Are you planning on building a custom house in B.C.? Well not so fast! Last year the Government of B.C. announced a new licensing system for builders in residential construction. Previously, before this new system came into place the homeowner or builder was able to be the general contractor to coordinate all of the trades associated with their home building process. Now due to this new system, you have to be licensed. So what is this new B.C. Home Builder license all about? What are your options? Here is some information to help you better understand this new licensing agreement.

The new residential licensing for B.C.’s home builders is dedicated to the building and construction of a home – it’s designed to modernize and streamline the building regulatory system. This new licensing system officially came into effect during the summer of 2016.

This new system has made it a requirement for new home builders in the industry to demonstrate their proficiency and knowledge in key areas before they receive a license. What does that mean? Homeowners and builders who already currently hold a license will not have to apply for a new one. However, you will need to renew your license annually now and in order to do so home builders will be required to take continuing education courses in professional development as it relates to residential construction.

Who does BC Home Builder affect?

The new system solely applies to current general contractors who are building single-family homes and small residential buildings. To make things easier to understand, the basis is those who had hoped or were wanting to completely design and build their own dream home still can, but unfortunately cannot just say they are the ‘general contractor’ and do the work themselves. Each builder has to now be classified as a general contractor, developer, or both and must identify that they are one when applying for their new license or when renewing an existing one through specific qualifications.

Here are some of the new qualification requirements:

What do I need to do to apply for a license?

To qualify for a license a combination of education and experience requirements must be met. The qualification standard is taken from the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations. An applicant must meet the following to be considered:

  1. General contractor applicants must provide proof of 24 months of experience managing or supervising residential construction, gained within the past five years (please note that these 24 months do not have to be consecutive)
  2. Applicants need to successfully demonstrate competency by successfully completing approved training in seven competency areas. This will prove that you have the necessary knowledge and skill set to manage a licensed residential construction company.

Curious as to what the seven courses are? (*Please note course can vary and change over time – so it’s best to stay as up-to-date as possible).

  1. Relevant enactments = BC Building Code – Single Family Dwelling
  2. Construction management and supervision = Project Management & Site Supervision
  3. Construction technology = Building Science for New Homes
  4. Customer service and home warranty insurance = Service & Warranty
  5. Financial planning and management = Financial Management
  6. Legal issues = Construction Law
  7. Business planning and management = Business Planning & Management

See list descriptions and prices here.

To find out more visit: BC’s New Licensing Requirements

For those who already currently have a license and are defined as a general contractor have to adhere to continuing their professional development (CPD). This may apply to you:

Continuing Professional Development

  • All current licensees, as well as new licensees, will be required to take continuing professional development (CPD) courses in areas related to residential construction as a condition of renewing their license each year.
  • All licensed general contractors seeking to renew their licenses must obtain at least 40 Continuing Professional Development points each year. Points are earned by either actively managing new residential construction projects or through attending course/training and educational events. You can have a combination of both as well.
  • Over 50% of those continuing professional development must pertain to the British Columbia Building Code, construction management and supervision, construction technology, customer service and home warranty insurance, or a combination of these four subjects.

What are your options?

In all honesty, there are only a few options to choose from with the new licensing agreement in place.

  1. If you are planning on building our own home now that the new regulations are in effect, you have the option to take and pass the examination or hire a licensed builder who is in good standing.
  2. Newcomers have to have a license period before you can work in the industry.
  3. For existing and new builders, there are new regulations as part of an “enhanced” licensing system. Builders must continually maintain their status as competent builders by completing professional development construction courses every year. Topics, as mentioned, will include construction management, supervision, technology, warranties, financing planning, customer relations, accounting, legal issues and business management/planning.

When thinking of this option you need to really ask yourself is it worth the time and/or investment, short and long-term?

What do you think of this new licensing system for builders in residential construction? If you have any questions about what you just read, building a custom home or upgrades that can add value to your property, please feel free to contact us.

For morning information on the licensing requirements, BC Housing has an excellent website that thoroughly explains the new licensing system here.

Have Questions?

Contact us and we’ll be happy to explore your options