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

Boiler Plant Operating Permits for specific plants are also 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 below.
  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 below.
  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

Operating permits

GST will not be added to all of the following fees, except as indicated. 2020
Re-inspection Fees: Inspections for non-compliance purposes will be billed on an hourly basis. Please refer to the ‘Hourly Rates’ section
High Pressure Boilers, Low Pressure Boilers, Thermal Fluid Boilers
(a) up to and including 25 m2 inclusive $268
(b) from 25.1 m2to 50 m2 inclusive $404
(c) from 50.1 m2 to 100 m2 inclusive $491
(d) from 100.1 m2 to 500 m2 inclusive $714
(e) more than 500.1 to 1,000 m2 inclusive $1,385
(f) more than 1,000.1 to 2,000 m2 inclusive $1,608
Additional charge per 1,000 m2 of heating surface over 2,000 m2 rounded up to the nearest 1,000 m2 $536
Hot water boilers 2020
(a) up to and including 25 m2 $134
(b) from 25.1 m2 to 50 m2 $160
(c) from 50.1 m2 to 100 m2 $177
(d) from 100.1 m2 to 500 m2 $268
(e) from 500.1 m2 to 1,000 m2 $491
(f) more than 1,000.1 m2 to 2,000 m2 $625
Additional charge per 1,000 m2 of heating surface over 2,000 m2 rounded up to the nearest 1,000 m2 $222
Digesters 2020
Shell volumetric measurement less than 280 m3 $536
Shell volumetric measurement more than 280 m3 $856
Refrigeration plants 2020
More than 125 kW prime mover nameplate capacity rating using Group Al, A2 or B1 refrigerant $393
More than 25 kW prime mover nameplate capacity rating using Group A3, B2 or B3 refrigerant $393
Plant Registration Operating Permits 2020
1st class 160
2nd class 147
3rd class 128
4th class 108
5th class 96
Pressure Vessels 2020
Regular service See Table B
Designated Service See Table C
Special Service See Table D
LPG Service See Table E

> Full Boiler Fee Schedule

Assistance

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

Looking to obtain a Boiler, Pressure Vessel, and Refrigeration installation permit? Apply here.

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