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Hiring a Contractor in BC

Hiring a contractor in British Columbia is one of the first steps towards completing the renovation or new home you are looking for. Check out this list that includes our recommendations to ensure this process is done right, and protects you as the consumer.

Do you have everything in writing?

Having a written contract gives you control over your renovation or construction project, and is a good way to protect yourself and ensure long-term satisfaction. Don’t work with anyone that asks you to pay less money for a deal in cash with no receipts. A cash deal means more risks for you, and that’s no deal at all.

Check out the CHBA Get it in Writing webpage.

Look for the Logo!

The CHBA logo is a symbol of quality craftsmanship, professional service and sound business practice. CHBA Members abide by a strict Code of Ethics and are experts in the field of residential construction. Not all builders are members of CHBA. You can see if your contractor is a member by using our Find a Member portal or contacting your local Home Building Association in British Columbia.

Is the contractor insured through Work Safe BC?

If the individual you hire is not registered or not paying its required payments to Work Safe BC, you could be liable. Always check to make sure that whoever you employ has their insurance up-to-date.

Check for Work Safe BC Clearance using this link.

Do they have a valid builder license?

Only builders in good standing are entitled to call themselves Licensed Residential Builders and carry on the business of a residential builder in British Columbia.

Search the Public Registry of Residential Builders in British Columbia

What kind of warranty will you have for the project?

Homes that are built by Licensed Residential Builders are covered by mandatory, third-party home warranty insurance to protect the consumer. At the minimum, this is 2 years on the labour and materials (some limits apply), 5 years on the building envelope and 10 years on structure.

Read the Guide to Home Warranty Insurance in B.C.

How much should you hold back for Builders’ Liens?

If the contractor fails to pay suppliers or subcontractors, you could be liable. In British Columbia, you must retain a 10% holdback of funds on every payment made under every contract in which you enter, other than a contract with an architect, engineer or material supplier in which case you do not need to retain a hold back.

See the details of the Builders Lien Act. 

Do you need a permit?

As the homeowner, you are responsible for ensuring this happens with your local municipality. In some cases, the contractor will look after this on your behalf.

  View and order contracts here.                

Who pays the PST?

PST applies to taxable goods used to fulfil a contract in B.C. Contractors include builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, landscapers and anyone else who installs goods that become part of buildings or land. There are only certain circumstances where the customer will pay the PST for taxable goods to fulfil the contract.

Read more about the PST for contractors.