Building Permit Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Why is a building permit required?

 Building permits are necessary to ensure zoning requirements (contained in municipal by-laws), and building safety standards (contained in the Ontario Building Code) are satisfied in order to maintain or improve the health, fire and structural standards for the general safety of the public. The Ontario Building Code is a provincial regulation administered by the Building and Development Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Under the Building Code Act, local governments are given authority for the enforcement of the Ontario Building Code within their jurisdiction.

2.  When is a building permit required? (Types of projects)

Under the Ontario Building Code Act, a building permit is required for the construction of any structure exceeding an area of 10 m2. (~108 ft2.).

A building permit is required for new construction, additions, alterations, renovations, relocations, demolitions, and repairs or rehabilitation of a building or structure. Some minor repairs do not require a permit. Listed below are some typical projects and whether or not they require a permit. Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning permits (HVAC), and/or plumbing permits may also be required as a separate permit but are usually reviewed as part of the overall building permit. It is the responsibility of the owner to obtain a building permit. The approved drawings should be kept on the building site and be readily accessible at all times.

Examples of projects that require a building permit:

  • Finished Basements
  • Accessory Apartments 
  • Decks (regardless of size if attached to house)
  • Accessory Building (shed, gazebo, cabana, carport,      garage, farm building, poly hoop, etc...)
  • Additions (regardless of size)
  • Construction of attached and detached garages
  • Enlarging an exterior opening and any new interior opening in loadbearing      wall
  • Finishing previously unfinished spaces such as rec.      rooms, family rooms, attics, etc.
  • Converting any space/room into a bedroom,
  • Repair and underpinning of foundations
  • Construction of tent or group of tents greater than 60m2
  • Installation of pool enclosures
  • Repair or Replacement of the drainage/weeping tiles around the foundations
  • Any alternation or extension to plumbing system and heat/ventilation duct system
  • Replacement of the existing siding with brick/stone veneer or stucco
  • New or replacement of a Wood fire place
  • New or replacement of Masonry and Concrete Chimneys and Flues
  • Repair/Alterations to a Septic System
  • New septic tank
  • Building a retaining wall that exceeds 1.0m in height
  • Demolitions

Examples of projects that do not require a building permit:

  •  Replacement siding or shingles with the same material
  •  Replacement of doors when the opening is not altered
  •  Construction of fences (other than Pool Enclosure Fences)
  •  Patching, painting and decorating
  •  Installation of cabinets and shelves
  •  Replacement  of the existing furnace with a new one with the same capacity
  •  Replacement  of the existing plumbing appliances
  •  Dampproofing of the foundation walls on exterior and repair of non-structural cracks.
  •  Replacement and repair of the damage drywall

Note: Although your project may not require a building permit, it does not relieve you of your responsibility to comply with the zoning by-law.


3.  What can result from not obtaining a building permit?


It is unlawful to commence construction without a building permit!

If the work does not comply with the Ontario Building Code requirements,

  •  Costly repairs may be required to gain compliance
  •  Removal of work done not in compliance may be required
  •  The building permit application fee may be increased
  •  Legal action may be initiated by the Building Department to gain compliance

If you are still not certain whether or not your project requires a building permit, contact the Building Section of the Planning and Development Department. Our staff will be able to assist you in making that determination.

4. What types of drawings are required?

 Plans must contain sufficient information to enable staff to determine whether the proposed work conforms to all applicable regulations.  For specific residential projects see our Guide to Permit drawings section for required drawing. 

Site plans, five (5) copies required, must be referenced to a current plan of survey, certified by a registered Ontario Land Surveyor. A copy of each survey must be submitted with the permit application for most projects. Site plans showing outlines and dimensions of the property, driveways, and existing and proposed buildings may be accepted.

Where required by the Ontario Building Code, drawings must be prepared, sealed and signed by an Architect, Professional Engineer, or both. Two copies of all plans are required for each application.



5. How do I apply for a building permit?

The owner or his/her authorized agent must file an application, in writing. Proper drawings and specifications must accompany every application. Incomplete applications/drawings will not be accepted.

6. Who will review permit plans?

Permit plans will be reviewed by staff for compliance with the Zoning By-law, Ontario Building Code and other related standards and by-laws. Development Engineering staff will review the proposal with respect to grading and drainage. Where applicable, the Fire Department will examine the plans for compliance with fire safety provisions contained in the Ontario Building Code, the Ontario Fire Code (where applicable) and related standards.

7. Who obtains the approvals from other agencies?

It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure required approvals from other agencies (where applicable) prior to the issuance of a building permit. Staff will advise the applicant of the required approvals from other government agencies upon permit application.

8. How long does the building permit approval process take?

The time required for processing a building permit application is between 10 to 30 business days depending on its class & size determination as follows:
  • 10 business days* - Single Family Residential Dwelling.
  • 15 business days* - Part 9 Buildings, Multi Family Residential, Commercial & Industrial less than 600 m2 & not over 3 storeys.
  • 20 business days* - Part 3 Buildings, Residential, Commercial & Industrial over 600 m2 & more than 3 storeys.
  • 30 business days* - Post Disaster Buildings.

*The above timelines are for complete permit applications.  A complete application is one that meets zoning requirements, applicable law & the submitted drawings provide all the required information:

Our staff is prepared to provide reasonable assistance to the applicant, when requested to do so, but must refrain from assisting in the laying out of work or acting in the capacity of an engineering or architectural consultant.  Typical detailed drawings have been developed to assist applicants. See our building permit process page.

9. What is the cost of a building permit?

For Typical residential permit fees see our Residential Permit Fees page.

For complete information on building permit fees, please refer to Building Permit Fees on the Rates and Fees page.  In addition to the permit fees, other required fees such as municipal, regional and education development charges, damage deposits, cash-in-lieu of parkland dedication, and other applicable fees, must be paid prior to the issuance of a permit.