British Columbia Contractor License Requirements

B.C.'s Homeowner Protection Act is a set of builder licensing laws established by the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO). This came about as a result of a large amount of unsafe buildings and ones that were built cheaply and were not keeping out water. Many buildings became inundated with mold and rot causing millions of dollars of retrofits. Much of the cost for this damage could not be charged back to the building companies because they no longer existed.

In the province of B.C. provincial licensing is required for the following contractors and trades:

What is TQ#?
Hello,  the BC Building Code, Part 7 Plumbing Services 1) personnel performing installation, alteration or repair on a plumbing system shall
a) possess a British Columbia tradesman's qualification as a plumber.
TQ# is the tradesman qualification as a journeyman plumber, this you must have to apply for a business license to work within the City on plumbing systems.

Bob Kennedy 
Interim Trades Supervisor 
Building Permits Division 
City of Coquitlam 
Ph -  604-927-3456 
Fax - 604-927-3445


Licensed Residential Builder

Any person engaging in the process of constructing a home in B.C., including Vancouver and Victoria, must be a Licensed Residential Builder and must provide home warranties covering the building. The term of this warranty is usually up to 7 years and is a restricted insurance. This contractor is responsible for everything to do with the construction from pulling the permits and excavating to finishing off the landscaping. He or she must also make sure that the trades such as electricians and plumbers, are also licensed by the province.

Licensed Building Envelope Renovator

A building envelope renovator is a contractor who remodels the building without making major structural changes. He or she can add a portion onto the home and move some walls but the foundation must. Not only must a building envelope renovator be licensed as same but must also provide warranty insurance on the renovation. Just like the residential builder the building envelope renovator must use licensed subtrades where applicable. This includes for kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

Gas Piping License

Not to be confused with a gasfitter the holder of this license also has a Sheet Metal trades Certification of Qualification (C of Q) and may install and test gas piping. Due to the explosive nature of highly pressurized gas a special license is required.

Gas Venting License

The holder may alter, repair and install venting in high pressure natural gas and propane applications. Again, due to the explosive nature of highly pressurized gas a special license is required.

Certification of Qualification (C of Q)

In other trades the workers must show that they have achieved certification training called the Certification of Qualification (C of Q)

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic

These mechanics provide installation, maintenance and rebuilding for residential, industrial and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. To work on refrigeration units and air conditioning systems require compulsory C of Q. However, a skilled apprentice is also allowed to work in this trade on the advisement of his or her supervisor.

Sheet Metal Worker.

A certified sheet metal worker is responsible for the design, manufacture, installation, erection, assembling or dismantling of sheet metal products including air supply systems. They also repair and service a wide variety of sheet metal-based equipment. These include furnaces, fan systems and ventilation devices.

Plumber Personnel Performing Plumbing Work 

1) Personnel performing installation, alteration or repair on a plumbing system shall 

a) possess a tradesman's qualification certification as a plumber,

b) be an indentured apprentice supervised by a journeyman possessing a tradesman's 

qualification certification as a plumber.

Plumbers need to be licensed and qualified to install,

operate or perform maintenance on certified equipment.

Plumbers and companies working with regulated technologies must be licensed.

Some contractors and Field Safety Representatives need a certificate of qualification to train or supervise others.

- CANADA Building Code in National Plumbing Code and B.C Safety Authority -


An electrician in British Columbia does not have to be licensed but requires a Certification of Qualification to work in this trade. This certification training also relates working in cities like Vancouver and Victoria.

Electricians are allowed to work on residential, institutional, commercial, industrial and civic electrical systems. This includes residential work such as wiring kitchens and bathrooms

Gas Fitter

Only registered contractors and licensed employees of registered contractors may install or alter a gas system. As with the rules in other provinces gas fitters have varying degrees of certification training that must be registered. This includes installing gas fittings for kitchen remodeling and bathroom renovations where gas-fired tankless systems are installed. In other works a plumber can install the water linkage but a gas fitter has to hook up the gas lines and test the system. This designation is required in all parts of the province including Vancouver, Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria.

Gasfitter Class A: This classification allows a gasfitter to install or alter any gas system.

Gasfitter Class B: This gasfitter has a piping trades qualification and may install and/or alter atmospheric appliances with ventilation hoods and other equipment and vents up to and including 690,000 btuh (220kW).

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Why you must hire a qualified plumber?







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Plumbing Permit

Plumbing_info 2014.03.01 10:06

Plumbing Permit


Some examples of when a plumbing permit is required:

  • Performing any work on a plumbing system in a new or existing building
  • Installing a new or replacing an existing sanitary sewer, storm sewer or water service located on private property
  • Installing a lawn irrigation system requiring a domestic water backflow device
  • Installing a new or replacement domestic water backflow preventer
  • Installing water and sewer services on private property (e.g. services outside of a building on strata lots)

Plumbing permits are not required for:

  • The repair of leaks in water pipes
  • The replacement of plumbing fixtures, provided that such replacement fixtures and the installation thereof conform with all the requirements of the Building Bylaw and the B.C. Plumbing Code
  • The removal of stoppages in sewer or water pipes, provided that cleanouts are utilized for such purposes and the removal does not necessitate the cutting of any sewer or drain pipe


  1. Apply for the Plumbing Permit. Application for Plumbing Permit & Application for Sprinkler Permit
  2. Owners of Single Family dwellings intending to do the work themselves must provide one set of owner prepared schematics of the proposed work to satisfy which will be reviewed by a Plumbing Plans Examiner to evaluate the owner’s competency.
  3. If a registered contractor applies, no plans are required.
  4. Pay permit fee (Permit is issued immediately to a Contractor without the need for a review.)
  5. Call for inspections at the appropriate stages of the work.


  1. Apply for the Plumbing/Sprinkler Permit. Application for Plumbing Permit & Application for Sprinkler Permit
  2. Registered contractors or the registered professional of record for the plumbing and or sprinkler work must submit three sets of plans of the proposed work.
  3. Pay application fee.
  4. The Plumbing Plans Examiner reviews the plans.
  5. Provide supplemental documentation identified and requested by the Plans Examiner in the course of their review.
  6. Pick up plans after plan review has been satisfactorily completed and pay the permit fee outstanding balance.
  7. Call for inspections at the appropriate stages of the work.


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