Learn about submission requirements for farm and agricultural buildings. 

All buildings and structures used for farming require building permits, regardless of size. The proposed use of the farm building will determine the permit submission requirements. 

Farm buildings must comply with the National Farm Building Code of Canada and are designed for low human occupancy. Uses include (not limited to):

  • storage of farm vehicles or farm machinery,
  • storage of farm products,
  • greenhouses,
  • barns for housing livestock or poultry, and
  • other farm uses that meet the definition of low human occupancy

Commercial or industrial farm buildings (farm retail centres, cold storage, manufacturing, processing, etc.) must comply with the BC Building Code. Refer to commercial building permits for submission requirements.

Referral requirements

The following referrals may be requested before and/or during the application process. 

Development permits

Most agricultural properties are located within development permit areas. If your property is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), the construction of a farm building may qualify for an exemption.

Contact 604-591-4448 to confirm development permit requirements.

Streamside protection

If the proposed farm building is 30 metres or less from a watercourse (measured from top of bank), a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) must classify the watercourse and determine if the appropriate environmental setbacks are met.


Major arterial or collector roads may have additional setback requirements for future road widening. If your property is adjacent to a major road, email traffic@surrey.ca to determine if additional setbacks are required.

Erosion and sediment control

Properties that exceed 2000 m2 in area require an erosion and sediment control (ESC) permit or waiver. Learn about ESC permits.

Soil deposition

If fill or soil deposition is required for building construction, a soil deposition permit is required. Learn about soil deposition and removal permits.

Additional approval may be required from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) if your property is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

Document requirements 

If any of the required documents are not included within your submission package, your submission may be rejected. Upon review of your application submission, the City may request additional documents other than the items listed below. 

General documents
  • Building Permit Application form
    • Clearly describe the use of the farm building.
  • Owner’s Authorization form, if the applicant is not the owner.
  • Schedule B from each Registered Professional submitting signed and sealed drawings.
  • Schedule A, if more than one Schedule B is submitted.
  • Certificate of Insurance from each Registered Professional.
  • Storm outfall proposal or alternative drainage solution.
  • Damage Deposit form, if a damage deposit is required.
Well water
  • Water Source Certification Report confirming that the private well meets the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.
    • If the water source requires treatment, a Registered Professional must provide a signed and sealed design of the treatment system, complete with Schedule B.
  • Letter from a Registered Professional confirming the water source meets the peak demand in conformance with the Plumbing Code.
  • Registration of a restrictive covenant may be required before building permit issuance.
Septic fields
  • New septic fields to submit all drawings and documents as per the Septic Requirements for Building Permit.
  • If connecting to an existing septic field, a Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP) or Registered Professional (RP) must confirm that the existing septic field can accommodate the additional load.

Drawing requirements

If drawing requirements are not included within your submission package, your submission may be rejected. 

Architectural drawings

One set of architectural design drawings that include: 

  • Key plan
  • Site plan
  • Floor plans
  • Cross section
  • Elevations
  • Construction details

Layout must demonstrate compliance with the Necessary Farm Use Structures in the ALR Guidelines.

Structural drawings

One set of structural plans that include:

  • Design criteria and soil bearing capacity
  • Floor plans
  • Cross section
  • Wall blocking details (if wall exceeds 12’-0” in height)
Other drawings
  • Topographical survey
    • Original signed and sealed by a Registered BC Land Surveyor and dated within 6 months. 
  • Truss layout (if applicable)


Building permit fees are determined based on the declared value of construction. The plan processing fee (35% of the estimated building permit fee) is collected at intake and is non-refundable.

A damage deposit of $2500 is required if the value of construction exceeds $20,000.