Appendix C
List: Regional and Municipal Authorities Having Jurisdiction

Regional Government Authorities
In many areas, regional authorities have additional building permit requirements. Regional government authorities may require that the setback from the street line and points of ingress and egress for all buildings located on metropolitan roads be approved. In regional municipalities, the regional health unit must approve installation of septic tanks or similar sewage disposal units.

Municipal Authorities
The following is a partial list of areas regulated by municipal authorities:

  • Planning:
    Development applications and subdivision agreements often require that the local or regional planning authority approves building and site plans before it issues a building permit.
  • Zoning:
    Land use, bulk, height, location, and site density — which can significantly influence the architectural design of a building — are regulated by municipal authorities.
  • Building:
    Municipal bylaws or provincial or territorial statutes containing all structural and fire safety requirements for new buildings are administered by the local municipality. Separate permits may be required for heating systems.
  • Plumbing:
    All sanitary and plumbing installations must be in accordance with provincial or territorial regulations. Some municipalities require that plumbing permits be issued separately from building permits. Some jurisdictions allow for separate plumbing permits to be obtained by the mechanical contractor.
  • Signs:
    Signs and advertising devices require separate permits and must comply with applicable sign bylaws.
  • Swimming Pools:
    Swimming pools and their protective enclosures must comply with provincial or territorial building codes and municipal bylaws, and usually require separate permits.
  • Public Health:
    Building permits for all buildings and structures subject to public health legislation provisions are usually withheld until the plans are approved by the public health authority. Included are food preparation and serving facilities and public swimming pools. Health department approval may also be required for installation of a septic tank or similar private sewage disposal system.
  • Public Works:
    Building permits are normally withheld until the municipal public works departments are satisfied as to the availability of municipal services, and curb and sidewalk protection during construction, provision of drainage system for surface water, deposits for culverts and curb cuts, etc.
  • Fire Safety:
    Many municipalities do not issue building permits until the local fire department has approved plans for compliance with the fire protection requirements of the building code.
  • Business Licences:
    Local municipalities pass bylaws to license and regulate restaurants, public garages, dry-cleaning establishments, laundries, and pool halls. Each bylaw may contain regulations which affect building design or construction.
  • Electricity:
    Electrical inspections are arranged through the local offices of the electrical authority. In addition, industrial safety officers, assistants to the fire marshal, and other inspection personnel look for electrical hazards. When a hazard is located, they may direct that corrective measures be taken to comply with the provincial or territorial electrical code, or they may request that the authority conduct a more complete inspection.

The electrical contractor may be required to submit documents to the local electrical power authority to obtain a separate electrical permit.

Municipal or Private Utilities and Services
The architect should check for the requirements of the following services:

  • electricity;
  • gas;
  • sanitary sewer and storm drains;
  • telephone;
  • water;
  • roads and highways;
  • railways;
  • cable TV and Internet.

Private Acts
Passed by the legislature, these acts give cities, private individuals or individual municipalities specific power to govern — which may not be applicable to the province as a whole.

For example, the City of Vancouver has a separate charter and sets its own building regulations and codes independently of the rest of the province.

Deed Restrictions
These require a deed check for possible easements, rights of way, air rights for telecommunications, and other similar development constraints or restrictive covenants.