Local Authority Variations

The Building Act allows local authorities (including local governments) to apply for a local authority variation - a variation from provincial building regulations.

On this page, learn more about: 

Local Authority Variations

What is a local  authority variation? As allowed under section 7 of the Act, a local authority variation is a building requirement or set of requirements that:

  • differs from requirements in provincial building regulations (primarily the BC Building Code),
  • is requested of the Province by a local authority or group of local authorities (this includes local governments),
  • requires the Minister’s approval, and
  • if approved, is enacted though a provincial building regulation that applies in the jurisdictions of the local authorities making the request.

Who may apply for a local authority variation? Any local authority may apply. Under the Building Act, a local authority means:

  • a municipality
  • a regional district
  • the Nisga'a Lisims Government
  • a Treaty First Nation
  • the Board of Governors of the University of British Columbia

Why would a local authority want to request a variation? A key objective of the Building Act is to bring greater consistency to the technical building requirements in force across B.C. The Act provides local authorities with the option of requesting a variation in instances when provincial building requirements do not fully address local needs.

How to Request a Local Authority Variation

There are four steps in the application process:

  1. Read the Application Guide and then complete the Application to Request a Local Authority Variation.
  2. Gather supporting documents - additional information that can't be included in your application such as a research report - that supports your application.
  3. Email your completed application and supporting documents to the Building and Safety Standards Branch at building.safety@gov.bc.ca with the subject: Local Authority Variation Request.
  4. Receive an email from the Building and Safety Standards Branch within 10 days confirming receipt of your application. Record your application number for future reference.

Joint Applications

A joint application occurs when two or more local authorities collaborate to submit an application together. Applicants are strongly advised to explore joint applications with other local authorities before applying separately. If applying jointly, one applicant must agree to serve as the Primary Applicant (as explained in the application guide).

The local authority submitting the application also has the option of having a summary of their application posted by the Building and Safety Standards Branch on this website in the event the application proceeds to a full review. This option provides an opportunity for other local authorities to contact the submitting local authority if they have an interest in collaborating on the variation request.

Application Guide and Form

For More Information

The content on this page is periodically updated by the Province of British Columbia per the date noted on the page: November 10, 2016.