Water, Trees and Land

I am often asked questions about basic rules and regulations surrounding building permits, tree removal, building height, etc.  I always recommend that clients check with the district before starting any projects but I’ve listed a few West Vancouver guidelines below:


If you are doing any work within 15 meters of the top of any watercourse bank, you will need an environmental development permit. This permit covers any landscaping and construction or renovation of a building or structure.


Interim bylaw prohibits removal of trees on private property with a diameter of 75 cm or more without a permit. Also protected are Garry Oak and Arbutus trees with a diameter of 20 cm or more. The diameter of the tree is measured at 1.4 meters from the ground. Permanent bylaws should be established by July, 2016.

Structure Size:

These are the general building size restrictions on single family zoned lots:

Lots greater than 7,286 sq. ft. = 35% of the lot area.

Lots between 5,000 and 7,286 sq. ft. = 2,551 sq. ft.

Lots less than 5,100 sq. ft. = 50% of the lot area.

Parts of the basement may be partially or completely excluded from floor calculations.

Maximum building height for single family zoned houses is 25 feet from average grade.


Building permits are issued for, but not limited to, construction projects that involve:

Erecting a new structure

Finishing or altering the interior of a structure

Moving a structure

Demolishing a structure

Electrical permits are required when work involves:

Installation of any new wiring or circuitry

Re-arrangement of wiring or circuitry

Installation or re-arranging of electrical equipment

Any installation, addition or alteration to plumbing or sprinkler system requires a plumbing permit.