Building Permit Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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)
- 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.
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 and legal action may be initiated by Building Services to gain compliance.
Failure to obtain a Building Permit prior to commencing construction may place both the property owner and the contractor in contravention of the Building Code Act, which means both parties are breaking the law.
- Once discovered, you will still need to apply for a permit, and your building permit fees may be doubled in accordance with the Building By-Law.
- It may be necessary to uncover components of your project so that these items can be inspected (e.g. remove drywall so that insulation and framing can be inspected etc.). You may need to hire an engineer (at your expense) to review the completed work.
- You may be required to pay for any costs incurred by the Town that is associated with the unapproved construction, including investigation and enforcement.
- The Building Code Act also provides the following penalties:
- 36(3) Penalties. A person who is convicted of an offence is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 for a first offence and to a fine of not more than $100,000 for a subsequent offence.”
- “36(4) Corporations. If a corporation is convicted of an offence, the maximum penalty that may be imposed upon the corporation is $500,000 for a first offence and $1,500,000 for a subsequent offence and not as provided in subsection (3).”
- “3(6) Continuing Offence. Every person who fails to comply with an order made by a Chief Building Official under subsection 14(1) or clause 15.9(6)(a) or 15.10.3.(8)(a) is guilty of an offence and on conviction, in addition to the penalties mentioned in subsections (3) and (4), is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 per day for every day the offence continues and after the time given for complying with the order has expired.”
Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse. There are legal implications for you and your contractor if construction is started without a permit!
Yes. As the owner of the property, the Building Code under Div. C - 3.2.4 provides an exemption for you to create your own drawings. However, if the drawings are below standard or missing information, you will be asked to complete them or hire a designer who carries the qualifications as required by Bill 124.
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 during the pre-screen process.
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 applications that are deemed complete. 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.
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.
If the construction has been substantially suspended or discontinued for more than a year, the building permit may be revoked.
Yes, you must post your Building Permit for the duration of construction, in a visible location on-site for the public and Town staff to view the permit.
If you suspect that construction is proceeding without a building permit and you wish to take further action, please contact Building Services. We will 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. Your information remains confidential.