Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I purchase a copy of the Ontario Building Code?
Please refer to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s web site. You may also visit the counter of your local municipality and ask for copy of certain pages.
I’m thinking of finishing my basement. Do I need a Building Permit?
Yes, you may require a Building Permit. If your renovation activity includes installation, erection, extension or material alteration or repair, a Building Permit is required.
Where can I obtain information on how far my new addition and shed must be from my lot line?
You need to contact the zoning examiner of your own local municipality.
Where can I get a Building Permit Application Form?
You may download a copy of the form from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s web page, or you may pick up a form at the Building Services counter at any Municipality.
I have purchased a new home, but I haven’t taken ownership yet. Can I apply for a Building Permit before the closing date?
Yes, you may apply for a Building Permit before you take possession of the house; however, you must provide proof of ownership before the permit can be issued, i.e. copy of deed.
Who is responsible for applying for the Building Permit?
It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that a Building Permit is obtained when required. You may authorize your contractor or designer to apply for the permit, but as the owner, you should ensure that they have the permit prior to starting any work. Many owners prefer to submit the application themselves to ensure the permit application is received by the City. In addition, this provides the owner with the opportunity to have questions answered by our Building Code staff. Both the owner and the builder/contractor are responsible for the process and are equally liable under the Ontario Building Code Act. Building Permits are necessary to ensure that zoning requirements, fire and structural safety standards and other building standards are met.
I want to upgrade my electrical service. Do I need a Building Permit?
The City does not regulate electrical installations and thus a Building Permit is not required for work that is exclusively electrical. Information regarding electrical permits and standards should be directed to the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) at 1-877-372-7233.
How much does a Building Permit cost?
The Building Permit fee is calculated based on a rate of construction value, with a minimum fee, as established through the Building By-Law. The fee covers the cost of reviewing the construction plans for compliance with the Ontario Building Code and applicable laws, such as the zoning by-laws, the Heritage Act, etc., as well as the issuance of the permit and the required inspections of the construction at specific stages of completed construction. You may check the building permit fee links in our website for the applicable municipalty. Building Permit fees must be paid at the time the application is submitted.
Your project may also be subject to development charges, including education development charges. Development Charges vary based on the type of proposed construction, the location of the proposed construction, etc. Development Charges are calculated once the review of your application is completed, (i.e., zoning, grading and Building Code reviews have been completed), prior to issuing the Building Permit. Development Charges are calculated at the time the permit is issued.
What does the Building Permit fee cover?
Building Permit fees are set to cost recover all costs associated with servicing Building Permits and enforcing the Building Code Act and Building Code. Building Permit fees cover the cost of reviewing the construction plans for compliance with the Ontario Building Code and applicable laws, such as the zoning by-law, the Heritage Act, etc., in addition to the issuance of the permit and the required inspections of the construction at specific stages of completed construction.
Once I have applied for the Building Permit to construct my shed, how long will I have to wait for my permit to be issued?
Once the Building Permit application form, fees, and all submission requirements have been received and deemed complete, city requires approximately ten working days for residential and 20 working days for commercial applications to review the documentation and advise whether the Building Permit will be issued or not. If not, the city will provide a deficiency letter outlining the elements that must be addressed before the permit can be issued. It is not possible to predict beyond the ten-day turnaround time, as your timeliness in responding to the letter of deficiency will dictate the timing of the issuance of the permit. Thus, the more complete and comprehensive your application and submission documents, the quicker the permit review process will be.
Once the Building Permit has been issued, how long do I have before I must begin to construct?
Construction can commence once the Building Permit has been issued. The construction must seriously commence within six months of the Building Permit being issued, or the Permit can be revoked.
I have applied for and received my Building Permit and I have started to construct the project, but I want to know how long I have to complete the project.
If the construction has been substantially suspended or discontinued for more than a year, the City may revoke the Building Permit.
I’ve been issued my Building Permit. Do I have to post it somewhere?
