Building Permits & Inspections

Building Permits help ensure that construction and major renovations comply with local bylaws, the building code, and health and safety standards.

The City works with a number of tools to ensure construction and development projects are carried out in accordance with regulatory standards such as the BC Building Code, the Local Government Act, the Land Title Act, the City of Fernie Building Bylaw, and other provincial and municipal legislation.

You need to be issued with the required development permits and building permits before any stage of a project can start.

To comply with the BC Building Code, all building permit applications submitted on or after March 8, 2024, require a design that meets the 2024 BC Building Code.

Building Permit Requirements

A Building Permit is required when you plan to:

  • construct a new building;
  • add to an existing building;
  • construct a deck;
  • change the occupancy of an existing building, i.e. from office to retail;
  • make interior renovations that may impact the direction of travel to an exit;
  • repair a building envelope;
  • demolish or move a building;
  • enclose your carport or change your garage to living space;
  • add or relocate plumbing, fire alarm or fire sprinklers;
  • pave a parking area where a storm drainage system is required;
  • finish existing basement;
  • install a swimming pool;
  • locate or add to a mobile home;
  • locate a temporary building; or
  • alteration of a building or part of a building; or
  • reconstruction of a building or part of a building.

Is a Development Permit Required?

If you plan to build, and your property is included within one or more of the Development Permit Areas (such as a Flood Hazard Area, Slope Hazard Area, or a Form & Character Development Permit Area), you must complete the appropriate Development Permit Application form before applying for a Building Permit.

Refer to our Development Permits page for a full list of examples when a development permit is required. Here you'll also find links to maps helping you determine if the property is within a hazard or development permit area.

Building Permit Application Process

For the City of Fernie to begin processing a Building Permit application, the submitted application package must include:

  • a fully completed Building Permit application form
  • a fully paid Plan Check fee (if the construction value is $50,000 or greater)
  • all required supporting documentation

Incomplete applications will increase the length of time it takes to process and review your submission. 

To avoid processing delays, please read through our Building Permit Application Guide & Checklist before submitting your application. 

Guide & Checklist: Building Permit Application Guide & Checklist.

Multiple Building Permit Requirements

Construction projects that include multiple buildings require a separate building permit application for each building

For example, a new single family dwelling plus a detached  garage, suite, or carriage house require two separate building permit applications - one for the main dwelling and a separate application for the detached garage, suite, or carriage house.

Building Permit Exemptions

A detached accessory building less than 10 m2 (107 sq ft) and 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in) in height and built on properties containing a single family dwelling is exempt from requiring a building permit. However, the structure must still meet setback requirements specified in the Zoning Bylaw.

A building permit is not required for the construction of fencing. There are various requirements for fences, including maximum heights and visibility at intersections. A full list of requirements can be found in the City of Fernie Zoning Bylaw (see pages 24 & 25).

Building Permit Conditions

Building Permits are issued upon the following conditions in accordance with the the City of Fernie Building Bylaw:

  1. that construction begins within six (6) months from the date of issuing the permit, except for factory manufactured structures and secondary suite conversions, demolition, moving and solid fuel burning appliance for which construction shall be started within three (3) months from the date of issuing the permit.
  2. that the work not be discontinued or suspended for a period of more than six (6) months.
  3. that the permit shall lapse in the event that either of the preceding two conditions is not met.
  4. that all permits shall lapse within twenty-four (24) months from the date of issue except that permits for factory manufactured structures, secondary suite conversions, demolition, moving and solid fuel burning appliance shall lapse twelve (12) months from the date of issuing the permit.
  5. that as a condition of issuance of a Building Permit, an owner shall sign the declaration endorsed on the building permit application form.

Permit Application Forms

  • Building Permit Application
    • Submit this application along with the appropriate supporting documents if you require a Building Permit. Refer to the Building Permit Application Guide & Checklist for a list of required documents.
    • If your building permit application is for a Change of Use or Change of Occupancy, please complete a new Building Permit Application, and mark ‘Change of Occupancy’ on the application form.
    • If your building permit has lapsed and you need to renew, please complete a new Building Permit Application, attach a recently extracted title certificate for the property, and mark ‘Building Permit Renewal’ on the application form.
  • Demolition Permit Application
    • Apply for this permit if you plan to demolish a building.
  • Plumbing Permit Application
    • Apply for this permit if you plan to install new plumbing fixtures or move existing fixtures to a new location. A plumbing permit is not required if fixtures are simply being replaced.
  • Solid Fuel Burning Appliance Permit Application 
    • Apply for this permit if you plan to replace or install a solid fuel burning appliance connected to a chimney or flue (such as a wood stove).
  • Hazard Lands Development Permit Application Form
    • If you plan to build, and your property is included within the Hazard Land Development Permit Areas (such as flood, slope, or avalanche hazard zones), you must complete a Hazard Land Development Permit Application form before applying for a Building Permit.

      Refer to our Development Permits page for a full list of instances when a development permit is required. Here you'll also find links to maps helping you determine if the property is within a hazard area.

BC Energy Step Code

To comply with provincial energy efficiency requirements under the BC Energy Step Code, energy software modelling and on-site testing must be used to demonstrate that new construction meets the requirements of current standards.

As of May 1, 2023 the province requires:

  • New 'Part 9' buildings (typically low density residential) to meet Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code.
  • New 'Part 3' buildings (typically multi-family) to meet Step 2 of the Step Code.

All City of Fernie building permit applications for new construction must include a Pre-Construction Energy Compliance Report or an Energy Model (whichever is applicable to the project) demonstrating conformance to current Step Code specifications.

For more information on the BC Energy Step Code visit:

Please note, the Energy Step Code Incentive Rebate Program ended on December 31, 2021.

Building Inspections

Inspections are necessary for the homeowner or builder construct a building that meets the current structural, health, security and fire protection safety standards. City Building Officials provide valuable knowledge and experience with City bylaws and building related codes and legislation, ensuring that all construction conforms to safety and health standards. 

Once a building permit has been issued, you are required to contact City Building Officials to book an inspection at each stage of the construction project. Throughout the permitting process Building Officials will determine and communicate the stages that require an inspection. 

Depending on what you're building, inspections for the following may need to be carried out:

  • Forms and excavation inspection
  • Drain tile and damp proofing
  • Storm, sanitary and water services
  • Plumbing
  • Slab poly inspection
  • Bathtubs, showers, traps
  • Frame, chimney and duct inspection
  • Insulation inspection
  • Final building inspections
  • Fire sprinklers

For detailed information on the inspection process, please refer to the City of Fernie Building Bylaw.

Communicating with a Building Official in advance of a project reduces the chances of problems arising during a field inspection.

Arranging an Inspection

To book an inspection with a City Building Official:

  1. Ensure you have completed all pre-inspection requirements as provided by the Building Official throughout the permitting process.
  2. Submit your Inspection Request via email to the Building Officials: 
  3. Include 'Inspection Request' in the subject header of your email.

If an electrical inspection is required, please contact Technical Safety BC.

Information Bulletins

For news updates and notices from City Building Officials and the Planning Department, read through the department's Information Bulletins.