We are fully digital! All Building Permit applications and documents are now PDF digital only. See online planning applications in order to submit and pay online.

Current processing time for complete Building Permit applications is two to three months.

In addition to any required development approvals, a Building Permit may be needed to ensure buildings are safe for their intended purpose.  Building policies and bylaws must be followed during the building process.  A number of inspections must be passed before an Occupancy Certificate or Letter of Completion is issued.

New Building Permit Application Fee

Starting September 1, 2023 the application fee for a Building Permit has increased to $150. Applications submitted after that date will be charged the increased fee. Other related fees have also increased, and will be charged on permits issues after September 1st. For more information, please see the Amendment Bylaw 606.

Building Regulations January 1, 2022

Bowen Island Municipality has adopted an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw, in Bylaw No. 528, 2020. These changes came into effect on January 1, 2022 and will include changes to definitions used in Building Permit Applications, including changing definitions for Lot Coverage, Floor Area, and Average and Finished Grade calculations. For more information, please see the Amendment Bylaw No 528.

Grade and Height Calculation Brochure

Grade Calculation Spreadsheet

Are you planning to start building or renovating?

Check with the Planning & Development Department to make sure you have all the necessary approvals and permits for your proposed development before you start any work.

Please read this notice if you are planning on any new development within the Snug Cove Sewer System boundary.

All new construction and substantial renovations on Bowen will need to meet Step Three of the BC Energy Step Code.

We are fully digital! All building permit applications and documents are now PDF digital only.

Building Bylaws & Policies

Building and renovations are regulated by the Building Bylaw.  This bylaw includes regulations for construction, alteration, repair and demolition of buildings and structures.  Development regulations, such as building setbacks and height, are under the Land Use Bylaw.

Additional policies that may be applicable to your building process are the Heron Policy and the Green Building Standards Policy.

Building Permits

You will need a Building Permit to:

  • Build a new structure or building
  • Demolish, alter or add to a structure
  • Build an accessory building greater than 10 m2 (107 ft2) in area
  • Build a deck more than 600 mm (2ft) above grade
  • Build moorage facilities e.g. docks, boat ways/ramps, boat lifts (applicants are invited to follow the Best Practice for Marine Dock Management from the Howe Sound Biosphere Region.
  • Install a swimming pool
  • Build a retaining wall 1.5m (5ft) or higher
  • Install or alter plumbing or electrical systems
  • Move a building to Bowen Island
  • Install of a sea-can or other temporary building
  • Excavate a lot prior to issuance of a building permit (Excavation Permit Application)
  • Bring an existing secondary suite into compliance application form (Existing Secondary Suite Permit Application Form)

Day-to-day repairs and maintenance, and renovations that do not involve structural alterations do not require a Building Permit.

A Building Permit may expire if work is not started within 12 months from the date it was issued, or if work has stopped for 12 months or more.

Apply for a Building Permit

Please read this notice if you are planning on any new development within the Snug Cove Sewer System boundary.

Planning and Building reviews are prioritized by the date that a complete application is received by the Planning and Development Department. Due to the volume of building permit applications received, current processing time is  two to thee months.

All plan updates are to be submitted as a full set with changes bubbled and revision date added.

We are fully digital! All BP applications and documents are now PDF digital only.

Please use and submit the current application form, see link below:

All applications are to be submitted in pdf format to building@bimbc.ca. Attachments are limited to 10 MB.  Do not submit hard copies of schedules and drawings to Municipal Hall until you are requested to do so.

As of January 15, 2020, Bowen Island Municipality, on behalf of TransLink, is required to collect the Regional Transportation DCC for all building permits issued and subdivisions approved on Bowen Island. 

Apply for an Excavation Permit 

Excavation is included in a Building Permit. If you would like to excavate your lot PRIOR to obtaining a Building Permit, an Excavation Permit is required.

Apply to permit an existing secondary suite

Secondary Suites have been permitted in most zones on Bowen Island since 2008. At that time, many homes already had non-permitted suites. A short form Building Permit application is available to obtain Completion/Occupancy Certificate for these previously non-permitted suites.

This certification may be required for some property sales or for a Business Licence for any business activity taking place in the suite.

