Things you need to know about Building Permits
Why do I need a building permit? The permit process ensures that minimum safety standards are met to protect you, your family, and your neighbours. It also ensures that construction complies with local building bylaws and zoning regulations. In addition, insurance companies may require proof of the inspection process before insuring any additions or upgrades to your property.
When do I need a permit? A building permit is required when any structural change or alteration is made to an existing building, or when any new construction is undertaken. Normal building maintenance, such as painting or flooring, does not typically require a building permit; however, separate permits for plumbing, mechanical or electrical work may be required.
If you are planning a residential project that involves structural changes to your home, such as additions or renovations, you will need a building permit. New commercial projects, leaseholds, alterations to an existing building, additions, interior demolition, demolition of a building, or a change of use of a building also require a building permit.
Make sure you understand the building codes and local ordinances before proceeding with any improvement project.
Who should apply for the permit? The property owner, or their representative, is responsible for obtaining the building permit. The building permit is not another red-tape nuisance. There are good, sound reasons for having these regulations. First and foremost, the building code protects YOU!
What do I need to provide? The specific requirements depend upon your municipality and the type of work you are planning. For simple interior projects, a scale floor plan will often be adequate. For larger projects involving additions, decks, or major structural renovations, a full set of working drawings and a site survey may be needed.
Before a permit is issued, your plans and drawings are reviewed by the municipality. In general, municipalities try to approve simple projects quickly while larger projects may require several weeks. Please plan accordingly.
What happens if I don't apply for a permit? If you begin a new construction, addition, or renovation project that requires a building permit without having one, your municipality can issue a "stop work" order. If the work completed-to-date does not meet the requirements of the building code, you may be forced to “undo" all or part of the project and/or pay a hefty penalty far greater than the initial permit fee!
Building without a permit may also affect an insurance claim. Before any work begins on your home, check with your insurance agent to learn exactly what is needed to ensure continuous and adequate coverage, both during and after the building project.