Tenant Improvement (TI) Permits

A tenant improvement is construction or alterations within an existing building which are needed to fulfill both the regulatory and functional requirements of a new or existing tenant within the tenant space.

A tenant improvement permit is the type of Building Permit utilized by the City to address the land use, the BC Building Code and other City or Provincial legislative requirements (i.e. Health approval associated with food preparation) that may be triggered by the proposed tenant improvements.

When is a TI Permit Required?

A TI permit is typically required when new construction or alterations are taking place within a tenant space. That new construction may be both structural and nonstructural in nature. Even the installation of non-loadbearing walls may generate the need for a TI permit. Construction of additional floor space (mezzanines), stairs and washrooms all trigger the need for a TI permit.

A TI permit may also be required when a change of use (occupancy type) occurs within a pre-existing tenant space. Even in the absence of any tenant driven modifications to the space, alterations to the space may be needed to comply with BC Building Code requirements for the newly proposed occupancy type. Common examples would include conversion from office to retail space, retail to assembly (restaurant) space, as well as residential to office space.

What Information is required for a TI Permit?

Information commonly needed when applying for a TI permit:

A letter of authorization from the building owner allowing the tenant to proceed with the construction

2 sets of plans containing the following information:

  • If there are multiple buildings on the property in question, a simple site plan showing the location of the building where the tenant improvement is taking place

    • A more detailed site plan may be required when a tenant improvement includes a change of use which affects the exterior construction of the building. In addition, if the change in use impacts parking requirements for the site, a parking reconciliation based on the new use will also be required.

  • A basic floor plan showing the location of the proposed tenant space within the building in question, also indicating the nature and type of the adjoining tenants.

The “plans” referred to above will also consist of some or all of the following, depending on the scope of the project in question. If you have any question as to the following requirements, it is recommended that you contact technical staff at the City of Chilliwack’s Development and Regulatory Enforcement Department.

  • Architectural Plans i.e. floor plans drawn to scale should include, but are not limited to:

    • showing overall dimensions, interior dimensions, identifying all rooms and spaces including washrooms  (H/C accessible and other) and fixtures

    • showing all existing and new demising walls and their respective fire resistance ratings

    • showing all existing and new partition walls

    • construction of all walls including finish material, drywall thickness and type

    • doors, door sizes and direction of swing

    • travel distances from floor areas to all exits

    • a code analysis of the building and tenant space if necessary

  • If constructing a mezzanine, 2 sets of structural plans must also be submitted, signed and sealed by a structural engineer

    • the architectural plans must show travel distances from the mezzanine to required exits and the top of the stairs

    •  indicate the width of stairs as well as dimensional rise/run requirements

    • guardrail/handrail requirements for the mezzanine and stairs.

    • A cross section showing the mezzanine and its construction

  • Structural drawings signed and sealed by a structural engineer for any structural changes being proposed.

  • Mechanical/Plumbing drawings signed and sealed by a mechanical engineer.

    • i.e. for the installation of multiple washrooms, commercial kitchen (NFPA 96 exhaust) in a proposed restaurant)

  • Electrical drawings signed and sealed by an electrical engineer.

    • i.e. for the installation of a fire alarm system, or other substantial life safety requirements, or commercial kitchen installation

When Applying for a TI Permit

 Please be prepared to complete or provide the following documentation:

  • A Building Permit application form

    • Includes the value of construction for the proposed construction

  • Owners authorization (if the applicant is not the building owner)

  • 2 sets of all required plans

  • Letters of Assurance (Schedule B’s) from any/all retained registered professionals (Architect or Engineers)

  • Schedule A signed and sealed by the Coordinating Registered Professional (if more than one registered professional is involved with the project.)

If you have any question as to the noted requirements, please contact technical staff at the City of Chilliwack’s Development and Regulatory Enforcement Department.  (604) 793-2905