B.C.'s Homeowner Protection Act is a set of builder licensing laws established by the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO). This came about as a result of a large amount of unsafe buildings and ones that were built cheaply and were not keeping out water. Many buildings became inundated with mold and rot causing millions of dollars of retrofits. Much of the cost for this damage could not be charged back to the building companies because they no longer existed.
In the province of B.C. provincial licensing is required for the following contractors and trades:
Any person engaging in the process of constructing a home in B.C., including Vancouver and Victoria, must be a Licensed Residential Builder and must provide home warranties covering the building. The term of this warranty is usually up to 7 years and is a restricted insurance. This contractor is responsible for everything to do with the construction from pulling the permits and excavating to finishing off the landscaping. He or she must also make sure that the trades such as electricians and plumbers, are also licensed by the province.
A building envelope renovator is a contractor who remodels the building without making major structural changes. He or she can add a portion onto the home and move some walls but the foundation must. Not only must a building envelope renovator be licensed as same but must also provide warranty insurance on the renovation. Just like the residential builder the building envelope renovator must use licensed subtrades where applicable. This includes for kitchen and bathroom remodeling.
Not to be confused with a gasfitter the holder of this license also has a Sheet Metal trades Certification of Qualification (C of Q) and may install and test gas piping. Due to the explosive nature of highly pressurized gas a special license is required.
The holder may alter, repair and install venting in high pressure natural gas and propane applications. Again, due to the explosive nature of highly pressurized gas a special license is required.
In other trades the workers must show that they have achieved certification training called the Certification of Qualification (C of Q)
These mechanics provide installation, maintenance and rebuilding for residential, industrial and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. To work on refrigeration units and air conditioning systems require compulsory C of Q. However, a skilled apprentice is also allowed to work in this trade on the advisement of his or her supervisor.
A certified sheet metal worker is responsible for the design, manufacture, installation, erection, assembling or dismantling of sheet metal products including air supply systems. They also repair and service a wide variety of sheet metal-based equipment. These include furnaces, fan systems and ventilation devices.
Unlike many of his or her U.S. counterparts a plumber in B.C. does not require a license. However the trade does require C of Q certification training or to be a Registered Apprentice to work to work on pressurized systems. This includes residential, industrial, commercial and institutional systems. A plumber will be called in to install, repair and certify residential kitchens and bathroom remodeling projects. They cannot, however, work on refrigeration.
An electrician in British Columbia does not have to be licensed but requires a Certification of Qualification to work in this trade. This certification training also relates working in cities like Vancouver and Victoria.
Electricians are allowed to work on residential, institutional, commercial, industrial and civic electrical systems. This includes residential work such as wiring kitchens and bathrooms
Only registered contractors and licensed employees of registered contractors may install or alter a gas system. As with the rules in other provinces gas fitters have varying degrees of certification training that must be registered. This includes installing gas fittings for kitchen remodeling and bathroom renovations where gas-fired tankless systems are installed. In other works a plumber can install the water linkage but a gas fitter has to hook up the gas lines and test the system. This designation is required in all parts of the province including Vancouver, Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria.
Gasfitter Class A: This classification allows a gasfitter to install or alter any gas system.
Gasfitter Class B: This gasfitter has a piping trades qualification and may install and/or alter atmospheric appliances with ventilation hoods and other equipment and vents up to and including 690,000 btuh (220kW).