Operating Permit: Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration

Who needs an operating permit?

The following individuals are required to pull an operating permit.

Owners of the following types of plants
  • A first class plant
  • A second class plant
  • A third class plant
  • A fourth class plant
  • A fifth class plant
  • An oil well plant

Owners of plants can apply to register for an operating permit for the configuration of their plant. Permitting a plant provides a more effective safety oversight.

By understanding the equipment as a whole, Technical Safety BC can better assess: areas of risk, and provide clarification on plant classification and staffing requirements, to owners, users, and individuals in charge of plant operations. Learn more.

Owners of regulated equipment in commercial, industrial, institutional, or public assembly buildings

Types of equipment includes:

  • Steam boilers (high) with a heating surface area exceeding 2 m²
  • Thermal Fluid Boilers with a heating surface area exceeding 3 m2
  • Low pressure steam and hot water boilers with a heating surface area exceeding 3 m²
  • Hot potable water heaters exceeding 120 kW or 400,000 BTUs/h
  • Digesters
  • Pressure vessels operating at and with relief valves set at a pressure exceeding 103 kPa
  • Refrigeration plants:
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration systems exceeding 25 kW prime mover nameplate capacity rating using Group A3, B2 or B3 refrigerant
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration systems exceeding 125 kW prime mover nameplate capacity rating using Group Al, A2 or B1 refrigerant

Note: For residential application
With the exception of propane storage tanks or plants with toxic or flammable contents, the requirements only apply to:

  • a boiler
  • hot potable water heater
  • refrigeration plant or pressure vessel that is located in a building that contains more than FOUR self-contained residential units.
Owners of propane storage tanks

Permit requirements are based on tank size and specifications. For further details, refer to:

Application Process

  1. A safety officer must inspect any of the equipment listed above before you can receive an operating permit. To request an inspection, submit a completed declaration form online or contact us.
  2. Once the equipment has passed inspection, you will receive your certificate of inspection, followed by an invoice for both the inspection and your operating permit. Refer here for details on fees,
  3. Once the invoice has been paid, you will receive your operating permit.
  4. The permit needs to be stored alongside the equipment.


Operating permits must be renewed annually. You will receive an invoice before a permit expires.

Equipment No Longer in Use

If you are selling, scrapping, or are no longer using your boiler, pressure vessel or refrigeration/HVAC system, please submit a completed Operating Permit Declaration of Status Change - All Technologies Form 1539 to confirm that the equipment is no longer in use.

For any further questions, feel free to contact us.
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