Applying for a tenant improvement permit in Vancouver BC.
Top of any checklist when your starting a new business is the identification of the perfect working space that permits your business to grow and serves all needs you may have. Many commercially rented spaces are marketed as unfurnished, or are in need of a certain level of customization before the client moves in.
You may want to create a cafe in a space that once housed a garage, or develop offices with seperate rooms in a space that is currently open-plan. However, you are unsure as to whether you are permitted to carry out this work, and whether you should have to pay for the work considering it is not your property. This is where tenant improvements come into play, with the creation of a clause within the rental contract that permits clients and landlords to agree terms before necessary improvement works are undertaken.
In a tenant improvement agreement, the Client and landlord reach a compromise about the improvement works which includes who completes the design, who carries out the improvements, by what date the work should be completed and who will pay for it. Included in the lease contract for any development of this type there would be a clause that addresses the issues, entitles “improvements and alterations”.
One common agreement between clients and tenants is for the landlord to provide the client with a sum known as a tenant improvement allowance, or TIA for short, which represents the amount that the landlord is willing to provide for the works.
In Vancouver, the process of applying for a permit to carry out works of this type, called the tenant improvement permit system (TIPS) is relatively straightforward. Works of this type require a permit, which can be obtained from the city of Vancouver council.
The city has 35 staff to handle applications at its one-stop counter at the Development and Building Services Centre. The council also runs a fast track system for tenant improvements in a list of over 700 buildings which are deemed as code compliant.
The process can be summarized as follows:
Any TIPS project in vancouver are required to comply with the energy requirements of the Vancouver Building Bylaw. You can find more info about these requirements and exemptions here. The list of compliant buildings was recently updated to reflect changes in the 2014 building bylaw.
If you are thinking about moving into new premises and want to clarify whether or not you would need a permit to carry out tenant improvement works in your new premises, any info can be found from the city of Vancouver website. Here at Makam construction, we are always happy to help with with any queries you may have, so feel free to get in touch with us if you are considering starting a tenant improvement project.