, gas, electricity) to inform them of the demolition and coordinate the safe disconnection and capping of services.

  1. Permit Application

Complete Application Forms:

Fill out the necessary application forms, available through the City of Vancouver’s website or at the Development and Building Services Centre.

Site Plan:

Include a detailed site plan that outlines the property boundaries, existing structures, and the area where the demolition will occur.

Disposal Plan:

Provide a waste disposal plan that demonstrates how you intend to manage and dispose of demolition debris, prioritizing recycling and waste reduction.

  1. Additional Documentation

Owner’s Authorization:

If you’re not the owner, you’ll need written authorization from the property owner to apply for the demolition permit.

Professional Sign-off:

A structural engineer or a qualified professional must sign off on the demolition plan, especially if the demolition is complex or involves retaining walls or structures.

  1. Permit Fees

Calculate Fees:

Determine the necessary fees based on the structure’s size and the demolition scope, as outlined by the city’s fee schedule.

Payment of Fees:

Pay the required fees upon submission of the permit application. Fees help cover the cost of the permit review and inspections.

  1. Permit Review and Approval

Application Review:

The city will review your application to ensure it complies with all by-laws and regulations. This may take several weeks.

Permit Issuance:

If approved, the City of Vancouver will issue a demolition permit. This document must be posted visibly on the property during the demolition process.

  1. During Demolition

Safety Measures:

Implement all necessary safety measures, including fencing, signage, and dust control, to protect public safety.

Professional Execution:

Ensure that a professional demolition contractor carries out the work, adhering to all safety and environmental regulations.

  1. Post-Demolition

Site Clearance:

Clear all debris and leave the site in a safe and clean condition, as per city by-laws.


Schedule a final inspection with the City of Vancouver to confirm the demolition has been completed to code.

Close the Permit:

Once the inspection is passed, the permit process is complete, and the site is cleared for future development or sale.

In Conclusion

The City of Vancouver takes a structured approach to building demolitions to balance development needs with community interests and safety. Whether you’re a homeowner or a developer, this checklist serves as a starting point for navigating the process. By carefully following each step, you ensure that your demolition project aligns with city expectations and contributes to the orderly transformation of Vancouver’s built environment.

Remember, the city’s Development and Building Services Centre is a valuable resource for any questions or clarifications throughout the process. With meticulous planning and adherence to regulations, your demolition project can progress smoothly from permit to the final teardown.


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