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Navigating the City of Vancouver Permitting Process for R1-1 Housing

Understanding Your Options


Before embarking on your construction journey in the R1-1 zone of Vancouver, it's crucial to understand the range of housing options available to you. Whether you're considering a single detached house, a duplex, a laneway house, or a multiplex, each option comes with its own set of considerations and requirements.

Site Analysis and Preparation


The first step in the permitting process involves conducting a comprehensive site analysis.  Under the City of Vancouver’s new R1-1 zoning, there are various building styles and building site configurations that are possible.  For example, how many units and suites would you like to build?  Will there be one building or multiple buildings on the site?  All of these questions can be answered with an initial Site Analysis prior to investing time and money in a full set of design and drawing plans.  Contact the Phase One team to request a Site Analysis at

Additional considerations include assessing utilities, existing trees, site restrictions, and zoning regulations that may impact your construction plans. Understanding these factors is essential for designing and placing your new construction in compliance with city regulations and maximizing the potential of your building site.

Compliance with Regulations


The Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL) sets forth specific requirements that must be met during the design and construction process. From building and energy standards to tree planting and compliance with the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Act, it's essential to familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure a smooth permitting process.

Engaging Design Professionals


Hiring a design professional, such as an Architectural Technologist or firm such as Phase One Design, can greatly streamline the complicated permitting process.

In addition to engaging design professionals, certain projects may necessitate the expertise of various engineers. These professionals, including structural, geotechnical, and building envelope engineers, play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and compliance of your construction project. They assess specific aspects of the design and provide recommendations to meet regulatory standards.

Permit Application and Review

Once your permit application is meticulously prepared and all necessary documents are in order, it's time to submit your application. The Development and Building Services Centre serves as the central hub for processing permit applications in the City of Vancouver. Here, your application will undergo thorough review by city staff to ensure compliance with building codes, zoning regulations, and other requirements.

Multiplex Considerations


For multiplex projects, additional steps may be required, including obtaining a separate development permit (DP) in addition to the building permit (BP). Multiplex buildings are evaluated under specific parts of the Vancouver Building By-law, depending on the project's specifics. Your design professional can provide guidance on which part applies to your proposal.

Understanding Fees and Considerations


It's crucial to understand the associated fees and considerations for your construction project. Development fees for multiplexes are outlined in the Schedule of Fees, and separate building fees may apply based on the project's value. While neighborhood notification is not required for R1-1 applications, it's important to consider the impact of your construction on neighboring properties.


Navigating the permitting process for R1-1 housing in the City of Vancouver requires careful planning, adherence to regulations, and collaboration with design professionals. By working together with an experienced professional, such as those at Phase One Design or Bliss Home Designs, you can streamline the process and bring your construction project to fruition in a timely manner. Contact us for a Complimentary Consultation and get the process started.


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