Yes, you must post your Building Permit for the duration of construction, in a visible location on-site in order to permit the public and the Building Inspector to view the permit.
What is the process for obtaining a final Occupancy Permit? What is the difference between a Partial Occupancy Permit and a Final Occupancy Permit?
There are two kinds of Occupancy Permits: the Partial Occupancy Permit and Final Occupancy Permit.
Partial Occupancy Permit
A Partial Occupancy Permit is issued where the permit holder wishes to allow occupancy to occur in an unfinished building or part thereof. In order to be eligible for a Partial Occupancy Permit, Occupancy Permit, there must be no outstanding Building Code Orders and certain building components and systems must be completed and inspected under Division C, Part 1, Articles 126.96.36.199. or 188.8.131.52. of the 2006 Ontario Building Code.
Final Occupancy Permit
A Final Occupancy Permit is issued when construction is complete, all outstanding Code deficiencies noted in Inspection Reports have been addressed, the minimum occupancy requirements have been met and there are no outstanding Building Code Orders.
It is the responsibility of the permit holder to schedule an appointment with the assigned Building Inspector for any Occupancy Inspections. The Building Inspector's name and phone number is provided on the issued Building Permit. Upon completion of the inspection, the permit holder will receive a written Inspection Report.
There is no fee for an Occupancy Permit as it is part of the process covered by the Building Permit fee paid at the time the application was submitted.
What should I do if I think my neighbour is building without a permit?
If you suspect that construction is proceeding without a Building Permit and you wish to take further action, please contact the building department of the local municipality and ask to make a 'Request for Service.' This will officially record your concerns and provide you with a reference number to track your request. Please indicate whether or not you wish to be contacted following the investigation.
Do I need a Building Permit to widen my driveway?
A Building Permit is not required to widen your driveway; however, zoning regulations and/or site plan control may impose restrictions on the width and location of your driveway. You can obtain this information from a zoning examiner for your area. You may also wish to review the deed of transfer of your property (title documents provided by your solicitor following the purchase of your home) as the deed may include restrictions that will also apply, particularly if your home is part of a cooperative development, a condominium development or a multi-residential project.
If I turn my hardware store into a pub, do I need a Building Permit?
Yes, you require a Building Permit if you intend to change any portion of an existing lot, building or structure; including the way it is currently used. By obtaining a Building Permit, you ensure that your premise is equipped with the prescribed washrooms, fire exits and other safety standards that are required for your proposed use.
Where can I get information about the GST rebate for New Housing Construction?
The GST Rebate for New Housing Construction is a program administered by the Government of Canada. For your reference, please find links and telephone numbers to the Government of Canada's Revenue Agency below:
GST/HST New Housing Rebate
Forms Line: 1-800-959-2221
Info Line: 1-800-959-5525
I want to build a fence. Do I need a permit?
A building permit is not required to build or replace your fence, however, you are required to comply with the Fence By-law. The Fence By-law sets out minimum standards for the installation, maintenance and repair of fences and institutes a "good neighbour policy" where the more attractive side of the fence must face toward the neighbouring property and street. For more information, please visit you local municipality’s counter.
However, if the fence is to be used as a Pool Enclosure, you will require a Pool Enclosure Permit.
I want to build a deck. Do I need a permit?
A building permit is required for a deck that is attached or adjacent to a building having a walking surface of greater than 24" above adjacent grade. Other decks, not described above, that have a walking surface greater than 24" above adjacent grade and area greater that 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) also require a building permit.
Regardless of whether or not a building permit is required for your deck, you should contact the zoning examiner for your area to determine whether or not your proposed deck will meet the zoning requirements for your property, mainly the setback to lot lines.
I want to build a shed. Do I need a permit?
Construction of a building, including the installation of pre-fabricated buildings, occupying an area greater than 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) requires a building permit.
Regardless of whether or not a building permit is required for your shed, you should contact the zoning examiner for your area to determine whether your proposed shed will meet the zoning requirements for your property, such as setbacks to lot lines, and restrictions to building height and lot coverage.