In order to bring a secondary suite into compliance a code compliance report from a qualified professional is required.

Building Permit fees to permit an existing secondary will be a minimum of $180.00. This is based on a minimum construction value of $20,000.

More information on Secondary Suites can be found in our guide.

If your existing non-permitted suite is detached from the primary dwelling a different process is necessary, please send an email to planning@bimbc.ca for more information.

Building Inspections

Please email building@bimbc.ca for an inspection and ensure that all requests include the address, permit number, type of inspection and contact information. 24 hours notice is required.

Before starting any building work, discuss your project with the Building Inspector and identify the inspections that will be needed.  It is the responsibility of the property owner or their agent to schedule the required inspections.

The following is a list of inspections that your project may require:

  • Excavation/ Site
  • Footings
  • Foundation
  • Perimeter Drain/ Dampproof
  • Under-slab plumbing
  • Slab preparation/ Insulation
  • Plumbing rough in
  • Sheathing
  • Rain Screen/ Flashing
  • Framing
  • Insulation/ Vapour Barrier
  • Deck/Guardrails
  • Final Inspection

How to Schedule an Inspection

Please email the building@bimbc.ca to book your inspection at least 24 hours before your requested date of inspection. Include: Owner or agent name and phone number, project address, type of inspection and permit #. Either a Building Clerk or the Building Inspector will reply to confirm the date that your inspection will be scheduled. Click the link below for the latest Building Inspector schedule.

Building Inspector Schedule

Occupancy Certificate or Letter of Completion 

An Occupancy Certificate is issued after completion of new residences and buildings. A Letter of Completion is issued after all other work is done under a building permit.  Deposits will be returned after an Occupancy Certificate or Letter of Completion has been issued.

Upon completing a demolition, the Municipality will notify BC Assessment so that you will not be taxed for the improvement on your next tax bill.

Archaeological sites on Bowen Island

Your property may be the location of an archaeological site, where there is evidence of past human activity. Archaeological sites are fragile. Damaging a site without a heritage permit is unlawful. You can request archaeological information about a property yourself. If you are considering property improvements and find you have a site on your property, you must consult with a qualified archaeologist to determine the next steps. If archaeological studies are required, the BC Archaeology Branch will work with you to avoid or minimize site damage during property improvements. Please submit the BC Archaeological Information Request Form to request information on your site. For more information see the BC Government brochure.

Building in Resilience

Bowen Island Municipality encourages residents to ‘build-in preparedness’ for emergencies and disasters. In addition to the risk of a major earthquake on the west coast, Bowen Island has historically experienced regular, extended power outages during winter months, and it makes sense to prepare your house when you are building or renovating. When building or renovating, please consider alternate sources of water, energy and heat.


    • Consider installing cisterns for water storage.

    • Consider installing a back-up power supply for your well pump if a well is your only source of water.

    • Consider water conservation in any design and purchasing decisions. This could be as simple as low flow toilets or as complex as grey water reuse systems for gardens.


    • If using electric heat, consider a heat pump as it can be up to 300% more efficient and therefore requires a much smaller generator to continue to provide heat in a power outage. You’ll also be eligible for up to $3000 in rebates from BC Hydro.

    • Renovating? Don’t tear out that wood stove just yet! Consider sources of heat other than electric when building including propane and wood burning fireplaces.


    • No budget for a generator at this time? Consider installing a transfer switch at construction, to allow for easy generator hook up in future.

    • Take a look at what’s out there in terms of alternative battery technology.

    • Help your budget go further with BC Hydro home renovation rebates and look into the merits of having a home energy audit conducted before renovating.

Consider energy efficient design in all builds and upgrades: in many cases, materials and technologies that enhance a building’s energy efficiency can also make the building more durable, resistant and resilient to threats posed by natural disasters. As well, resilience will enable a faster, more effective recovery post-disaster, allowing individuals and the community to get back on our feet sooner after an event.

FireSmart practices reduce the risk of a wildfire destroying your home. It’s easy to incorporate small and simple FireSmart principles and practices when building, renovating or landscaping. Consider using noncombustible siding materials, for example, and avoid planting highly flammable plants near your home.