Operating permit: Boilers, pressure vessels, and refrigeration equipment and systems

An operating permit is required to operate and maintain specific types of regulated boilers, pressure vessels, and refrigeration equipment or systems in BC. Operating permits confirm that equipment maintenance is performed or monitored by qualified individuals. This information is used by Technical Safety BC to determine maintenance and assessment needs, and provide information on safety hazards related to boiler equipment or systems.

Owners of equipment or managers of premises, where regulated equipment is located, are required to pull operating permits.

Examples of premises where regulated equipment and systems may be located are:

  • Commercial properties
  • Industrial plants
  • Mills
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Multi-unit office buildings
  • Multi-unit residential buildings with 5 or more self-contained residential units
  • Schools, hospitals, and municipal facilities

Registration of a boiler plant, which may comprise a single, larger boiler or an array of boilers, is now required. This provides Technical Safety BC with better oversight of risk and clarifies plant classification and staffing requirements for asset owners.

The time to apply for an operating permit is:

  • before you operate equipment or perform maintenance;
  • when you acquire property (existing permits become invalid when properties change ownership); and/or
  • as part of an ongoing renewal process, as long as the equipment is in service.

Apply and get an operating permit for:

An operating permit is required for the following types of equipment and systems.

  • High pressure steam boilers with a heating surface area exceeding 2 m²
  • Low pressure 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 BTU/hr
  • Digesters
  • Pressure vessels operating at and with relief valves set at a pressure exceeding 103 kPa
  • Refrigeration systems exceeding 25 kW prime mover nameplate capacity rating using Group A3, B2 or B3 refrigerant
  • Refrigeration systems exceeding 125 kW prime mover nameplate capacity rating using Group Al, A2 or B1 refrigerant

To apply for an operating permit

  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 form online.
  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. See details on fees here.
  3. Once the invoice has been paid, you will receive your operating permit.
  4. The permit needs to be stored alongside the equipment.

Annual renewal

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

Technical Safety BC now requires the registration of a plant as a whole operating system (e.g. a single large boiler, or an array of multiple small boilers) to confirm and classify the plant's use, and assignment of certified operators.

Qualifying boiler plants in commercial, industrial, institutional, or public assembly buildings, are required to have an operating permit.

To register a plant and obtain an operating permit, see here.

Any regulated boiler, refrigeration system, and pressure vessel system in a building that contains five or more self-contained residential units, will require an operating permit.

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 form online.
  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. See details on fees here.
  3. Once the invoice has been paid, you will receive your operating permit.
  4. The permit needs to be stored alongside the equipment.

Annual renewal

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

If you are decommissioning your boiler, pressure vessel or refrigeration/HVAC system, please submit a completed Operating Permit Declaration of Status Change - All Technologies Form 1539

 

Assistance

Email contact@technicalsafetybc.ca or call a client services representative.

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