Which builders should apply
The Homeowner Protection Act defines a residential builder as a person who engages in, arranges for or manages, all, or substantially all, of the construction of a new home or agrees to do any of those things. This definition includes developers and general contractors.
A residential builder must obtain a licence from BC Housing before starting construction on a new project. That licence must be maintained until such time that all new homes enrolled in home warranty insurance have been completed or, in the case of a developer, sold. Even in areas where building permits aren’t required, you must be a licensed residential builder to carry out the work and arrange for home warranty insurance before starting construction.
Part 1 of the Building Envelope Renovation Regulation states that building envelope renovators must not engage in, arrange for or manage all, or substantially all, of a building envelope renovation unless they are licensed as a building envelope renovator. They must also arrange for warranty on the project.
Some building envelope renovation projects are exempt from needing a licensed building envelope renovator. Consult our Building Envelope Renovation Regulations page to learn more. General contractors who are building for a developer under Part 3 of the BC Building Code are exempt from licensing requirements. That’s as long as the developer is licensed and has enrolled the project in home warranty insurance.
Pick your licence type
The first step in the application process is to know your licence type. You have three licence options to choose from: general contractor, developer or building envelope renovator — or a combination of the three.
Select the licence types(s) that fit your current and future business activities as a residential builder. To learn more about each licence type, consult our regulatory bulletin, Choose Your Licence Type .
If you apply for a new residential builder licence as a general contractor, and you don’t have a current residential builder licence in good standing, you must meet the qualification requirements. These requirements are mandated by the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations. Consult our Qualification Requirements page to learn more. If you apply for a licence as a developer only, you don’t have to meet the qualification requirements. However, you must complete a declaration that states:
- You will not take part in constructing or developing Part 9 homes during the term of your licence, or
- You will hire licensed general contractors to construct any Part 9 homes.
If you fail to comply with this declaration, we may suspend or cancel your residential builder licence. Therefore, it’s important you choose the right licence type for the business you are conducting.