Building a House in Surrey
Find all the information you need to build a house in Surrey, BC.
The current permit application processing wait time for the construction of Single Family Dwellings is approximately 12 weeks, for complete applications.
See below for important Planning, Development & Building service updates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and Planning, Development & Building Services
Call Centre: Planning & Development now has a call centre to replace the services normally provided at our 2W Service Counter at City Hall. Callers will be transferred to a staff member who will provide direction with respect to submitting applications, paying fees, requesting data, enquiring about land use, and booking appointments with specific staff. Call 604-591-4086 for assistance. Note that Requests for Inspections should be made through our regular systems not through this call centre. See the COVID-19 City Services, Closures & Cancellations page for more information.
Digital Permit Intakes: Planning & Development permits can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Before submitting your application, please review the Digital Submission Guideline. You will be contacted once we have reviewed your submission. All permit application processes will remain the same, apart from receiving the physical document copies. Hard copies of permit application submissions may be necessary and requested depending on the scope of work and project size, upon completion of the digital submission.
Pick ups and Drop offs: Note that Surrey City Hall has switched to appointment-only. Hard copies of plans, applications and other documents normally accepted at 2W, 3W and 4W counters are to be left in the drop box near the public entrance at Parking Level P1. Pick up of permits, plans and other documents normally from 2W, 3W and 4W is now at the Reception Desk at 1W.
Inspections: Building, Plumbing, Electrical and Trees and Landscape inspections are still being scheduled. Until further notice, Building, Plumbing and Electrical inspections of occupied homes, properties and spaces will in some cases be carried out with alternative review methods that do not require on-site attendance.
In-person Site Reviews of occupied homes may be required and will involve additional safety measures and increased levels of service and effort, such as the Site Reviews for Final Permit Acceptance and Occupied Spaces Checklist. Final Building Site Reviews will continue to require in-person attendance from Building Officials. For more information, please refer to the Site Reviews for Final Permit Acceptance and Occupied Spaces Bulletin.
Parking to Patio & Sidewalk Queuing Space Program: Surrey’s new Parking to Patio and Sidewalk Queuing Space program allows businesses to provide increased physical distancing in outdoor spaces, meeting the Province’s maximum occupancy reductions as a part of the Provincial Government’s Phase 2 BC Restart Plan. The Parking to Patio initiative allows eating establishments to add or expand outdoor seating areas. The Sidewalk Queuing Space initiative allows all other retail businesses to accommodate regular customer line-ups in outdoor spaces adjacent to businesses. For more information on the programs and how to apply, please refer to the Parking to Patio and Sidewalk Queuing Space Program bulletin.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we will continue to keep you informed of any other temporary service implementations and changes. We appreciate your patience and flexibility at this time. Please visit this site regularly to get the latest update
Before You Begin
The current permit application processing wait time for construction of Single Family Dwellings is approximately 12 weeks for complete applications.
This information is for residents building a single family dwelling on private property.
Research your lot to determine what you can build. Depending on what you plan to build as part of your Single Family Dwelling, you may have to apply and pay for additional permits. Your land use plan must also follow all applicable land use bylaws.
Check what and where you can build:
- The type, size and use of buildings according to the Zoning bylaw
- Engineering servicing requirements, including sanitation and storm connections
- Conditions or restrictions on the lot according to your Title Search from the Land Title Office
- Check if you are located in Development permit areas or environmental protection areas
- Confirm if your property has any protected trees, as per the Surrey Tree Protection Bylaw
Use COSMOS to find out your property's zoning, land use and underground utilities. To build a basement home, your designer or contractor must determine whether the service connections are deep enough and have adequate capacity to allow basement construction. Basements must have a gravity storm service connection.
You can also use the Building Records search to find:
- A copy of your survey certificate (to show property lines)
- Oil/Gas/Septic tank information
Applying For Your Permits
Each permit expires after 6 months after the issue date. Permit applications are available only from the 2nd floor counter at Surrey City Hall.
Building Permit - find out the steps you need to apply, including a documents checklist.
Driveway Permit - if you are demolishing part of, or all of, a driveway, or will be constructing, or adding to, a driveway, you also need to apply for a driveway permit.
Submit your permits, supporting documents and pay your building permit fees in person only at the 2nd floor counter at Surrey City Hall. Allow approximately 30 to 45 minutes for the permit intake process to be completed. Permit fees can be paid with cash, debit or cheque. We currently do not accept electronic applications.
Read the EV Charging Infrastructure requirements regarding the zoning bylaw updates for electric vehicle charging.
Read the BCBC 2018 Bulletin regarding the upcoming changes to the Building Code. Please also review the Part 9 Energy Step Code Bulletin regarding the upcoming implementation of the BC Energy Step Code requirements.
After You Have Submitted Your Application
Once your applications have been received, they will be reviewed by the City. Emails will be sent to you detailing your next steps, including but exclusive to:
- The application and payment of any additional permits you will need to complete your construction
- Any necessary engineering service upgrades and associated costs
- Setting up an On-Site Pre-Damage meeting and pay any applicable damage deposits
- What you have to do with the trees on your property
- Paying any tree bonds
Your Building Permit will be issued only when you have met all necessary requirements from the City and all fees have been paid. Wait time is dependent on the volume of applications and the application, payment and processing of any additional permits you need.
Approved drawings must be on site at all times. Inspections are required at various stages of construction. Find your order of inspections on your building permit.
Damages During Construction
Damages to City property must be reported to the City of Surrey. You are responsible for the actions of any contractors and sub-contractors who cause damage to City property. If clean-up by City crews because of your construction is needed, you will be held responsible for the cost of clean-up.
Revisions During Construction
Revisions to your building plans after the Building permit has been issued require additional approval. Changes must be made by the designer and can be rejected if not correctly completed. Inspections cannot be done while you are waiting for approvals on your revisions.
Download the Residential Building Permit Revision Application Form.
Change of Registered Professional
In the event that there is a change in the CRP and/or RP, please follow the guidelines outlined in the bulletin Change of Co-Ordinating Registered Professional or Registered Professional.
You must book and pass your final inspection before anyone can move into the new structure.
If you have any questions along the way, contact the Building Information Line at 604-591-4366, or visit the 2nd Floor Counter at City Hall from 8:30am to 4:00pm.