So, you want to get started on that home renovation or tenant improvement.

But, how should you get started?  What options should you consider?  How long will the project take?  Will you need a permit?  What will the city allow you to build?

An architect can help you tackle questions like these so you can get started on your home or business construction project. But if you’d like to do some initial research on your own, here are a few resources that might be helpful.

Generally speaking, any construction work carried out in an urban area will require a permit and will have to meet the applicable zoning and building codes.  Building codes tell you the minimum standards of construction a building has to achieve.  Some building codes to be aware of include

The National Building Code of Canada (for example, for federal projects),

The British Columbia Building Code (for most construction in BC), and

The Vancouver Building By-law (for buildings within the Vancouver city limits).

Zoning codes tell you what you’re allowed to build in your part of the city (your zone).  Zoning codes for cities within Metro Vancouver can be found below (but make sure they’re current versions if they link to a pdf):



Bowen Island




City of Langley

Township of Langley

Lions Bay

Maple Ridge

Metro Vancouver A

New Westminster

City of North Vancouver

District of North Vancouver

Pitt Meadows

Port Coquitlam

Port Moody





West Vancouver

White Rock

You may want to speak with a few contractors to see if they are open to doing the kind of project you have in mind and to start to get some idea of the costs involved.  You may not get firm pricing until they see a set of drawings, but there is value in speaking with them and building a rapport.  You should only hire a contractor you feel comfortable with.  Once the work begins, this relationship will be very important.  Here are a few contractors who are active in the Vancouver area.

Gibraltar Holdings (commercial)

Matra Construction (commercial)

Reotech Construction (commercial)

Eyco Building Group (residential)

Fifth Element Construction & Renovations (residential)

FirstOnSite Restoration (residential)

Kerr Construction (residential)

KPC Homes (residential)

Level One Construction (residential)

Marino General Contracting (residential)

On Side Restoration Services (residential)

Precision Restorations (residential)

Rain City Homes (residential)

Solaris Properties (residential)

Once you have a sense of your construction objectives and your budget and you’ve done a little research, speak with a local architect when you’re ready to get your project started.  An architect will be able to guide you through the whole process from concept to completion.