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The importance of permits and licensed contractors

July 13, 2022

Vancouver, BC – The financial impacts of rising inflation are being felt across the province, forcing homeowners to look for ways to keep money in their pockets. A recent survey from Technical Safety BC found that nearly one third of British Columbians (32%) would still consider doing home repair or renovation projects without hiring a licensed contractor or obtaining a permit, even though they are aware of the risks associated with unpermitted work. However, cutting costs by taking on Do-it-Yourself (DIY) home repair or renovation projects can prove more costly and have serious safety implications in the end.

“Licensed contractors know what is found within walls, pipes, and beams. They also have in-depth experience with the British Columbia Electrical and Gas codes and standards,” says Mike Pilato, Technical Leader for Electrical, Technical Safety BC. “Although it may be appealing to attempt a project on your own, before doing renovations or repairs, homeowners need to understand what permits are required, and if they must hire a licensed contractor to perform the regulated work under permit.”

The survey found 49 percent of British Columbians were unaware that a permit is required for home repairs or renovation tasks. Additionally, 35 percent felt that YouTube videos tell you all you need to know to do a home repair or renovation job safely.

It may seem like not hiring a licensed contractor or skipping the permit can save time or money, but it can add a host of issues to your projects. Renovations by unskilled individuals or without permits can pose a safety risk to families and potentially jeopardize the investment in their homes. Insurance companies may deny claims, or in some circumstances, demand compensation for damages resulting from unqualified or unpermitted work. Relying on online sources for renovation advice or how-tos does not come with guarantees or warrantees. In addition, many online products are not certified for use in Canada.

“Technical Safety BC strongly encourages anyone in need of home renovations involving gas or electrical work to enlist the services of a licensed professional,” adds Pilato. “If you decide to perform the electrical or gas work yourself, make sure to reach out to Technical Safety BC, or your local municipality, to obtain a homeowner’s permit before you begin.”

Technical Safety BC can help guide British Columbians through the process of getting a permit or finding a licenced contractor through their website and the toll free line ­- 1 866 566 7233 (8 am — 5 pm, Monday through Friday).


About Technical Safety BC
Technical Safety BC (formerly BC Safety Authority) is an independent, self-funded organization that oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

Media contact
Technical Safety BC