General Contractors Licenses and Requirements

Finding a good general contractor can be challenging. Fortunately, British Columbia’s Homeowner Protection Act is a set of laws and guidelines established by the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) to ensure builder credentials. These licensing requirements were developed in order to prevent the construction of unsafe or poorly constructed buildings. In British Columbia, provincial licensing is a requirement for many trades including residential building, building envelope renovations, gas piping, gas venting, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, sheet metal workers, plumbers, electricians, and gas fitters.

Residential Building

Builders responsible for constructing homes in BC must be a Licensed Residential Builder. These licensed professionals are also required to offer warranties covering the new building for up to 7 years. Moreover, under this license, contractors are responsible for all aspects of construction from permits to landscaping. It is also the responsibility of this contractor to ensure that all subcontractors are also licensed by the province.

Building Envelope Renovation

Contractors who remodel buildings without impacting structural elements are known as envelope renovators. These contractors are licensed similarly to residential building contractors, and they are also required to provide a warranty or insurance on the renovation. Similarly, these contractors must ensure licenses for subcontractors.

Gas Piping

Gas piping licenses are required for individuals who install and test gas piping. These professionals must have a sheet metal trades license and a certification of qualification. The certificate of qualification is a general certification for many trades.

Gas Venting License

This license allows professionals to repair, alter, and install venting for use in high pressure natural gas and propane applications.

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics

These professionals install, maintain, and repair residential, industrial, and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning units. This requires a certification of qualification.

Sheet Metal

Sheet metal workers are certified to design, manufacture, install, erect, assemble, and dissemble sheet metal applications. Special certification in sheet metal work ensures they are qualified to work with many systems including furnaces, fan systems, and ventilation systems.


Plumbers in BC are not actually required to hold special licenses, although many trade members acquire certification of qualification when they work as a registered apprentice.


Certification of qualification is the only licensing requirements for electricians. Electricians are permitted to work on residential, institutional, commercial, industrial, civic, and electrical systems.

Gas Fitter

Gas systems can only be installed or altered by registered and licensed contractors. Once certified, these professionals are also registered with the province to ensure proper installation and maintenance of gas systems. In BC there are two classes of gas fitter: Class A and Class B. Class A gas fitters are allowed to install or alter any system; while class B gas fitters hold piping trades qualification but may only work on atmospheric appliances with ventilation hoods and equipment and vents rated up to 690,000 BTU (220kW).

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