Victoria, B.C. — British Columbia is looking to make applying for building permits simpler. A new digital building permit tool is in the works and is expected to begin testing in partnership communities by March 2024. The pilot project will expand into other communities, following the partnership with the province, 16 local governments, and one First Nations government.
“This is an important initiative that is designed to help get more housing built faster and to mitigate costs related to delays,” said Tom Dyas, mayor of Kelowna. “The City of Kelowna has been working on a similar system over the past year and is eager to share our learnings as well as learn what else can be done by working collaboratively across governments.”
Many jurisdictions in B.C. currently rely on a paper-based application process for new housing developments. Once completed, the new digital building permit tool will make it faster for builders and developers to digitally submit permits for new housing and for local governments to receive and process applications. The tool is expected to automatically review the submission to ensure compliance with key parts of the BC Building Code.
“People will soon see new homes approved faster as we make good on our commitment to position B.C. as a North American leader in digital permitting and construction,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing. “We are excited to start work together with our partners to design and then implement this new digital building permit tool, so we can speed up the delivery of new homes and create the types of housing options people need in B.C.”
In addition, the province has created a new digital advisory council to provide strategic advice. The council will comprise of 12 organizations across the housing development system, such as construction organizations, engineers, architects, local governments, and the tech sector. Regular meetings for the council will begin this fall.
The B.C. government previously launched a single-application portal for provincial housing permits and authorizations in September 2023.