January 14, 2022

When You Need a Building Permit for Your Home Renovations

Building permits are required for major home renovations, failing to obtain a permit is illegal. Find out when you need a building permit for your home renovations.

Have you bought a new house and are ready to start on some home renovations? Before you begin tearing out the kitchen or want to add an en-suite, you will need a building permit first.

What is a building permit?

Building permits are required for certain types of renovations to residential properties. These permits allow contractors to carry out work on your property without the threat of penalties. Homeowners are responsible for making sure that their projects are legally permitted before moving forward with any construction.

Whenever you need construction permission for your home renovations, be sure to contact the local building department. They'll provide you with a permit form which will require certain information, including an exact address of your property, a description of the work to be done, and the date of the work being done. The permit form will also include contact information for the zoning inspector, as well as contact information for any contractors who will be working on-site.

You will need a specific permit depending on what you are doing. If you are starting from the ground up on a piece of land it will require a residential building permit among various other permits, but if you are doing some home renovations, you will need a home renovation permit.

When do you need a building permit?

Building permits are required when making any structural changes during a renovation. If you’re moving interior walls, changing the existing plumbing, electrical or gas lines, you will need a permit.

You can visit the city of Surrey’s website to see the different types of building permits there are. They have a list of the residential building permits which includes an interior renovation permit. There you can learn how to apply and the types of required documents you will need.

You can begin your remodel once you have obtained a home renovation permit. A permit will give you peace of mind knowing that the job is legal and being properly inspected throughout and upon completion by a building inspector.

What if I don’t get a permit?

Failing to obtain a building permit and continuing the renovation is illegal, and the process afterwards will make the home renovation process much harder and slower.

It’s really not worth the risk because you can be found out by either a neighbour telling the city or by a random check. You may be subjected to a fine and you may be told to remove the work you’ve already done.


Scott Vanderspek is a Surrey real estate agent who wants to help his clients and members of the community better understand the home buying process. Even once you have purchased your home, you can always reach out to Scott for advice.

If you are looking for a house for sale in Surrey, you can reach out to Scott to help you find your dream home. Have questions regarding building permits for your home renovation? He can help you with that too.