Whether you’re starting a new addition, demolition or renovation project related to a building, you must first determine if a building permit is required for the proposed work.

A building permit is formal permission from the municipality to begin your construction project. Beginning a project without a building permit, opens up the property owner, and/or the constructor, to the risk of a fine or stop work order from the local Municipality. To make the building permit application process as easy as possible, we’ve outlined the steps you need to take to obtain a building permit.

Why Building Permits are required

Building permits are required to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed to meet the municipality’s zoning by-laws, and are in conformance with all applicable building codes.

When Building Permits are required

Building permits are required for any new structure occupying an area greater than 10 m² (108 ft²), an addition to an existing building or any material alteration to an existing structure that affects any of the following:
• Building Structural design
• Mechanical Services
• Plumbing Services
• Exiting
• Life Safety
• Fire Separations

When Building Permits are Not Required

Not all construction projects require a building permit. The following is a list of some projects which can be undertaken without a permit:

• Replace HVAC equipment (furnace, air conditioner, etc)
• Re-shingle a roof
• Replace kitchen cabinetry
• Replace windows
• Construct a fence

It is important to remember that even though a building permit is not required, there may still be certain local by-laws (zoning, conservation authority, etc) that may restrict the work you intend to perform.

Who is Responsible?

Under the Ontario Building Code Act, both the property owner and the Constructor working on the project are equally liable for obtaining building permits as necessary for the work. When it comes to applying for the permit itself, the responsibility largely falls on the property owner. Property owners may authorize contractors to represent them in the building permit application process by applying for the permit on their behalf. Ultimately, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that all permits are obtained prior to starting construction.

How to Apply for a Permit

You can apply for a building permit by completing and submitting the application for a permit to construct or demolish for your municipality, complete with all other required documents, listed in “Permit Application Package” below. Applications are generally obtained either in person at the municipality main office or online in PDF format at the municipality’s website.

Permit Application Package

When applying for a building permit, you should ensure that you’ve provided these four elements:

• Application for permit to construct or demolish
• Building permit fee
• Two copies of proposed plans and specifications of the work to be performed that are stamped, signed and dated by a professional licensed designer (or digital submission)
• Other approvals required by your municipality, if necessary

What happens next?

Once your permit application is submitted, a plans examiner will perform an initial review of the application to ensure it is complete and includes all required documents. The plans examiner will then perform a detailed review of your plans to ensure they are in compliance with the applicable regulations in the following areas:

• Site Plan Approval (if necessary)
• Zoning
• Building Code compliance in:
• Architectural
• Structural
• Plumbing
• Mechanical (HVAC)
• Life Safety
• Electrical
Once the review process is complete, your proposed project will be deemed as either compliant or non-compliant and the permit will be either approved or denied.

For more information on building permit applications and/or construction plans and specifications, contact our experienced team at Callidus Engineering today.