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Become a Licensed Residential Builder in B.C.

Follow these key steps to help you complete your application successfully.

Are you a general contractor or developer who wants a building permit to construct a new home in B.C.? Or do you want to perform building envelope renovations? You must first become a licensed residential builder and arrange for home warranty insurance.  

Which builders should apply

The Homeowner Protection Act defines a residential builder as a person who engages in, arranges for or manages, all, or substantially all, of the construction of a new home or agrees to do any of those things. This definition includes developers and general contractors. 

A residential builder must obtain a licence from BC Housing before starting construction on a new project. That licence must be maintained until such time that all new homes enrolled in home warranty insurance have been completed or, in the case of a developer, sold. 

Even in areas where building permits aren’t required, you must be a licensed residential builder to carry out the work and arrange for home warranty insurance before starting construction.

Part 1 of the Building Envelope Renovation Regulation states that building envelope renovators must not engage in, arrange for or manage all, or substantially all, of a building envelope renovation unless they are licensed as a building envelope renovator. They must also arrange for warranty on the project.

Some building envelope renovation projects are exempt from needing a licensed building envelope renovator. Consult our Building Envelope Renovation Regulations page to learn more.

General contractors who are building for a developer under Part 3 of the BC Building Code are exempt from licensing requirements. That’s as long as the developer is licensed and has enrolled the project in home warranty insurance.

Pick your licence type

The first step in the application process is to know your licence type. You have three licence options to choose from: general contractor, developer or building envelope renovator — or a combination of the three. 

Select the licence types(s) that fit your current and future business activities as a residential builder. To learn more about each licence type, consult our regulatory bulletin, Choose Your Licence Type

If you apply for a new residential builder licence as a general contractor, and you don’t have a current residential builder licence in good standing, you must meet the qualification requirements. These requirements are mandated by the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations. Consult our Qualification Requirements page to learn more. 

If you apply for a licence as a developer only, you don’t have to meet the qualification requirements. However, you must complete a declaration that states:

  • You will not take part in constructing or developing Part 9 homes during the term of your licence, or
  • You will hire licensed general contractors to construct any Part 9 homes.

If you fail to comply with this declaration, we may suspend or cancel your residential builder licence. Therefore, it’s important you choose the right licence type for the business you are conducting.

Documents and information

Be ready with all relevant documents and information before starting the online application.  This applies to the primary contact and every person who can control the corporation, including all directors. Documents include:

  • Driver’s licence number
  • Date of birth
  • Contact information

If you’re applying for a licence as a general contractor, don’t forget your proof of qualifications. You’ll need this if you, or any of the people in control of the company, don’t currently hold a licence in good standing.

As part of your application, you must also meet the consumer protection disclosure requirement . Anyone applying — or any person in control of the applicant company — must disclose any orders, monetary penalties, convictions or judgments against them with respect to fraud, breach of contract with consumers, or contravening specified legislation.

Home warranty insurance

You need acceptance from an authorized third-party home warranty insurance provider as part of your licence application. The provider will notify us when your warranty acceptance is approved.

Completing your application

All set? It’s time to go to the Licensed Residential Builders Portal.   

You will need a valid email account to complete the online application process.  If you don’t have a valid email, please contact us for more information.

Our guide  How to Apply for a New Residential Builder Licence Using the Online Licensed Builder Portal will walk you through each step of your application.

Payment

The fee is $600. You have three payment options: credit card, manual payment or pay later. Paying by credit card completes your application and puts it straight in the queue for processing. We process complete applications in the order in which we receive them.

If you choose manual payment or pay later— such as by cheque made payable to BC Housing — we’ll review your application once the cheque arrives with your signed application.  You also have the option of coming to our office and paying by debit card.

Delays can also occur for the following reasons:

  • No signed copy of the application
  • Incomplete information
  • Wrong information
  • The licensee, or persons associated with the licensee, is under investigation for non-compliance, or found to be in non-compliance with the Homeowners Protection Act and Regulation
  • The licensee, or persons associated with the licensee, breached a condition on their previous licence, such as failing to meet Continuing Professional Development requirements

Application status

Once a decision has been reached, we’ll notify you via email or letter. If successful, we’ll add you to the Public Registry of Residential Builders. You can then log in to your account to download and print your certificate.

You can log in to your account at any time to check the status of your application. You can also change the contact information for your licence at any time. 

You can appeal the decision of the Registrar regarding your licence, if you believe an error was made in the decision. To do so, follow the guidelines on our Reviews and Appeals page.