- What types of builders will have to obtain a builder licence from the HPO?
- How do I get a Residential Builder Licence?
- How do I get a building permit?
- What steps are required by a builder to complete an HPO Registration Form?
- What entity governs warranty providers?
- Which warranties companies have received FICom approval?
- How much will the warranties cost?
- What about areas where building permits are not required?
- Are there any exemptions from the licensing and warranty requirements?
- What are the responsibilities of an Owner-Builder?
- Are there other Exemptions from Licensing and/or Home Warranty Insurance?
- What is the additional license fee being placed on builders for the Reconstruction Program, and will they apply to every builder in B.C.?
- Why are only some areas included in the Reconstruction Levy?
- What are the geographic areas that are subject to the $750 per (multi) unit Reconstruction Levy?
Builders applying for a building permit for new home construction must have a residential builder's licence or an applicable exemption. A residential builder is defined as a person who engages in, arranges for or manages, all, or substantially all, of the construction of a new home. This includes both a developer and a general contractor.
See information on Becoming a Licensed Residential Builder.
Can you qualify for a builder’s licence without first being accepted by a warranty insurance provider?
No, a condition of licensing includesacceptance by an approved third-party home warranty insurance provider.
A builder is not able to obtain a building permit without evidence that the proposed new home:
- is covered by home warranty insurance and
- will be built by a Licensed Residential Builder
- unless there is an applicable exemption such as an Owner Builder Authorization.
Evidence of licence and warranty is provided by submitting a valid HPO New Home Registration Form to the municipality or regional district prior to the issuance of a building permit.
Warranty providers must be authorized under the Financial Institutions Commission (FICom). In addition to this FICom authorization, the Homeowner Protection Act provides the HPO with certain powers to examine the records and procedures of warranty providers.
Mandatory new home warranties are required to provide coverage as follows: two years on labour and materials (some units apply), five years on building envelope and ten years on structure. The cost of the warranties is set by the third-party companies providing this coverage and the price is based on an actuarial analysis of expected claims. Both consumers and builders should benefit from the competition from other warranty insurance providers.
The Act and regulations require that all builders must be Licensed Residential Builders and provide home warranty insurance. This requirement also applies to those areas of the province where no building permit is required. Licensing and warranty or an applicable exemption must be obtained prior to the commencement offences of construction.
The HPO is responsible for enforcement in those areas. The Act provides for fines of up to $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations, and/or imprisonment of up to one year for anyone convicted of offenses of construction.
Yes. The main exemption from licensing and warranty regulations is owner builders. An owner builder is an individual authorized by the Homeowner Protection Office to build a new home for their personal use. An owner builder is not required to be licensed by the HPO to build the new home or arrange for third-party home warranty insurance on that home. This definition does not apply if a builder, general contractor or project manager is hired to build or manage the construction. An owner builder is exempt from the licensing and home warranty insurance provisions of the legislation.
Individuals wanting to be an owner builder of a new home are required to obtain an Owner Builder Authorization from the HPO and to pay a fee, prior to commencing construction of that new home. These requirements are in effect for all areas of British Columbia, regardless of whether building permits are required and are in keeping with amendments to the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulation. Read our regulatory bulletin for owner builders.
Owner builders must build or directly manage the construction of their new home themselves. If an owner builder engages a builder, construction manager, project manager, or any third-party to perform these functions, both the owner builder and the hired construction manager/builder are committing offence(s) under the Homeowner Protection Act and could face monetary penalties of up to $25,000 and/or prosecution.
An owner builder must not have previously been issued an Owner Builder Authorization for a period of at least 18 months from first occupancy of last owner-built home (period increases for repeat owner builders). All persons over the age of sixteen ordinarily resident in an owner builder's residence are deemed to be one owner builder.
Should an owner builder sell their home within the first 10 years from the date of occupancy, they must provide the purchaser with a disclosure notice obtained from the HPO. The disclosure notice will inform the purchaser that the home was built by the owner builder and whether or not there is a policy of home warranty insurance in place for the home.
Purchasers of owner-built homes are protected by the Statutory Protection provisions of the Act. These provisions hold the owner builder personally responsible to subsequent purchasers for any defects in material, labour or design for a full 10 years.
Yes. Exemptions from licensing and/or home warranty insurance requirements must be obtained from the HPO. See the types of "new home" exemptions.
What is the additionallicence fee being placed on builders for the Reconstruction Program, and will they apply to every builder in B.C.?
Funding for the Reconstruction Program which will provide no-interest loans to qualified owners of leaky homes will come from additional licence fees for the construction of new multi-unit homes in certain areas of British Columbia. The per unit cost will be $750.
As a general principle, the Reconstruction Levy will be charged in the same geographic areas where the no-interest Loan Program is available - the coastal climate zone.
The “coastal climate zone” is defined in the Homeowner Protection Act regulations as the:
- Capital Regional District
- Regional District of Comox-Strathcona excluding Electoral Areas G, I and J and the villages of Gold River, Tahsis and Zeballos.
- Fraser Valley Regional District
- Greater Vancouver Regional District
- Regional District of Alberni-Clayoquot
- Regional District of Cowichan Valley
- Regional District of Nanaimo
- Regional District of Powell River>
- Squamish-Lillooet Regional District excluding Electoral Areas A and B and the District of Lillooet, and
- Sunshine Coast Regional District.
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