Building Permits

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Ontario Building Code requires that you obtain a Building Permit before you start work on a new house, an addition or any significant alterations to an existing house. The Building Code sets out the minimum requirements for such work and is particularly concerned with your health and safety and that of other homeowners, building occupants, future owners and the community.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Building Permits

When do I need a Building Permit?

Building Permits are normally required when:

  • Building any detached structure larger than 108 square feet​
  • Building any additio​​​n to your home
  • Raised porches or decks
  • Carports or garages
  • Structural alterations
  • Moving or lifting your house
  • Installing a wood stove or fireplace
  • Partitioning a basement or adding a basement entrance
  • Creating an apartment in your house
  • Altering or adding any plumbing
  • Demolishing a house​​
If you're unsure about whether or not your proposed work requires a building permit, we encourage you to speak with a Building Services Technician.
When is a Building Permit usually not required?
A Building Permit is usually not when required:
  • Building detached (structurally independent​) structures 108 square feet or less in area;
  • New non-load bearing interior walls, floor or ceiling finishes;​
  • Repairs to chimneys, porches, decks or roofs;
  • Waterproofing repairs to basement (no plumbing involved) ;
  • Replacement of furnace (no building alterations) 
If you're unsure about whether or not your proposed work requires a building permit, we encourage you to speak with a Building Services Technician.
How are Building Permit Fees Calculated?
For a list of current building permit fees, please ​click here​. The following explanatory notes are to be observed in the calculation of permit fees: 
  • ​Floor area of the proposed work is to be measured to the outer face of exterior walls and to the center line of party walls or demising walls (excluding residential garages).
  • In the case of interior alterations or renovations, area of proposed work is the actual space receiving the work e.g. tenants space.
  • Mechanical penthouses and floors, mezzanines, lofts, habitable attics, and interior balconies are to be included in all floor area calculations.
  • Except for interconnected floor spaces, no deductions are made for openings within the floor area (e.g. stairs, elevators, escalators, shafts, ducts, etc.)
  • Unfinished basements for single detached dwellings (including semis, duplexes, and townhouses, etc.) are not included in the floor area.
  • Attached garages and fireplaces are included in the permit fee for single detached dwellings and attached dwellings.
  • Where interior alterations and renovations require relocation of sprinkler heads or fire alarm components, no additional charge is applicable.
  • Ceilings are included in both new shell and finished (partitioned) buildings. The Service Index for ceiling applies only when alterations occur in existing buildings.
  • Minor alterations to existing ceilings to accommodate lighting or HVAC improvements are not chargeable.
  • Where demolition of partitions or alteration to existing ceilings is a part of an alteration or renovations permit, no additional charge is applicable.
  • Corridors, lobbies, washrooms, lounges, etc. are to be included and classified according to the major classification for the floor area on which they are located.
  • The occupancy categories in the Schedule correspond with the major occupancy classifications in the Ontario Building Code. For mixed occupancy floor areas, the Service Index for each of the applicable occupancy categories may be used, except where an occupancy category is less than 10% of the floor area.
  • For shelf and rack storage use, apply the square footage charge for industrial for the building.​​
What Drawings Do I Need to Provide?
​The drawings you need to provide with a building permit application vary depending on the scope of work. Below is a list of typical drawings and what information they should include. To confirm what drawings you will need, please contact a Building Services Technician.


Site Plan -  Drawing showing the complete property and identifying all structures in relation to property boundaries. It should include:

  • Scale
  • North arrow
  • Lot lines and dimensions (in metric)
  • Existing and proposed construction and dimensions (in metric)
  • Etc. 

Floor Plans - Scaled drawing of the arrangement of rooms in one story of a building. It should include:

  • Scale
  • Use of rooms and spaces
  • Dimensions (in metric)
  • Extent of existing demolished and new construction
  • Size, type and location of exterior and interior walls and partitions
  • Widths, locations and lintel size of all new openings
  • Location, dimensions and direction of stairs
  • Sectional arrows
  • References to detailed drawings
  • Material specifications or notes
  • Heating details and calculations
  • Etc. 

Elevations - Drawings showing the exterior view of each side of the house. Each elevation is identified by the direction it is facing and should include:

  • Scale
  • Extent of existing demolished and new construction 
  • Vertical dimensions of walls, windows and doors
  • Grade level 
  • Overall height from grade to mid-point between eaves and top of roof, and from grade to top of roof
  • Exterior wall cladding, finishes and flashing
  • Overhang dimensions
  • Roof shape, slope and finish
  • Rainwater leader and eaves trough
  • Etc. 

Sections -  represents a view of the house along an imaginary line at a particular location and illustrates construction details. The extent of the sections should correspond with the sectional arrows shown on the plans. Sections should include:

  • Scale
  • Details of footings, foundations, walls floors and the roof
  • Distance from grade to floor and underside of footing
  • Attic and crawl space ventilation
  • Etc. 

Mechanical Drawings - Required when proposing changes/additions to the mechanical system. Elements may be identified on floor plans, showing the layout of the mechanical components. Further requirements may include heat loss and heat gain calculation to determine the capacity of the furnace required and drawings of the duct design and layout (by a qualified designer). This information is generally available from a mechanical/heating contractor.

CAN I DO MY OWN DRAWINGS?
As the homeowner, you may design your own project and produce your own drawings. Please note: this applies only to residential structures. However, if you are not familiar with various government regulations, by-laws and Ontario Building Code requirements, you may wish to hire a qualified designer instead.

Delays in the issuance of your permit can arise if your drawing and specification submissions are not complete or do not conform to the Ontario Building Code and/or Zoning By-Law. Most designs for Building Permits, not completed by the owner, will require a designer registered and/or qualified under Division C, Part 3, Section 3.2 of the Ontario Building Code (an Architect or Engineer is exempt from this requirement).

A designer is anyone who is responsible for the design, which may also include preparing the drawings for submission. You may wish to check with a Building Services Technician to find out whether your project requires a qualified designer.
How do i apply for a building permit?
To prepare a submission of a building permit application, follow the steps laid out below.
  1. Determine what applicable law applies to your property. For example, you may want to review your property's zoning requirements, determine whether it is in a conservation/regulated area​, ​and if it is a heritage structure (for starters);
  2. Prepare drawings which are accurate, to scale and describe the construction you are proposing;
  3. Complete a copy of the Building Permit Application and relevant forms;
  4. Provide copies of the construction drawings including a site plan. Two for residential (three if it is a heritage property) and four for commercial;
  5. Bring all required material into the Building Division at the Municipal Offices;
  6. Pay the permit fee (Please note, the maximum total credit card payment accepted for any invoice, permit, or charge is $2,500. Amounts greater than $2,500 may be paid by cash, cheque or Interac)

View our 'How to obtain a Building Permit' page for more information on applying for a Building Permit.​​